Saturday, June 30, 2012

Andrew McCutchen Leads Pirates in 14-5 Romp over Cards; Aaron Cook Shuts Out Mariners on 80 Pitches

Players of the Day for Friday, June 29, 2012

American League

Aaron Cook needed only 80 pitches to blank the Seattle Mariners, 5-0, as Boston hitters delivered four homers to back the 2-hit shutout. It was the 10th time this season Seattle has been held scoreless for a full game.

Cook: 80-pitch shutout
Sidelined since his first start of the season on May 5 when he cut his left knee on a play at the plate, Cook was making his second start since returning to the Red Sox rotation. He got the win against Atlanta on June 24, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings, but on Friday night, his sinker was working to near-perfection getting 16 outs on ground balls and two on strikes.

The complete game was the 12th of his career, and his third shutout. Cook joined the Red Sox after the end last season, having spent 10 years in Colorado.

Only Ichiro Suzuki and John Jaso had hits off Cook, both singles to lead off innings, Ichiro's in the fourth and Jaso's in the eighth. Cook issued no walks and improved to 2-1 on the year, making his presence felt at the right time, as the Red Sox, after a tough start, are now tied with Tampa Bay for third place in the AL East, trailing the Yankees by 5 1/2 games. The Yankees lost their second straight at home to the White Sox, falling by a football-like score of 14-7 on Friday.

National League

McCutchen: .344 BA
The 2012 version of the Pittsburgh Pirates is not a team to be taken lightly.

Taking down the Cardinals, 12-5, on Friday, Pittsburgh secured a 1 1/2 lead over third place St. Louis and trail the NL Central-leading Reds by just one game.

Pittsburgh's third straight win came largely at the expense of St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, who allowed seven earned runs off 11 hits in just five innings.

As has been the case most of the season, Andrew McCutchen led the Pirate assault with four hits in five at-bats, including a double and his 15th home run of the season. McCutchen scored four times and drove in three runs, boosting his total to 51, sixth best in the NL. His .344 batting average is the fifth-highest in the league and his 15 homers are tied for sixth in that department.

The Pirates play the second game of their three game series in St. Louis Saturday afternoon at 2:15 pm and finish up Sunday with another day game.

In San Francisco, the Reds halted the Giants' four game win streak with a 5-1 win to retain their slim edge over the Pirates. San Fran held onto first in the West as the Dodgers lost their sixth straight, a 9-0 loss to the Mets, as R.A. Dickey won his MLB-best 12th game with a three-hit, 10 K effort over eight innings.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Felix Hernandez Fans 13 in 1-0 Seattle Win; Madison Bumgarner Blanks Reds on One Hit

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 28, 2012

American League

There really hasn't been much to shout about in Seattle this season, unless one is complaining about the Mariners' 33-45 record and last place position in the AL West, but their one true superstar, Felix Hernandez, continues to provide moments of awesome wonderment about every fifth day.
Felix Hernandez

Thursday night's outing for Hernandez was more of his usual excellence, as he dueled with Red Sox starter Franklin Morales (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K), the mound duo putting goose-eggs on the scoreboard throughout.

Hernandez had to pitch a complete game (his fifth of the season) to earn the win, because his teammates couldn't muster up a run until the bottom of the ninth, when John Jaso singled home Casper Wells with one out in the inning for the 1-0 final score.

For his part, Hernandez was magnificent, allowing five hits and one walk while fanning a season-high 13 Boston batters - tying him for the AL lead with Max Scherzer at 114 - as he improved to 6-5.

Hernandez demonstrated his usual, pinpoint control, throwing 128 pitches, of which 84 were strikes.

National League

Bumgarner: 1-hitter
Less than a week ago, the San Francisco Giants were in second place, chasing the LA Dodgers for the lead in the NL West division.

After winning three head-to-head games with the Dodgers in San Francisco - all by shutout: 8-0, 2-0, 3-0 - Madison Bumgarner delivered the icing on the cake with a one-hit, 5-0, shutout of the visiting Reds, the fourth scoreless outing for a Giants starter in a row, and just like that, the Giants suddenly are in first place with a one-game lead over Los Angeles.

The Dodgers lost their fifth straight, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Mets while up the coast, Bumgarner was twirling magic from the mound, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and setting down the final 12 batters in order, walking two and striking out eight.

Becoming the fifth NL pitcher to reach 10 wins, Bumgarner (10-4) has been rock solid for the Giants while other starters - notably, ace Tim Lincecum - leading the league in innings pitched at 110.2, with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. The win was Bumgarner's first career complete game and shutout.

San Francisco set a franchise record with its fourth straight shutout and will seek to extend the streak when they face the Reds in the second of their four game series, Friday night.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

David Wright Leads Mets with 5 RBI in 17-1 Win; David Murphy Powers Texas past Detroit

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 27, 2012

American League

With the Angels pounding the Orioles, 13-1, the Texas Rangers knew that if they wanted to maintain their 4 1/2 game lead in the AL West, they'd need to finish their three-game series with Detroit with a victory.

Mission accomplished. While the Rangers matched the run output of their closest rival, the pitching wasn't nearly on par, as Detroit piled up nine runs, but, a win is a win, and so the 13-9 Texas victory was good enough and produced a 2-1 series win over a potential future playoff team.

David Murphy
David Murphy was the main catalyst for the Rangers' outpouring of runs. In the second inning, Murphy cam to the plate with two aboard and a run already in, and promptly deposited an offering from Detroit starter Doug Fister over the right field wall for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead.

