Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Catchers Rule: Carlos Corporan Leads Astros over Yankees; Wilin Rosario Sends Rockies Back to First in NL West

Players of the Day for Monday, April 29, 2013

American League

Carlos Corporan
With the worst record in the American League, Houston began their series in New York with the Yankees on a solid note, hammering starter Andy Pettitte for 10 hits and seven earned runs over 4 1/3 innings en route to a smashing, 9-1, romp.

Houston's breakout was powered by catcher Carlos Corporan, wo went 4-for-5 with a pair of singles a double and his first homer of the year, four RBI and two runs. Corporan doubled in a pair of runs and scored in the Astros' three-run first, then greeted reliever Adam Warren with his two-run blast in the fifth inning, which essentially put the game away.

The win was Houston's eighth against 18 losses. They still remain at the bottom of the AL West standings, 8 1/2 games behind Texas. New York fell another 1/2 game behind idle Boston. the Red Sox lead the second-place Yanks by three games.

Corporan has only played in eight games this season, but made a strong impression on the Big Apple crowd. He is batting .360.

Wilin Rosario
The Yankees will try to even the series at 7:05 pm EDT Tuesday night.

National League

In Los Angeles, the Rockies opened their series with the Dodgers tied with Arizona for the NL West lead. After nine innings of a relentless 19-hit assault and a 6-4 San Francisco win over the Diamondbacks, they returned to sole possession of first place with a 12-2 whipping of LA.

Colorado rang up all 12 of their runs in the first five innings while their starter, Tyler Chatwood, stifled the Dodgers over six innings, allowing five hits, no walks, fanning five.

Catcher Wilin Rosario broke out the good wood, going 3-for-4 with his third homer in the last four games, a couple of singles, three runs and three RBI. Lately on a tear, Rosario has nine hits in his last 16 at-bats, raising his average to .350, fifth-best in the NL.

Rosario has seven homers and 19 RBI, both numbers in the league's top ten.

Colorado now has a one game lead over Arizona, but the division race is heating up quickly. The Giants are two games back with the Dodgers 3 1/2 off the lead. Game two in LA is slated for a first pitch at 7:10 pm Pacific time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Miguel Cabrera Homers as Tigers Sweep Braves; Pittsburgh's Russell Martin Cranks a Pair of Homers in 9-0 Rout of Cardinals

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 28, 2013

American League

Miguel Cabrera
In a game played during a relentless rain event, the Detroit Tigers completed their three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with an 8-3 victory, sending the Braves to their fourth consecutive loss while the Tigers won their third straight and closed to within 1/2 game of AL Central leader, Kansas City.

Reigning AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera, turned a close game into a no-doubter with his third home run of the season, a seventh-inning, three run blast that completed the scoring for the Tigers.

Following Cabrera's homer, Al Alburquerque and Jose Valverde slammed the door shut on the Braves, each turning in hitless inning stints. Cabrera's home run was his first since April 16, though his batting average (.375, tied for second in the AL with teammate Torii Hunter) and run production have not suffered. He has 26 RBI on the season, third in the AL behind Chris Davis (28) and Mike Napoli (27).

Cabrera also doubled in three official at-bats, scoring a tie-breaking run in the sixth inning on a sac fly by Victor Martinez.

National League

Russell Martin
Russell Martin homered twice as the Pittsburgh Piratestook over first place in the tight NL Central with a 9-0 slaughter of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Martin, who came to the Pirates during the off-season after two seasons with the Yankees, cranked a first-inning solo homer to get Pittsburgh on the board in the second inning and launched a two-run jack in the ninth to complete the rout. In between, he doubled, going 3-for-5 on the day, with three RBI. Martin, who averages just 13 homers per year, has hit five already this season.

While the Pirates were piling up 13 hits on four St. Louis pitchers, Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke was humming, stifling the Cardinal bats on three hits over seven innings to get to 3-1 on the year. Reliever Justin Wilson closed folded the Cards with two innings of hitless ball.

The win put the Pirates 1/2 game up on the Cardinals with their second straight win over the redbirds after dropping the series opener in St. Louis with a 9-1 beating.

The division remains the most contentious in the majors. Following the Cardinals are Cincinnati, 1 1/2 back and Milwaukee, a mere two games behind the Pirates.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rookie A.J. Pollock Leads Arizona over Rockies; Omar Infante Drives Detroit to 7-4 Win over Braves

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 27, 2013

American League

With all the power in the middle of Detroit's lineup, one wouldn't expect the team to be carried to victory by the guy all the way down at the bottom, but that's exactly what happened when #9 hitter Omar Infante took over the game in in the fourth inning.

