Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mariners down Angels, 2-0; Phillies Close in on Mets

American League LA Angels 0 Seattle 2 - Miguel Batista (11-7) bested Angels' ace Kelvim Escobar (11-5), blanking the Halos on 3 hits over 7 innings. Ichiro Suzuki (right) had two singles and a triple in 4 at-bats, scored once and drove in another run, advancing the Mariners to within 3 games of the first-place Angels. Suzuki's effort was his 51st multiple-hit game of the season, and boosted his batting average to .347, good for second in the AL, behind the Tigers' Magglio Ordonez at .351. The Angels and Mariners are in the midst of a crucial 3-game series, with games 2 and 3 on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Mariners are 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the wild card chase and have won 4 straight. Detroit 5 Oakland 2 - Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco each collected three hits as the Tigers upped their slim lead in the AL Central to 1 full game over idle Cleveland. The Tigers topped the sliding A's, who have lost 4 straight and are 5-13 since the All-Star break. Other AL Scores Kansas City 1 Minnesota 3 Toronto 4 Tampa Bay 5, 11 innings National League Philadelphia 4 Chi Cubs 1 - Cole Hamels (right) improved to 12-5, allowing just three hits over 8 innings. The Cubs got their only run on Ryan Theriot's 6th inning solo homer. Hamels struck out 8, giving him 143 on the season, one behind NL leader Jake Peavy. Aaron Rowand cracked a 3-run homer off loser Ted Lilly in the 3rd inning and Tadahito Iguchi hit his first homer as a Philly - a solo shot in the 5th. This was the first of a pivotal four-game set between the Cubs and Phillies, each team in second place in their respective division. The Cubs trail Milwaukee by only 1 game, while the Phillies are 3 behind the East-leading Mets.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Holliday Socks for Rockies; Figgins Has Angels Flying

Congratulations to Tony Gwynne and Cal Ripken Jr., inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, NY. American League Detroit 4 LA Angels 13 - Chone Figgins (right) stroked three singles in five at-bats, scored three runs, drove in another and stole his 27th base as the Angels stomped the Tigers, sweeping the 3-game series in Anahiem by a combined score of 34-13. The Angels scored in double digits in each game, leaving the Tigers' staff in tatters. Figgins has been on a tear of late, hitting safely in 13 of his last 14 games and raising his batting average from .300 to .337 during the span. The Angels remain four goods to the good on Seattle in the West, while Detroit continues to cling to a 1/2-game lead in the AL Central. As Detroit has lost 5 of their last 6, the Indians have accommodated by losing 5 of their last 7. Oakland 10 Seattle 14 - Adrian Beltre singled in one run and drove in three more with his 16th homer, keeping the Mariners 4 games behind LA in the AL West. Other AL Scores Minnesota 4 Cleveland 1 Toronto 4 Chi White Sox 1 Texas 0 Kansas City 10 - Royals win 4th straight Boston 2 Tampa Bay 5 - D-Rays end 8-game losing streak NY Yankees 10 Baltimore 6 - J. Damon, 3-5, 2 RBI, 4 runs National League LA Dodgers 6 Colorado 9 - Matt Holliday homered for the 4th time in his last 6 games and drove in 3 runs, giving him 84 for the year, putting him in the middle of the RBI fray with Ryan Howard and Carlos Lee, both of whom have 86. The Rockies took 2 of 3 from LA and are now just 3 1/2 games back in the wild NL West. LA and Arizona are on top with San Diego 1/2 back. San Diego 18 Houston 11 - Mike Cameron hit a two-run homer, doubled twice, drove in 3 runs and scored 3 times as the Padres pounded out 18 hits. Every position player had at least two hits, except #8 batter Geoff Blum, who had just one. Milwaukee 5 St. Louis 9 - Over in the NL Central, the heat is on the Milwaukee Brewers after losing three of four to the Cardinals over the weekend. Once again, the main protagonist for the Cards - now just 6 games back - was Albert Pujols who busted the game open with a 3-run double in the 8th. Chi Cubs 6 Cincinnati 0 - Carlos Zambrano improved to 14-7 with a 2-hit blanking of the Reds over 7 1/3 innings, drawing the Cubs to within 1/2 game of Milwaukee. Atlanta 14 Arizona 0 - Tim Hudson allowed just 3 hits over 7 innings and Chipper Jones drove in five hits with a bases loaded double and a pair of sac flies. Jones was efficient to the extreme, finishing the night officially with one hit in one at-bat. Other NL Scores Washington 0 NY Mets 5, 5 innings Pittsburgh 1 Philadelphia 5 - Phillies remain 3 12 back of NY Florida 8 San Francisco 5

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Soriano Gets Cubs Closer; Angels Soar over Tigers

American League Detroit 3 LA Angels 10 - Garrett Anderson blasted a three-run homer and the Angels won their 2nd straight over Detroit and third straight overall, maintaining their 4-game lead on 2nd place Seattle in the AL West. The Halos look for the sweep tonight on ESPN. Toronto 0 Chi White Sox 2 - Mark Buehrle (right) outdueled Toronto's Roy Halladay, hurling 8 innings of shutout ball, fanning 6. Bobby Jenks worked a perfect 9th for save #30. Boston 12 Tampa Bay 6, 12 innings - Manny Ramirez has come to life, with 13 RBI over his last 7 games, including a 2-run double in the 6-run 12th as the Red Sox stretched their lead over the struggling Yankees to 9 games. The Red Sox have won three straight while New York has lost 3 in a row. Tampa Bay has lost 8 straight. Other AL Scores Oakland 3 Seattle 4 Minnesota 3 Cleveland 2 NY Yankees 5 Baltimore 7 - Yankees fall 9 behind Boston Texas 5 Kansas City 6 National League Chi Cubs 8 Cincinnati 1 - Alfonso Soriano (right) singled and homered twice in five at-bats, driving in 5 runs and scoring 3, as the Cubs relentless 2nd half drive continued in earnest. Coupled with the Brewers dropping a pair at St. Louis, the Cubbies are now just 1 1/2 behind the crumbling Milwaukee squad. Die-hard Cardinals' fans will note that St. Louis is just 7 games behind, albeit with a losing record (48-53). Since July 1, the Brewers haven't exactly been playing like a first-place team, going 9-15. Over the same stretch, the Cubs are 15-8, and are tied in the loss column with the Brewers at 48. Milwaukee 6 St. Louis 7 Milwaukee 2 St. Louis 5 - The Cardinals scored three times in the bottom of the ninth to take the opener and began game two with another 3 run inning in the first, helping Anthony Reyes (1-10) to his first win of the season. Albert Pujols went 2-4 in each game, raising his batting average to .317 and his RBI total to 68. The Cards have taken 2 of 3 from the Brewers in this series and will look to draw even closer in the finale on Sunday. Pittsburgh 5 Philadelphia 10 - While the Mets were splitting a double-header with last place Washington, the Phillies were busy keeping Pittsburgh in the NL Central basement. Jimmy Rollins, who has moved from leadoff into the 3-hole because of the injury to Chase Utley, went 3-5, drove in three, stole a base and scored a run. Rollins has 64 RBI, not bad for a guy batting mostly leadoff. The Phillies are 3 1/2 behind New York. Philly has a tough stretch coming up, with four games at Chicago followed by 3 at Milwaukee beginning Monday. Near the end of August, Philly hosts LA and San Diego for three games each, followed by a 4-game home series with the Mets. Atlanta 3 Arizona 4, 10 innings - The Diamondbacks won their 8th straight and are just .001 behind the Dodgers in the NL West. LA Dodgers 2 Colorado 6 - Matt Holliday cracked his 19th homer and drove in two, giving him 81 RBI overall, and Jeff Francis allowed just 2 earned runs over 7 2/3rds as the Rockies clawed to within 4 1/2 of first place in the West. Other NL Scores Washington 1 NY Mets 3 Washington 6 NY Mets 5 San Diego 1 Houston 3 Florida 3 San Francisco 4

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bonds on the Brink; Cleveland Closes In

American League Minnesota 4 Cleveland 10 - Jhonny Peralta hit a 3-run and a 2-run homer as Cleveland routed the Twins and drew to within 1/2-game of the AL Central leading Tigers. The Indians have been hanging tough while the Twins have now lost 5 straight and 8 of their last 10 and are 9 off the pace. Detroit 6 LA Angels 11 - Chone Figgins went 4-5 with a pair of doubles, scored twice and drove in a run as the Angles retained their lead in the AL West at 4 games, while endangering the Tigers' hold on the Central lead. The Angels scored 6 in the first and 2 more in the 2nd inning and coasted to a remarkably easy win. Other AL Scores NY Yankees 2 Baltimore 4 - Yankees trail Boston by 8 games Boston 7 Tampa Bay 1 - T. Wakefield, W (12-9), 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 7 K Texas 1 Kansas City 6 Toronto 3 Chi White Sox 4 Oakland 1 Seattle 7 - Mariners snap 7-game losing streak National League Florida 10 San Francisco 12 - Barr Bonds was walked four times after banging home run #754 off rookie starter Rick Vanden Hurk. Bonds is now one shy of tying Hank Aaron for the all-time home run record. Bonds' 1st inning blast was also his 20th of the season, marking the 19th time he has hit at least 20 homers in a season. The Marlins have lost 5 straight. Pittsburgh 1 Philadelphia 8, 8 innings - The Phillies took over second place in the NL East by percentage points as Jamie Moyer allowed 6 hits and no earned runs over 7 innings in the rain-shortened event. With the Mets and Braves both losing, Philly is now 4 games out. Other NL Scores Atlanta 7 Arizona 8, 11 innings - D-Backs, 7 straight wins Washington 6 NY Mets 2 Chi Cubs 4 Cincinnati 5 San Diego 9 Houston 4 Milwaukee 12 St. Louis 2

