Monday, April 30, 2007

Maine is Mets' Mainstay; Baseball Mourns Cardinals' Hancock

Josh Hancock (1978-2007) - The prayers and sympathy of everyone involved in Major League Baseball are extended to the friends and family of St. Louis Cardinals' relief pitcher Josh Hancock, who died tragically in an auto accident just after midnight Sunday morning. Hancock was an integral part of the Cardinals' 2006 season and World Series win. He appeared in 62 games in the regular season, going 3-3 with 50 strikeouts in 77 innings. In his memory, the Cardinals will wear #32 patches on their sleeves the remainder of the season. Sunday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League The New York Yankees set a major league mark by using 5 or more pitchers in their 10th consecutive game, a 7-4 home loss to the Boston Red Sox. Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Alex Cora all homered for the Sox, who took 2 of 3 from the Yanks over the weekend. Derek Jeter homered in the 9th, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Alex Rodriguez, without a home run or RBI in his last 5 games, ended the month of April (Yankees are off today) one RBI shy of the record of 35, still owned by Juan Gonzalez, and tied with Albert Pujols with 14 April round-trippers. A-Rod did manage to set the AL home run mark, surpassing Ken Griffey Jr.'s 13. As the Yankees sink slowly in the East, having lost 8 of their last 9, struggles continue for many of the hitters, most notably, Bobby Abreu (2-30), Rodriguez (3-18), Hideki Matsui (3-18) and Johnny Damon (3-19). In last place, 6 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, rumors are circulating that manager Joe Torre's days are numbered. It would be no surprise if the boss (George Steinbrenner) makes a change within the week. Fausto Carmona (2-1), took a shutout into the 9th, but gave up a one-out home run to Aubrey Huff and had to settle for 8 1/3 innings of 6 hit work as the Cleveland Indians took two of three from Baltimore. The AL Central leading Tribe have won 7 of their last 8. Other AL Scores Toronto 7 Texas 3 Detroit 4 Minnesota 3 - B. Inge, walk-off HR (4), T. Hunter, 15-gm. hit streak LA Angels 5 Chi White Sox 2 - V. Guerrero, HR (7) Seattle 5 Kansas City 1 Tampa Bay 5 Oakland 3 - A. Reyes, S (9) National League John Maine (right) outdueled Washington starter Jason Bergmann, allowing just 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8 in 7 innings of shutout ball as the MY Mets took a 1-0 decision in D.C. Maine, 4-0, lowered his ERA to 1.35, good for 2nd in the NL behind Tim Hudson's 1.22. In his first full season as a starter, Maine's been excellent in each of his 5 outings, going 7 or more innings in his 4 wins. Despite issuing 17 walks, Maine's WHIP is still a very solid 1.05. The Mets took back 1st place in the NL East as Atlanta fell to Colorado, 9-7. The two teams have been exchanging 1/2-game leads for most of the month. There are plenty of reasons why the Milwaukee Brewers have a 3 1/2 game lead in the NL Central, but one of them has to be the outstanding relief work of closer Francisco Cordero who notched his major league-leading 10th save (tied with Arizona's Jose Valverde) in Sunday's 3-1 win at Houston. In 11 1/3 innings, Cordero has yet to allow an earned run, and has given up only 2 hits while walking 7 and fanning 19. Colorado's Matt Holliday socked an 11th-inning 2-run homer to finish off Atlanta, 11-9, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, though he lowered his batting average with a 2-6 performance, to .394. Holliday, who still leads the NL in hitting,
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scored once and drove in 3, giving him 16. Chicago's Derek Lee is second at .391 and teammate Todd Helton is close at .390. In the seventh inning, Rockies' shortstop Troy Tulowitzki accomplished the 13th unassisted triple play in major league history. On a 3-2 count with runners on first and second, Tulowitzki snagged Chipper Jones' line drive behind second base, stepped on the bag to force Kelly Johnson, then took a few steps to tag Edgar Renteria. The Braves were running on the pitch. Other NL Scores Philadelphia 6 Florida 1 - J. Moyer (W, 3-1) Cincinnati 9 Pittsburgh 5 - A. Harang (W, 4-0), A. Dunn HR (6) LA Dodgers 5 San Diego 4, 17 innings - Dodgers, 12-7 vs. NL West Arizona 5 San Francisco 4 - Diamondbacks, 5 gm. win streak

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Igawa Stops Yankees Slide at Seven; 5-5 Cabrera Lifts Marlins

Saturday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League The NY Yankees ended their 7-game losing streak as Kei Igawa (right) pitched 6 innings of 2-hit ball, leading the Bombers to a 3-1 win over Boston at Yankees Stadium. Igawa, called on when starter Jeff Karstens was struck on the right leg on his first pitch by Julio Lugo's line drive. Karstens, who suffered a cracked fibula, pitched to the next batter, Kevin Youkilis, who singled. That's when Igawa came in and produced, getting David Ortiz to ground into a double play and, after walking Manny Ramirez, striking out J. D. Drew to end the threat. Igawa struck out 6 and walked 4, improving to 2-1. Mariano Rivera came in to work the 9th, and got his first save of the season, and first for the Yankees, who were the only team in the majors which had not recorded a save. The Yankees tied a major league mark,
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having used at least 5 pitchers in each of their last 9 games. Derek Jeter went 3-5, extending his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active streak in the AL, while raising his batting average to .348, tying him for the team lead with Alex Rodriguez. Other AL Scores Oakland 12 Tampa Bay 5 - D. Haren (W, 3-2) Minnesota 11 Detroit 3 - J. Mauer, 3-5, .388 leads AL LA Angels 3 Chicago White Sox 0 Texas 9 Toronto 8, 10 innings Kansas City 8 Seattle 3 Baltimore 7 Cleveland 4 National League Miguel Cabrera (right) went 5-5, including his 7th home run, as the Marlins dusted the Phillies, 11-5, in Philadelphia. Cabrera only drove in one run, but scored 3 times in support of the pitching of Dontrelle Willis, who became the NL's first 5-game winner despite an ERA of 5.35. Willis, who allowed 9 hits and 4 earned runs, struck out 7, improving to 5-1. Jacque Jones singled, doubled, tripled, scored once and drove in 4 runs in 4 at-bats as the Cubs hammered out an 8-1 win at St. Louis. After toiling in the relative obscurity as a middle reliever in the Reds' bullpen, Matt Belisle is emerging as a solid starter in Cincy's rotation. The 6'3" righty from Austin, Texas, threw the first complete game of his career Saturday at Pittsburgh, ending the Pirates' 5-game win streak with an 8-1 win. Belisle scattered 5 hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out 5, improving to 3-1 in 5 starts this season. Other NL Scores Arizona 5 San Francisco 4 - B. Bonds, HR (8), J. Valverde, S (10) NY Mets 6 Washington 2, 12 innings Houston 10 Milwaukee 1 - Astros snap 7-game losing streak Atlanta 6 Colorado 2 - M. Holliday, 11-game hit streak, .398 leads NL San Diego 3 LA Dodgers 2 - J. Pierre, SB (10)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lugo Leads Sox Past NY; Snell Pitches Pirates to 5th Straight Win

Friday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Julio Lugo (right) was a nightmare for the NY Yankees Friday night. The Boston leadoff hitter went 3-4 with a homer, double and single, walked twice, stole two bases, drove in 3 runs and scored 3 times, leading the Red Sox to an 11-4 bombing of the Bombers in the Bronx. The win put Boston 4 games up over Toronto in the AL East and opened a 6 1/2-game lead over the slumping, last place Yankees, who have lost 7 straight. The Yankees are approaching an odd record. They've used at least 5 pitchers in 8 straight games. The MLB record is 9, and they hope not to equal that when Jeff Karstens takes the mound against Tim Wakefield this afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks are the only team in the majors without a save to their credit this season and are trying to avoid their worst slump since August, 1995, when they lost 8 straight. New York is struggling in almost every aspect of the game.
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The Sox stole 3 bases on Jorge Posada last night, Alex Rodriguez, whose bat has carried the team thus far, was 0-3 and is only 1 for his last 10 at-bats. The usually-reliable Mariano Rivera came in to pitch the 9th with the Yankees down 7-4, but lasted only 1/3 of an inning, allowing 3 hits, a walk and 4 earned runs. Rivera's ERA is 12.15. Ugly. Tampa Bay's 2nd-year starter James Shields may be someone to keep an eye on. Last night, Shield allowed just 4 hits, a walk and 1 earned run, striking out 9 over 8 innings for his 2nd win of the season, 4-1 at Oakland. Al Reyes worked a hitless 9th for his 8th save. Shields, after getting knocked around in starts against Toronto, Texas and Baltimore, may be settling into a nice groove. He allowed only 2 hits and 2 earned runs in his previous start against the Indians, but received no decision in a 6-4 loss, despite working 8 innings and striking out 12. He's avoided taking a loss thus far, evening his career record at 8-8. In 36 innings this season, he's struck out 37 while giving up only 7 walks. His ERA is 3.75, but his WHIP is a dandy 0.92. Fantasy players (and maybe the Yankees) should take note. Other AL Scores Seattle 7 Kansas City 4 - R. Sexson, 1-25 last 7 games Minnesota 5 Detroit 3 - J. Mauer, pinch-hit 2-run single in 8th Chicago White Sox 7 LA Angels 3 - J. Dye, 2 HR (5) Cleveland 5 Baltimore 4 - Indians, 6-gm. win streak, 1st AL Central Texas 5 Toronto 3 National League Pittsburgh's Ian Snell (right) shut out the Reds on 6 hits over 7 innings en route to his 2nd win of the season, a 3-1 decision at home. Salomon Torres gave up a leadoff home run to Adam Dunn in the 9th, but still earned his 7th save of the season. The Pirates stretched their winning streak to five games and clawed to within 2 games of the Brewers in the NL Central. Snell, in five starts, has lasted at least 6 innings in each, and has allowed just 6 earned runs over 34 innings for an ERA of 1.59 and a 1.03 WHIP. Edgar Renteria singled 4 times in 5 at-bats, drove in 2, scored a run and was instrumental in a key 7th inning rally that helped the Braves regain a slim 1/2-game lead over the Mets in the NL East, by winning at Colorado, 9-7. The Mets and Braves have exchanged the top spot in the division for the better part of the early season with neither team capable of pulling away. Renteria is off to a sizzling start, batting .344, including a 14-33 (.424) stretch in his current 7-game hit streak. Andruw Jones contributed his 4th homer of the year, a 3-run blast in the 4th inning. Chris Capuano improved to 4-0, scattering 5 hits and 3 walks over 6 innings, as the Milwaukee Brewers won 4-1 at Houston. Francisco Cordero got his 9th save of the season with a hitless 9th inning and remained tied with Arizona's Jose Valverde for the NL saves lead. Cordero's been virtually untouchable in 10 1/3 innings this season, allowing just 3 hits and no earned runs while recording an eye-popping 19 strikeouts. Other NL Scores Washington 4 NY Mets 3 - J. Reyes, SB (13) Philadelphia 6 Florida 5 - J. Rollins, HR (9) Chicago Cubs 5 St. Louis 3 - J. Marquis (W, 3-1) Arizona 3 San Francisco 2 - SF win streak stopped at 8, J. Valverde, S (9) LA Dodgers 6 San Diego 5 - Dodgers 1-gm. lead in NL West

