Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sweeps Weekend: Mets, Phils, Padres, Angels, Indians, Red Sox Take Key Series

American League John Lackey (right) became baseball's first 8-game winner, frustrating the NY Yankees on over 8 innings and completing LA's 3-game sweep with a 4-3 win in the Bronx. Lackey gave up just 5 hits, 2 walks and 2 earned runs, lowering his ERA to 2.36. The win kept space between the Angels and the Mariners and A's in the AL West as Seattle won and the A's dropped another one to the Orioles. The Yankees fell 12 1/2 behind Boston in the East, just a game out of last place, currently occupied by Tampa Bay. Fausto Carmona won his 6th straight against just one loss, as Cleveland completed a sweep at Detroit with a 5-3 win to wrest control of the AL Central by 2 1/2 games. The Indians came into the series trailing the Tigers by 1/2 game, but put together 7-4 and 6-3 wins prior to Sunday's finale. Carmona allowed 3 earned runs on 9 hits, Rafael Betancourt got through the 8th and Joe Borowski slammed the door without allowing a hit in the ninth for his league-leading 17th save. Ryan Garko belted a 3-run homer in the first and Casey Blake added a solo shot in the 5th. Nick Markakis hit a 3-run homer (7), singled twice and scored 2 times to lead the Orioles to an 8-4 win over visiting Oakland, taking 2 of 3 from the A's and grabbing 2nd place in the AL East as the Yankees and Blue Jays stumbled. Baltimore (23-27) trails the Red Sox by 11 1/2 games. Other AL Scores Tampa Bay 11 Chicago White Sox 5 Boston 6 Texas 5 - Sox sweep Rangers in Texas, 3-0 Minnesota 4 Toronto 2 Seattle 7, Kansas City 4 - I. Suzuki, 2-4, 20-game hitting streak National League Ryan Howard (right), in his third game back off the DL, crushed a pair of 2-run homers in Philly's 13-6 demolition of Atlanta. Howard got his knocks in the 1st and 8th inning. In between he walked, singled and scored another run to finish his day 3-4. The win dropped Atlanta 4 1/2 behind the NY Mets and got Philly to within 6 1/2, just 2 back of the Braves. Phils' starter Cole Hamels improved to 7-2, giving up 3 earned runs on 6 hits while striking out 8, retaining the NL lead with 86. Fast on Hamels' heels is Jake Peavy who shut out the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday in San Diego over 7 innings on 2 hits en route to a 3-0 victory. Peavy struck out 8, giving him 85 on the year, upped his record to 7-1 and lowered his major league best ERA to 1.47. The Padres' win was their 3rd straight over Milwaukee, which has lost 5 straight. Peavy and Hamels join John Smoltz for the NL lead in wins. Juan Pierre took one for the team as Cubs' hurler Carlos Marmol plunked him with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 13th inning to force home Ramon Martinez with the winning score as the Dodgers won at home, 2-1, to remained tied with San Diego atop the NL West. Arizona 8 Houston 4 - The Diamondbacks stayed a game back of the NL West leaders, winning their 4th straight and 7th of their last 9. It was Houston's 8th straight loss. The Astros have been outscored 66-16 over than span. Barry Bonds broke out of his 14-game homerless streak with a 2-run job in the 6th inning of Colorado's 6-4 win in San Fran, completing the 3-game sweep for the Rockies. Bonds is 9 shy of Hank Aaron's 755 career home runs. Jason Bay and the Pittsburgh Pirates are tearing apart the Cincinnati pitching staff. On Sunday, Bay stroked his 2nd home run in 3 games at Cincy (all Pittsburgh wins) and drove in 3 to give him 8 RBI over that span. Bay, who was 2-3 with a homer in Friday's 10-4 win and 3-4 in Saturday's 9-5 win, went 3-5, scored 3 and drove in 3 in Sunday's 14-10 romp. The Pirates are licking their chops as they play one more with the Reds on Monday. Cincy, losers of 6 straight, used 3 pitchers on Friday, 5 on Saturday and sent 6 to the mound on Sunday. Those are some tired arms. Other NL Scores Washington 7 St. Louis 2 - R. Langerhans GS HR (1) NY Mets 6 Florida 4 - J. Reyes, SB (28), Mets sweep 3-game road series

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