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ramirez Rocks for Sox; Pujols Power

American League Boston 14 Cleveland 9 - Manny Ramirez (right) socked a pair of homers, drove in four runs and scored four times as the Red Sox took three of four at Cleveland. The homers gave 35-year-old Ramirez 487 for his career, making him yet another player who could attain a milestone this season. The Red Sox have won six of their last seven and lead the 2nd-place Yankees by 7 1/2 games. NY Yankees 0 Kansas City 7 - The Royals snapped New York's 6-game win streak and recorded their second shutout win of the season, as Jorge De La Rosa (8-10) allowed six hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings with 5 strikeouts. It was the 6th time the Yankees have been struck out this season. Other AL Scores Tampa Bay 7 Baltimore 10 - O's sweep; D-Rays worst record in MLB, 38-63, 16-35 on road Detroit 3 Chi White Sox 4 - Tigers 1 1/2 ahead of Cleveland in Central Oakland 6 Seattle 2 - Mariners lose 7th straight National League Milwaukee 5 Cincinnati 6, 10 innings - Ken Griffey Jr. added another homer to his total, giving him 25 on the season and 588 for his career, and Javier Valentin singled home Adam Dunn with the game-winner in the 10th, sending Milwaukee to their 2nd straight loss and 5th in their last 7. The Reds stayed 1/2 game out of last place, but took 3 of 4 from the struggling NL Central leaders. Milwaukee retained its 2-game lead on the Cubs, who lost at St. Louis. Chi Cubs 1 St. Louis 11 - Albert Pujols isn't having an MVP season, but he's not far off. Pujols (right) socked his 23rd home run and drove in 5, giving him 65 total. He's also batting a very respectable .316, but his Cardinals are still 8 games back of Milwaukee and 6 games under .500. Their win on Thursday allowed them to escape the sweep by the Cubs. Washington 7 Philadelphia 6 - The Phillies lost the game, but also learned that they will miss All-Star 2nd baseman, Chase Utley, for a time. Utley was hit by a pitch, but played out the game, though X-rays later revealed that he had a broken bone in his right hand. Utley said he expected to miss less than a month, though the extent of his injury was not readily apparent. Ryan Howard socked his 29th home run, putting him just one behind NL leader Prince Fielder. His 2 RBI gave him the outright lead in that category, with 85. Florida 4 Arizona 7 - Eric Byrnes unknotted a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 9th with a 3-run walk-off home run that moved the Diamondbacks into sole possession of 2nd place in the NL West. Arizona is 1 1/2 behind the Dodgers, with San Diego 2 back and Colorado 5 1/2 off the pace. Other NL Scores Pittsburgh 8 NY Mets 4 Atlanta 2 San Francisco 4 San Diego 1 Houston 7 LA Dodgers 5 Colorado 4 - B. Penny, W (13-1)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A-Rod, Glavine at the Threshold

American League NY Yankees 7 Kansas City 1 - The Yankees won their 6th straight, moving to within 6 1/2 games of AL East leader Boston, and Alex Rodriguez (right) belted his 35th home run, making him the first player in major league history to hit at least 35 homers in 10 consecutive seasons. It was also his 499th, meaning his next will make him the youngest player ever to reach the 500 mark. A-Rod turns 32 on Friday. The Yankee slugger joined another exclusive club with #35, bonding with Babe Ruth as the only players in major league history to hit 35 home runs and drive in more than 100 runs in a season 11 times. Rodriguez has 102 RBI this season. Boston 0 Cleveland 1 - On Tuesday, it was Daisuke Matsuzaka outdueling C.C. Sabathia for a 1-0 Boston win. On Wednesday, Cleveland got even as Fausto Carmona (13-4, right) led the Indians to a 1-0 win over Red Sox ace Josh Beckett (13-4). Carmona, a rookie, gave up just 4 hits over 8 innings and was helped by Franklin Gutierrez, another rookie, who provided the only run of the game with his 3rd inning home run. Cleveland trails Detroit by 1 1/2 in the AL Central. Detroit 13 Chi White Sox 9 - The Tigers kept Cleveland at bay as rookie Ryan Raburn singled twice, doubled and homered in 5 at-bats, scoring 3 times and driving in 7. The Tigers tied their series with Chicago at 2-2, after dropping both ends of a double-header on Tuesday. The rubber game is tonight. Other AL Scores Minnesota 1 Toronto 13 - G. Zaun, 3-4, HR, 4 RBI Oakland 6 LA Angels 7 - LA leads Seattle by 3 1/2 in AL West. Tampa Bay 1 Baltimore 6 Seattle 6 Texas 7 - Mariners, 6 straight losses National League Pittsburgh 3 NY Mets 6 - The Mets staked starter Tom Glavine (right) to a 6-0 lead and the veteran lefty made it stand up, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings for his 299th career win. Glavine (9-6), who joined the Mets in 2003, has 57 wins with New York and 242 with the Atlanta Braves. Glavine also passed the 2500 mark for strikeouts earlier this season has won 20 games five different times and carries a lifetime ERA of 3.49. San Diego 2 Colorado 10 - The Rockies got the last laugh, taking their series with the Padres two games to one, as Matt Holliday went 4-4 with 2 doubles and his 18th home run, driving in 2 and scoring 4 times. Holliday is batting .333, good for 4th in the NL, and the Rockies gained to within 4 1/2 of the NL West leading Dodgers. Between them are the Padres, 1 back, and Arizona, 1 1/2 behind LA. Milwaukee 3 Cincinnati 7 - The Brewers dropped their 12 game in July against just 9 wins and can feel the Cubs breathing down the back of their necks. The Cubs... ...Chi Cubs 7 St. Louis 1 - improved to 14-6 in July and got to within 2 games of the Brewers in the NL Central. The Cubs and Brewers are the only teams in the division with better-than-.500 records. The third-place Cardinals are 9 back at 45-52. Starter Ted Lilly improved to 11-4, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits over 7 innings. Washington 5 Philadelphia 7, 14 innings - It took a while, but Ryan Howard finally got a pitch he could drive and he sent it into the right field stands to end the game. Howard has 28 home runs, 2nd in the NL behind Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. Other NL Scores LA Dodgers 1 Houston 2 Florida 0 Arizona 7 - B. Webb, W (9-8), 7 IP, 6 H, 8 K Atlanta 1 San Francisco 2

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dice-K Blanks Tribe; Maine Leads Mets with Arm, Bat

American League The Red Sox remain the team to beat in the AL. with a combined 19-14 record against the Yankees, Mariners, Tigers, Angels and Indians, though the Mariners (4-2) and Tigers (4-3) hold a winning edge thus far over Boston. Including yesterday's game, the Sox are 4-1 against the Indians, 7-5 vs. the Yankees and 3-0 against the Angels. Boston's 61-39 record is the best in the majors and they lead the Yankees by the largest margin of any division, 7 1/2 games. Boston 1 Cleveland 0 - The Boston Red Sox continued their dominance over other contenders (and pretenders) in the American League, as Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-7, right) outdueled C.C. Sabathia (13-5), the only run of the game coming in the 4th inning, when Mike Lowell singled home Kevin Youkilis. Matsuzaka allowed just 4 hits over 7 innings, walking 3 and striking out 5. Sabathia allowed five hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter. Johnathan Papelbon picked up his 23rd save with a perfect 9th. Minnesota 0 Toronto 7 - The Twins continued their slow slide in the Central division, now 8 1/2 games behind Detroit (they actually picked up 1/2 game as Detroit dropped a pair to the White Sox), as Dustin McGowan (7-5) blanked them over 7 1/3 innings, getting the Blue Jays to an even 50 wins and 50 losses for the season. Detroit 3 Chi White Sox 5 - Paul Konerko's 6th inning 2-run homer provided the winning margin for the White Sox in the first half of their double-dip with Detroit. It was Konerko's 22nd home run of the season. Detroit 7 Chi White Sox 8 - The Tigers' bullpen blew a 6-1 lead as Jim Thome's 17th home run - a 3-run, 7th inning blast - highlighted a rally as the Sox scored 2 in the 6th, 3 in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th. Despite the twin losses, Detroit remains the AL Central leader, 1 1/2 clear of Cleveland. Other AL Scores Seattle 1 Texas 2 Seattle 3 Texas 4 - Mariners lose 5th straight Tampa Bay 0 Baltimore 3 NY Yankees 9 Kansas City 4 - Yankees have won 5 straight Oakland 4 LA Angels 3 National League Pittsburgh 4 NY Mets 8 - John Maine (right) allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 innings and cracked a 2-run homer in the 4th inning to aid his own cause as the Mets won for the 4th time in their last 5 games. Maine improved to 11-5, and the Mets retained their 3-game lead over Atlanta. New York will look to expand their edge this week as they have 2 more games with the Pirates before hosting a four-game set with the last place Nationals over the weekend. Chi Cubs 4 St. Louis 3 - Carlos Zambrano (13-7) became the NL's first 13-game winner and the Cubs remain 3 behind Milwaukee in NL Central. Aramis Ramirez continued his red-hot play, going 4-5, for his 5th multi-hit game in his last 9, boosting his batting average to .321. Over that span, he's driven in 13 runs. Other NL Scores Washington 3 Philadelphia 4 Milwaukee 5 Cincinnati 3 - F. Cordero, S (32), leads majors LA Dodgers 4 Houston 7 San Diego 5 Colorado 3 - Padres trail Dodgers by 1 in NL West Florida 3 Arizona 9 Atlanta 7 San Francisco 5, 13 innings - B. Bonds, 1-5, no home runs