Friday, April 27, 2007

Giants Win 8th Straight; Yankees in Last Place

Thursday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League A.J. Burnett (right) allowed 4 singles and 4 walks over 7 scoreless innings and a pair of relievers completed the job, sending the slumping NY Yankees to their sixth straight loss and a tie for last place in the AL East with a 6-0 whitewash. The Yankees will try to end their streak by hosting the the team that started it last weekend, the Boston Red Sox, in a 3-game series starting Friday. Josh Beckett became the first pitcher in the majors to win 5 games, giving up 2 earned runs on 8 hits without issuing a walk in Boston's 5-2 win at Baltimore. Beckett got all the support he would need in the 8th inning when Wily Mo Pena banged out a grand slam homer. Jonathon Papelbon set down the O's in the 8th for his 7th save. Beckett, who has yet to suffer a loss, dropped his ERA down to 2.48. Other AL Scores Cleveland 9 Texas 4 - S. Sosa 2 HR (6) Minnesota 1 Kansas City 0, 11 innings - B. Bonser, 5 IP, 0 ER, 8 K, 7 BB Seattle 4 Oakland 2 LA Angels 11 Tampa Bay 3 - V. Guerrero, HR (6), LA 11-3 home, 1-7 road National League After opening the season 8-4, the San Francisco Giants won their 8th straight game last night, a come-from-behind road win over the Dodgers, tying them for first place n the NL West. The 5-4 win was highlighted by Ray Durham's 8th inning double, unknotting a 3-3 tie. Durham later scored the eventual game-winner on Benji Molina's single. Armando Benitez picked up his 7th save, completing the 3-game sweep of the Dodgers. The streaking Giants return home for a three-game set with Arizona beginning Friday. Tony Clark socked a pair of homers and drove in 3 runs to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-4 win and a 2-1split over the visiting San Diego Padres.
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The homers were Clark's 3rd and 4th of the season, and second multi-home run game of the season. Clark hit a pair on April 15 in a 6-4 win over Colorado. Other NL Scores Pittsburgh 5 Houston 3 - M. Loretta, 4-4, SB (1), Pirates sweep 3 from Astros St. Louis 7 Cincinnati 5 Washington 4 Philadelphia 2

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Peavy's 16 K's Wasted; Washburn Blanks A's

Wednesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Jerrod Washburn earned his first victory of the season, shutting out the Oakland A's on 3 hits, and 2 walks.
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The complete game was the 7 of his career and his 3rd shutout. Washburn struck out only two and needed 104 pitches (72 for strikes) to mow down the A's hitters. He began the night setting down the first nine batters he faced and the Seattle infield turned a pair of double plays in support of his outstanding performance. The loss dropped the A's into a first place tie with the Angels in the AL West. 7-9 Seattle is only 1 1/2 back. Magglio Ordonez went 3-4 with a double and 3 RBI - giving him 20 on the season - as the Tigers won at Chicago, 4-2 and climbed to within a 1/2 game of AL Central leader, Cleveland. In the contentious division, the White Sox are only 1 game back, followed by the Twins, 1 1/2 behind. Other AL Scores Boston 6 Baltimore 1 - C. Schilling (W, 3-1) 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER Cleveland 8, Texas 7, 11 innings Kansas City 4 Minnesota 3 - D. DeJesus, 3-4, HR (4) LA Angels 9 Tampa Bay 1 - J. Lackey (W, 3-2) National League Jake Peavy (right) struck out 16 Diamondbacks - at one point fanning 9 straight - but his stellar effort was wasted when Stephen Drew smacked a 2-out, 2-run walk-off homer against Trevor Hoffman in the 9th to earn Arizona's 3-2 victory over the Padres. Peavy was nothing short of spectacular, allowing just 2 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings. All but 5 of the outs he recorded were by strikeout. With no decision, Peavy remains 3-0, lowering his ERA to 1.67 with a 1.05 WHIP. Todd Helton singled twice and doubled twice, driving in 3 runs and scoring twice as Colorado upended the NY Mets at Shea. John Mabry chipped in with 4 RBI and a 3-run homer. Matt Holiday drove in 3 runs with a pair of singles and Willie Taveras stroked 5 singles in 6 at-bats. Derrek Lee singled, doubled twice and hit his 1st home run of 2007, pacing the Chicago Cubs to a 9-3 win over the visiting 1st place Brewers. Lee scored twice and drove in a pair. His 5th inning HR was a solo shot. Other NL Scores St. Louis 5 Cincinnati 2 Pittsburgh 4 Houston 3, 16 innings Florida 4 Atlanta 3 Philadelphia 9 Washington 3 - J. Rollins, HR (8), C. Utley, 5-5 San Francisco 6 LA Dodgers 4 - B. Bonds, HR (7), Giants, 7 straight wins

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wells Powers Jays over Boston; Maholm blanks Astros

Tuesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Vernon Wells (right) started off the night with a solo home run in the 1st and stroked three singles to finish the night 4-5 with 3 RBI, 4 runs scored and a stolen base in Toronto's 10-4 romp over the visiting Red Sox. The Blue Jays took both of the two-game set with the NL East-leading Sox. Roy Halladay turned in 8 innings, allowing 3 earned runs for his 3rd win of the season without a loss. The road-weary New York Yankees dropped their 5th straight game and Alex Rodriguez's 23-game hitting streak ended as Carl Crawford (right) rallied Tampa Bay to a 6-4 win with a 7th inning grand slam off reliever Mike Myers. The blast was the first slam of Crawford's career and his 4th home run of the season. In addition to the 4 RBI, Crawford went 4-4, scored twice and stole a base. Relief pitcher Joakim Soria allowed the White Sox to break up a 7-7 tie with a pair of 9th inning runs off his own throwing error and a wild pitch for a 9-7 road Chicago road win. Chicago took both games in KC and share first place in the AL Central with Minnesota at 11-8. Bobby Jenks worked a hitless 9th for his major league-leading 8th save. Other AL Scores LA Angels 9 Detroit 8, 10 innings - M. Ordonez, 3-3, 3 R, 3 RBI, HR (3) Oakland 4 Baltimore 2 - D. Braden (W, 1-0), 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 K Cleveland 5 Minnesota 3 National League Paul Maholm (right) twirled a dandy 3-hit shutout for his first win of the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates held their own at home over Houston, 3-0. Maholm threw just 99 pitches, getting 64 over for strikes, fanning 4 while issuing a lone walk. Maholm allowed just three singles, two by Astros leadoff man Craig Biggio, and did not allow a runner to reach 2nd base, retiring the last 12 batters in order. The Astros have lost 4 straight. Jeff Suppan scattered 8 hits over 8 innings without allowing a run and the Brewers extended their NL Central lead to 3 games in a 4-1 win at Chicago. Prince Fielder provided all the offense Suppan would need for his 3rd win of the season with his 5th homer, a two-run, 4th inning blast to right. Adrian Gonzalez stroked his sixth home run of the season and went 3-3 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored and Khalil Green was 4-5 with a pair of doubles and 4 RBI, leading the Padres to a 10-5 win at Arizona. San Diego trails the Dodgers by 1 game in the NL West. Ken Griffey Jr. took over sole possession of 10th place on the MLB all-time home run list with his 1st of the season and 564th of his career as the Cincinnati Reds pummeled the Cardinals, 10-3 in St. Louis. Aaron Harang struck out 5 over 7 2/3 innings for his 3rd win of the season without a loss. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who entered the season with a mere 90 career round-trippers, knocked his first two of 2007 to drive in five runs. Gonzalez also doubled, singled and scored 4 times. Other NL Scores Philadelphia 6 Washington 3 NY Mets 2 Colorado 1, 12 innings - E. Chavez, GW bunt single Atlanta 11 Florida 6 - J. Francoeur, 3-5, 2 RBI, 2 R; C. Ross, 5 RBI, HR (3) San Francisco 5 LA Dodgers 3 - M. Morris (W, 3-0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rodriguez ties April HR mark; Rollins is Rollin'