The Tigers chipped away at the Texas advantage, though they would never tie the game or take the lead after Murphy's blast. The Tigers scored a run in each of the third and fourth innings, but Murphy's second homer of the game - a solo shot - made it 5-2, and Ian Kinsler socked a two-run job that put the Texas lead at 7-2.

Murphy singled in another run and scored in the fifth and added another single later to go 4-for-5 with three runs and five RBI.

The Rangers remain home to start a four-game series with Oakland on Thursday, while the Tigers - now four games behind the White Sox in the Central - head to Tampa for four games with the Rays.

National League

Usually, when a team scores 17 runs, the RBI get spread around, but in Wednesday's 17-1 thumping of the Cubs, four players produced all of the runs.

David Wright
Three players totaled four RBI each for the Mets. Scott Hairston hit a grand slam; Ike Davis had a three-run homer and an RBI double; and Daniel Murphy hit a solo homer, a two-run blast and drove in his fourth run on a ground out in the eighth for the Mets' last score.

David Wright topped them all in just three at-bats - the three others each had five - driving in five runs with a sac fly in the first and two two-run doubles, one each in the fifth and sixth innings before taking a seat on the bench and allowing Justin Turner to finish up the sixth through ninth innings at third base.

With the 2-for-3 effort, Wright raised his already-gaudy batting average to .357, second in the NL behind Philly's Carlos Ruiz. He also leads the Mets with 47 RBI, which is tied with six other players at seventh in that category.

The Mets snapped a four-game losing streak and remain in third place in the NL East, 4 1/2 behind the Nationals, but just one game back of Atlanta.

It was the Mets highest scoring total since they put up 18 at Wrigley Field on Sept. 5, 2010. Apparently, a number of Mets' hitters have found a comfort zone at Wrigley Field.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prince Fielder's 4 RBI Not Enough to Overcome Rangers; Ian Desmond, Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche Lead Nationals' 12-5 Rout

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 26, 2012

American League

In a losing effort, Detroit's Prince Fielder had two of the Tigers' five hits and knocked in four of their five runs.

Prince Fielder
Falling to the Rangers, 7-5, which evened their series at a game apiece, Detroit mustered only four hits off Texas starter Yu Darvish (10-4), though the 26-year-old rookie from Kobe, Japan fanned 10.

Fielder got the Tigers started in the right direction with a two-run double in the first and belted his 12 homer of the season in the top of the fourth for a 3-1 lead, but the Rangers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the frame and were never headed thereafter. Fielder added his fourth RBI on a ground out in the eighth.

Winners of eight of their last 10, the Rangers maintained their 4 1/2 game lead in the AL West over the pursuing Angels, while the Tigers dropped a game to the White Sox in the Central, where they trail by three games.

The series concludes Wednesday night in Arlington, Texas.

Michael Morse
National League

Adam LaRoche
Washington's bats went to work Tuesday night in Colorado, as the Nationals banged out 21 hits against the Rockies in a 12-5 slaughter.

Ian Desmond doubled three times and singled in five at-bats, scoring once and driving in a pair of runs, while Michael Morse also went 4-for-5, with a double, three singles, two runs and two RBI.

Adam LaRoche, who's been the teams most consistent power hitter, touched off a pair of homers, drove in three runs and scored three times. LaRoche's homers were his 11th and 12th of the season and upped his team-leading RBI total to 47, tying him for fifth in the league with four other players.
Ian Desmond

The Nationals continue to lead the NL East by 3 1/2 over Atlanta and evened their four-game series in Colorado at a game apiece with the win.

Despite being third in the league in batting with a team average of .267, the Rockies continue to be plagued by poor pitching. Their team ERA of 5.38 is the worst in either league and their 770 hits allowed are easily tops in the National League. The Milwaukee Brewers are a distant second, having given up 690 hits.

At 28-45, the Rockies are 14 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Los Angeles holds a one game lead over the Giants after losing their second straight to their northern rivals, 2-0.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Barry Zito, Pablo Sandoval Instrumental in 8-0 Rout of Dodgers; Jays' Colby Rasmus Continues Hot Streak

Players of the Day for Monday, June 25, 2012

American League

It was back to regular play on Monday, with interleague games ending for the two leagues Sunday.

Getting right into the swing of things were the Toronto Blue Jays, who wound up in last place in the AL East during the interleague session, going 7-8 against National League teams.

Red-hot Rasmus
Desperate to get back into the race, the Blue Jays opened a three-game series in Boston with a 9-6 victory, tying themselves with the Red Sox at 38-35, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Yankees.

Colby Rasmus, who came over to the Jays late last season from St. Louis, continued to provide a solid punch at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run (11), two singles, three RBI and a couple of runs. Rasmus got the Jays off to a fast start with a two-run shot in the first as Toronto put a four-spot on the board in the opening inning.

After Boston tied the game at five, the Blue Jays put them way with long balls. J.P. Arencibia launched a two-run blast in the sixth and Jose Bautista finished the job with his 24th homer of the season, taking sole possession of the league lead with a two-run blast that plated Rasmus, who was aboard after singling to lead off the inning.

Rasmus has been one of the hottest hitters in either league recently, hitting safely in eight of his last nine games, with a .410 average (16-for-39), five homers and 15 RBI.

National League

Zito: 7 scoreless
With interleague games out of the way, the Giants and Dodgers got right at it, opening a series that may go a long way toward determining dominance in the NL West.