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lester Beats Cancer, Indians; Rockies Rally Past Padres

American League Boston 6 Cleveland 2 - Jon Lester (right) returned to the mound for the first time in nearly a year, picking up where he left off after being diagnosed and beating lymphoma - with a win. Lester's rookie season was cut short by the disease last season, but last night he returned triumphant in life and in the game he loves. Lester was solid, allowing just 5 hits and 2 earned runs over 6 innings - both of the runs coming via Grady Sizemore's 3rd inning home run. His teammates stake him to a 5 run lead with 4 in the 1st and another run in the 2nd. Lester walked 3 and struck out 6, a performance that will surely keep him in the Boston rotation. NY Yankees 9 Kansas City 2 - While the Sox were celebrating Lester's return, the Yankees were busy winning for the 9th time in 11 games since the All-Star break. Every hitter in the lineup had at least one hit, and Alex Rodriguez reached 100 RBI with a run-scoring single in the 9th inning. And it's only July. Roger Clemens earned career win #351, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits over 7 innings of work. The Yankees remain 7 1/2 behind the first-place Red Sox. Detroit 9 Chi White Sox 6 - Four different Tigers - Curtis Granderson, Ivan Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco - each had 3 hits, but Granderson drove in four runs and scored twice with a single, double, and his 17th home run of the season - a solo shot which led off the game. The Tigers increased their AL Central lead over Cleveland to 2 games. Minnesota 4 Toronto 6 - All of the runs in this contest came via the long ball. Frank Thomas hit a pair of 2-run jobs off starter Johan Santana and Justin Morneau drove in three with his 27th and 28th. Reed Johnson and Alex Rios knocked solo shots for the Blue Jays while Torii Hunter added his 21st - another solo job - in the 9th inning. Other AL Scores Seattle 7 Texas 8 - S. Sosa, 2-4, HR (15), 5 RBI (69) Oakland 12 LA Angels 6 - M. Ellis, 3-5, 2 HR (11), 3 RBI (45) National League San Diego 5 Colorado 7 - Colorado scored five times in the 8th inning to overtake the Padres and remain 5 1/2 behind Los Angeles in the NL West. Matt Holliday (right) stroked a 3-run homer - his 17th - to tie the game, followed by Brad Hawpe delivering a two-run blow for the winning margin. LA Dodgers 10 Houston 2 - Jeff Kent went 4-4 with a pair of doubles, drove in 2 runs and scored another as the Dodgers pulled 2 games clear of the Padres. The Dodgers have the best road record in the National League, at 27-20, and have owned Central division foes, compiling a 16-7 record against them. Milwaukee 1 Cincinnati 2, 12 innings - To the delight of Cubs' fans everywhere, Javier Valentin stroked a pinch-hit run-scoring single in the bottom of the 12th, giving the Reds the win over first-place Milwaukee. The main beneficiary of the Reds' success, however, was the second place Cubs, which picked up 1/2 game on the Brewers and are now just 3 games back and only 2 behind in the loss column. Chicago begins a 3-game set at St. Louis Tuesday night. Other NL Scores Florida 3 Arizona 4 Atlanta 4 San Francisco 2

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bronx Bashers Score 21; Six Sunday Shutouts

American League ...Not exactly sure what the record is for most shutouts in one night, but 6 has to be close. There were two here in the AL and 4 over on the National side. Seattle 0 Toronto 8 - Roy Halladay (right) cooled off the Mariners with a three-hit complete game win, improving his record to 11-4. It was the second straight shutout of Seattle, giving the Blue Jays a 2-1 edge in their now-concluded series. Seattle trails the Angels by 2 games in the AL West. Baltimore 2 Oakland 0 - Jeremy Guthrie (6-3) blanked Oakland on 2 hits over 7 and the bullpen turned in 2 perfect innings of relief. Tampa Bay 4 NY Yankees 21 - The Yankees banged out 25 hits and took their third straight over the hapless Devil Rays. After losing 14-4 on Friday night, the Yanks got their revenge, outscoring Tampa 45-12 for a 3-1 series win. Alex Rodriguez hit his 34th home run and career #498, and drove in 3 runs, giving him 99 on the season. Hideki Matsui went 5-6 with his 17th homer, drove in 2 and scored 3 times. The Yankees totaled six homers in the win but still trail Boston by 7 1/2 in the AL East. Chi White Sox 5 Boston 8 - Manny Ramirez - drove in 3 runs with his 17th home run of the season in the first inning and knocked in another with a single in the 6th as the Red Sox took 3 straight from Chicago after dropping a 4-2 decision Thursday night. Other AL Scores Kansas City 5 Detroit 2 LA Angels 7 Minnesota 2 Cleveland 8 Texas 3 - Indians trail Detroit by 1 game in AL Central National League Philadelphia 9 San Diego 0 - J.D. Durbin tossed a 5 hit shutout and the Philly offense did their thing, banging out 15 hits. Jimmy Rollins(right) spearheaded the attack from his leadoff spot, going 3-4 with a triple and his 17th home rum of the season, scoring three times while driving in a run. Philly trails Atlanta by 1 1/2 and the Mets by 5 in the NL East. Colorado 0 Washington 3 - The Rockies were blanked 3-0 for the second straight day, this time at the hand of Tim Redding's 6 2/3 innings of work, two middle relievers and a shaky 9th inning, in which Chad Cordero allowed a hit and a walk, but picked up his 19th save. Houston 1 Pittsburgh 0 - Woody Williams (5-11) gave up just 5 hits over 8 innings and Brad Lidge picked up his 3rd save since returning to the closing role for Houston. Lidge struck out 3 and allowed a hit in the 9th. He's struck out 11 in his last 5 innings of work. The Pirates are actually as bad as people think, having now lost 8 of their last 9, scoring 3 runs or less in six of those outings. It doesn't get any better for Pittsburgh either. After a day off Monday, they travel to New York and Philly for a pair of 3-game series. Arizona 3 Chi Cubs 0 - rookie Yusmeiro Petit evened his record at 2-2, allowing 3 hits over 6 innings and Jose Valverde notched his 30th save as the D-Backs took 2 of 3 in Chicago. Valverde is 2nd in the NL in saves behind Milwaukee's Francisco Cordero, who has 31. Other NL Scores Cincinnati 3 Florida 9 - M. Cabrera, 2-4, 2 RBI (71) San Francisco 5 Milwaukee 7 - B. Bonds, DNP; F. Cordero, S (31) NY Mets 5 LA Dodgers 4, 10 innings - Mets take 3 of 4 in LA St. Louis 7 Atlanta 2, 10 innings

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mauer Crushes Halos; A-Rod Bashes D-Rays; Howard's Homers