Rodriguez ties April HR mark; Rollins is Rollin' Monday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League With two more home runs last night, Alex Rodriguez set a new AL mark for April long balls (passing Ken Griffey Jr.) and tied the major league mark of 14 set last year by St. Louis' Albert Pujols. Rodriguez also closed to within 1 of the major league record for April RBI with his 32nd, 33rd and 34th and he still has 6 games left to play. Going 4-5, A-Rod raised his MLB-leading batting average to an even .400 and scored 4 times. Despite A-Rod's hot hitting, the Yankees lost their 4th straight game, 10-8 at Tampa Bay as high-priced import Kei Igawa lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up 7 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, including a pair of Devil Ray home runs. In 4 starts, Igawa has pitched a total of 20 2/3 innings, given up 5 homers, 9 walks, 18 earned runs and is carrying an ERA of 7.84. Nick Swisher homered twice, drove in 3 runs and scored 2 in 5 at-bats to lead Oakland back into 1st place in the AL West with a 6-5 win at Baltimore. Toronto 2nd baseman Aaron Hill singled,
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homered and doubled twice in 5 at-bats, driving in 2 runs and scoring 3 times in the Blue Jays' 7-4 win at Boston. Hill was joined in the Toronto hit parade by center fielder Vernon Wells who doubled, tripled, stole a base and scored 3 times in 4 at-bats. Despite the loss, the Red Sox maintained their 1 1/2 game advantage over Baltimore in the AL East. Paul Konerko went 3-4, pounding out a pair of 2-run homers, singling and driving in another run with a sac fly in Chicago's 7-4 win at Kansas City. Konerko's 5 RBI were enough to help Mark Buehrle gain his second win in his first start after last week's no-hitter. Other AL Scores Detroit 9 LA Angels 5 - C. Granderson, HR (3), SB (2) Seattle 5 Texas 4 - I. Suzuki, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI Cleveland 7 Minnesota 3, 12 innings - T. Hafner, 4-4 National League Jimmy Rollins (right) nearly hit for the cycle, going 4-5 with a solo home run, triple and a pair of singles. Rollins scored 4 times and drove in a couple of runs in Philadelphia's 11-4 thumping of the visiting Houston Astros. Rollins, batting in the leadoff spot, leads the NL with 7 home runs, has 14 RBI, a .313 bating average. His 19 runs scored is 3rd best in the National League. John Maine improved to 3-0, allowing just one earned run on 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 in the Mets' 6-1 win over visiting Colorado. Maine, who pitched 7 2/3 innings, lowered his ERA to 1.71. Jose Valentin hit a 3-run homer, Carlos Delgado hit his first of the year - a 2-run shot - and Jose Reyes increased his major-league leading stolen base total to 12 with a pair of thefts. Prince Fielder hit his 3rd and 4th home runs of the season, the latter a solo shot game-winner in the 12th inning, sending the visiting Brewers to their 3rd straight win and 1st place in the NL Central with a 5-4 win over the Cubs. Fielder has 2 RBI and scored twice in the win. Despite the best efforts of Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur, who went 4-5 with a pair of singles, a double, a solo home run and 4 RBI, Dontrelle Willis became the first National League pitcher to reach 4 wins as Florida survived at home, 8-7. Willis may not be the sharpest 4-game winner with an ERA of 5.28, but his teammates have given him plenty of support, scoring 36 runs (9 per game) in his 4 wins. Willis has given up at least 7 hits in each outing this season.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Red Sox Bang Up Yankees; Cain Trims D-Backs

Sunday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Manny Ramirez got it started with his 2nd home run in the third inning. Three batters later, J. D. Drew, Mike Lowell (right) and Jason Varitek had all hit balls out of Fenway Park, tying a major league record (4 consecutive HRs) held by four other teams. All four homers were off rookie Yankee starter Chase Wright. Lowell later connected for a 3-run shot that sunk the Yankees, 7-6 and gave Boston a 3-game home sweep over their AL East rivals. Here's a trivia question that should stump your friends. Of the five times that teams have hit 4 straight homers, which player was part of two of them? Answer: J. D. Drew, who did it last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 18 against San Diego. Better yet, he was also the 2nd of the 4 both times. Nick Markakis doubled, tripled, drove in 3 and scored twice in 4 at-bats to help the Baltimore Orioles to their 4th straight win and 2nd place in the AL East. The O's 7-3 win over visiting Toronto completed a sweep of the 3-game set and left them 1 1/2 games behind the streaking Red Sox, who have won 5 straight. The Sox head to Baltimore for a pair on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Other AL Scores Detroit 6 Chicago White Sox 5, 12 innings LA Angels 6 Seattle 1 - E. Santana (W, 2-2) 7 inn., 1 ER Cleveland 6 Tampa Bay 4 Texas 4 Oakland 3 Kansas City 3, Minnesota 1 - J. De La Rosa (W, 2-1) 8 inn., 5 hits, 0 ER National League Barry Bonds smacked his 740th home run, leading the San Francisco Giants to a 2-1 win over visiting Arizona. Bonds' 6th home run of the season left him 15 shy of Hank Aaron's all-time career record of 755. The story in San Fran this weekend was the Giants' pitching which held the Diamondbacks to 3 runs while sweeping the 3-game series. Russ Ortiz, Barry Zito and, on Sunday, Matt Cain (right) stymied the D-Backs, stretching their losing streak to 4 games. Cain was dominant, hurling a complete-game, 3-hit performance for his 1st win of the season. Despite the 1-1 record, Cain, who became a full-time starter for the Giants last season, lowered his ERA to 1.53 and is sporting a mind-blowing 0.83 WHIP. The Giants haven't exactly been generous in run support, scoring only 8 runs in Cain's 4 starts this season. Dan Uggla rapped out a 2-run homer, a 3-run homer and a single in 5 at-bats, drove in 6 runs and scored 3 times to help the Marlins double up the visiting Washington Nationals, 12-6.
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Kelly Johnson singled and homered twice in 4 at-bats, drove in 4 runs and scored 3, spoiling the day for Tom Glavine and the Mets and giving the Braves sole possession of 1st place in the NL East. Scott Rolen went 5-6, including a solo home run and a 2-run triple, drove in 3 and scored 3 times, but teammate Albert Pujols stole the show with his 5th home run of the season, a 10th-inning, 3-run walk off variety that sent the visiting Cardinals to a 12-9 win over Chicago and a 2-1 spilt in their weekend series. Other NL Scores Pittsburgh 7 LA Dodgers 5 - C. Duffy, 2 SB, 3 R Milwaukee 4 Houston 3 - Brewers 1.5-gm lead in NL Cent. Philadelphia 9 Cincinnati 3 - R. Howard, HR (2) Colorado 4 San Diego 2

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hamels Fans Fifteen; Big Papi Powers BoSox over Yanks

Saturday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League David Ortiz (right) hit a 2-run homer and drove in two more with a double, helping the Boston Red Sox win the 2nd game of their 3-game series with the Yankees in Boston. The Sox will have the chance to complete the sweep tonight at Fenway. Carlos Guillen delivered a 1st inning grand slam, but the Tigers could manage only one more run against Jose Contreras and five Chicago relievers, losing their 3rd straight, 7-5, at home. Bobby Jenks earned his 6th save for the White Sox. Other AL Scores Minnesota 7 Kansas City 5 - J. Nathan, S (6) Baltimore 5 Toronto 2 LA Angels 7 Seattle 6 - B. Broussard GS HR (1) Texas 7 Oakland 0 - WP, K. Loe (1-0) Tampa Bay 6 Cleveland 5 National League Philadelphia's Cole Hamels (right) struck out 15 in a 4-1 complete game win at Cincinnati, allowing just one earned run on Jeff Conine's 2nd inning home run. Hamels, who gave up 5 hits and walked two, threw 115 pitches (82 for strikes), struck out the side in the 1st and got all three outs in the 8th on strikeouts despite 2 hits in the inning, and recorded a strikeout in every frame except the 5th, when the Phillies turned a triple play. Hamels improved to 2-0. Carlos Beltran doubled, tripled and singled twice in 5 at-bats, drove in 2 runs and scored twice to help the Mets to a 7-2 home win over Atlanta. Beltran boosted his league-leading batting average to .385 as the Mets took back 1st place in the NL East from the Braves. The teams have split the first two games of their series, with the rubber game this afternoon at Shea. Catcher Russell Martin stroked a walk-off grand slam homer in the 10th inning to lead the Dodgers to a 7-3 win over visiting Pittsburgh. It was Martin's 2nd home run of the season, and kept the Dodgers 2 games ahead of the San Diego Padres in the NL West. Jason Marquis shut out his former teammates for 7 innings as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 6-0 at Wrigley Field. Marquis (2-1) allowed 7 hits, struck out 5 and didn't give up a walk. Will Ohman pitched the 8th and 9th without allowing a hit. Barry Zito struck out 5, walked 3 and gave up 4 hits in a scoreless 7 1/3 innings to lead the Giants to a 1-0 win over Arizona. The only run of the game came off the bat of Barry Bonds, who belted his 5th home run of the season in the 2nd inning. Zito (2-2) extended his scoreless streak to 13 1/3 innings. J. J. Hardy hit two homers - a solo shot and 2-run blast - to help starter Chris Capuano improve to 3-0 and put the Brewers back in first place in the NL Central with a 6-4 win over the visiting Astros. The teams have split the first two games of their series. The winner of this afternoon's rubber game will have sole possession of first place in the division. Other NL Scores San Diego 7 Colorado 3 - M. Giles 4-5 Florida 9 Washington 3

