Friday, October 9, 2009

Rockies Even Series; Cardinals Self-Destruct in 9th; Angels Blank Boston

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 8, 2009 - Playoffs American League LA Angels 5 Boston Red Sox 0 - Proving agin his vaue as a big game pitcher, John Lackey shut down the Red Sox on 4 hits over 7 1/3 innings, boosting the Angels to a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five playoff series. Lackey, who neither overpowered hitter nor threw a predominance of strikes (115 pitches, 67 strikes), baffled the Boston regulars with an assortment of pitches at varying speeds. The Red Sox didn't get a hit until there were two outs in the third inning, and Lackey put them down in order in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th innings. Issuing only one walk, Lackey struck out four, got 10 outs n ground balls and 6 on flies. Torii Hunter cranked out a 3-run homer in the 5th and the Angels added another 2 runs in the 7th, making the most of their 7 hits, 5 walks and 3 Boston errors. The two teams meet again on Friday for Game 2. Boston's Josh Beckett faces Jared Weaver beginning at 9:37 pm EDT. National League LA Dodgers 3 St. Louis Cardinals 2 - Matt Holliday muffed what should have been the final out of the game - a sinking liner off the bat of James Loney, and the Dodgers rallied against Cardinal reliever Ryan Franklin - who issued two walks and allowed two hits in 1/3 of an inning - to steal Game 2 and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Holliday had homered in the second inning to give the Cards a 1-0 lead, but Andre Ethier belted a solo shot off Adam Wainwright in the 4th to tie the score. A Colby Rasmus double in the 7th gave the Cardinals a one-run lead which Wainright protected, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the 8th before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Apparently losing the ball in the lights or in the sea of white hankies being waved by the Dodger faithful, Holliday's two-base error gave the Dodgers life, but the performance of Franklin afterwards was truly catastrophic for St. Louis. LA tied the score when Rafael Belliard - after a walk to Casey Blake put runners on first and second - singled home Juan Pierre, who was sent in to run for Loney. After a passed ball put runners on 2nd and 3rd, catcher Russell Martin was walked before Mark Loretta (right) singled home the winning run. All of the carnage occurred with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, a truly miraculous recovery for the Dodgers in a game the Cardinals seemingly had won. Getting the final out under pressure conditions proved to be too much for Franklin - one of the most reliable closers all season long - after Holliday's gaffe. The series shifts to St. louis for game 3 on Saturday, with the Dodgers on the brink of advancing to the next round. Vicente Padilla is slated to start for the Dodgers. Joel Piniero takes the hill for St. Louis. Game time is 6:07 pm EDT. Colorado Rockies 5 Philadelphia Phillies 4 - Yorvit Torrealba's two-run homer in the 4th inning gave Colorado a 3-0 lead against Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels and a parade of five Rockies' relievers kept the Phillies in check to even their series at one game apiece. The Phillies cut the lead to one run with 3 in the 6th, and again, after Colorado had tacked on another run, on Jayson Werth's solo homer to right-center in the 8th, but the Colorado staff remained resolute and Huston Street slammed the door shut in the 9th. Game 3 is slated for Saturday at Coor's Field in Colorado. Pedro martinez is slated to start for Philly, with Jason Hammels up for the Rockies. Game time is 9:37 pm EDT.

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