Sandoval: 3-for-3
The Giants took early advantage, opening the three-game set with an 8-0 win at home to pull to within two games of the Dodgers in the division.

Barry Zito blanked the visitors on three hits over seven innings, allowing three walks and striking out four. With Zito determined on the mound, Pablo Sandoval led the offense with a 3-for-3 effort, two doubles, three RBI and a pair of runs.

Raising his average to .315, the svelte Sandoval doubled home a pair of runs in the Giants' four run first, knocked in another with a sac fly in the second that put the Giants up, 7-0, and scored the final run on Hector Sanchez's double in the fifth.

San Francisco pounded LA starter Nathan Eovaldi (0-4) for ten hits and all eight runs and can tie the Dodgers - who have led the division almost all season - for the top spot with a series sweep.

CORRECTION: Yesterday, Baseball on Deck put the final interleague tally at 140-110 in favor of the AL, but checking up with MLB, the actual total should be 142-110. Somewhere, we missed a couple of games, and regret the error.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Greg Dobbs, Mark Buehrle Snap Marlins Losing Streak; Cody Ross Homers Twice of Boston

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 24, 2012

American League

Good baseball continues to be played by the Boston Red Sox, winners of seven of their last eight with Sunday's 9-4 win over Atlanta.

Cody Ross
The Sox have managed to clamber out of last place - that position now occupied by Toronto - but gaining ground in the rugged AL East is no easy feat. Boston is still 5 1/2 behind the division-leading Yankees, with Baltimore and Tampa Bay sandwiched in between.

Cody Ross was the hero of their latest win, driving in five runs with a pair of homers in four at-bats for Boston. Ross delivered a three-run shot in the fourth inning, and, after Atlanta battled back to trail by just one run, Ross, in his next plate appearance, went deep again, socking a two-run homer over the Green Monster as the Red Sox put up three runs in the fifth.

Boston fans said farewell to Kevin Youkilis, a longtime staple at third base, as he was dealt to the White Sox. Apparently, Red Sox brass was willing to replace Youkilis with the younger Will Middlebrooks and his .326 batting average.

National League

Greg Dobbs
Mark Buehrle
Avoiding being swept at home by the Toronto Blue Jays, the Miami Marlins took a 9-0 win in the finale of their three game series but still have plenty of work to do to get back into the NL East race.

Sunday's victory snapped a six-game Marlin losing streak. Despite their win and Washington's 2-1 loss to Baltimore, Miami is still eight games off the pace in the division.

Greg Dobbs went 3-for-4 in the contest with a pair of singles and a two-run homer - his first of the season - scored twice and drove in two runs while Mark Buehrle Held the Blue Jays scoreless over seven innings, scattering seven hits and fanning seven, getting his record to 6-8 on the year.

With interleague play ended, the Marlins will host St. Louis beginning Monday, in a three-game series.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: With interleague play wrapping up Sunday, the AL emerged the better of the rival leagues, winning 11 of 15 games, including a double-header sweep by Tampa Bay over the Phillies.

The final tally had the American League winning 140 games to the NL's 110.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Johnny Cueto Wins 4th Straight as Reds Retain First Place; Dayan Viciedo Powers White Sox Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 23, 2012

American League

Dayan Viciedo
Keeping the AL Central race tight, the Chicago White Sox crept to within 1/2 game of division-leading Cleveland with an 8-6 home win over Milwaukee on Saturday.

Leading the charge was Dayan Viciedo, who went 3-for-4 with his 14th home run, a two-run belt off Brewer starter, Randy Wolf. Viciedo also singled twice, each tie driving home a teammate for a score and scored the tying run in the bottom of the sixth, knotting the game at 6-6. The White Sox added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings for the victory.

Milwaukee and Chicago have split the first two games of the series and play the rubber game Sunday afternoon.

National League

Cueto: 7 scoreless
How good was Johnny Cueto in the Reds' 6-0 win over the Twins?

Well, he did go 0-2 at the plate, but managed to drive in a pair of runs, first on a squeeze bunt that got Scott Rolen across the plate in the bottom of the fourth, to put Cincinnati up 4-0, and then delivered a ground ball with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth to again get Rolen home.

Oh, and besides helping his own cause at the plate, Cueto won his fourth straight start, limiting Minnesota batters to three hits over seven full innings, striking out nine and walking one.

He fanned the last three batters he faced before being lifted to open the eighth after throwing 118 pitches.

Improving to 9-3, Cueto ended the Reds' four-game losing streak and kept them a game up on Pittsburgh, who knocked off Detroit, 4-1.

Cueto is almost a certain lock to make the all star roster for the NL. His 2.21 ERA is the fifth best in the league, his 101.2 innings pitched is tied for second and the nine wins are tied for fourth.

The Twins and Reds split the first two games of the series at Great American Ball Park and finish up interleague play Sunday afternoon.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The National League made up a little ground on the AL, winning seven of 13 games on Friday and going 10-4 on Saturday, though they still trail, 129-106 with one day of interleague games remaining.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jose Bautista Ties for AL HR Lead as Blue Jays Roll; Carlos Beltran Leads Cardinals over Royals

Players of the Day for Friday, June 22, 2012

American League

Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista rocked his 23rd home run as the Toronto Blue Jays - tied with Boston for last place in the AL East, 5 1/2 behind the Yankees - rolled past the Miami Marlins, 12-5 on Friday.