American League LA Angels 2 Minnesota 5 - Catchers aren't usually noted for their speed, but the Twins' Joe Mauer (right) proved that he is no ordinary catcher as he whirled around the bases with an inside-the-park home run in the 8th inning, snapping a 2-2 tie and sending the Twins to their second straight win over AL West-leading Los Angeles. With men on first and third, Mauer hit a blast into the left-center alley, just out of the reach of center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. The teams conclude their series on Sunday, with Minnesota looking for the sweep at the Metrodome. Tampa Bay 3 NY Yankees 7 - Tampa Bay 5 NY Yankees 17 - In the opener, Alex Rodriguez went 0-1 with a pair of walks, but stole a base and scored twice. In the nightcap, A-Rod went 3-4 with a pair of doubles, his 33rd home run and 4 RBI, giving him 96 on the season. Despite the heroics of Rodriguez (right), the Yankees picked up on 1/2-game on Boston, and still trail the Sox by 7 1/2 in the division. A-Rod is having a memorable season, however. His home run was number 497, keeping him on pace to be the fastest ever to 500. His RBI total this season may be even more remarkable. He's almost certain to reach the 100 mark by the end of July, which will be the 10th consecutive season he's had more than 100 RBI and his 11th overall. A-Rod is chasing one (or two) of the greatest records of all time, single-season RBI, held in the AL by another Yankee great, Lou Gehrig, who had 184 in 1931. The Major League record is held by Hack Wilson, who knocked in 191 in 1930 with the Chicago Cubs. A-Rod's previous best was his 142 in 2002. Averaging an RBI per game, Alex will actually have to step it up a bit to catch Gehrig or Wilson, though he's got a great shot at besting the most recent AL high of 167 set by Manny Ramirez in 1999. A 4-time AL Home Runs Leader (2001, 2002, 2003 & 2005) and the AL RBI Leader in 2002, Alexander the Great may be on his way to the one of the most spectacular single-seasons ever. Other AL Scores Seattle 0 Toronto 1 - J. Towers, W (5-6), 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER Chi White Sox 2 Boston 11 - C. Crisp, 3-4, 5 RBI Kansas City 8 Detroit 10, 10 innings - Tigers lead Indians by 2 games in AL Cent. Cleveland 5 Texas 8 Baltimore 3 Oakland 4 National League Atlanta 14 St. Louis 6 - Willie Harris went 6 for 6 with a pair of triples and drove in 6 runs for Atlanta, which moved to within 2 1/3 games of the Mets in the AL East as New York lost to the Dodgers. Philadelphia 12 San Diego 4 - Ryan Howard (right) went 3-3,with a pair of home runs, scored 3 times and drove in five runs as the Phillies picked up a game on the Mets and kept pace with Atlanta in the AL East race. Philly trails New York by 5 and Atlanta by 2 1/2. Other NL Scores Arizona 3 Chi Cubs 2 Colorado 0 Washington 3 NY Mets 6 LA Dodgers 8 - LA takes 1-game lead in NL West San Francisco 8 Milwaukee 0 - B. Bonds, 0-2 Cincinnati 1 Florida 11 Houston 3 Pittsburgh 7

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bye-Bye Yankees; Cubs Keep Closing on Brewers

American League Tampa Bay 14 NY Yankees 4 | Chi White Sox 3 Boston 10 Sometimes, there's just such peculiar symmetry to this game that one marvels at it's serendipity. It was just at the stroke of 9 pm on the East coast, when, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Coco Crisp rapped a 3-run triple, turning what was a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Red Sox. At nearly the same moment, Dioner Navarro launched a grand slam into Yankee Stadium's right field stands, giving the Devil Rays a 9-0 lead. The season for the Yankees was thus officially ended. Boston won, the Yankees lost, and the Al East was - for all intents and purposes - decided, in just a few minutes of play, more than two full months before the season is officially set to end. Julio Lugo added a grand slam for the Red Sox in the 8th to seal the deal. Let's face it. The Yankees just don't have the pitching to remain competitive with Boston. If the Sox play just .500 ball the rest of the way, they'll finish at 90-72, meaning the Yankees would have to finish up 42-26 (.620). It could happen, but it's not likely. The Yanks are also in grave danger of missing the post-season altogether. New York is six games behind Seattle, and the Mariners are 1 1/2 back of Cleveland in the wild card race. The Yankees could pass one of them by, but getting past both is unrealistic. It's over Yankees fans. Better luck next year (if you can resign A-Rod, that is). Kansas City 10 Detroit 2 - Rookie Billy Butler went 4-5 and drove in 4 runs as the Royals won their 3rd straight. Cleveland 3 Texas 2 - Rookie starter Fausto Carmona (12-4) threw 8 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 3 hits while fanning 7 as the Indians closed the gap between them and 1st place Detroit to one game in the AL Central. Closer Joe Borowski made it interesting, allowing a run on two hits, a walk and two errors in the ninth, finally getting the last out with the bases full of Rangers. LA Angels 5 Minnesota 7 - Justin Morneau (right) singled and drove in three runs with his 26th home run as the Twins ended their 3-game losing skein. The loss by the Angels allowed the Mariners to close to within 1 game of first place in the AL West. Seattle 4 Toronto 2 - Adrian Beltre socked a 2-run homer to lift the Mariners over Toronto and get to within one game of AL West leader Los Angeles. Beltre has 5 homers and 13 RBI in his last 11 games. J.J. Putz picked up his 29th save, tops in the AL. Other AL Scores Baltimore at Oakland - E. Bedard, W (9-4), 11 K National League Arizona 2 Chi Cubs 6 - Aramis Ramirez (right) stroked a 3-run homer and singled in another run to lead the Cubs over stumbling Arizona. The Cubs have won 12 of 16 in July and continue to gain on Milwaukee. The D-Backs are going completely in the other direction, having lost 12 of 16 in July. San Francisco 8 Milwaukee 4 - Later in the night, Milwaukee lost for the 9th time in 16 tries in July. Their loss, coupled with the Cubs' win, trimmed the Brewers' lead to a mere 2 1/2 games. Colorado 3, Washington 1 - Aaron Cook hurled 7 innings of shutout ball on 4 hits and the Rockies hung tough in the NL West race, tying Arizona for 3rd place, 4 1/2 behind LA and San Diego. Other NL Scores Cincinnati 2 Florida 10 - M. Cabrera, 2-4, HR (23), 3 RBI (69) Houston 2 Pittsburgh 1 - R. Oswalt (W, 9-6) 6 IP, 7 H, 1ER St. Louis 4 Atlanta 2 NY Mets 4 LA Dodgers 1 - O. Perez, W (9-6) 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 K Philadelphia 7 San Diego 4 - C. Utley, HR (17), 2 RBI (81) leads NL

Bonds Tags Two; Escobar Blanks D-Rays

American League Detroit 4 Minnesota 3, 10 innings - Detroit won their third straight one-run game over the Twins, relegating Minnesota to third place, 9 games back. Brandon Inge doubled home Timo Perez in the top of the 11th and Todd Jones worked a scoreless bottom frame for his 26th save. LA Angels 3 Tampa Bay 0 - Kelvim Escobar (11-3, right) blanked the Devil Rays on 9 hits over 7 2/3, for his 5th straight win over a span of 8 starts. The Angles increased their suddenly slim lead over idle Seattle to 2 games in the AL West. Other AL Scores Chi White Sox 4 Boston 2 - Red Sox have lost 3 straight Toronto 3 NY Yankees 2 - Yankees remain 7 behind Boston Cleveland 7 Texas 5 - Indians trail Detroit by 2 games National League San Francisco 8 Chi Cubs 9 - Even though the Cubs won the game, there was little doubt that this was all about Barry Bonds and his quest for the all-time home run mark. Bonds (right) blasted a pair of homers sandwiched around a two-run single for a six RBI day. He hit #552 - a solo shot - in the 2nd inning, singled in the 3rd and popped a three-run shot, #553, in the seventh. The last homer got the Giants within a run, but they failed to score after that. The Giants have lost 7 of their last 8 and dropped 3 of 4 to the Cubs. Bonds had sat out the last three games - except for a pinch-hit line-out on Tuesday - before getting off an 0-21 schneid with his 3-3 effort Thursday and is now just two short of tying Hank Aaron with 755 homers. The Giants play their next 3 games at Milwaukee, before returning home to play Atlanta, two teams for which Aaron played. It's expected that if Bonds hits one homer in Milwaukee, he will be benched so he can tie and break the record at home. Like it or not, history is about to be made. Arizona 1 Milwaukee 10 - The Brewers turned to rookie Yovani Gallardo to retain their 3 1/2-game lead on the Cubs, and the Mexican native turned in an impressive performance, allowing 3 hits and no earned runs over 6 innings, extending his personal scoreless streak to 13 innings. The Brewers gave him plenty of support, especially Tony Graffanino, who doubled and homered in four at-bats, driving in 3 and scoring 3 times. Colorado 4 Washington 5, 10 innings - The surging Rockies could have moved into a tie for third place in the NL West, but squandered a 4-1 lead, dropping a key game at Washington. Colorado remains 5 1/2 back of San Diego and LA and a game behind Arizona. Philadelphia 0 San Diego 1 - Chris Young outdueled Phillies ace Cole Hamels over 7 innings to improve to 9-3. Both starters gave up just 2 hits apiece, though Hamels' both came in the 3rd inning when Geoff Blum singled, was sacrificed to second and scored on Brian Giles' double. Trevor Hoffman picked up his 7th save. The win put San Diego percentage points ahead of the Dodgers, who were blasted by the Mets. NY Mets 13 LA Dodgers 9 - The Mets made more of their opportunities as the Dodgers actually outhit them, 19-16, and retained their 2 1/3-game lead over Atlanta. Other NL Scores Cincinnati 7 Florida 5 - Reds, 4th straight win; R. Freel, 3-4, HR (3), 3 RBI, SB (15) St. Louis 1 Atlanta 10 - A. Jones, HR (19), 3 RBI (65)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ordonez Drives Detroit; Griffey Strokes 2500th Hit

