Sunday, July 11, 2010

Travis Wood's 1-Hitter for Naught; Rajai Davis Slams Angels

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 10, 2010 National League Philadelphia catcher, Carlos Ruiz, came off the disabled list just in time to ruin the weekend for the Cincinnati Reds. Ruiz, who hadn't been behind the plate or standing beside it with a bat since June 18, led off the 9th inning with a double, spoiling Reds' starter Travis Wood's bid for a perfect game. Wood retired the final three Philadelphia batters and finished with a one-hitter; the problem was that the score was still tied 0-0, after regulation as he and Roy Halladay locked into a death-match-like pitching duel. Halladay also went none full innings, allowing just five hits, one walk and struck out 9. Wood fanned 8 and walked nobody. Neither pitcher earned a decision, despite the outstanding mound work. In the 11th inning, Ruiz doubled again, this time with one out, and a few batters later scampered home with the game-winner on Jimmy Rollins' walk-off single to right for the 1-0 win, the Phillies' third straight victory over Cincinnati in their final at-bat. Despite dropping three in a row, the Reds have managed to remain in first place in the NL Central, two games better than the Cardinals, but Wood, a rookie who made his third start Saturday, his time in the majors has been bittersweet. Over 20 2/3 innings, he's allowed just 9 hits and 7 runs (5 earned), with a 2.18 ERA and 0.68 WHIP. While he's holding opponents to just a .127 batting average and has a 17-5 K-BB ratio, he's yet to earn a decision. The way he's throwing, a little patience may eventually turn into many Ws. American League Oakland's Rajai Davis had been struggling so badly at the plate that he was scratched out of the A's lineup the past two games and demoted to 9th in the batting order on Saturday. Since June 20th, he'd gone 2-for-31 (.064), but the three-day hiatus seemed to be just the tonic needed to get him back in the swing of things. in five at-bats, Davis smacked a grand slam off Angels' starter Matt Garza - who recorded what is probably the worst stat line of the season for a starting pitcher: 5 innings, 11 hits, 13 earned, 2 walks, 3 Ks, 3 homers - doubled twice, singled, drove in five runs, scored three and stole his 27th base of the season. Davis raised his batting average a whole 10 points with the effort, from .257 to .267. Slump? What slump? Oakland pounded the Angels, 15-1, and all of a sudden, the team that's been chasing Texas all season - the Angels - are beginning to feel a little heat from behind. The A's are 8 1/2 back, just 4 games behind the Angels as the two teams wrap up their three-game series and head to the break. At least the Angels didn't lose any more ground to the Rangers. A day after getting the guy they wanted, Cliff Lee, from Seattle, he was on the mound for Texas, though his first outing did not go as planned. The lowly Baltimore Orioles touched Lee up for 3 homers and 6 runs in a 6-1 win. Lee worked the entire 9 innings and took the loss.

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