The Blue Jays and Boston have identical 38-34 records, but are cursed - for now, at least - with playing in the ultra-competitive AL East, the only division in the major leagues in which all five teams are over .500.

Ricky Romero picked up his eighth win against one loss, despite giving up four runs over seven innings.

Bautista, who led the AL in home runs each of the past two seasons, drove in three runs, going 3-for-4 and tied Adam Dunn of the White Sox for the league home run lead.

The win was the first of a three game series in Miami.

National League

Carlos Beltran
With a pair of doubles in five at-bats, Carlos Beltran - an off-season acquisition by the world champion Cardinals - drove in four runs to lead St. Louis to an easy, 7-4 win over the Royals, in the opener of their three game series in Kansas City.

Beltran doubled home two runs in the first inning and repeated the effort in the second, as the Cardinals plated ten baserunners in the opening two innings.

St. Louis continued in hot pursuit of the Reds, who lead the NL Central by three games over St. Louis, but saw their lead over Pittsburgh reduced to one game as Cincinnati lost their fourth straight.

Beltran has 52 RBI on the season, second in the NL to Matt Kemp, who leads with 55.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Will Middlebrooks Delivers for Hot Red Sox; Andrew McCutchen, James McDonald Lead Pirates in 9-1 Rout of Twins

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 21, 2012

American League

Will Middlebrooks
There's life in Boston.

Thanks to an eighth-inning home run by rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox defeated the visiting Miami Marlins, 6-5, Thursday night at Fenway Park.

Middlebrooks delivered the tying runs with his eighth home run with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Daniel Nava drove in Ryan Kalish with the game-winner one out later.

The Red Sox picked up half a game on the idle East division-leading Yankees and second place Baltimore, plus a full game on third place Tampa Bay, 5-2 losers at Washington. Boston is 5 1/2 off the pace.

Middlebrooks has been getting plenty of playing time and producing well, drinving in nine runs over his last six games. Against the Marlins on Thursday, he went 3-for-4, driving in four of Boston's six runs. Middlebrooks is batting .316 with 31 RBI in 38 games

The win was the fifth straight for the surging Beantowners, who swept the Marlins three straight.

National League

Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen was at it again, as the Pirates pulled to within two games of the first place Reds in the NL Central with a 9-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Pittsburgh took two of three from Minnesota, who are circling the drain in the AL Central, with a league-worst record of 27-41.
James McDonald

McCutchen scored twice and drove in three with a 3-for-4 effort - a single, double and triple - raising his batting average to .339, fifth-best in the NL. He's hit safely in five straight games and nine of his last ten and decimated Twins' pitching, going 7-for-11 with five RBI in the three-game series.

With the Pittsburgh regulars piling up the runs, starter James McDonald dictated to the Twins for his first major league complete game, allowing one run on six hits, striking out five without issuing a walk. He is 6-3 with a 2.12 ERA, fourth among NL starting pitchers.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The AL went 8-6 on Wednesday and 3-2 on Thursday, as they continue to dominate the National League with just three days of interleague play remaining. The AL lead has become insurmountable, at 119-90.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Miguel Montero Leads Arizona over Seattle; Justin Masterson's Complete Game Keeps Indians in First

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 20, 2012

American League

Cleveland hold onto first place in the AL Central, thanks to a complete game win by Justin Masterson, who struck out nine while holding the visiting Reds to three hits in a 7-1 Indians' victory.

Justin Masterson
Masterson (4-6) didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and no Cincinnati runner reached second base safely until the eighth inning, when the Reds manufactured their only run of the game - unearned - on an error, double and ground out. Masterson finished in strong fashion fanning the final four batters he faced and didn't issue a walk the entire game.

With the White Sox blanking the Cubs, 7-0, Cleveland maintained their 1/2 game lead in the division and completed the sweep of Cincinnati, who are still 2 1/2 games clear of Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

National League

Miguel Montero
Arizona's Miguel Montero socked a two-run homer and added a pair of singles to go 3-for-4 with four RBI as the Diamondbacks pounded the Mariners, 14-10.

Montero's fourth-inning blast got the Diamondbacks to within one run of Seattle at 5-4, and they tied the score later in the frame. Scoring five in the fifth and four more in the sixth inning, the Diamondbacks pulled away from the visiting Mariners and ended their series taking two of three.

Arizona continues to struggle along in the NL West, a game under .500 at 34-35 and eight games behind the LA Dodgers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo Lead Angels Win; Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen Shine for Pirates

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 19, 2012

American League

Keeping pace with the Texas Rangers in the quest for dominance in the AL West, the LA Angels bounced back from a 5-3 loss in the opener of their home series with the Giants, pounding the visitors from up the coast, 12-5.

Trout: 4-4, 4R
Mike Trout, odds-on favorite to win the AL rookie of the year award, had a second four-hit game in his brief major league career (87 games), going 4-for-4 with three singles and a double and scored four times out of his customary leadoff spot.

Trumbo: 5 RBI
Further down the order, cleanup hitter Mark Trumbo went 3-for-5 - a triple and two singles - driving in five of the Angels' runs.

While the addition of Albert Pujols (who drove in four runs) grabbed all the headlines, Trout and Trumbo have been instrumental to LA's success and their bounce-back from a poor start to the season.

Trout is batting .337 - second in the AL - and has 19 steals to go with his 40 runs, while Trumbo's 47 RBI are tops on the team. He is batting a very solid .326, fourth-best in the league, with 16 homers.

The Angles and Giants conclude their three-game set Wednesday night in Anaheim.