Omar Infante
The Braves and Tigers forged a 3-3 tie until Infante came to the plate in the fourth and smacked a two-run homer - his first of the year - off Atlanta starter, Kevin Medlen, putting the Tigers up by a pair and ahead to stay as Rick Porcello steadied after a shaky beginning and closed the door on the Braves, working into the seventh.

Justin Uptin's MLB-leading 12th homer brought the Braves back to within one, but Infante appeared again, doubling home a run and later scoring, putting the finishing touch on a 7-4 victory, the second straight in the three-game series with Atlanta.

Infante finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of runs. The Braves and Tigers finish up Sunday night at 8:00 pm EDT, the game to be televised nationally by ESPN.

National League

A.J. Pollock
While San Francisco was losing their second straight to the Padres - 8-7 in 12 innings - the Arizona Diamondbacks took over sole possession of second place in the NL West with a 3-2 win over the first place Rockies, closing to within one game, with the finale of their four-game series set for Sunday afternoon in Phoenix.

Arizona got off to a quick start, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning off Colorado starter, Jeff Francis, on rookie A.J. Pollock's solo jack and a Cody Ross triple which plated Miguel Montero.

The Rockies eventually tied the score at 2-2 with single runs in the sixth and seventh, the game eventually headed to an extra inning as the two teams combined to use 11 pitchers.

In the bottom of the tenth, Pollock led off with a clean single and stole second with one out, moving to third on catcher Wilin Rosario's throwing error. After an intentional walk to Montero, Cody Ross cooly delivered the game-winning blow, drilling a sac fly to center which plated Pollock with the deciding run.

Pollock, who played in 31 games for the D'Backs in 2012, finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs, the first and last for Arizona.

A win Sunday by the Diamondbacks would result in a tie for first with the Rockies. Game time is 4:00 pm EDT.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Anibal Sanchez Fans 17 as Tigers Rout Braves, 10-0; Jordan Zimmermann Hurls One-Hitter in Nats' 1-0 Win over Reds

Players of the Day for Friday, April 26, 2013

American League

Sanchez: 17 Ks
The Atlanta Braves opened their three-game series in Detroit with the best record in baseball, at 15-6. After nine innings of domination by the Tigers, they learned a lesson in humility from the AL champions in a 10-0 defeat.

Anibal Sanchez worked over the Atlanta lineup, fanning a career-high 17, breaking the franchise record of 16 set by Mickey Lolich in 1968. Sanchez allowed five hits and walked one over eight innings of sensational pitching, getting Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla four times each on strikes. He fanned at least two in every inning except the fourth, when he got Freeman looking to open the inning and got the other two outs via a double play.

Sanchez improved to 3-1, the eight innings of shutout ball lowering his ERA to 1.34. His 41 strikeouts are third in the AL behind Yu Darvish (49) and Boston's Ryan Dempster (43).

The Tigers got a big effort from Manny Tuiasosopo, who singled in two runs in the third inning and socked a three-run homer in the fourth.

Atlanta will try to even the series at 1:10 pm EDT at Comerica Park. Sunday's series finale will be ESPN's featured Sunday night game at 8:00 pm EDT.

National League

Zimmermann: 1-hitter
With the Braves being pounded in Detroit, the Washington Nationals took the opportunity to pick up another game in the NL East with a 1-0 win over the Reds in the second game of their four-game series.

Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann came within a whisker of tossing the first no-hitter of the season, going the distance for his fourth win against just one loss. Zimmerman allowed just one hit - a leadoff single by Xavier Paul in the third inning. Only two other Reds' batters reached base. Todd Frazier reached on an error in the fifth and Corky Miller walked in the eighth.

Zimmermann needed just 91 pitches for his second complete game of the season and his first career shutout. He fanned four, got 11 batters on ground outs and 12 via fly balls.

The Nationals now trail Atlanta by 3 1/2 games in the division. The Mets, 4-0 losers to Philadelphia, are 4 1/2 out.

Washington has a 2-0 lead in the series, which concludes over the weekend with day games at Nationals Park, Saturday and Sunday.