American League Detroit 3 Minnesota 2 - Magglio Ordonez singled, doubled and hit his 14th homer, driving in all of Detroit's runs against Johan Santana and the Twins. The win was Detroit's 3rd straight and second in a row over the Twins. The teams wrap up their 3-game set tonight at Minnesota. Detroit has a 2-game bulge over Cleveland in the division and lead Minnesota by 8. Toronto 1 NY Yankees 6 - Roger Clemens scattered 9 hits over 6 innings, allowing just 1 run and Alex Rodriguez drove in a pair of runs with a double in the 7th to give him 92 RBI on the year. New York closed to within 7 games of the AL East-leading Red Sox, who dropped their second straight to the Royals. The Yankees have won 5 straight and will be looking for the 4-game sweep over Toronto tonight. Baltimore 5 Seattle 6 - Adrian Beltre's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 8th forced home Jose Vidro with the winning run as the Mariners crept to within 1 1/2 games of the struggling Angels.
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Los Angeles lost their 3rd straight and have dropped 6 of their last 8 on the road, evening their away record at 24-24. Just a month ago, the Angels looked like a lock to win the AL West in runaway fashion, but since June 25th, LA is just 6-11, while Seattle put together an 18-7 run since June 19th and has closed the gap considerably. The two meet in Seattle for a 3-game series beginning July 30. Other AL Scores Chi White Sox 5 Cleveland 1 Texas 0 Oakland 6 - A's break 9-game losing streak Kansas City 6 Boston 5 LA Angels 2 Tampa Bay 7 National League Cincinnati 5 Atlanta 4, 15 innings - Ken Griffey Jr. (right) reached another milestone in his certain Hall of Fame career with his 2,500th hit and scored the go-ahead run in the 15th on Brandon Phillips' 2-run single. Jeff Francoeur knocked home Andruw Jones in the bottom frame, but the Braves fell a run short and were swept at home by the last-place Reds. San Francisco 1 Chi Cubs 12 - Barry Bonds sat out his third straight game and watched as Koyie Hill - a .179 back-up catcher - drove in five runs with a pair of doubles. The Cubs improved to 10-4 in July and trail Milwaukee by 3 1/2 games as the Brewers lost to Arizona. Meanwhile, the rest of the NL West clubs all won, sinking the Giants further into the cellar, 13 1/2 games out. Colorado 5 Pittsburgh 3 - Jeff Francis (W, 10-5) worked 7 innings, allowing just 2 earned on 6 runs while fanning 6, helping the Rockies to their 3rd straight win. Colorado remains in 4th place in the NL West, but they are only 5 1/2 behind division-leader Los Angeles. NY Mets 4 San Diego 5 - David Wright erased a 4-1 Padres' lead with a 3-run shot in the 8th, but San Diego responded with a run in the bottom of the inning and Trevor Hoffman set the New Yorkers down in order in the 9th for his 26th save. Neither team made any move in the standings as all the contenders in the East lost, while all the Western division teams were winners. Other NL Scores Houston 6 Washington 7 Philadelphia 4 LA Dodgers 5 St. Louis 6 Florida 0 - K. Wells, W (4-12), 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K Arizona 5 Milwaukee 2

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wigginton's 8 Straight; Philly's Gang of 5

American League Chi White Sox 5 Cleveland 6, 11 innings - Ryan Garko smacked a 2-run pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie it, then added a bloop single in the bottom of the 11th to send Jason Michaels home with the game winner. It was Cleveland's 28th come-from-behind win of the season. Toronto 2 NY Yankees 3, 10 innings - With their 4th straight win, the Yankees picked up another game on Boston and now trail the Red Sox by 8 games in the AL East. It wasn't the prettiest of wins for the Bombers, as Melky Cabrera scored the tying run on a balk in the 9th, and Robinson Cano singled home Alex Rodriguez with the game winner in the 11th. The Yankees stranded 12 runners, but A-Rod got his 90th RBI on a single in the 1st inning. Detroit 1 Minnesota 0 - Nate Robertson (W, 6-6), shut out the Twins on 3 hits over 7, and Todd Jones picked up his 24th save with a hitless 9th, keeping the Tigers a game clear of relentless Cleveland. Minnesota dropped to 7 behind in the division. LA Angels 3 Tampa Bay 8 - After going 4-4 against the Yankees on Sunday, Ty Wigginton (right) matched that with another 4-4 effort, tying the Tampa Bay record for most hits in consecutive plate appearances set by Aubrey Huff in 2004. The major league record for consecutive plate appearances with a hit is 12. Mike Higgins did it for Boston in 1938 and Walt Dropo matched it with Detroit in 1952. Other AL Scores Kansas City 9 Boston 3 - KC, 7-14 vs. AL East Texas 11 Oakland 4 - A's, 9 straight losses Baltimore 8 Seattle 3 - J. Gibbons, 2-5, HR (6), 5 RBI National League Philadelphia 15 LA Dodgers 3 - The top of the Phillies' lineup put a serious hurt on 5 Dodger pitchers Tuesday night. The Gang of Five - Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley (left), Ryan Howard (right) and Aaron Rowand - knocked out 18 hits in 36 at-bats (.500), including 5 doubles, a triple and 3 homers. As a group, they drove in 11 runs and scored 12 times. Rowand went 5 for 6 with 3 doubles, 2 RBI and 3 scores; Howard banged out a pair of homers (23, 24), drove in 4 and scored twice; Victorino went 5 for 7, with 2 scores and 2 RBI. The loss didn't hurt the Dodgers too badly, as the Padres also lost, keeping LA a game in front. The Phillies failed to gain ground on the Mets, who beat San Diego. Philly trails the Mets by 5 and Atlanta by 2 1/2. Colorado 6 Pittsburgh 2 - The Rockies did benefit from the Phillies onslaught, picking up a game on all three teams in front of them in the West division. Colorado is now just 1 back of Arizona, 4 1/2 behind the Padres and 5 1/2 behind LA. Starter Josh Fogg (5-6) went 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. The Rockies' offense did the rest. NY Mets 7 San Diego 0 - Orlando Hernandez (W, 6-4) blanked the Padres on 2 hits over 7 innings and the Mets expanded their lead on Atlanta to 2 1/2 games. San Francisco 4 Chi Cubs 2 - Bonds watch: Last night, Barry Bonds sat out for the second night in a row, was called on to pinch hit and . Barry's definitely slowing down. After slugging 8 bombs in his first 20 games (pitchers obviously were testing their stuff), he hit just 9 over his next 62 games. This included homerless stretches of 14 games in May and 12 from late May into June. Currently, Barry's in an 0-21 funk and hasn't hit one out in his last 8 games. Looking ahead, Bonds better get busy. If he doesn't get his 4 to tie and 5 to break Aaron's record by the end of August, September doesn't figure to be any easier, with 18 games against Arizona, San Diego and Los Angeles, divisional foes with solid pitching staffs. Not only would Bonds be facing some of the top pitchers in the league, he'd likely be pressing, and that's never good. On the other hand, the divisional games are likely to be meaningful for his opponents, meaning that pitchers would be loathe to pitch around him. Barry turns 43 in a week (July 24). The Cubs loss dropped them to 4 1/2 behind Milwaukee in the NL Central race. Other NL Scores Houston 4 Washington 2 - H. Pence, 2-5, HR (12), .334 ba St. Louis 0 Florida 4 - Marlins use 6 pitchers for combined shutout Cincinnati 6 Atlanta 5 - B. Phillips, 3-5, 2 RBI, 10 RBI in last 5 games Arizona 2 Milwaukee 3 - D-Backs, 2-8 last 10

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Griffey Passes Robinson; Rookie Gabbard Blanks Royals