National League

The Pittsburgh Pirates won their third straight, opening their home stand with a 7-2 win over the hapless Twins.

Andrew McCutchen
Josh Harrison
Pittsburgh ended a four-game road skid with a pair of wins at Cleveland and now trail the Reds by just 2 1/2 games in the NL Central. Cincinnati dropped a 3-2 decision at Cleveland on Tuesday.

Second-year player, Josh Harrison, provided the catalyst with a first inning solo homer and added a pair of singles and two steals in a 3-for-5 effort, scoring three of Pittsburgh's runs.

Andrew McCutchen sealed the win with a two-run shot in the seventh - his 12th of the year - and added a couple of singles in four at-bats to raise his average to .332, sixth-best in the National League.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The American League continues to dominate the games between the leagues, notching a 10-4 record on Tuesday, upping their lead to 108-82 over their National League counterparts.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

R.A. Dickey Throws Second Straight One-Hitter; Aaron Hill Hits for Cycle; Lonnie Chisenhall Leads Indians in 10-9 Win

Players of the Day for Monday, June 18, 2012

American League

Like it or not, interleague play has its effects on both leagues, and, not insignificant is what has happened in the AL Central, where the race has tightened up over the past two weeks.

Chisenhall: 3-4 3RBI
For the Cleveland Indians, playing the National League has had mixed blessings. After taking two of three from the Cardinals, Cleveland was swept by the Reds and lost two of three to Pittsburgh before opening their three games series at home against those same Reds with a wide-open, 10-9 victory.

It was only Cleveland's second win in seven games, but, because the White Sox were hammered by the Cubs, 12-3, the Indians find themselves only 1/2 game out of first place in the division.

Batting out of the bottom spot in the order, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall provided just enough of a spark with a single, triple and home run in four at-bats for the Indians to prevail.

Called up from AAA less than a month ago, Chisenhall's two-run homer in the second inning put the Indians up 4-3. After tripling and scoring in the fourth inning, his RBI single in the sixth broke a seven-all tie. He finished 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI.

National League

R.A. Dickey and his tricky knuckleball are making history and Mets fans are loving it, as the crafty right-hander threw his second straight one-hitter in a 5-0 whitewash of the visiting Orioles.

Dickey: 1-Hitter
Dickey walked two, fanned a season high 13, and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Wilson Betemit delivered the only hit for the O's, a weak single to right field with two outs.

Dickey proceeded to get the final out of the inning and set down 13 of 14 to close out the game, walking Betemit in the eighth.

At 11-1, Dickey leads the majors in wins, his 2.00 ERA tied for the best with Atlanta's Brandon Beachy and his 103 strikeouts are equalled only by Detroit's Justin Verlander.

Hill: Cycle
Over the last 42 2/3 innings, Dickey has not allowed an earned run, and his back-to-back one-hitters make him the first major leaguer to accomplish the feat since Dave Steib did it for Toronto in 1988.

Ike Davis' grand slam in the sixth inning broke a scoreless tie and was more than enough cushion for Dickey's impressive outing.

In Arizona, the Diamondbacks won their series opener against Seattle, 7-1, as Aaron Hill hit for the cycle, scored three times and drove in a run.

Hill singled and scored in the first inning as the D'Backs posted three runs, tripled to lead off the third inning and scored again, doubled in the bottom of the fifth and capped his 4-for-4 effort with a solo homer in the seventh.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The American League continues to dominate their Naional League counterparts. On Saturday and Sunday, the AL won 10 and lost 4 for a combined 20-8 mark over the weekend. The NL won 5 to the AL's 3 on Monday, though it still left the American League with a seemingly-insurmountable lead, at 98-78. Interleague play continues through June 24.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Max Scherzer Fans 12 in 5-0 Detroit Victory; Pedro Alvarez Leads Pirates with 6 RBI

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 17, 2012

American League

Scherzer: 8IP 0ER 12K
Talk about two teams going in opposite directions: The Detroit Tigers won for the sixth time in their last eight outings, topping the Colorado Rockies, 5-0, as Max Scherzer (6-4) scattered seven hits over eight innings and fanned 12 without walking a batter, sending Colorado to their 10th loss in the last 11 games.

Scherzer threw 89 of 122 pitches for strikes and was pulled after eight full innings, having given it his all, setting down 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. Brayan Villarreal mopped up with a perfect ninth inning to preserve the win.

Scherzer's strikeout total reached an even 100, three behind teammate Justin Verlander, who leads the league.

The Tigers picked up a game on both AL Central leader Chicago and second place Cleveland and are just three games off the pace, with the Indians 1 1/2 ahead.

Both teams get a day off on Monday. Colorado heads to Philadelphia for a three game series starting Tuesday, while the Tigers continue their home stand with three against St. Louis.

National League

Pittsburgh continues to hang tough in the NL Central, taking two of three at Cleveland with a 9-5 victory over the Indians on Sunday.

Alvarez: 2HR, 6RBI
The Pirates took over sole possession of second place in the division, four back of Cincinnati, winners of six straight. St. Louis dropped to five behind, losing to Kansas City, 5-3, in 10 innings.

Pittsburgh got the bulk of their offense from third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who socked a pair of three-run homers and added a double to go 3-for-4 with six RBI.

Cleveland remained 1 1/2 behind the White Sox in the AL Central. It won't get any easier for the Indians as they host a three-game series with the Reds, starting Monday.