NOTABLE: Sanchez and Zimmermann weren't the only pitchers hitting their marks Friday night. Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen gave up just two hits over eight scoreless innings in the O's 3-0 win at Oakland. Phialdelphia's Kyle Kendrick threw a complete game three-hitter in the Phillies' 4-0 victory over the Mets.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Alex Gordon's Grand Slam Buries Tigers; Gio Gonzalez, Danny Espinosa Bury Reds, 8-1

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 25, 2013

American League

Alex Gordon
Roughly 1/8th of the way into the season and the Kansas City Royals - the undisputed champion of the exhibition season - has managed to stay much more than merely relevant in the AL Central; with their 8-3, 10-inning win over the Tigers, they hold a 1 1/2 game lead over Detroit and Minnesota.

James Shields and Justin Verlander hooked into a pretty good pitchers' duel. With Verlander exiting after seven innings with an injured thumb and a 3-2 lead, the Royals tied it in the eighth and eventually won it in the top of the 10th.

After a bases-loaded walk to George Kottaras produced the go-ahead run, Alex Gordon left no doubt with a grand slam, 443-foot bomb to center which iced the game.

Gordon had earlier singled and was stranded, leaving him at 2-for-6 for the game, slightly reducing his .337 batting average. His homer was the second of the season for the leadoff left fielder. He has driven in 15 runs.

The result left matters in an unsettled tie for the brief, two-game series after the opening game Tuesday was rained out. The Tigers won, 7-5, on Wednesday.

National League

Danny Espinosa
Gio Gonzalez
Washinton crept a little closer to NL East leader, Atlanta, picking up 1/2 game on the idle Braves with an 8-1 win over the visiting Reds in the opener of a crucial four-game series.

The Nationals find themselves four games back in the division, tied for second place with the Mets.

Washington got all over Reds' starter, Brandon Arroyo, building a 6-0 lead before Joey Votto's solo home run in the fourth got Cincinnati on the board.

Votto's fourth homer was the only mistake Gio Gonzalez made, allowing just the one hit and two walks while fanning seven over eight sparkling innings on the mound, improving to 2-1.

Danny Espinosa provided the offensive spark for the Nats, doubling in the first run of the game and later in the second inning scoring to open a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, Desmond added to what was already a 4-0 lead with a two-run homer, his second of the season.

Bryce Harper socked his eighth of the season to start the third and Denard Span had three hits and drove in three runs.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rays Win as Alex Cobb Blank Yanks; Jordany Valdespin Slams Dodgers in 10th for Mets' Victory

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 24, 2013

American League

Alex Cobb
Tampa Bay took another step toward being a .500 ball club with a 3-0 win over the visiting Yankees Wednesday night, earning a 2-1 split in their three game series.

The Rays put up two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth inning off losing pitcher, Andy Pettitte, who was out-dueled by Tampa's Alex Cobb, who improved to 3-1 on the season, keeping the Yanks under wraps on three hits over 8 1/3 innings.

Cobb allowed just one baserunner from the third through eighth innings, threw 72 of 106 pitches for strikes, walked just one batter and fanned seven.

After allowing a one-out single in the ninth to Brett Gardner, Cobb handed the ball over to Fernando Rodney, who picked up his third save of the season, a night after blowing a chance in a 5-4 Yankees win.

The Rays improved their record to 10-11, but remain four game behind Boston in the East. The Yankees are 2 1/2 out; Baltimore holds second place, two games back of Boston.

National League

Jordany Valdespin
Evening their series with the Dodgers at a game apiece with a 7-3 win, the Mets continue to battle in the contentious NL East, staying in second place, four games behind the Braves.

Victory was anything but assured for the Mets, who trailed the Dodgers 3-1 in the sixth inning after Mett Kemp launched a two-run homer, his first of the season, but responded with a run in the bottom of the frame and tied the game at 3-all on David Wright's run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth.

An inning later, Jordany Valdespin, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning with two down and Marlon Byrd on third but grounded out to end the inning, reappeared with the bases loaded after staying in the game in center field.

This time, Valdespin did not disappoint, scorching his first home run of the season, a grand slam, walk-off finishing touch.

The Mets and Dodgers will settle up in the series finale, Thursday at 1:10 pm at Cit Field.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

LA 2nd Basemen Come Alive: Howie Kendrick Leads Angels; Mark Ellis Powers Dodgers

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 23, 2013

American League

The LA Angels got off to another slow start this season, but have been coming on strong of late, Tuesday's 5-4, 11-inning win over Texas getting them to within 4 1/2 games of the NL West-leading Rangers.

