Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ortiz Homer Helps Dice-K, Red Sox; Marquis Blanks Pirates, 1-0

Wednesday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League David Ortiz (right) singled twice, doubled, crunched his 9th home run of the season and drove in 3 runs to support starter Daisuke Matsuzaka en route to his 4th win and a 9-3 triumph over slumping Toronto. The Blue Jays have lost 8 straight, while the Red Sox have won 6 of their last 7, providing a 6-game bulge over the now-2nd place NY Yankees (16-16). Ortiz' 3 RBI moved him into a tied for 3rd in the AL with Chicago's Magglio Ordonez with 28. The Angels' Vladimir Guerrero is next with 30. They are all chasing NY's Alex Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 39. Mike Sweeney belted his 4th home run, snapping a 2-2 deadlock in the 8th inning to give the Kansas City Royals a 3-2 win over the visiting Angels. There hasn't been much to cheer about in KC lately. The Royals have won just 5 of their last 16 games and are an AL-worst 11-23, already 10 1/2 games back of AL Central-leading Cleveland. The loss dropped Oakland to 16-16, a game behind LA in the AL West, with Seattle 1/2 back of the Angels. Other AL Scores Baltimore 1 Tampa Bay 0, 10 innings - A. Huff GW HR (4) Seattle 9 Detroit 2 NY Yankees 6 Texas 2 - D. Jeter, 2-3, 3 RBI, SB (3), .362 leads AL LA Angels 3 Cleveland 2 Chicago White Sox 6 Minnesota 3 - T. Hunter, 23-gm. hitting streak National League Jason Marquis (right) twirled a perfect game into the 6th inning and finished with a 3-hit, complete game, 1-0 shutout over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, keeping the Cubs in 2nd place, 6 1/2 behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Marquis, 5-1, beat the Pirates in his last start (May 2, 7-1) and hasn't allowed a run in 16 consecutive innings. He got just enough offense from Alfonso Soriano, who homered to lead off the game against hard-luck loser Tom Gorzelanny, who lasted 7 innings. Soriano extended his hitting streak to 17 games and teammate Derrek Lee stretched his to 16 straight with a 4th inning single. Right now, there seems to be no stopping the Milwaukee Brewers. On Wednesday, the NL Central upstarts competed a sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 3-1 win, their 6th straight. The win was their 9th in 10 games on their just-completed home stand. After a day off Thursday, the Brewers head to New York to face the Mets. Reliever Francisco Cordero picked up a save for the 5th day in a row, giving him a major league best 15. Cordero has been lights out, not allowing an earned run until two nights ago, when the Nationals touched him up for one in the 9th inning of the Brewers' 6-4 win. Regardless, Cordero has allowed only 4 hits over 16 2/3 innings while walking 7 and striking out 16. His key numbers border on the absurd: 0.54 ERA and 0.66 WHIP. The Brewers lead their division by 6 1/2 games. Braves 3 Padres 2: John Smoltz outdueld ex-teammate Greg Maddux to earn his 5th win against one loss and keep the Braves tied with the NY Mets atop the NL East.
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Smoltz worked 7 innings, allowing 7 hits and 2 earned runs. Smoltz, who turns 40 on May 15, did not walk a batter and struck out 7, getting win #198 of his outstanding career, all of it with the Braves. As he approaches his 200th win, it should be remembered that Smoltz missed all of 2000, then spent 2001-2004 as Atlanta's closer, racking up 154 saves. Maybe Ryan Howard needs to come in off the bench. Howard's 7th inning pinch hit grand slam erased a 3-0 Diamondbacks lead and led the Phillies to a 9-3 win at Arizona. The shot was Howard's 6th of the year and his 2nd in the last 3 games. After a painfully slow start, Howard may be getting into a groove of sorts. While he's still batting only .204, he's still be somewhat productive, having driven in 23 runs. Other NL Scores Houston 3 Cincinnati 2 - L. Berkman, HR (5), A Dunn, HR (10) St. Louis 9 Colorado 2 - Cardinals, 4-2 last 6 gms. NY Mets 5 San Francisco 3 LA Dodgers 5 Florida 3 - Dodgers lead NL West by 2 gms.

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