The Pirates return home for a six game home stand beginning Tuesday, with three against the Twins, followed by a weekend series with the Tigers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jason Hammel, Ervin Santana Notch One-Hitters; Matt Holliday Leads Cardinals over Royals

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 16, 2012

American League

It may not exactly be the year of the pitcher, but with four no-hitters already this season (including two perfect games), dominance on the mound is spreading.

Jason Hammel
On Saturday, two hurlers, the Angels' Ervin Santana and Baltimore's Jason Hammel each came within a hit of record book territory with one-hit performances.

In Atlanta, Hammel set down 20 of the first 21 Braves in order, walking Dan Uggla to lead off the second, before surrendering another walk to Uggla and a scratch single to Jason Heyward with two out in the seventh.

Ervin Santana
Hammel got Eric Hinske on a routine fly ball to end the inning, and sailed through the eighth and ninth unscathed, finishing with a one-hitter, eight strikeouts and two free passes in the 5-0 Baltimore victory. His record improved to 7-2 as the O's evened their series with the Braves and play the rubber game Sunday afternoon.

Baltimore remained 1 1/2 back of the Yankees, winners of eight straight, in the AL East.

Ervin Santana took nearly the same route to a 2-0, 1-hit win as Hammel, retiring the first 20 Arizona batters, until surrendering a single toJustin Upton with twoouts in the seventh. Besides a walk to Miguel Montero in the ninth, that was the only blemish on Santana's game.

The Angels pounded outt10 hits, but only Mark Trumbo's first inning, two-run homer produced and scoring. Santana finished with one walk and five Ks, keeping LA within striking distance of AL West leader, Texas, four games out.

National League

Holliday: 4-5, 5RBI
The Cardinals and Royals each banged out 14 hits, but St. Louis prevailed in a 10-7 win, as Matt Holliday went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs.

Every hit was a run-producer for the St. Louis left fielder, socking a two-run homer (11) in the first, doubling and scoring in the second, singling in another run in the seventh and finishing with a two-run double in the eighth.

The victory kept the Cardinals tied for second in the NL Central, four games behind the Reds, winners of five in a row.

St. Louis will finish their home series with the Royals Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Matt Moore Allows One Hit over Seven as Rays Pummel Miami, 11-0; Trevor Cahill Leads Arizona Past Angels

Players of the Day for Friday, June 15, 2011

American League

Matt Moore
Tampa Bay kept pace with the red-hot Yankees - winners of seven straight - as starting pitcher Matt Moore held the Miami Marlins scoreless through seven innings, allowing only one hit - a first inning single by Donovan Solano - in an 11-0 rout.

While his regulars were piling on the runs, Moore was mowing down Marlins, striking out eight and walking three until he finished the seventh inning and Tampa Bay's bullpen mopped up. Burke Badenhop held Miami hitless in the eighth; Brandon Gomes walked one, but fanned three in the ninth to complete the victory.

The Rays had been atop the AL East until recently, but opened their three-game set in Tampa with a needed win and trail the Yankees by 2 1/2 games.

National League

Trevor Cahill
Jason Kubel staked Arizona starter, Trevor Cahill, to a one run lead with a first inning RBI single and the 6'4" righty made it stand up, out-dueling the Angels' Dan Haren through seven full innings.

Cahill gave up just three hits, walked two and struck out eight, evening his record at 5-5 and keeping the Diamondbacks 8 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the AL West with a 5-0 win.

Haren was rocked from the mound when Arizona put up four runs in the top of the sixth.

An off-season pick-up from Oakland, Cahill has won his last three starts after a rocky, 2-5 start in Arizona.

Topping the Angels in the opener of their three-game series, the Diamondbacks remain mired in third place at 32-32, with the Giants stalking the Dodgers from second place, four games out.

The second place Angels fell another game behind Texas in the AL West with the loss and a 6-2 Rangers win over Houston.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The leagues split Friday's games, each winning seven, keeping the AL edge at ten games, 75-65.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Matt Wieters, Mark Reynolds Lead O's to Sweep of Pirates; Brandon Phillips Has 4 RBI in Reds' Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 14, 2012

American League

Baltimore completed their three-game home sweep of Pittsburgh with a 12-6 win over the Pirates.

The two teams combined for 26 hits, 16 of them belonging to the winning Orioles, who closed to within 1/2 game of idle AL East leader, New York.

Matt Wieters
The heart of Baltimore's lineup had the best of Pittsburgh's pitching staff, as Mark Reynolds and Matt Wieters each went 4-for-5.

Mark Reynolds
Reynolds had a single, a pair of doubles and a solo home run, scoring three runs and driving in two. Wieters singled twice and doubled twice, driving in five runs, including the first of four Baltimore's first inning runs.

After that, the game was mostly Baltimore's. The Orioles had a 10-0 lead before the Pirates finally got on the board with three runs in the fifth.

The Orioles embark upon a weekend road trip to Atlanta while the Pirates, now tied with St. Louis, three games behind the NL Central-leading Reds, head to Cleveland.

National League

With Pittsburgh dropping three straight, the Cincinnati Reds took full advantage, completing their sweep of the Indians with a 12-5 victory over Cleveland, Thursday.

Brandon Phillips
Brandon Phillips was key to the Reds' win, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a pair of singles and four RBI.

After Cleveland scored two runs in the top of the first, Joey Votto erased their lead with a three-run blast in the bottom half, his 15th of the season.

Phillips broke the game wide open after that, socking a solo homer in the third - his 8th - singling in two runs in the fourth and singling in another as the Reds put up a 5-spot in the fifth.