Howie Kendrick
Tuesday's outcome was largely the work of LA's steady second baseman, Howie Kendrick, who drove in all but one of the Angels' runs, including the solo homer in the bottom of the 11th, which ended the game in heroic, walk-off style, Kendrick's second home run of the season.

Kendrick went 3-for-5, reaching on an infield single in the first, scoring Albert Pujols. His first home run of the season came in the fourth, a two-run blow that put the Angels up 4-0.

Texas battled back to tie the game in the eighth, before Hendrick ended it in the 11th.

The win tied the three-game series at a game apiece. The Rangers and Angels will settle matters on Wednesday at 10:05 pm EDT.

National League

Mark Ellis
Another LA story came out of New York, where the Dodgers topped the Mets, 7-2.

The Dodgers had lost six straight before beating Baltimore on Sunday, prior to their visit to the Big Apple, taking the first of their three-game set at Citi Field, improving to 9-10 on the season.

Second baseman Mark Ellis delivered the goods for LA, going 4-for-5 with a pair of homers, a double, single, four RBI and two runs. His two dingers were the first of the season for Ellis, who belted a solo shot in the fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2, then cleared the wall in left for a three-run shot in the seventh which put the Dodgers ahead to stay, at 5-2.

Catcher A.J. Ellis (no relation) completed the scoring with a two-run double in the ninth.

Bottom line, "all's Ellis that ends Ellis."

The Dodgers will go for their third straight win when the meet the Mets Wednesday at 7:00 pm EDT.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ryan Braun Leads Brewers to 8th Straight Win; Mike Napoli Slams Red Sox to Victory

Players of the Day for Monday, April 22, 2013

American League

Napoli leads majors
with 25 RBI
After having dropped both ends of a Sunday double-header to the Royals, the Boston Red Sox got back on the winning track with a 9-6 victory over Oakland, maintianing their two-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East.

A fifth inning grand slam over the Green Monster by Mike Napoli turned a close game into a runaway. The Sox scored five in the frame before Oakland rallied with three runs in the eighth.

Napoli previously doubled home David Ortiz in the second inning, for Boston's initial score, scoring on a three-run, Will Middlebrooks, home run.. He finished 2-for-4 with five RBI.

Napoli's homer was his fourth of the season; his 25 RBI lead the majors.

National League

Braun: On pace for
another 100-RBI year
Milwaukee started the season miserably, losing eight of their first ten games, but have since turned things around with eight straight wins, getting back into the crowed NL Central race, where they trail the Reds by a full game. The Brewers are sandwiched between St. Louis (1/2 game back of the Reds) and Pittsburgh (1 1/2 out).

The Brewers got their series in San Diego off to a flying start with a five-run first inning, highlighted by Ryan Braun's sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot off Padres' starter, Jason Maquis.

Braun later singled in another run, going 2-for-4 with three RBI as the Brewers cruised to a 7-1 win.

Braun has 19 RBI on the year, third in the National League behind the Mets' John Buck (22) and the Reds' Brandon Phillips (21). The 2011 NL MVP, Braun has driven in more than 100 runs in each of the last five seasons after bringing home 97 in his 2007 rookie year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Erik Kratz Powers Phillies over Cardinals; Nelson Cruz Comes Alive as Rangers Hammer Mariners

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 21, 2013

American League

Nelson Cruz
With an 11-3 victory over visiting Seattle, the Texas Rangers grabbed first place in the AL West division away from the Oakland A's, who were beaten, 8-1, at Tampa Bay.

For the Rangers, the win was their third straight, while Oakland was losing their third in a row.

Nelson Cruz broke open a close game in the fifth inning with his third home run of the season, a towering 450-foot moon shot to center field that cleared the bases for a grand slam. Cruz also singled and scored, going 2-for-4 on the day.

Seeing Cruz find his swing and hit home runs is a solid sign for the Rangers because Cruz is a streaky hitter with immense power. Last season he socked 24 home runs and drove in 90 runs.

National League

Erik Kratz
It might be too early in the season to call Philadelphia's 7-3 victory over St. Louis a "must-win," but it was certainly important.

Instead of losing their four-game series with the Cardinals, three games to one, the Phillies salvaged a 2-2 tie and prevented a further fall in the NL East standings. At 8-11, the Phillies are already 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Atlanta.