American League Chi White Sox 11 Cleveland 10 - The White Sox snapped a 3-game losing streak, but nearly blew a 9-run lead, holding on for their 2nd road win since the All-Star break. On their previous road trip, Chicago took 6 of 7 from Tampa Bay and Kansas City, but their current excursion pits them against vastly better squads. The Sox, now mired near the bottom of the AL Central at 41-50 play 2 more at Cleveland before heading to Boston for a 4-game series. Cleveland could have tied Detroit for first place in the division, but fell just short, scoring 3 runs in the 6th and 5 more in the 8th, but were eventually squelched by closer Bobby Jenks - the 7th White Sox pitcher - who earned his 25th save with a scoreless 8th inning. Kansas City 0 Boston 4 - Rookie starter Kason Gabbard (right) shut out the Royals on 3 hits Monday, earning his first complete game shutout, improving his record to 3-0. Gabbard walked one, struck out 8 and allowed just two runners past first base as the Red Sox turned 3 double plays behind him. Boston got all their runs via the long ball as Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez hit solo shots in the 4th and David Ortiz put the game away with a 2-run blast in the 6th. Toronto 4 NY Yankees 6 - The Yankees kept pace with Boston, remaining 9 games back while throttling their nearest competition, Toronto, with solid late-inning bullpen work and home runs from Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez, who cracked his 32nd with a 2-run shot in the 3rd inning. Other AL Scores Baltimore 2 Seattle 4 - Mariners, 2 1/2 behind Angels, win 6th of last 8 Texas 4 Oakland 1 - A's lose 8th straight National League Cincinnati 10 Atlanta 3 - Ken Griffey Jr. passed Frank Robinson to move into 6th place on the career home run list with number 687. Griffey's 24th homer of the season - a 3-run swat - gave the Reds a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning as they cruised to their first win after dropping 3 of 4 from the Mets. Griffey's next target is still-active, Sammy Sosa, at 602. Slumping Sammy is 0-for-July in both homers and RBI, his last long ball coming on June 30. The Braves remained 1 1/2 back of New York in the AL East as the Mets lost at San Diego. NY Mets 1 San Diego 5 - The first leg of the Mets' 7-game West coast swing didn't go so well as David Wells and a trio of relievers stymied the New Yorkers on 9 hits. Wells (5-5), worked 6 innings, giving up the only run the Mets would produce, in the 4th inning. Catcher Michael Barrett knocked in 3 runs with run-scoring singles in the 2nd and 8th innings, and added another single for a 3-4 night. Philadelphia 3 LA Dodgers 10 - Jeff Kent knocked a 3-run homer off loser Jamie Moyer while Brad Penny (11-1) was turning in another outstanding performance from the mound, allowing just one earned run on 4 hits over 7 innings. Penny struck out 8 and dropped his ERA to 2.33. The Dodgers retained their 1-game advantage over the Padres in the contentious NL West. Colorado 10 Pittsburgh 8 - The Rockies continued to creep up on the leaders in the NL West, and now trail Arizona by only 2 games, though they remain 6 1/2 behind division leader Los Angeles. Pitching not being the Rockies' strong suit, they nearly squandered an early 9-1 lead. Their bullpen came through, shutting out the Pirates over the final four innings. Matt Holiday drove in three runs with a double and a pair of sac flies. San Francisco 2 Chi Cubs 3 - Barry Bonds sat this one out, but the Giants probably could have used his bat. Cubs' starter Rich Hill evened his record at 6-6, allowing the only runs off 4 hits over 8 innings of work. The Cubs continue to chase NL Central leader Milwaukee, who lead by 3 1/2. The Cubs have won 4 straight. Other NL Scores St. Louis 5 Florida 3 Houston 3 Washington 4 Arizona 3 Milwaukee 4 - R. Braun, 2-run HR (14); Brewers, 19-26, worst road record of any division leader

Monday, July 16, 2007

Philadelphia Pride; Bonds 0-20; A's Lose 7th Straight

American League Oakland 3 Minnesota 4 - Justin Morneau tied the game with his 25th homer in the 8th and Joe Mauer singled home Luis Castillo with the winning run as the Twins sent the A's to their 7th straight loss. Minnesota kept pace with the Tigers and Indians in the AL Central race with their 4th straight win, though they remain 6 games back. Morneau's homer gave him 76 RBI on the year. Detroit 11 Seattle 7 - This game had it all. Five wild pitches, six doubles, 4 homers, 5 steals - including a steal of home by Gary Sheffield - and two hit batters, one being Ichiro Suzuki, who was forced to leave the game with a bruised thigh. Detroit starter Justin Verlander improved to 11-3, though this was not nearly one of his better performances, allowing 4 earned on 8 hits a walk and 6 Ks over 7 innings. Marcus Thames drove in four runs with a single and a 3-run homer, and Magglio Ordonez hit his 14th home run and drove in 3 to give him 75 for the season. The Tigers maintained their wafer-thin 1/2-game edge on the Indians in the AL Central. NY Yankees 7 Tampa Bay 6 - There are still signs of hope in New York, as the Yankees won and Boston lost on Sunday, allowing the Yanks to within 9 games of the runaway Red Sox. Derek Jeter (right) hit his 9th home run - a two-run shot - in the 5th and singled home what would prove to be the winning run in the 8th. The win boosted New York over the .500 mark at 45-44 as they return home for a 4-game set with Toronto. Following that series, the Yankees play their next 17 games against Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Kansas City and Chicago, four of the five worst teams in the league. If the Yankees are ever going to make their move, this stretch - though August 5th - would be an opportune time to do so. Kansas City 3 Cleveland 5 - Fausto Carmona improved to 11-4, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits over 7 innings and Joe Borowski picked up his 26th save as the Indians kept pace in the Central, 1/2-game behind Detroit. Cleveland won for the 33rd time at home, the best in the majors. Other AL Scores Chi White Sox 3 Baltimore 5 Toronto 2 Boston 1 - Sox, Jays split 4-game series; Toronto 10 back Texas 5 LA Angels 4, 11 innings - Angels, only 14th home loss National League St. Louis 10 Philadelphia 2 - Albert Pujols (right) socked a pair of homers and drove in 3 runs as the Cardinals avoided the sweep by handing the Phillies their 10,000th loss. Officially, the Phillies have amassed more losses than any other major league franchise, though the Braves (9,681) and Cubs (9,425) aren't far behind. The milestone may be considered one of futility, though it should be viewed in its entirety as a mark of longevity. The Phillies have been a part of major league baseball since 1883, and while they've lost plenty, they can lay claim to 8,810 wins over those 124 years... and counting. So, if the Phillies can average 90 wins a season, they'll reach the .500 mark in just 66 short years. LA Dodgers 5 San Francisco 3 - The Dodgers completed their sweep of the Giants, winning their 11th straight in San Francisco while holding Barry Bonds hitless and homerless. Bonds went 0-5 for the second straight night, hasn't homered in 7 games and hasn't hit in his last 20 official at-bats. Players and reporters say Bonds looks tired at the plate, that his feet and toes are swollen (steroid use symptom?) and maybe he needs some time off. Good idea, that last one. Maybe a three month vacation might coax Barry into an early retirement. Meanwhile, the Dodgers maintained their 1-game lead over San Diego in the NL West and are 4-0 since the All -Star break, all four wins coming at the Giants' expense. Pittsburgh 1 Atlanta 5 - For years, the Braves lived and died with starting pitching, so it should be no surprise that a relatively unknown pitcher, Buddy Carlyle - who, at the tender age of 29, is technically a rookie - turns in a game-winning performance. Carlyle worked 8 innings, allowing just 4 hits and 1 earned without walking a batter for his third straight win and a 4-2 record overall. The Braves trial the Mets by 1 1/2 in the NL East race. Other NL Scores Washington 3 Florida 5 - M. Cabrera, 2 HR (21) Cincinnati 2 NY Mets 5 Colorado 3 Milwaukee 4 - F. Cordero, S (28) Houston 6 Chi Cubs 7 - D. Lee, 3-3, HR (7), 3 RBI (47) San Diego 4 Arizona 0 - J. Germano (W, 6-3), 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 ER

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Johjima Slams Tigers; Glavine #298; Burrell Adds Phillies Punch

