Friday, May 11, 2007

Dan Johnson Goes All 4s; Griffey catches Palmeiro on HR List

Thursday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League The Angels' Kelvim Escobar knocked the Cleveland Indians out of first place in the AL Central with a 7-hit complete game shutout on Thursday. The 8-0 win also kept the Angels a game up on Oakland in the AL West. Escobar (4-1) struck out 9 and has given up just one run in his last 16 innings, dropping his ERA to 2.21 and his WHIP to a very respectable 1.08. Oakland's Dan Johnson made up for a lot of lost time on Thursday in Kansas City. Johnson, who didn't start playing regularly until April 25, went 4-4 with 2 homers and a double, drove in 4 runs and scored 4 times as Oakland steamrolled the Royals, 17-3. With only 43 official at-bats entering the game, Johnson raised his batting average from .326 to .383. Leadoff hitter Shannon Stewart also had 4 hits in 6 at-bats, scored a pair of runs and drove in 2. Jose Contreras evened his record at 3-3 with a 5-hit complete game, 3-0 shutout of the Minnesota Twins. It was Contreras' 2nd road win of the season and his 2nd career shutout. The win moved the White Sox 1/2 game ahead of the Twins and also ended Torii Hunter's hitting streak at 23 games. The Sox took the last 2 of their 3-games series in Minnesota and trail the Detroit Tigers by 4 games in the wide-open AL Central division. Tim Wakefield shut out the Blue Jays on 3 hits over 7 innings and the Boston offense spoiled Roy Halladay's bid for his 100th career win in an 8-0 rout. The Red Sox swept the Jays in their 3-game set and sent them to their 9th straight loss. The Sox have won 4 straight and now lead the AL East by 7 games. The Texas Rangers finally got a win over the NY Yankees and they made it a big one. The Rangers had lost 5 straight to the Yankees, but their 14-2 win in New York snapped the streak.
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Mark Teixeira had a single and 3 doubles in 5 at-bats, drove in 3 runs and scored 3 for Texas. Victor Diaz hit his 1st home run of the season, a grand slam in the 8th inning to finish the scoring deluge. Other AL Scores Baltimore 11 Tampa Bay 6 - O's sweep 3-gm. series w/D-Rays Detroit 7 Seattle 3 - Tigers 1/2-gm. lead in AL Cent. National League Sergio Mitre shut out the visiting LA Dodgers on 3 hits and 3 walks over 8 innings but did not get the decision as Josh Willingham ended the contest with a 3-run homer with 1 out in the ninth inning off LA starter Derek Lowe. It was Willingham's 5th home run of the season. Adam Dunn (right) just needed a single to hit for the cycle, but he had to settle for a 3-4 effort in Cincinnati's 9-4 win over the visiting Astros, smacking his league-leading (tied with Barry Bonds) 11th home run of the season to go with a double, triple, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI. While Dunn was having his fun, Ken Griffey Jr. (left) knocked his 6th homer of the season and 5th in his last 10 games. Griffey's shot was the 569th of his career, tying him for 9th place all-time with Rafeal Palmeiro. Just 4 ahead is Harmon Killebrew at #8 with 573. Griffey, when healthy, is capable of hitting 40 or more, which he's done 7 times, though various injuries have limited him since 2000, when he last hit 40. Since then, his best has been 35 in 2005, but he's off to a solid start and should easily pass Mark McGwire (583) and Frank Robinson (586) and may catch still-active Sammy Sosa (595). While Barry Bonds continues to chase down Hank Aaron's 755 this season, Griffey, 37, looks to have at least 3 or 4 more seasons to make a run of his own. One good reason to root for "The Kid" is that in an age of steroids and other performance-enhancing potions, there's never been so much as a hint that Griffey ever used any, instead relying entirely on his own abundant physical talents. Other NL Scores Pittsburgh 6 Chicago Cubs 4 - A. Soriano, 18-gm. hit streak; D. Lee, 17-gm. streak Colorado 5 San Francisco 3 Atlanta 5 San Diego 3 - T. Hudson (W, 4-1)

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