Erik Kratz proved the hero when he singled and scored in the seventh inning on Lance Nix's double, tying the game at 3-3. Kratz followed that up with a three-run homer in the eighth that put the game out of reach. The homer was his second of the year and gave Philly a needed boost.

Kratz has been getting plenty of playing time in relief of injured catcher Carlos Ruiz, playing in all but two of Philadelphia's games this season.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mike Trout, Garrett Richards Boost Angels over Tigers; Byrce Harper's Two Homers Give Nationals a 7-6 Win over Mets

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 20, 2013

American League

Trout: GS, 4 RBI
Richards: 8 Ks
Despite their slow start, the LA Angels are letting AL champion, Detroit, know that they're serious about competing for the pennant, winning the second straight in their three-game series, by a blowout, 10-0 score.

Detroit starter, Rick Porcello, didn't get out of the first inning as the Angles sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs. Mike Trout led the opening-inning barrage with a single and a grand slam homer that sent Porcello to a very early shower.

With the huge lead, LA's Garrett Richards was able to relax, tying up the Tigers on two hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out a season-high eight without surrendering a walk. A part-time starter, Richards recorded his first win of the season, without a loss.

The Angels are just 6-10, but will go for the sweep when they host the Tigers in the series finale, Sunday at 3:35 pm ET. Detroit remained tied for first place in the Central with Kansas City.

National League

Harper: 2HR 3RBI
Bryce Harper stroked a two-run homer in the third inning and his eighth inning solo blast broke a 6-all tie, leading the Nationals to a 7-6 victory against the home-standing NY Mets.

Harper, last year's rookie of the year in the NL, was 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBI, his pair of homers giving him seven on the season. Apparently not affected by any kind of sophomore slump, Harper is batting .371 with 14 RBI.

The Nationals evened their series in New York after a 7-1 loss, Friday. The two will meet for the rubber game at 1:10 pm Sunday at Citi Field.

The result left 10-7 Washington just three games behind the Braves, who have lost two straight to the Pirates. New York is 4 1/2 out, at 8-8.

STREAKERS: Despite the recent turmoil in Beantown, the Red Sox have maintained their composure, putting together a seven-game winning streak to lead the AL East with a 12-4 record (best in the AL), two up on the Yankees in the division. In the NL West, the Rockies have surprised everybody with an eight-game streak of their own, taking a 2 1/2 game lead over San Francisco after slipping by the Diamondbacks, 4-3, on Saturday.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Yu Darvish Fans 10, Blanks Mariners in Texas Win; Ike Davis, Lucas Duda Lead Mets over Nationals

Players of the Day for Friday, April 19, 2013

American League

Yu Darvish
Texas picked up a game on AL West leader, Oakland, as the Rangers took the first of a three game series with visiting Seattle by a 7-0 score, behind the brilliant pitching of starter Yu Darvish.

Improving his record to 3-1, Darvish scattered three hits and three walks over seven complete innings, blanking the Mariners while fanning 10.

Texas bats erupted for six runs in the fifth inning to give their ace plenty of breathing room, though Darvish took a seat after seven, having thrown 111 pitches. Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman completed the mound duty, each allowing one hit in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

The series resumes Saturday night, at 8:05 pm EDT in Arlington.

National League

Ike Davis
Lucas Duda
The highly-anticipated pitching duel between Washington Stephen Strasburg and the Mets' Matt Harvey was worth the price of admission to Citi Field, especially for Mets' fans, who saw Strasburg get splattered by the middle of New York's lineup and Harvey work seven strong innings for a 7-0 victory.

Harvey allowed four hits and the lone Washington run while fanning seven while Ike Davis and Lucas Duda each belted a pair of homers to power the Mets' win. Davis hit the first of his two in the sixth and Duda followed later in the inning, both solo shots off Strasburg. In the eighth, the duo did it again, Davis crashing his third of the season - a two run blast - and Duda following up with his second solo shot, his fifth of the season, both bombs coming off reliever Drew Storen.

The result left the two teams 1/2 game apart in the standings. Washington is 9-7, the Mets stand at 8-7, with two more match-ups this weekend. Both are chasing the Braves in the East.

