Friday, May 14, 2010

Luke Scott Slams Seattle; Zimmerman Scales Rockies; Latos Tosses 1-Hitter at Giants

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 13, 2010 American League Break up the O's! For the fourth time this season, the Orioles are on a winning streak (2 straight), courtesy of the visiting Seattle Mariners' generous bullpen. After the O's evened their 3-game series with a 5-2 win on Wednesday, Seattle ace Felix Hernandez seemed to have a win pretty well gift-wrapped after holding the O's to one run over 7 innings while his teammates were scoring 5 runs in support. With a 4-run lead, Brandon League came on to start the 8th and that's when the fireworks began. Corey Patterson lifted a fly over the scoreboard in right field to cut the lead to 3, but League came right back and struck out Adam Jones on a swinging third strike wild pitch. Jones scampered down the line, ending up safe at first. Then it really got interesting. Nick Markakis singled to left, with Jones advancing to second. Miguel Tejada grounded into a fielder's choice, with Markakis out at second. Ty Wigginton walked, loading the bases for Luke Scott, who cashed his 6th homer of the season to deep left center, putting to O's up by a run. League got the next two batters, but the damage had been done. Alfredo Simon came on in the 9th to record his 5th save as the O's won, 6-5. Scott's slam upped his RBI total to 14, well below his expectations at this point in the season. He hit 23 homers in 2007 and 25 in 2008, so he's on track to better those totals in 2009, but the batting average has suffered. Despite his homer and earlier single in 4 at-bats, Scott's average is still only .213, part of the reason the O's have struggled so mightily this season. Baltimore looks to extend their streak to 3 games when they host the first of a 3-game series with Cleveland on Friday. A win would equal their longest win streak of the season, when they swept Boston, April 30-May 2. National League Beating the Rockies, 14-6, in 8 innings, the Nationals posted what appears to be a mercy rule score, but the game was actually called due to rain before the final frame. Not that it mattered very much. Washington's back-end relievers have been absolutely nails this season, so the chances for the Rockies to get back into it were roughly slim to none. Colorado pitchers had a difficult time keeping Washington players off the basepaths, especially Ryan Zimmerman, who admittedly wasn't on them all that much, banging a 2-run and a 3-run homer in the 1st and 5th innings, respectively, before driving in another run and scoring as part of a 7-run uprising by the Nats in the top of the 8th. Zimmerman's 3-for-6, 6 RBI, 3 run effort gave the slugging 3rd baseman 8 dingers on the year with 22 RBI and a .319 batting average. Better yet, it kept the Nationals in second place in the NL East, just one game behind the idle Phillies. The Nats banged out 16 hits in the win, the first of a 4-game set at Colorado. Each of the starting position players had at least one hit, except catcher Ivan Rodriguez. San Diego's Mat Latos (right) twirled a 1-hit shutout and singled in the game's only run as the Padres topped the Giants, 1-0, completing the road sweep of their closest competitor in the NL West. with the three-fer, San Diego has opened up a 3 1/2 game lead on San Fran, with the dodgers looming in 3rd place, 5 games back. Latos (3-3) was nearly perfect, setting down the first 15 Giants in order before giving up just the lone single to Eli Whiteside, leading off the 6th inning. After getting the Gaints' catcher on a fielder's choice - which was almost a double play - Latos proceeded to put down the remaining 11 would-be hitters in order without walking a single batter and striking out six overall. QUICK HITS: The Yankees have probably seen enough of Detroit for this season, as the Tigers finished up their 4-game series by blanking them, 6-0, behind a strong 6 1/3 innings by starter Justin Verlander, who walked 4 and fanned 4 while keeping the Yanks off the scoreboard. Two relievers finished up the job, resulting in the Tigers taking 3 of 4 from the World Champs. That outcome pushed the Tigers to within 2 1/2 of Minnesota in the Central while dropping the Yankees 2 games back of Tampa Bay in the East. Both the Twins and Rays, respective division leaders, were idle on Thursday.

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