American League Texas 5 LA Angels 9 - John Lackey improved to 12-5 and Vladimir Guerrero stroked a pair of singles and drove in 2 runs, giving him 77 RBI for the season, 2 ahead of Justin Morneau, but still 10 behind league-leader Alex Rodriguez. The Angels' win kept their lead on the Mariners at 3 games, as Seattle beat Detroit. Detroit 4 Seattle 6 - Catcher Kenji Johjima (right) belted a grand slam in the 6th inning off Tigers' starter Kenny Rogers, lifting the Mariners over Detroit for the 2nd time in 3 games. The loss for Detroit enabled Cleveland to remain just 1/2-game back in the AL Central, despite their 6-5 loss to KC. Oakland 3 Minnesota 4 - The Twins gained ground on both Detroit and Cleveland and are just 6 back. Minnesota has won 3 straight and 5 of their last 7, while the A's are losers of 6 straight. The Twins have an interesting week ahead, with a pair of 3-game series at home against division leaders; first the Tigers on Tues.-Thurs., followed by the Angels on the weekend. Other AL Scores Kansas City 6 Cleveland 5 Chi White Sox 6 Baltimore 7, 10 innings Toronto 4 Boston 9 - D. Matsuzaka (W, 11-6), D. Ortiz, 2-4, 2-run HR (15) NY Yankees 6 Tampa Bay 4 National League St. Louis 4 Philadelphia 10 - Add Pat Burrell (right) to the arsenal of Phillies' hitters and you've got an incredible 1-6 lineup. Yesterday, we looked at the top 5 Phillies' hitters, but if Burrell has a few more games like Saturday's, we'll have to call them the Sizzlin' Six instead of the Fab Five. Burrell went 3-3, drove in 4 and scored a run, as the Phils kept pace in the resurgent AL East. The top six for Philly accounted for all 14 hits (in 25 at-bats) and all but one of the runs and RBI as they hammered the hopeless Cardinals for the 2nd straight day. The Phillies will be seeking the sweep tonight at 6:05. Burrell, who is batting only .227, may be coming out of a first-half funk. With a five game hit streak (9-15), 2 homers and 9 RBI (at least one in each of the five games), Burrell adds serious sock to an already awesome attack. The rest of the league better beware. The Phillies are poised for a post-season run. Cole Hamels picked up the win Saturday. He's 11-4. Houston 3 Chi Cubs 9 - Of teams making the most noise, the Cubs are among the loudest. Since June 22nd, the Cubs have punched out a 14-4 record and trail Milwaukee by 3 1/2. Aramis Ramirez went 3-4, driving in 4 runs and Alfonso Soriano crashed a 3-run homer in the 6th in Saturday's rout. The Cubs will be seeking the 3-game sweep on Sunday afternoon. This coming week should be telling for the NL Central leaders as the Cubs and Brewers swap home games against San Francisco and Arizona. LA Dodgers 8 San Francisco 7, 12 innings - The Dodgers squandered leads of 6-0 and 7-2, but finally sent the Giants to their 3rd straight loss and 2nd since the All-Star break. The Dodgers also kept Barry Bonds quiet, as the slugger went 0-5 and marked his 6th straight game without a home run. Bonds still needs 4 to catch Henry Aaron for the career mark of 755. The added frames proved fortuitous for the Dodgers, as Rafael Furcal's sac fly in the top of the 12th provided the winning edge. Coupled with San Diego's loss, the Dodgers wrested control of first place in the tight NL West, by 1 game over the Padres, 2 1/2 over Arizona, with Colorado 5 1/2 back. Cincinnati 1 NY Mets 2 - Tom Glavine (right) pitched his best game of the season, and moved closer to 300 wins with #298. Glavine (8-6), worked 8 stellar innings, allowing just 2 hits, the only run coming off the bat of Brandon Phillips in the 2nd, who belted his 19th home run. The Mets finally broke the 1-1 deadlock in the 8th, when Lastings Milledge singled home Shawn Green. Glavine was prepared to work the 9th, but with the lead run in, closer Billy Wagner came on to get the final 3 outs and pick up his 19th save. Glavine finished with 5 Ks without walking a batter. Other NL Scores Washington 2 Florida 5 Colorado 1 Milwaukee 2, 10 innings Pittsburgh 4 Atlanta 5 San Diego 4 Arizona 5 - J. Valverde, S (27)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bedard Shuts Out Sox; Phillies' Top 5 Terrific

American League Chi White Sox 0 Baltimore 2 - Who's the best pitcher in the American League. Some votes will go to Baltimore's Erik Bedard (right), who dispatched the slumping White Sox with relative ease last night, allowing just 3 hits over 7 complete innings while fanning 7. Bedard (8-4), ran his scoreless streak to 16 innings, following his 2-hit, complete game effort of July 7 - a 3-0 whitewash of Texas. He also leads the majors with 156 strikeouts and has an ERA of 3.22. All of that while playing for one of the weakest teams in the league. Baltimore, at 39-50, is better than only Texas, Kansas City and Tampa Bay. NY Yankees 4 Tampa Bay 6 - With Toronto and Boston battling each other, the Bombers had the perfect opportunity to make up some ground last night, but Roger Clemens lasted only 5 1/3 innings, and was victimized for 3 early runs in the 2nd, from which the Yankees could never recover. Clemens allowed 5 hits and 4 walks, resulting in 5 earned runs, dropping his record to 2-4. New York and Toronto are tied for 2nd, 10 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. Detroit 6 Seattle 3 - Gary Sheffield's 3rd inning grand slam was enough support for Jeremy Bonderman, who improved to 10-1, allowing 3 earned on 6 hits over 7 innings. The win kept the Tigers 1/2-game ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central and snapped a 4-game Seattle win streak. The Mariners fell 3 1/2 behind LA in the West. Texas 1 LA Angels 2 - With Seattle suddenly breathing down their necks, the Angels needed a boost, and they got it from starter Kelvim Escobar, who held the Rangers to one run over 8 innings on 6 hits, but did not get the decision. That went to Francisco Rodriguez, who pitched a scoreless ninth, just before Casey Kotchman singled home Gary Matthews Jr. with the winning run in the bottom half of the frame. Escobar's been rock-solid for the Angles of late, having registered wins in 6 of his last 7 decisions, while the Angels have won 8 of the last 10 games he's started. Other AL Scores Kansas City 4 Cleveland 5 Toronto 6 Boston 5 Oakland 3 Minnesota 5 - A's have lost 5 straight National League Houston 0 Chi Cubs 6 - Carlos Zambrano (11-7, right) blanked the Astros for 6 2/3 innings on 3 hits, putting away 7 on strikes, as the Cubs continued their relentless pursuit of the Brewers in the NL Central. Coupled with Milwaukee's loss to Colorado, Chicago is now only 3 1/2 games back. Contributing to his own cause, Zambrano singled twice in 3 at-bats, driving in a run in the 4th and scoring one in the 6th. St. Louis 3 Philadelphia 13 - The first five batters in the Phillies' lineup may be the best in baseball. Last night they combined to go 15-25, with 8 RBI and 8 runs scored, three doubles and a pair of homers. Chase Utley was 4-5 with a solo homer, 3 RBI and 2 runs to lead the way. Over the course of the season so far, Utley, leadoff batter Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand have put up impressive combined stats: 500 hits in 1678 at-bats for a .298 average; 76 home runs, 277 RBI, 293 runs. Five good reasons why the Phillies are battling for the AL East title, 4 games behind New York and 2 1/2 back of Atlanta. Cincinnati 8 NY Mets 4 - Brandon Phillips pounded Mets' starter John Maine, blasting a grand slam in the first inning and delivering run-scoring singles in both the 5th and 6th innings to send the Mets to their 7th loss in their last 10 tries.
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The Reds, meanwhile, remain one of the hottest teams in the league - although they are hopelessly far back to contend - winning 6 of their last 8. They are 12 1/2 back and they are in the NL Central, so anything can happen. Pittsburgh 1 Atlanta 9 - catcher Brian McCann went 3-4 with a pair of homers and 4 RBI to get the Braves to within 1 1/2 of the sliding Mets. Tim Hudson threw 7 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 5 hits. Atlanta has won 5 of their last 6. LA Dodgers 9 San Francisco 1 - Chad Billingsley notched his 6th win without a loss as the Dodgers kept pace with the Padres in the West. Those two lead Arizona by 2 1/2 and Colorado by 4 1/2. Billingsley blanked the Giants on 4 hits and 3 walks over 6 innings. Other NL Scores Washington 14 Florida 10 Colorado 10 Milwaukee 6 - Rockies just 4 1/2 back in NL West San Diego 3 Arizona 8

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sox, Mets Go Back to Work with Wins

American League Toronto 4 Boston 7 - The All-Star break behind them, Boston wasted no time at all getting back to business, as their power hitters, David Ortiz (right) and Manny Ramirez combined for 5 RBI. Ortiz was 3-5 with 2 runs driven in, while Manny went 2-4 and knocked home 3. NY Yankees 7 Tampa Bay 3 - The Yankees know that now is the time to begin making up ground on Boston and at least get themselves into position to challenge for the AL East title. To that end, Alex Rodriguez smacked his 31st home run of the season, sandwiched between solo shots by Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu, all in the 4th inning. The homers broke a 1-1 tie and propelled the Yanks to the .500 mark at 43-43. New York's next 26 games are all against teams with losing records - Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore, Chicago and Kansas City. During the same span, Boston, while playing some of the same teams, will also be tangling with Cleveland, Seattle and Los Angeles. Oakland 2 Minnesota 6 - Michael Cuddyer went 4-4 with a double, triple and a pair of singles. The win keeps the Twins in the hunt, 7 games back of Detroit in the Al Central, while sending the A's below .500 (43-44) with their 4th straight loss, 9 1/2 behind the Angels in the West. Detroit 2 Seattle 3 - The Mariners got all of their runs in a decisive 5th inning, and J.J. Putz notched his 25th save, temporarily moving Seattle to within 2 games of the idle LA Angels. Other AL Scores Chi White Sox 9 Baltimore 7 National League Cincinnati 2 NY Mets 3 - Jose Reyes (right) and Ruben Gotay led off the game with back-to-back homers off Bronson Arroyo, and Orlando Hernandez held the Reds to 2 runs on just 3 hits over 6 innings for the win.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ichiro Shines As Pujols Sits