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A-Rod Blasts a Pair; Pierre Swipes Two

Friday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League It's becoming something of a worn out record, butAlex Rodriguez (right) continues to have a month of April like none ever seen. Last night in Boston, A-Rod homered twice off Red Sox starter Curt Schilling - a solo shot in the 4th and a 3-run blast in the 5th - to pad his major league-leading totals to 12 HR and 30 RBI. Rodriguez' heroics were not enough, however, as the Sox punished relievers Mike Myers, Luis Vizcaino and Mariano Rivera for five runs in the bottom of the eighth and held on to win, 7-6. Rivera was touched up badly, especially on Coco Crisp's two-run triple to tie the game and Alex Cora's single which plated Crisp with the game-winner. It was Rivera's 2nd blown save this week. As for Mr. Rodriguez, he's drawn within 2 home runs and 5 RBI of the all-time marks for April and has 9 games left in the month, 5 of them against Boston. The Red Sox head down to New York for a three-game set next weekend. A-Rod's next home run will tie him with Ken Griffey, Jr. for the most hit in April by an AL player. He needs 2 to tie Albert Pujols 14, set last season, for most in either league. If he stays really hot, A-Rod has a shot at Rudy York's AL record of 18 in any month, set in August 1937 or the major league record of 20 held by Sammy Sosa from June of 1998. The RBI record of 35 in April set by Juan Gonzalez in 1998, seems all but certain, though the record for any single month is probably a bit too much to ask, even of Rodriguez. According to Baseball Almanac, Sam Thompson of Philadelphia (NL) set the all-time mark with 61 ribbies in August, 1894 and the AL record is held by Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, who had 53 in August, 1939. A-Rod is almost certain to add another Yankees' name to some records list... his own. Rookie Travis Buck drove in 5 runs with a bases-loaded double and two-run home run in 3 at-bats to help the Oakland A's wallop Texas, 16-4 in Arlington. Leadoff man Shannon Stewart had 2 hits in 4 at-bats, one a 3-run homer. He tallied 4 RBI and scored twice. The A's have won 4 straight and lead the AL West by 2 games. Sidney Ponson isn't likely to remain in the Twins rotation with many more outings like last night's in Kansas City. The big man lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and 6 earned runs en route to an 11-7 beating by the 5-11 Royals. If Ponson - who's now sporting an ERA of 9.39 - can't get by these guys, what good is he? Other AL Scores Chicago White Sox 5 Detroit 4 - B. Jenks, save (5) Baltimore 5 Toronto 4 - M. Mora, 2-run HR (4) Cleveland 4 Tampa Bay 3 - T. Hafner, GW single 9th. LA Angels 8 Seattle 4 - V. Guerrero, 3-5, HR (4) National League Bradon Looper turned in a solid outing, allowing just one run on 5 hits in a 2-1 win over the Cubs, stopping St. Louis' losing streak at 4. LA center fielder Juan Pierre (right) swiped two more bases, went 3-4 and scored 3 runs in the Dodgers' 10-2 home win over Pittsburgh. Pierre has 7 steals, one behind NL leader Jose Reyes of the Mets. The 12-5 Dodgers lead the NL West by 2 games. The Atlanta Braves took a slim 1/2 game lead in the NL East as Tim Hudson shut out the Mets over 8 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks. The New Yorkers scored 3 in the ninth, but it wasn't close to being enough as the Braves won the first game of the series, 7-3, at Shea. Hudson improved to 3-0 on the season, lowering his ERA to 0.62. San Diego got great starting pitching from Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez drove in 4 runs and scored 2, including his 4th homer, a 3-run shot, as the visiting Padres toppled the Rockies, 11-1. Young (2-1) went 7 innings, allowing just 4 hits and the only run of the game in the 2nd inning, while striking out 7. Other NL Scores Washington 6 Florida 5, 14 innings - Marlins, 6th straight loss Cincinnati 2 Philadelphia 1, 10 innings - K Loshe, 7 IP, 0 ER. San Francisco 4 Arizona 2 Houston 6 Milwaukee 5 - P. Fielder, 3-run walk-off HR (2)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hill is King on the Mound; A-Rod is A+

Thursday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Alex Rodriguez (right) might as well form a league of his own. He's making all the other players in the American League look bad. Rodriguez capped a 6-inning ninth inning with his 10th home run of the season, a 2-out, 3-run, walk-off blast to center field, giving the Yankees an 8-6 win over Cleveland and a sweep of the 3-game series at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks trailed 6-2 entering their last at-bat, but reliever Joe Borowski only managed to get two outs while giving up 5 hits, a walk and 6 earned runs. A-Rod notched three more RBI to boost his total to 26, tops in the majors. The Yankees are in Fenway Park this weekend for a 3-game tilt with the Red Sox. Johan Santana improved to 3-1 as the Twins almost gave this one away, winning 6-5 at Seattle. Santana pitched 7 strong innings, allowing just 1 earned run on 4 hits and a walk,while striking out 7. Pat Neshek allowed a 3-run 9th inning homer by Raul Ibanez to cut the lead to 1, but Joe Nathan came in to get the final out and his 5th save. Santana's 7 Ks gave him 32 on the season, best in the majors. Arizona's Brandon Webb leads the National League with 28. Other AL Scores Boston 5 Toronto 3 - Manny Ramirez hits 1st home run. Chi White Sox 6 Texas 4 - Sammy Sosa, 4th HR; Jim Thome, 5 BB. National League Chicago's Rich Hill (right) turned in another strong performance last night, blanking the Atlanta Braves on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7 batters over 8 innings. Hill's pitching was backed by solo home runs from Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez, plus a run-scoring double off the bat of Mark DeRosa for the 3-0 road win. Ryan Dempster pitched a scoreless 9th for his 3rd save. Hill ran his scoreless streak to 16 innings and has allowed just one earned run in three starts this season. The only run came on a 6th inning solo homer by Milwaukee's Corey Hart. Since then, it's been all zeroes and Hill's ERA has continued to plummet to a major league-leading 0.41. Xavier Nady delivered a 2-run homer, a double and stroked a run-scoring single in the 8th inning to help the Milwaukee Brewers to a 7-5 home win over Pittsburgh and maintain a 1/2 game lead over Houston in the contentious NL Central.
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Houston's Luke Scott cracked a 7th inning solo home run and followed that up with a game-winning, bases-loaded clearing 7th inning double to lead the Astros to an 8-6 road win over Cincinnati. Carlos Beltran went 4-6, drove in 2 and scored twice in the Mets 11-3 win at Florida. The win put New York into first place in the NL East, a half game beyond the Atlanta Braves. The Mets have won 3 straight and head to Atlanta for a pivotal 3-game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Other NL Scores LA Dodgers 8 Colorado 1 - Jeff Kent, 3-4, 2 RBI. San Francisco 6 St. Louis 2 - Cards' 4th straight loss, last in NL Central. San Diego 11 Arizona 6 Philadelphia 4 Washington 2

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Buehrle No-Hits Rangers; Beltran, Reyes Power Mets

Wednesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Mark Buehrle (right) threw the first no-hitter of the season, an 8 K, 1 walk gem against the Texas Rangers in Chicago. The White Sox won 6-0 as Jim Thome launched a pair of solo homers sandwiched around Jermaine Dye's grand slam in the 5th. It was Buehrle's 3rd start and 1st win of the season. Buehrle nearly had a perfect game but still faced the minimum 27 batters. In the 5th inning he walked Sammy Sosa with one out, but picked him off and retired Hank Blalock on a ground out to end the inning. Besides the 8 Ks, Buehrle got 11 outs on the ground and 7 on fly balls, throwing 106 pitches, 66 for strikes. Nice! Dan Haren finally got his first win of the season with a 3-0 home win over AL West rival Anaheim, sending the Angels to their 6th straight loss. Haren threw 7 innings of shutout ball, giving up only 4 hits and no walks.
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He's pitched brilliantly this season but has been the victim of some tough luck in his previous three starts, two of which resulted in losses. In those three previous starts against Seattle, the Angels and the Yankees, Haren allowed only 4 earned runs over 18 innings, but only received a pair of losses and a no decision for his efforts. With Wednesday's performance, Haren's ERA dropped to 1.44 and his control pitching has yielded a WHIP of 1.04. It's about time he got a win under his belt. The Yankees already had a 6-2 lead at home, so Alex Rodriguez availed himself the opportunity to launch another home run, his 9th of the year, into the left field stands. A-Rod drove in Derek Jeter, who went 3-5 with a pair of doubles and scored twice to increase his major league-leading HR and RBI totals to 9 and 23. The Yanks look to complete the 3-game sweep of Cleveland this afternoon at Yankee Stadium. They've hammered the Indians 10-3 on Tuesday and 9-2 last night. Other AL Scores Baltimore 6 Tampa Bay 4 Kansas City 4 Detroit 3,10 innings Boston 4 Toronto 1 Minnesota 5 Seattle 4 National League Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran (right) are two of the reasons the Mets are the team to beat in the NL East. Last night in Miami, they both came through with big outings to spoil Florida's Dontrelle Willis' chance to go 4-0. Reyes went 4-5 with a pair of doubles, scored twice and drove in a run. Beltran singled in the first to drive in 2 runs and hit his 3rd homer of the year - a solo shot - in the 4th inning. Beltran scored twice and his 3 RBI gave him 15, two behind Houston's Carlos Lee, who leads the NL. John Maine went 7 innings for the win, making him 2-0. Willis was awarded his first loss of the season. Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, last season's NL MVP, continues to struggle at the plate. Going 0-5 in last night's 6-5, 13-inning loss at Washington, Howard's batting average sunk to .213. He's hit only 1 home run and has just 7 RBI through 13 games. He's struck out 16 times, about once every 3 at-bats. Bill Hall singled, doubled and homered with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored to lead Milwaukee back into first place in the turbulent NL Central with a 7-3 win over visiting Pittsburgh. Hall, who hit 35 homers and drove in 85 last season for the Brewers is off to another solid start and that's good news for Milwaukee fans. Other NL Scores San Francisco 6 St. Louis 5, 12 innings Houston 7 Cincinnati 2 Colorado 7 LA Dodgers 2 Atlanta 8 Chicago Cubs 6 Arizona 5 San Diego 2, 12 innings