NOTABLE: It's been tough to slow down the Atlanta braves this season, but Pittsburgh's Wandy Rodriquez proved it could be done, blanking the Braves on one hit - a fourth inning single by Jason Heyward - over seven innings, en route to a 7-0 victory. It was just the third time the Braves have suffered defeat. They lead the NL East by four games with a 13-3 record.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Todd Frazier Leads Reds to 4th Straight W in 11-1 Rout of Marlins; Matt Wieters' Grand Slam Buries Rays

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 18, 2013

American League

Matt Wieters
In Baltimore's 10-6 victory over Tampa Bay, Matt Wieters was there at the start and delivered the final blow to end the game.

Down 3-0 in the second inning, Wieters doubled and scored on Chris Davis' single to center for Baltimore's first run. Davis then scored on on Nolan Reimold's two-run homer, tying the game.

The teams exchanged blows, eventually sending the game to extra innings at 6-6. In the bottom of the 10th, Wieters made his way to the plate with the bases chock full of Orioles and delivered a 376-foot blow to right field, clearing the wall for a walk-off, grand slam homer, his third long ball of the season. The win was Baltimore's 17th straight extra-innings triumph.

The Orioles took the home series, two games to one, over the Rays, leaving Baltimore at 8-7, two games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. Tampa Bay dropped to 5-10, six games out, in last place.

National League

Todd Frazier
By all appearances, the 3-13 Miami Marlins are the worst team in the majors, on pace to lose 130 games, and, while that number is probably a stretch, they look like sure 100-game losers, especially after the 11-1 beat-down by Cincinnati Thursday night.

Miami tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, but their pitching staff allowed four runs in the bottom of the frame, four more in the fifth and two in the sixth, completing the rout.

Third baseman Todd Frazier scored three times in the fray, reaching on a walk and scoring on a sac fly in the fourth, singling and scoring in the fifth and finally, belting his fifth home run of the season in the sixth inning with one aboard to complete Cincinnati's scoring barrage for their fourth straight win.

Frazier is batting .298 with 14 RBI thus far and should add to his totals shortly. The Reds have a clear path to first place in the NL Central with three more home games against the Marlins over the weekend. Cincinnati trails the Cardinals in the division by 1/2 game.

The Cardinals topped Philadelphia, 4-3, on Thursday, and have three more games with the Phillies through the weekend.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A.J. Burnett Blanks Cardinals on One Hit over Seven in Pittsburgh Win; Wade Davis, Royals Snap Braves' 10-Game Win Streak

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 17, 2013

American League
Wade Davis: 2-0

Kansas City was the toast of the Grapefruit League and their hot Spring has carried over into the regular season.

The Royals improved to 8-6, one game back of the Tigers in the AL Central, as they snapped the Braves' 10-game winning streak with a sharp, 1-0 win in Atlanta.

KC starter Wade Davis was hitting his marks from the mound, scattering five hits over seven full innings, striking out seven without yielding any walks.

Davis picked up his second win of the season, from three starts. He earned the win against Minnesota a week ago, blanking the Twins on four hits over five innings. Wednesday's effort was his longest start of the year, lowering his ERA to a solid 2.25.

The only run of the game came in the fourth inning, when Jeff Francoeur singled to left, scoring Alcides Escobar

The Royals split the two-game series with the Braves, losing, 6-3 on Tuesday.

National League

A.J. Burnett
Righty A.J. Burnett is one of the more enigmatic players in major league baseball. One day he's unhittable, the next outing he may last only four or five innings and get belted around like a rank minor leaguer.

On Wednesday, Burnett brought his "A" game, stifling the Cardinals on one hit over seven innings, striking out eight without a walk. Only St. Louis' cleanup hitter, Carlos Beltran, was able to figure out Burnett, doubling with two down in the seventh inning.

With a 3-0 lead and having thrown 101 pitches, Burnett retired after seven, leaving mop-up duty to a trio of Pittsburgh relievers, who did not allow a hit in the 5-0 Pirate victory. The Pirates added two more runs in the eighth inning.

It was Burnett's first win against two losses this season. He's allowed 17 hits and seven earned runs over 24 innings from four starts.

The Cardinals won Monday's meeting with the Pirates by a 10-6 score. Wednesday game was the make-up for Tuesday's rain-out. the result leaving the Pirates at 7-7 a game behind St. Louis in the Central. Cincinnati is 1/2 game out after hammering the Phillies 11-2.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Juan Francisco Socks a Pair as Braves Go 12-1; Miguel Cabrera Leads Detroit to 1st Place in AL Central

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 16, 2013

American League

Miguel Cabrera
With their 6-2 victory at Seattle and Kansas City's 6-3 loss at Atlanta, the Detroit Tigers took over sole possession of first place in the AL Central.