The win put the Reds three games ahead of Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the Central division.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The National League finally cut a bit into the AL's interleague lead, winning six of ten games on Thursday, leaving the tally for the season at 68-58 in favore of the American League.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Matt Cain Throws Perfect Game for Giants; Wilson Betemit Powers Second Place Orioles to 7-1 Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 13, 2012

American League

Wilson Betemit
With the results of Sunday's games, the Pittsburgh Pirates were tied with the Reds for leadership of the NL Central, but, following a day off and a road trip to Baltimore, and two straight Cincinnati wins, the Pirates have quickly fallen two games off the pace.

After Tuesday's 8-6 defeat, the Pirates couldn't muster much offense against Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks) while third baseman Wilson Betemit, one of a number of key Baltimore off-season acquisitions, made them pay.

Betemit, who's seen his fair share of major league clubhouses, having been a part of six different teams since 2005 before joining the Orioles, went 3-for-3 against Pittsburgh's hurlers, with a single, double, home run, sac fly, three RBI and two runs, doing the damage in consecutive at-bats between the second and sixth innings.

With Batimore already up 2-0 on Chris Davis' first inning, two-run homer, Betemit doubled in a run and scored in the second, drove in another run with a sac fly in the fourth and socked his eighth home run of the season - a solo shot - in the sixth, providing more than enough support for the 7-1 victory.

While the O's have put a temporary stall into Pittsburgh's plans, they are alone in second place, a game behind the Yankees in the AL East and will be looking for the sweep when they take the field against Pittsburgh Thursday night at Camden Yards.

National League

Matt Cain: Perfect
Since becoming a starter for the Giants in 2005, Matt Cain has been one of baseball's more consistent pitchers, flashing brilliance at time, but falling just short of elite status.

No more.

When he got Jason Castro on a ground ball to third with two down in the ninth inning, Cain etched his name in the annals of major league baseball, hurling the 22nd perfect game in MLB history, the second in the majors this season.

Razor sharp, Cain threw 86 of 125 pitches for strikes and fanned a career high 14, as the Giants scored all of their runs over the first five innings for the lopsided, 10-0 triumph over the Astros.

No hits, no runs, no walks, no errors or hit batsmen, Cain's mound performance was, in a word, perfect, reaching baseball's highest achievement with his second shutout of the season and sixth overall. Cain has 15 complete games on his career stat sheet, and improved to 8-2 this year, with a sparkling 2.18 ERA, second-best in the National League.

Cain has struck out 96 batters thus far this year, ranking him second in the NL, four behind Washington's Stephen Strasburg.

Over the years, Cain has continued to hone his craft. He led the league in starts with 34 in 2008 and his four complete games in 2009 were also tops in the NL.

After a rough couple of seasons in 2007 and 2008, when he compiled a combined record of 15-30, Cain has turned things around, going 14-8, 13-11 and 12-11 in 2009, 2010 and 2011. At 28, the 6'3" righty has all the tools and discipline to make him one of the top pitchers in the game and Wednesday's perfect game seems a fitting accomplishment for a player that has put in the work on the long road to stardom.

The Giants have taken two straight from Houston and will be looking for the sweep Thursday afternoon. While the Giants have won seven of their last ten, they've closed ground on NL West leader Los Angeles, pulling to within 3 1/2 games of first place as a clear second, holding a 5 1/2 game edge over third place Arizona.

NOTABLE: Beyond Cain's golden performance, there was another demonstration of continued mound excellence back in the East division, where R.A. Dickey tossed a one-hit complete game in the Mets' 9-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Dickey set a club record by holding opponents scoreless for 32 2/3 innings. The Rays finally scratched out an unearned run in the ninth off of David Wright's throwing error on Elliott Johnson's grounder ball. Johnson advanced to third on a pair of passed balls by catcher Mike Nickeas, and scored on a routine ground out by Desmond Jennings. Dickey baffled the Rays hitters with his trademark knuckler striking out 12 and needing only 108 pitches to go the distance, improving to 10-1 with his eighth straight win. B.J. Upton's first inning infield single was the only hit off Dickey, who didn't walk a batter.

Dickey's league-high 10 wins were matched by St. Louis rookie Lance Lynn, who struck out 12 and allowed just three hits over 7 1/3 innings in the Cardinals' 1-0 win over the White Sox.

INTERLEAGUE SCOREBOARD: The American League continues to assert its dominance over their National League rivals, going 26-20 over the past four days to increase its interleague edge to 64-52. The cross-league contests continue for another 11 days, ending with games scheduled through Sunday, June 24.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alex Rodriguez Ties Lou Gehrig with 23rd Grand Slam; Johnny Cueto's Complete Game Puts Reds Back on Top

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 12, 2012

American League

Even though the warning has been issued countless times to managers around the both leagues, some continue to test the theory that it is not a good idea to load the bases by walking Mark Teixeira, putting Alex Rodriguez at the plate.

Alex Rodriguez ties
Lou Gehrig with
23rd Grand Slam
Leading 4-0 into the eighth inning, the Braves seemed to be well on their way to evening their series with the Yankees, when things began to unravel.

With one out in the eighth, Derek Jeter singled, prompting Braves' manager, Fredi Gonzalez, to pull starter Mike Minor in favor of reliable reliever Jonny Venters, but Venters allowed a single to Curtis Granderson and then, not intentionally, but pitching judiciously, walked Teixeira.