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Two for Alou; Royal Slide Reaches 6

Tuesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League The Kansas City Royals took a 6-5 lead in the 6th inning at Detroit, but they scored no more and the Tigers rallied with single runs in the 7th and 8th to win 7-6 and extend KC's losing streak to six games. Placido Polanco singled, tripled and homered in 5 at-bats, scoring 3 times and driving in a pair of runs, including the game winner in the 8th inning. Torii Hunter smacked a fifth inning grand slam off Seattle starter Jeff Weaver en route to an 11-2 win for the visiting Twins. Hunter added a double in a 2-4 performance while catcher Joe Mauer belted out 3 doubles, scored twice and drove in 3 runs in 4 at-bats. Ramon Ortiz allowed the Mariners' only 2 runs of the game, working 7 innings for his 3rd win with no losses. Weaver, who lasted only 2 innings in his first start of the season, managed to hang in for 6 innings, though the results were hardly encouraging. While Weaver actually cut his ERA nearly in half, from 30.50 to 15.75, he was touched by the Twins for 10 hits and 7 runs, all earned. Hard to believe this is the same guy who pitched 8 innings in the championship-clinching 5th game of the World Series last season, but it is. Weaver was traded by the Cardinals to the Mariners in the off-season. Message to Jeff: less surfing, dude; more pitching. National League Moises Alou backed Tom Glavine's 6 strong innings with a pair of home runs, pacing the Mets to an 8-1 pasting of the Phillies. Alou's dingers were his first in a Mets uniform and came with one on in the 2nd and the bases empty in the 6th. Glavine, meanwhile, scattered 6 hits and 1 earned run, improving to 3-1 on the year. Jose Reyes boosted his league lead in stolen bases to 8 with a pair of thefts. Ryan Freel went 4-5, scored 3 times and drove in a run as the Reds took back first place from the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 11-5. Alex Rodriguez continued to scorch opposing pitchers last night with a 2-run homer and an RBI single to lead the Yankees to a 10-3 win over the visiting Indians. The Bombers blew up Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook (0-2), roughing him up for 8 hits and 8 earned runs in just 1 2/3rd innings, including 3 home runs.
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Rodriguez leads the majors with 8 home runs and 21 RBI and has a 17-game hitting streak extending back to last season. He is batting .375 over 12 games this season. A-Rod, if he keeps up his torrid pace, will soon be closing in on some April records. Ken Griffey, Jr. hit 13 homers in April of 1997 for Seattle; Albert Pujols set the major league mark last season when he knocked out 14 in April for St. Louis. Juan Gonzalez of the Texas Rangers holds the somewhat unassailable early-season RBI record, having driven in 35 in April, 1998.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pudge Fattens Up on Royals; Penny Turns Up Another Win

Monday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Detroit's Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez crashed a 1st inning grand slam and added a 2-run double in the 2nd as the Tigers sent the visiting KC Royals to their 5th straight loss, 12-5. Rodriguez and Carlos Guillen did the bulk of the damage. Pudge totaled 6 RBI while Guillen drove in 4 with a solo homer in the 4th and a bases-loaded double in the 8th inning. The woeful Royals have the worst record in the majors at 3-10 and are near the bottom of the American League in most team batting and pitching stats. National League Cliff Floyd didn't even expect to play, but when Alfonso Soriano injured himself in the fifth inning, Floyd answered the call with an RBI single and a 3-run home run which helped the Cubs defeat visiting San Diego, 12-4. Floyd is likely to get more playing time with Soriano on the shelf, at least for now. The extent of his injury - originally diagnosed as a strained hamstring - is not yet known and the star center fielder has not been placed on the DL. After 6 innings, the Milwaukee Brewers were up 4-3 at Cincinnati, but center fielder Bill Hall put the game away in the top of the 7th
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with a grand slam, his 2nd homer of the season. The 10-6 win launched the Brewers into 1st place in the NL Central at 7-5, 1/2 game ahead of the Reds. Following a couple of shaky outings against San Diego and Colorado, in which he gave up 13 hits and 10 earned runs in 11 innings combined, Barry Zito shook off the past and got his first win for the Giants, shutting out the Rockies over 6 innings on 3 hits and 3 walks. Zito improved to 1-2 as the visiting Giants beat up on 4 Colorado pitchers, winning 8-0. Shortstop Omar Vizquel stroked 4 singles, drove in a pair and scored twice in 4 at-bats. The Dodgers' Brad Penny might become known as "bad Penny" to NL West opponents because he just keeps showing up and beating them. Penny turned in his third straight strong performance last night in Arizona, allowing just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings. Penny, 3-0, has already beaten the Giants and Rockies, and just needs a win against the Padres to give him wins over all division opponents. The lonely run scored by the D=Backs in the sixth inning was only the second against Penny in 20.1 innings pitched. His ERA is 0.89 and hasn't given up a home run. He's tied with Florida's Dontrelle Willis for the NL lead with 3 wins.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pujols knocks out a pair; Sabathia honors Robinson

Sunday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Oakland's Marco Scutaro, with one swat of the bat, raised his batting average from .050 to .095, and turned what looked like a sure loss into a happy home win for the A's over the Yankees. Scutaro stepped to the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, two men aboard and hard-throwing Mariano Rivera on the mound and delivered a 3-run homer to left, changing a 4-2 deficit to a 5-4 win and a 2-1 advantage over the Yankees in their 3-game weekend series. In the game, Alex Rodriguez boosted his major league-leading RBI total to 18 with a sac fly in the 8th. He was 2-3 at the plate, with a single, double and run scored. The Cleveland Indians may have the best mix of pitching and hitting in the American League. Yesterday it was mostly about the pitching as their 2-1 win over the White Sox gave them a 2-1 advantage in their home-opening series. C. C. Sabathia (right) pitched 8 solid innings, allowing just one earned run on 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 10. Fittingly, Sabathia was wearing Jackie Robinson's #42 and did him proud, earning his 3rd win without a loss. The Texas Rangers are probably happy to be leaving Seattle after dropping the final two games of their 3-game series with the Mariners. Yesterday's 14-7 pounding was Seattle's high run total for the season as the first three hitters in the lineup, Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre and Jose Vidro each homered and piled up big numbers, shooing the Rangers out of town. Ichiro went 4-5 with a solo homer, a stolen base, scored 3 times and drove in 2. Beltre was 2-4 with a 3-run homer, 4 RBI and 3 runs. Vidro went 3-5, hit 2 home runs, drove in 4 runs and scored 3 times. National League Albert Pujols (right) jolted two out of the yard in St. Louis, pacing the Cardinals to a 10-2 rout of Milwaukee. Pujols, who finished with 5 RBI, knocked a 3-run shot in the 1st inning, drove in another with a bases-loaded ground out in the 6th and blasted a solo shot out to left in the 8th. Kyle Loshe, who spent part of last season in the minors, went 8 innings for the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, overpowering the Cubs at Wrigley Field on 4 hits and a walk, while ringing up 12 Ks in a 1-0 win. It was Loshe's first win of the season after going 2-5 with Minnesota and 2-3 with the Reds in 2006. On the day commemorating Jackie Robinson, the LA Dodgers - all wearing #42 in Jackie's honor - steamrolled the visiting San Diego Padres, 9-3, rapping 13 hits and stealing 5 bases. Right fielder Andre Ethier provided the power blasts with a 2-run double in the 3rd inning and a 2-run homer in the 8th. Ethier went 3-5, drove in 4 and scored 2.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Celebrating Jackie; Those Slammin' O's; Hill Calms Piniella