Last year's MVP and triple crown winner, Miguel Cabrera provided the bulk of the tigers' offense, singling in the game's first run in the first inning, then erasing a 2-1 Seattle lead with a two-run homer in the fifth. Cabrera got his third hit of the day in the seventh, singling home Austin Jackson with an insurance tally.

Cabrera's homer was his second of the year, his 3-for-5 effort raising his batting average to .345. His four RBI upped his total to 17 on the season, the third highest total in the AL behind teammate Prince Fielder and Baltimore's Chris Davis, both of whom have 19.

Detroit leads the Royals by one game in the division and have two games remaining in Seattle before heading down the coast to play the Angels.

National League

Juan Francisco
In Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Royals, Braves' hitters produced nine hits, five of them going over the fences for solo home runs.

Justin Upton blasted his major league-leading eighth of the season, sandwiched in between bombs by Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla in the eighth inning, the Braves going back-to-back-to-back off Royals' reliever Kelvin Herrera, putting the game away with four runs in the inning.

The other runs scored by Atlanta came off the bat of Juan Francisco, who touched off solo shots in the second and seventh innings, his second blast tying the game at 2-2.

Francisco's two homers were his second and third of the season, helping Atlanta to baseball's best record. At 12-1, they lead the NL East by a whopping 4 1/2 games over the Nationals. Miami, which has begun the season with a 3-11 mark, are already 9 1/2 games off the pace.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Joe Mauer Goes 4-for-5 in Twins' Win; Ryan Zimmerman Drives in Four for Nationals

Players of the Day for Monday, April 15, 2013

American League

Mauer: 4-for-5
Not much has been heard from Minnesota this season, probably because until Monday, they had only won four games, but Joe Mauer made a bit of noise with four hits in five at-bats in the Twins' 8-2 win over the Angels.

Speaking of quiet, the Angels aren't exactly blowing off firecrackers at 4-9.

Mauer rapped out a couple of singles, a double and a homer, scored twice and drove in three runs, raising his batting average to .346, which is about where he's likely to finish at the end of the season.

Mauer won the AL batting title in 2006, 2008 and 2009, batting .327, 3.48 and .365, respectively.

The Twins improved to 5-7 and have two more games at home with the Angels, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ryan Zimmerman
National League

After being swept by the Braves, the Washington Nationals needed to get back to winning, so there probably was no better place to do that than in Miami, where the Marlins have won only once in seven games this season.

Jordan Zimmermann tossed a complete game for his third win without a loss and Ryan Zimmerman drove in four runs as the Nats hammered the Marlins, 10-3.

Zimmerman had been off to a slow start, batting just .208 entering the game, but went 2-for-5 with his first home run of the season in the fourth inning with a man aboard and also singled in a run. He got one more home with a sac fly.

The Nationals are 8-5, tied with the Mets for second place in the NL East. Both are trailing the 11-1 Braves by 3 1/2 games.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Austin Jackson Leads Tigers Past A's; Paul Maholm Blanks Nats as Braves Complete Sweep

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 14, 2013

American League

On Saturday, the Tigers snapped Oakland's nine-game winning streak with a 7-2 victory On Sunday afternoon, they made sure the A's knew the 2012 AL champion was still the boss, hammering Oakland, 10-1, taking the series by the bay two games to one.
Austin Jackson

Detroit knocked around five Oakland pitchers for 14 hits, four of them off the bat of leadoff hitter, Austin Jackson, who got things started with a single to open the game, scoring on Torii Hunter's double. In the second, Jackson cracked his first home run of the season, a two-run blow that put the Tigers comfortably into a 4-0 lead.

In the fourth, Jackson singled and scored again, and singled home his third RBI of the game in the seventh, finishing up 4-for-6 at the plate, raising his batting average to .386; his 17 runs leads the AL.

Detroit gets a travel day Monday, heading to Seattle for a three-game series, starting Tuesday.

National League

Paul Maholm
Batting from the leadoff spot, B.J. Upton singled and doubled twice in five at-bats, scoring twice and brother Justin cracked his seventh home run of the season as the Braves completed their three-game sweep of the Nationals with a 9-0 pasting.

The Braves pounded out 12 hits while starter Paul Maholm was shredding the Washington order, allowing just four hits and one walk over 7 2/3 innings for his third win of the season without a loss. Maholm fanned seven, giving him 20 on the season, extending his scoreless string to 20 2/3 innings to start the year.