All-Star Edition There isn't much the National League can do about losing every year to the American League in the mid-summer classic, though possibly getting your best hitter to the plate in a critical late-inning situation might help. While the AL won for the 10th consecutive time (not including the ridiculous tie in 2002), the Nationals put up a good fight, almost until the end. After Alfonso Soriano got the NL within a run at 5-4 with a 2-run homer in the 9th, the Francisco Rodriguez had walked the bases loaded with 2 outs as Aaron Rowand stepped into the batter's box. Not to knock Rowand; he's a decent player with good numbers, but manager Tony La Russa had Albert Pujols (right) sitting on the bench. Bases loaded. Rowand at the plate. Pujols on the bench. It didn't add up. It still doesn't add up, and it will never make sense. La Russa's refusal to insert arguably the best hitter in the National League deserves to be immortalized in the annals of the game as one of the most obvious coaching blunders of all time. Rowand, after looking at a perfect rght-down-the-middle-please-hit-me fastball from Rodriguez, Rowand swung at a high, outside pitch and lofted it to right field. End of game. Over. Fat lady singing. Following the game, La Russa explained that he was saving Pujols for extra innings, convinced (apparently) that Rowand would tie the game. He was wrong. For his part, Pujols was pissed, being one of just two position players not to get into the game. The fans were significantly short-changed, and the National League limped away - as they always seem to do - with another loss. Ichiro Suzuki (right) was named MVP for his 3-3 performance, which included the first ever All-Star game inside-the-park home run, in the 5th inning with Brian Roberts aboard. The stunning blow off the right field wall gave the AL a lead which they would not relinquish, at 2-1. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford added a solo shot in the 6th and Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez coaxed out a 2-run job in the 8th. Ken Griffey Jr. was the star for the NL, with a single in the first inning which plated speedy Jose Reyes (who had stolen second) and a sac fly in the 6th to get Carlos Beltran home from 3rd. All told, it was an exciting game that was ultimately tarnished by some horrible coaching by a manager who once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated emblazoned with the words, "The Mastermind" (shown at left with my new, improved version at right). Maybe, now that La Russa has demonstrated his puerile fallibilities, SI can give him a cover shot with the headline, "Never Mind."

Monday, July 9, 2007

A-Rod Rocks 30th; Rookie Pence Leads NL at .342

American League Boston 5 Detroit 6 - The Tigers completed the 3-game sweep of Boston, leaving the Red Sox a little bruised heading into the break, though still 10 games clear of the Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL East. The Tigers took sole possession of first place in the Central by a game of Cleveland, who lost a squeaker at Toronto. Detroit has won five straight. With all the milestones being reached this season, Gary Sheffield may want to add his name to the watch list. He needs 24 more homers for 500, crashing his 21st of the season in the Detroit win. LA Angels 0 NY Yankees 12 - It's only fitting that Alex Rodriguez (right) would make one more appearance as the star of the day just prior to the All-Star break. Rodriguez joined teammates Hikedi Matsui and Robinson Cano in 3-run homer derby against the Angels on Sunday. Never outdone, A-Rod also added a run-scoring single and was aboard for Matsui's homer, to lead the Bombers with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. At the break, A-Rod has posted MVP-like numbers: .317, 30 home runs and 86 RBI. Keep the record books handy and the doors to the Hall of Fame wide open. Rodriguez, a native New Yorker who will turn 32 on July 27, needs just six more homers to reach 500, and 67 more RBI to make it an even 1500. Just for good measure, check out the 250 stolen bases, .306 lifetime batting average and .577 slugging percentage. Barry, are you paying attention? Cleveland 0 Toronto 1 - Josh Towers worked a perfect game into the 6th inning, threw 3-hit, shutout ball for 8 innings, but didn't get the decision as Alex Rios' single with one out in the ninth sent Reed Johnson to the plate with the winning run. The Jays took 2 of 3 from the Indians and have won 3 of their last 4. Seattle 7 Oakland 3 - The Mariners banged out 16 hits to pull to within 2 1/2 of first place LA in the AL West. Seattle's won 3 straight and 4 of their last 5. Other AL Scores Minnesota 3 Chi White Sox 6 Tampa Bay 4 Kansas City 12 - T. Pena Jr., 3-5, 4 RBI Baltimore 1 Texas 2 National League NY Mets 3 Houston 8 - The Astros earned a split in their 4-game series with the Mets, who limp into the break just 2 games clear of Atlanta and 4 1/2 ahead of Philly. After sweeping the aforementioned Phillies, the Mets went 2-6 and clearly need some pitching to go with their awesome lineup. Jose Reyes swiped another pair of bases, to up his MLB-leading theft total to 46. Houston Rookie Hunter Pence (right) went 2-5 to take over the NL batting average lead at .342. Arizona 3 Cincinnati 4, 11 innings - Scott Hatteberg singled home Edwin Encarnacion with the game-winner as the Reds completed their sweep of the Diamondbacks. The Reds have won four straight while the D-Backs have dropped their last 5. Chi Cubs 2 Pittsburgh 6 - Jason Bay busted his 13th home run off Cubs' starter Carlos Zambrano, helping the Pirates take 2 of 3 from the 2nd-place Cubbies. Chicago didn't lose any ground on the Brewers, and remain 4 1/2 back. Just a hunch, but it looks like things are going to get a whole lot more interesting in the funky NL Central. With just the Cubs and Brewers over .500, the other four teams are still within hailing distance. Even the last place Reds, who have won 4 straight, are just 13 behind. Florida 3 LA Dodgers 9 - Catcher Russell Martin, voted into his first All-Star game earlier in the week, singled and homered in two at-bats, driving in 3 and scoring 3 times, to draw the Dodgers back to 1-game behind the Padres in the NL West. Atlanta 5 San Diego 4 - The Braves survived a 3-run, 9th inning rally by the Padres to hold onto an important win heading into the break. The Braves took two of three in San Diego and trail the Mets by a mere 2 games in the NL East. Catcher Brian McCann socked a two-run homer in the first and drove in 2 more with a single in the 6th, helping the Braves to their 4th win in their last 5. Other NL Scores San Francisco 0 St. Louis 7 - T. Wellemeyer (W, 3-1), 5 IP, 2 H, O ER Philadelphia 8 Colorado 4 Milwaukee 2 Washington 7

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bedard Fans Fifteen; Cabrera Hoists Marlins

National League Chi Cubs 7 Pittsburgh 1 - Ted Lilly (8-4) put an end to the Pirates' 4-game win streak, allowing just one seventh inning run on 8 hits over 7 1/3 innings of work. The Cubs got back to within 4 1/2 of AL Central leading Milwaukee, who lost on the road to the lowly Nationals. The Cubs have been on fire of late, going 12-3 recently while the Brewers have maintained, with a 9-6 record over the same span. Atlanta 5 San Diego 8 - Mike Cameron slugged a 3-run homer and Kevin Kouzmanoff knocked in 3 with a sac fly and 2-run single in the seventh to lead the Padres to a 2-game lead in the N West, as the Dodgers lost their second straight to Florida. Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 25th save. Florida 7 LA Dodgers 2 - Miguel Cabrera (right) quietly continued his sensational season, slugging his 18th home run, going 2-3 to improve his batting average to .324 and driving in a pair of runs to give him 61. Cabrera is 7th in the NL in batting, tied for 5th in homers and is 6th in the league in RBI. Arizona 4 Cincinnati 5 - The D-Backs continued their mid-season slide, losing their 4th straight and 10th of their last 13, dropping a close one to suddenly-surging Cincinnati. The Reds, who fired manager Jerry Narron after an 11-7 loss to St. Louis on July 1, have won 4 of 5 under interim manager Pete Mackanin. Arizona is in 3rd place in the NL West, 3 1/2 back of San Diego. Philadelphia 3 Colorado 6 - Ryan Spilborghs found his name at the top of the Rockies' lineup card on Saturday and came through with a 3-4 effort, including his 5th home run and 3 RBI to lead Colorado to their 5th straight win.
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The Rockies are still in the NL West hunt, 5 1/2 behind San Diego, though the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are still in their way. Philly, which has had every opportunity to make a move in the NL East, lost for the 4th time in 5 tries, and remain stuck in 3rd, 5 1/2 behind the Mets and 2 back of Atlanta. The loss put them back under .500, at 43-44, while the Rockies got over the even mark at 44-43. Other NL Scores Milwaukee 4 Washington 5 NY Mets 5 Houston 3, 17 innings - J. Reyes, SB (44) San Francisco 7 St. Louis 6 American League Baltimore 3 Texas 0 - Erik Bedard (right) struck out 15 Rangers, boosting his major league-leading total to 149 and improved to 7-4 on the season. Bedard allowed only 2 hits and did not walk a batter, facing the minimum 27, as both hits were quickly erased by double plays. One of the few bright spots for the O's, Bedard tied a franchise record held by Mike Mussina, who struck out 15 on 3 different occasions. Cleveland 9 Toronto 4 - The Indians banged out 14 hits - 7 for extra bases, including 4 homers - to remain locked in with Detroit atop the AL Central. The Tigers - Boston 2 Detroit 3, 13 innings - remain .002 percentage points ahead of Cleveland. With two out in the 13th, Ivan Rodriguez singled home Gary Sheffield with the game winner. Other AL Scores LA Angels 2 NY Yankees 1, 13 innings - M. Cairo, 3 Errors Minnesota 1 Chi White Sox 3 - M. Buehrle (W, 6-4), 8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER Seattle 4 Oakland 0 - F. Hernandez (W, 5-4), 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER Tampa Bay 7 Kansas City 8