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first appearance in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play in baseball in the major leagues. Dodger club president
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and general manager Branch Rickey, who took the heat for putting Robinson on the roster, made no mistake about Jackie's ability nor his attitude. After playing the 1946 season for the Montreal Royals in AAA ball, Robinson was deemed ready for the big time, having led the International League with a .349 batting average. Robinson started at first base for the Dodgers and went 0-3 against the Boston Braves, though his performance that day would soon be overshadowed by his on-field accomplishments covering a stellar 10-year major league career. Robinson won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, the NL MVP Award in 1949, was a National League
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All-Star 6 times and played in 6 World Series with the Dodgers. In 1962, he won election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Major League Baseball will commemorate Robinson's contributions to the game on Sunday with a variety of events throughout the league, including ceremonial first pitches at the Dodgers-Padres game by Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. All players will be sporting a #42 decal on their helmets, and selected players from each major league team will wear a #42 jersey, including all of the Dodger players. For more information on the festivities planned around the majors, click here. Saturday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League On Friday, Nick Markakis hit a grand slam out of Camden Yards. On Saturday, it was Chris Gomez's turn. Gomez (right) took a 6th inning offering from reliever Joel Peralta over the wall in left for his first home run and first four RBI of the season. The blast turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead and that's how it ended. The win evened Baltimore's record at 6-6 while sending Kansas City to their 3th consecutive loss and the AL Central cellar at 3-9. Jason Giambi homered in the top of the 13th to provide the Yankees a 4-3 decision at Oakland. Alex Rodriguez pounded out his major-league leading 7th home run of the season in the 5th inning. It was A-Rod's only hit of the game in 5 at-bats. Detroit's Brandon Inge had a pretty good night in the Tigers' 10-7 win in Toronto. The 3rd baseman stroked a single, hit a 2-run home run, stole 2 bases and scored twice in 5 at-bats. Despite his heroics, Inge is still batting just .139. Curt Schilling (right) improved to 2-1 with a masterful 8 innings of shutout ball over the LA Angels at Fenway Park. Schilling allowed just 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. With the game already pretty much decided, David Ortiz blasted a 3-run home run in the 8th, adding to his RBI single in the 6th. The 4 RBI gave "Big Papi" 11 on the year. Michael Cuddyer went 3-4 with a double, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored, as the Twins went to town on the Devil Rays, 12-5, at the Metrodome. Cuddyer's .366 average leads the Twins, who are tied with Detroit for the AL Central lead at 7-4. National League Maybe manager Lou Piniella should lose his temper more often. Just a day after blowing a 5-run lead - and Piniella's press conference blow up - the Cubs got their first 2007 win at Wrigley Field, a 7-0 thumping of Cincinnati. Starter Rich Hill set down the Reds over the first 7 innings on just 3 hits. Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster finished the job, each working an inning of scoreless relief.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bond's Bombs Booed; Carlos Lee Drives Three

Friday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Baltimore already had a 4-1 lead when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning and Nick Markakis pounded a grand slam to right field for his second home run of the season. The O's won the game 8-1 as Erik Bedard cruised through 6 innings, allowing just one earned run on 5 hits and 4 walks. Bedard struck out 9 Royals to give him 17 in 17 1/3 innings as he improved to 2-1 on the season. The Blue Jays have been scoring plenty of runs, but Roy Halladay probably wishes
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they'd saved a few for his starts. After getting no decision in his opening day start (Toronto won 5-3 at Detroit), Halladay got his first win on Sunday at Tampa Bay, but had to throw 10 innings last night for the 2-1 win over the visiting Tigers. Displaying his usual combination of control and finesse, Halladay allowed just 6 hits, no walks and just 1 earned run - a second inning solo homer by Magglio Ordonez - as he improved to 2-0 and kept the Jays a half-game ahead of Boston in the AL East. The Yankees may have overpaid in their knee-jerk reaction to Boston's acquisition of Dice-K when they paid through the nose for Japan's Kei Igawa. In two starts this season, Igawa has yet to earn a decision or last more than 5 1/3 innings - which he did last night, giving up a 2-run homer to the A's Eric Chavez which sent him to the showers. So far, Igawa numbers are far from terrific: 10 1/3 innings, 11 hits, 5 Ks, 5 walks, 9 earned runs (3 homers), 7.84 ERA. Oh, Kei? Not OK. National League Barry Bonds (right) returned to Pittsburgh, where he began his major league career, and belted a pair of bombs to right field along with a run-scoring single. In bone-chilling 45-degree weather, Pirates fans gave Bonds a chilly reception, lustily booing both his 2-run shot in the 2nd and solo shot in the 4th. Bonds finished with 4 RBI in the 8-5 Giants win, and moved closer to Hank Arron's career record of 755 home runs, with his own 736 and 737. The Chicago Cubs had a 5-run lead at home, but starter Carlos Zambrano gave it all back in the top of the 5th inning issuing 5 hits, a walk and a hit batsman without getting an out. Will Ohman only made matters worse by walking in a couple more runs before Mike Wuertz came in and struck out the next three batters. In all, 6 Reds crossed the plate, and Cincy got the win, 6-5. After the game, Cubs' manager Lou Piniella lost his temper at the press conference, yelling at reporters and generally showing his disgust with his 3-6 team. Houston picked up Carlos Lee (right) in the off-season from Texas in hopes that he might add some pop to the middle of their lineup. Last night, the powerful left fielder showed what he could do, launching a trio of home runs in Houston's 9-6 win at Philly. Lee sandwiched a 3rd inning grand slam with a pair of solo shots, knocked in 6 runs, moving him into 2nd place in the RBI race with 12, just one behind Florida's Miguel Cabrera. The Los Angeles Dodgers took over sole possession of first place in the NL West with a 9-1 win at home over rival San Diego. Derek Lowe scattered 7 hits and a pair of walks over 8 innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out 6. Lowe improved to 2-1 on the season.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Morneau Walks Off D-Rays; Rollins Bombs Can't Stop Glavine

Thursday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Justin Morneau (right) drove reliever Brian Stokes' 9th inning offering over the wall in left field for a walk-off home run as the Twins won at home over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 3-2. It was Morneau's 3rd homer of the season and came with nobody on and no outs in the bottom frame. Last year's AL MVP, Morneau is off to a reasonably good start, batting .250 with 3 home runs and 9 RBI. Plate Struggles in Kansas City: The Royals are off to another poor start, and most of the blame can be placed firmly on the middle of the batting order, which has failed to produce any kind of consistent offense. Through 10 games, the 3-7 Royals are averaging just 3.1 runs per game, and while they haven't been shut out yet, they've scored just 1 run in four games, the latest being last night's 12-inning 2-1 loss at Baltimore. The prime suspects for the Royals' sluggish bats are the regular 3-4 hitters, Mark Teahen (5-30, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .167) and Mike Sweeney (4-24, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .167). Rookie third baseman Alex Gordon (3-33, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .091) is doing a credible plate impersonation of reliever Tom Gordon thus far. He hasn't panned out, though the Royals are hoping for betting things. Seriously... Cleveland leadoff man Grady Sizemore is sizzling at the plate with a .364 batting average and 4 home runs in just 6 games. His latest - a solo shot in the 6th - helped the Indians to a 4-2 win over the Angels last night in Milwaukee, the unofficial home of the Indians while snow played havoc at Jacobs Field, and gave Cleveland a 2-1 edge in their series with the Angels. In addition to his homer, Sizemore was also aboard for Travis Hafner's 3-run shot in the 8th, his 1st of the year. Sizemore has scored 9 times and stolen 3 bases thus far. Sponsor: Box scores, stats and more: MLB at Yahoo Sports National League Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins (right) touched up Mets' starter Tom Glavine with a solo home run to lead off the game and a 2-run shot in the second inning, but it was all the offense the Phillies could produce as Glavine allowed only 2 other hits through 6 innings of work and the Mets won at Shea, 5-3. Rollins, who said back in January that he considered the Phillies the "team to beat" in the NL East, has tried his best to back up those words. He's batting .278 with 5 home runs, but not getting much support from the rest of the lineup, especially last season's NL MVP, Ryan Howard, who's hit just one dinger this season and is batting .212. The Phillies are 2-7. The other headline for this game was the showdown of 40+ pitchers, Glavine and the Phillies' Jamie Moyers. Glavine got the bragging rights and the win and is now just 8 shy of 300 for his career. Last night's was his 50th win as a Met. He won 242 games with the Braves from 1987-2002, winning 20 or more in a season 5 times. Maybe the Nationals just have to get out of RFK Stadium. They opened the season with a 9-game home stand and promptly lost 8 of those games, but turned things around last night in Atlanta as starter Jason Bergman blanked the Braves on 1 hit over 6 innings en route to a 2-0 road win. Bergman did not figure in the decision, as 3 relievers finished up what he started. Sponsor: Baseball history comes alive at Baseball Almanac

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Monroe Slam Downs Birds; Hernandez 1-hits BoSox

Wednesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Detroit's Craig Monroe (right) pounded a grand slam to deep center field at Camden Yards, sending the Tigers to a 4-1, 12-inning win over the Baltimore Orioles. Monroe's blast, his 1st home run of the season, broke a scoreless tie in which the Orioles used 8 pitchers and scored a single run in the bottom of the 12th. Detroit closer Todd Jones came in to get the final out and his 5th save of the season. Monroe finished the night 3-6 with a double, the slam and 4 RBI. The Tigers won 2 of 3 at Baltimore. The Fenway fans came out to see pitching phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K), but instead were treated to a one-hitter by opposing pitcher Felix Hernandez, Seattle's answer to pitcher-hysteria. Hernandez had a no-hitter through 7 innings, but gave up a scratch single to J. D. Drew in the 8th, striking out 6 and walking just 2 for the complete game win. Hernandez has yet to allow an earned run in two starts this season. His first start of 2007 resulted in 8 innings of 3 hit ball against the A's on April 2nd. Troy Glaus launched a solo shot and scored 3 times in Toronto's 7-3 home win over Kansas City. Minnesota's Ramon Ortiz shut down the visiting Yankees on 3 hits, allowing just one earned run, as the Twins won, 4-1. Ortiz picked up his second win in as many outings. Texas shortstop Michael Young homered twice, drove in 4 runs, but his effort fell short as the Devil Rays won, 6-5, at Texas. National League Andruw Jones (right) blasted a 3-run homer in the 7th to help send the Washington Nationals to their 8th loss in 9 games, all at home. The Braves, meanwhile, improved to 7-1 with the 8-3 win and remain alone atop the NL East. It was Jones' 2nd home run of the season; he's batting just .167 thus far. San Diego's Greg Maddux was all 6's on Wednesday night as he evened his record at 1-1. He pitched 6 innings, gave up 6 hits and struck out 6 San Francisco Giants. One column which was not a 6, but a 0, was earned runs. Three Padre relievers came on to finish what Maddux started as the Padres won, 4-0. LA's Brad Penny improved his record to 2-0, as he shut down the visiting Colorado Rockies on 2 hits over 6 1/3 innings. Penny walked 4, struck out 3 and didn't allow a run. Takashi Saito worked the ninth inning for his 5th save in the 3-0 win.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A-Rod Blasts 6th Homer; Francoeur, Hudson Pace Braves

Tuesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League New York Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez (right) walloped his 6th home run of the season - a 2-run shot - in the 1st inning to start the Yankees' 10-1 rout of the Twins at Minnesota. Rodriguez' 6 homers and 13 RBI lead the majors. Starter Andy Pettitte earned his first win of the season, blanking the Twins on 4 hits over six innings. Pettitte struck out 3 and issued just 1 walk. Boston's Jason Varitek rapped a fifth inning double and stroked a pair of singles to drive in 3 runs and score another in the Red Sox' 14-3 pounding of visiting Seattle. The Sox scored in each of the first 5 innings and banged out 14 hits against the Mariners. Nate Robertson improved to 2-0 and the Tigers won their third road game of the season with a 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Robertson worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing just 4 hits, 1 walk and 0 earned runs while striking out 5. Closer Todd Jones pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 4th save. Jones has yet to allow an earned run this season. The Cleveland Indians got their first home win of the season, but they did it in Milwaukee. After having their games snowed out for four straight days, MLB moved the Indians-Angels series to Milwaukee, which the Indians will call home for at least the next two days. Their 7-6 win over the Angels was produced in part by home runs by catcher Kelly Shoppach (a 2-run shot in the 1st) and Casey Blake, who launched a solo homer to left field in the 3rd inning. Gary Sizemore walked three times and stole 3 bases, but failed to figure in the scoring. Center fielder David DeJesus tripled and singled twice in KC's 6-3 win at Toronto. DeJesus drove in 1 run and scored twice in 5 at-bats, boosting his batting average to .375. The Rangers and Devil Rays each banged out 12 hits, but Texas scored 12 to Tampa Bay's 9 for the home win. The Rangers' Frank Catalanotto homered, tripled, singled, drove in 4 runs and scored one. National League Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur (right) blasted a 2-run double in the 5th inning and a 3-run homer in the 8th to pace the Braves to an 8-0 whitewash of Washington, the Nationals' 6th home loss in 7 tries. Starter Tim Hudson struck out 7, walked 1 and allowed just 3 hits over 7 innings. Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the 7th and a 2-run shot in the ninth, but his efforts fell just short as San Francisco won 6-5 at San Diego. Armando Benitez, who gave up the 2-run shot, worked the whole 9th, got his 2nd save but boosted his ERA to 7.71. Brett Tomko pitched 6 innings of 1-hit ball, striking out 9, but didn't figure in the decision as the Dodgers won 2-1 over Colorado at LA.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cleveland to Play Home Set in Milwaukee; Marlins' Cabrera at .500

Monday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Alex Rodriguez continued his single-handed attack on AL pitchers with his 5th home run last night, but Bobby Abreu stole some of his thunder with a 2-run shot of his own and a pair of run scoring singles in the Yankees' 8-2 win at Minnesota. Abreu finished the night 3 for 5, with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored. He's batting .348 in his first full season with New York. Toronto's A. J. Burnett bounced back from a horrid first outing (2 innings, 5 hits, 4 walks, 6 earned runs on April 4 at Detroit) with a solid 6 2/3 innings against Kansas City. Burnett allowed the visiting Royals just 1 earned run on 3 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 5. The Blue Jays' bats provided more than enough offense for the 9-1 win. Jim Thome (right) crashed a solo homer in the 4th inning and drove in another run in the 8th with a single to right, providing all the offense starter Jose Contreras would need in the 4-1 White Sox win at Oakland. Thome added another single to go 3-4, while Contreras scattered 4 hits and 4 walks for 1 earned run over 6 innings, evening his record at 1-1. The Cleveland Indians had their games against Seattle canceled for the 4th straight day Monday after freak, heavy snow has kept the Indians and Mariners inside since Cleveland's home opener was cut short Friday night. The Indians were leading 4-0 with 2 outs in the 5th inning, but the game was called and the players haven't seen the field since. In an unprecedented move, MLB has ordered their series against the LA Angels, which was scheduled to start Tuesday in Cleveland, moved to Milwaukee's Miller Field which has a retractable roof and is in good playing shape. With the Brewers on the road until April 18, the Indians can call Milwaukee home, though officials feel that the team should be able to play their 3-game series with the White Sox - which is supposed to begin Friday - at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. As of yesterday, there was still about a foot of snow on the ground in Cleveland and another storm threatening a rain/snow mix tonight. The four games with Seattle have not yet been rescheduled. National League San Diego's Chris Young outdueled San Francisco's Matt Cain for the 1-0 Padres' home win. Young allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. Cain gave up just 1 hit, but the Padres pushed across the only run of the game in the bottom of the 7th with pinch hitter Geoff Blum's sac fly plating shortstop Kahlil Greene. Braden Looper, who began his major league career with the Cardinals in 1998, but spent the next 8 seasons working out of the bullpen, has become a key in St. Louis' rotation, hurling a dandy 2-hitter at the Pirates last night in chilly Pittsburgh. Looper was re-acquired by the Cards in 2006 and used exclusively in relief, but got his first win in just his second start in 2007, going 7 innings without allowing a run in the 3-0 St. Louis win. The NY Mets welcomed the Phillies into Shea Stadium for a three-game set with an 11-5 thrashing, turning a 5-4 deficit around by scoring 7 runs in the 8th inning. Carlos Delgado (right) led the assault, going 3 for 3 with a pair of RBI while scoring twice. The 5-2 Mets have shown a propensity for scoring runs in bunches. Last night marked the third time they've put up 10 or more runs. The Houston Astros are never going to be confused with a power ball club, but through 7 games they're averaging only 2.71 runs per game. One reason the Astros aren't scoring has to be the failure of first baseman and cleanup hitter Lance Berkman to produce. Berkman drove in just his 3rd run of the season in last night's 5-3 loss at Chicago. He's gone 4-24 (.167) with 8 Ks to start the season. Berkman is a career .303 hitter, so he's either going to get it going soon or the Astros are really going to struggle. Florida's Miguel Cabrera may be the best 3rd baseman in the majors. Cabrera led the Marlins to a 5-3 home win over Milwaukee last night with a sac fly and a 2-run homer (his 3rd of the season) and kept his batting average at .500. If the season were to end today (actually, there's about 155 games left on most schedules), Cabrera would win the NL Triple Crown. His 11 RBI are second in the majors to A-Rod's 13. The Arizona Diamondbacks improved to 6-2 and 1st place in the NL West with a 3-2 home win over Cincinnati. As has been the case in 4 of those wins, closer Jose Valverde finished up in the ninth, though this one wasn't pretty, giving up a walk and a hit in the one inning of work. Valverde has allowed just 1 earned run in 4.2 innings this season.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Ortiz, Gonzalez Both Blast a Pair

Sunday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League David Ortiz hit his first two homers of the season in the 1st and 3rd innings off Texas starter Vicente Padilla, and Boston's Curt Schilling made them hold up for a 3-2 Red Sox win. Ortiz crunched a solo shot in the first and followed that up with a 2-run dinger in the third. After a slow start, Ortiz raised his batting average to a still-unrespectable .217. Schilling leveled his record at 1-1 with a 4 hit, 1 walk, 6 K, 7-inning outing, yielding only 1 run, that, on Frank Catalanotto's solo homer in the bottom of the first. Johan Santana shut out the White Sox on one hit over 7 innings, and Justin Morneau cracked a three-run shot in the 4th inning to provide all the offense the Twins needed for the 3-1 road win. Santana, who improved to 2-0, struck out 9 and walked 3 batters. National League Arizona's Livan Hernandez blanked the Nationals on 3 hits over 7 innings, getting his first win of the season, 3-1, at Washington, striking out 1 and walking 3. Craig Counsel rapped 3 hits in 5 at-bats, including a bases-loaded triple in the 8th inning, pacing Milwaukee over the Chicago Cubs, 9-4. The Brewers managed to avoid being swept at home by the Cubs, who had taken the first two games of the series, 9-3 and 6-3. The Cardinals' Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, who bat 3-4 in the lineup, finally found their hitting strokes and helped deliver a 10-1 decision at Houston. Pujols hit his first homer of the season and drove in his first runs with a two-run shot in the third inning. He went 2-5, scored 3 times and raised his batting average to .136 (3-22). Rolen, who boosted his batting average to .182, had a single and base-loaded double in 5 at-bats, good for 4 RBI. The LA Dodgers knew they needed some pop in the middle of their lineup, and that why they picked up Luis Gonzalez from Arizona in the off-season. Gonzalez belted a solo homer in the 2nd and a three run shot in the 7th, drove in 4 runs and scored 3 times in LA's 10-4 win over the Giants. The Dodgers completed the road sweep in San Francisco, having beaten the Giants, 2-1 and 4-1 on Friday and Saturday. Giants' starter Barry Zito (0-2) was significantly roughed up by the Dodgers, who hammered him for 8 earned runs over 6 innings, with 9 hits and 3 walks. Zito's ERA ballooned to 8.18.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A-Rod Slams O's; Oswalt Goes Distance for 1st Astros Win