Rodriguez and Venters dueled to a 3-2 count before Rodriguez tied the game with his historic grand slam, tying another Yankee great, Lou Gehrig, with a major league record 23. It was A-Rod's tenth homer of the season

Two batters later, Nick Swisher untied the game with a two-run blast, also his tenth, as the Yankees came back to win, 6-4, their fifth straight win moving them to the top of the AL East standings, one game better than the Orioles and Rays.

National League
Cueto: (7-3), 6H CG

Johnny Cueto gave up a run in the opening inning, but that was all, throwing a six-hit complete game for his seventh win of the season against three losses as the Reds took a 7-1 decision over the visiting Cleveland Indians.

After Jason Kipnis singled home Shin-Soo Choo, who had doubled to lead off the game, Cueto scattered another four hits over the remaining innings for the win. Displaying pinpoint control, Cueto struck out seven and issued no walks, throwing 81 of 122 pitches for strikes.

It was Cueto's second complete game of the season and sixth in his five-year major league career.

With the win and Pittsburgh's 8-6 loss at Baltimore, the Reds regained sole possession of first place in the NL Central.

A win in the opener of their series with in-state rival Cleveland in hand, the Reds and Indians play the remainder of their three-game series Wednesday and Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rocking Rookies: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper Lead Angels, Nationals to Fourth Straight Wins

Players of the Day for Monday, June 11, 2012

American League

Mike Trout
With a 3-2 road win over the Dodgers, the LA Angels inched still closer to Texas in the race for the AL West division title, drawing to within 2 1/2 games of the idle Rangers with their fourth straight win.

Rookie Mike Trout, who is well on his way to vying for rookie of the year honors now that he's become the Angels' regular leadoff hitter and center fielder, led the Angels with a 2-for-4 effort, including a solo home run in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single in the sixth.

With the score tied in the top of the ninth, Trout worked a one-out walk, stole second and scored the game-winning run on a single to left center by Albert Pujols. Trout had stolen third base back in the sixth inning, and with the ninth inning swipe upped his total for the season to 15, tying him with Cleveland's Jason Kipnis for the league lead.

Trout, who is batting .354 through 40 games, doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify among the league leaders, though he's close.

National League

Bryce Harper
Speaking of rookies, there's a pretty good one in Washington by the name of Bryce Harper, who helped the Nationals to their fourth straight victory, a 6-3 win at Toronto.

Harper singled three times in four at-bats, stole his fourth base of the year, scored twice and drove in a run as the Nats increased their lead over Atlanta to three games in the NL East. Atlanta fell at home, 3-0, to the Yankees.

Harper has played in 39 games thus far and has compiled a batting average of .295 with six home runs and 18 RBI. Listed on the roster as a left fielder, Harper can play any outfield position. In Monday's contest he patrolled both center and right field.

Washington's win came in the opener of a three game series in Toronto, which continues with a night game on Tuesday and a day game Wednesday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mark Trumbo Homers Twice, Drives in Six; Andrew McCutchen Puts Pirates in Tie for First with Reds

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 10, 2012

American League

It was a wild one in Colorado Sunday afternoon as the Angels swept their three-game set at Coors Field, knocking off the Rockies, 10-8.

Trumbo: 2HR 6RBI
Driving in six runs with a pair of three-run homers was Mark Trumbo, who has emerged as a great "protection" batter in the four-hole behind Albert Pujols.

Trumbo smacked his first home run in the opening inning, after Torii Hunter had driven in the first Angel run with a scratch single. The Rockies scored a run in the bottom half, LA added two more in the second, but, Colorado tacked on a five-spot in the bottom half of the second to tie the game at six-all.

In the fourth, Trumbo broke the tie with his second bomb to deep left, his 14th of the season, giving the Angels a three-run cushion. The Rockies were only able to get to within two runs, twice, scoring single runs in both the fourth and ninth. LA added one more run in the eighth, when Howie Kendrick drove in Albert Pujols, who scored three times in the game.

The win kept the Angels three behind Texas - 5-0 winners at San Francisco - in the AL West. The Rockies have now lost five straight and are 14 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

National League

Andrew McCutchen
The feel good story of the year in the National League might be the re-emergence of the Dodgers under new ownership or the all-around excellence on display in the nation's capitol by the NL East's first place Nationals.

But, it just could be a story of how the Pittsburgh Pirates are overcoming two decades of mediocrity to challenge for the NL Central crown.

The Pirates completed a three-game sweep of Kansas City, as A.J. Burnett gave up two runs over 7 1/3 innings to improve to 6-2, and Andrew McCutchen drove in all of Pittsburgh's runs for a 3-2 victory, the fourth straight for the Bucs.

Coupled with Cincinnati's 7-6 heartbreaker to Detroit on Sunday night's ESPN game, the win earned Pittsburgh a tie with the Reds for first place in the division, with St. Louis two games out.

McCutchen doubled home a run in the first inning and smashed a two-run homer (his 11th) in the third to provide all the run support Burnett and three Pittsburgh relievers would need. He added his 11th steal of the season, swiping third base off KC starter Bruce Chen and has 36 RBI on the year. Now in his fourth season with the Pirates, McCutchen is emerging as a star, almost exactly on pace to become a 30-30 man in steals and homers. Off to a solid start, his .325 batting average is 8th-best in the National League.

With the Reds and Pirates deadlocked atop the Central, both teams begin key interleague series against contending AL teams on Tuesday. The Reds will host Cleveland, while Pittsburgh travels to Baltimore.