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.

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