Saturday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League Alex Rodriguez (right) homered twice, the second a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, to propel the NY Yankees to a 10-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Yankees Stadium. A-Rod's stat line for the game is the most impressive thus far this season. 4 at-bats, 3 hits, 4 runs, 6 RBI. In the same game, O's third baseman Melvin Mora put up some pretty good numbers of his own with a double and home run in 5 at-bats, 5 RBI and a run scored. Curtis Granderson's 5th inning solo home run proved to be the game-winner as Detroit outlasted Kansas City, 6-5. Granderson went 2-3, drove in a pair of runs and scored twice for the Tigers, who earned their first road win. Javier Vasquez threw 6 2/3 innings of 1-hit shutout ball, sending the visiting Twins to their first loss, 3-0. Vasquez struck out 5 (including the side, in order in the 5th inning) and walked 4. Frank Thomas hit his first home run in a Toronto uniform, a 2nd inning grand slam off Tampa Bay's Toma Okha, who gave up 6 hits, 3 walks and 5 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays won the game 8-5 in Tampa. Sammy Sosa hit his first homer of the season and first as a Texas Ranger as the Rangers beat the visiting Red Sox for the second straight day, 8-4. Sosa's 2-run blast came off Boston's J.C. Romero, who had a rough outing, allowing 5 hits, 3 earned runs while not recording an out. Sosa was 2-5, with 2 RBI and scored twice. John Lackey looked to be in midseason form, helping the LA Angels to their 5th win in six games with a 7 inning quality start and his second win of the season. Lackey outdueled Danny Haren (0-2), allowing just 1 run on 7 hits, no walks and 6 Ks. Haren pitched well enough to win, but the A's literally threw the game away in the 6th inning, when shortstop Marco Scutaro threw wildly to first, allowing Garrett Anderson to score the winning run from 2nd base. National League Adam Dunn (right) had an interesting day helping the Reds take over sole possession of first place in the NL Central (4-1) with a 7-5 win over visiting Pittsburgh. Dunn belted his his third homer of the season in the first inning - a two run shot - and after that the Pirate pitchers walked him three times, so Dunn responded by stealing second twice and scoring a couple more times. Noted more for his power stroke than his speed, Dunn has now stolen 9 consecutive bases without being thrown out. He stole 7 in 7 tries in 2006. After a rough outing in his first start, Derek Lowe held the Giants to 1 run on 4 hits over 7 innings in the Dodgers' 4-1 win at San Francisco. Lowe walked 2 and struck out 1 - opposing pitcher Russ Ortiz - evening his record at 1-1. Florida's Josh Willingham nearly hit for the cycle in the Marlins 8-4 win over the visiting Phillies, but he couldn't get the easiest part - a single. Willingham homered in the 2nd, tripled in the 3rd and doubled in the 5th inning, drove in 4 runs and scored one. He struck out swinging in the 7th, his final at-bat. Dontrelle Willis struck out 9 en route to his 2nd win. Houston finally got their first win of 2007, thanks to the complete game thrown by ace Roy Oswalt, who allowed just 1 earned run on 5 hits a walk and 4 Ks. The Astros beat St. Louis 5-1, dropping the visiting Cardinals into a tie for last place with themselves. Both the Astros and Cardinals are 1-4.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Mets On Fire: Win 4th Straight in 11-1 Rout of Braves

Friday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops National League After trashing the world champion St. Louis Cardinals in a 3-game set, the NY Mets sauntered into Atlanta and gave the Braves a taste of what the NL East would be like this season. Leadoff man Jose Reyes (right) rapped out a pair of triples and a single in 6 at-bats, drove in 4 runs and scored twice in support of Oliver Perez's 5-hit, 6 K, 7-inning mound work. While Reyes and the other Mets' position players were shredding 4 Atlanta pitchers for 15 hits, Perez was making short work of the Braves at the plate, allowing just one earned run on Jeff Francoeur's first homer of the season. The Mets improved to 4-0, one game ahead of the Braves. Arizona rookie Chris B. Young blasted a 3-run shot in the 6th and added another RBI on a sac fly in the 8th inning, boosting the Diamondbacks to a 7-1 decision over the Nationals at Washington. Young, starting in center field for Arizona, is batting only .176, but has produced 7 RBI on just 3 hits. Opposing pitchers may not want to face Philly's Ryan Howard, but Pat Burrell, who bats behind the 2006 NL MVP will make them pay. Burrell blasted a 3-run homer off Florida reliever Ricky Nolasco in the top of the 7th inning last night to boost the Phillies to an 8-2 win over the Marlins. Nolasco walked Howard with first base open and Shane Victorino on 2nd to face Burrell and the veteran left fielder obligingly deposited the ball in the stands behind left field. Burrell earlier scored in the 2nd and singled in another run in the third. The homer gave him 4 RBI on the night. Cubs' starter Rich Hill was perfect over 5 innings, then allowed a leadoff 6th inning solo homer to Corey Hart, but finished strong, setting down the next 6 batters in order, as Chicago won 9-3 at Milwaukee. Hill allowed only the one hit, no walks and struck out 6 as the Cubs evened their record at 2-2. After dropping 3 straight to the Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals got their first win of the season as Chris Duncan went 3-4 on a pair of doubles, a two-run homer and 3 RBI. The Cardinals handed Houston their 4th straight home loss, 4-2. Jeff Conine's 3-run blast in the 3rd broke a 1-1 tie and the Reds added single runs in the 7th and 8th innings to hand Pittsburgh their first loss of the season, by a 6-1 score. The win earned the Reds a tie with the Pirates for 1st place in the NL Central at 3-1. Colorado's Matt Holliday hit his second home run in as many days helping the Rockies to a 4-3 win at San Diego. Holliday's 2-run shot drove in Todd Helton and gave the Rockies a 4-1 cushion. Khalil Greene's 2-run shot in the 9th nearly spoiled the night for reliever Brian Fuentes, who was awarded the save despite allowing a hit and two runs in the final frame. Brad Penny allowed 10 hits but only 1 run to post a 2-1 win over host San Francisco. American League Vladimir Guerrero (right) cracked a 3-run homer off reliever Jay Witasick in the 7th inning to pace the LA Angels to a 5-3 win over AL West rival Oakland. The blast was Vlad's 3rd of the season (tying him with Cleveland's Gary Sizemore for the AL lead) and boosted his RBI total to a league-leading 9, one ahead of the A's' Mark Ellis. Robinson Tejeda threw 2-hit ball over 7 innings as the Texas Rangers beat the visiting Boston Red Sox, 2-0. Tejeda walked 3 and struck out just one, but threw only 77 pitches for his first win of 2007. The Yankees' Mike Mussina lasted only 4 innings in his 2007 debut, allowing the visiting Baltimore Orioles to ring up 6 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks. The Moose only struck out 4 batters in Baltimore's 6-4 win.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Matsuzaka Shines for Sox; NL MVP in a Slump

Thursday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops National League Last year's NL MVP, Phillies' 1st baseman Ryan Howard is off to a slow start and his team is suffering for it, having lost three straight at home to Atlanta, including last night's 8-4 drubbing. Howard has just 2 hits in 11 at-bats, 4 walks, 4 K's and no RBI. His batting average is a modest .182. In 4 official plate appearances on Thursday, Howard stranded 6 runners, not the kind of performance that earned him the league's top honor. San Francisco's Matt Morris opened his 2007 campaign with a 6-inning, 5-hit performance en route to a Giants 5-3 win. Morris allowed just one earned run and 2 walks. The 32-year old right hander was acquired from St. Louis before the 2006 season and went 10-15 in 33 starts for the Giants last year. American League The Boston Red Sox paid $103 million to lure Daisuke Matsuzaka (right) from Japan, and judging by his first outing, they seem to have made a solid investment. Matsuzaka pitched 7 solid innings and got his first major league win, 4-1, over Kansas City. Matsuzaka struck out 10, allowing 6 hits, a walk and one earned run, that a homer off the bat of David DeJesus. Boston won the final two games of their three-game series with the Royals after dropping the opener. Mike Piazza went 3 for 5 with a double and a ninth-inning, game-winning solo home run, staking the Oakland A's to a 4-3 road win over the LA Angels. Piazza, who played many years behind the plate for the Mets and Dodgers, now bats as the DH for Oakland, usually in the cleanup spot.