Maholm joins the Giants' Madison Bumgarner and the Mets' Matt Harvey as three-game winners. He is tied with San Fran's Barry Zito with a 0.00 ERA.

Atlanta improved to 11-1 and holds a 3 1/2 game lead over the Mets in the NL East. The Nationals are four games out.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adam Wainwright Goes 3-for-3, Blanks Brewers; Mark Reynolds Slams Sox in Cleveland Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 13, 2013

American League

Here come the Indians?

Reynolds: GS, 5 RBI
Seriously, the AL Central could go any way, but the likelihood is that there will be a winner and no wild card from one of baseball's most competitive divisions.

Cleveland (5-5) got to within 1/2 game of co-leaders, Detroit and Kansas City, when Mark Reynolds broke open a close game with a fifth inning grand slam off Chicago's Chris Sale, en route to a 9-4 victory.

In the third inning, Reynolds had given Cleveland a 3-2 lead when he drove in Nick Swisher with a single. He finished 2-for-5 with five big RBI.

Reynolds, traded from Baltimore to the Indians during the off-season, gives the Indians a regular starter at third base, and a solid bat in the lineup, though the number of strikeouts are a concern. Reynolds whiffed 159 times last season, his lowest number in five seasons. When he was with Arizona, he averaged over 200 strikeouts per season, but was always a solid run-producer.

So far this season, things are looking good. Reynolds has struck out eight times, but has five homers and 13 RBI.

National League
Wainwright: CG,
shutout, 12K, 3-3

St. Louis has started off 2013 in solid fashion, winning their fourth straight, to take a two-game lead over the Pirates and Reds after dusting the Brewers for the second straight game with an 8-0 win.

Adam Wainwright proved too tough for the Brewers, twirling the complete-game shutout for his second win of the season against one loss.

Wainwright was impressive both on the mound and at the plate. He allowed just four hits, did not issue a single walk and fanned 12, tying his career best. It was his fifth shutout and 12th career complete game.

When he wasn't tormenting Milwaukee batters, he was touching off rallies, going 3-for-3 - all singles - with two RBI, including two singles in St. Louis' seven-run sixth inning, which broke the game wide open. The Brewers have not scored against St. Louis in this series, losing 2-0 on Friday.

The Cards will go for the sweep of Milwaukee when the teams take the field Sunday at 2:15 pm EDT in St. Louis.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Justin Masterson Goes Distance in 1-0 Tribe Win over White Sox; Rookie Shelby Miller Leads Cardinals with 7 Scoreless

Players of the Day for Friday, April 12, 2013

American League

Justin Masterson
Cleveland's Justin Masterson became the first MLB pitcher to record three wins, twirling a five hit shutout of the visiting White Sox for a 1-0 victory.

The 6'6" right-hander went the distance for the first time this season, blanking Chicago on five hits, with one walk and seven Ks.

Masterson has allowed just 10 hits and one earned run in 22 innings, holding hitters to a combined .141 batting average, while earning all but one of Cleveland's early season wins (4-5).

In his sixth major league season, Masterson has thrown five complete games. The win over the White Sox was his second career shutout.

Th eonly run of the game came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Nick Swisher singled home Michael Bourn, who had doubled off Chicago reliever, Jesse Crain.

National League

Shelby Miller
St. Louis opened up a one-game lead in the Central division, as the Reds lost at Pittsburgh, 6-5, while the Cardinals were dispatching the Brewers, 2-0.

Milwaukee's leadoff hitter, Norichika Aoki, started the game with a single off Cardinals' rookie starter, Shelby Miller, but that turned out to be the only hit the Brewers would get until the ninth inning, as Miller set down 21 of the next 22 batters for seven shutout innings, his only mistake the plunking of Alex Gonzalez with one out in the second.

Trevor Rosenthal worked a hitless eighth, and Mitchell Boggs finished up with his second save of the season, giving up an uneventful single to Jean Segura in the ninth.

Miller threw 113 pitches, 87 of them for strikes as he improved to 2-0. He struck out eight without giving up a walk.

The Cardinals and Brewers go at it again on Saturday at 4:15 pm EDT in St. Louis.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bryce Harper Leads Nationals in Sweep of White Sox; Detroit Pounds Blue Jays, 11-1, Behind Torii Hunter

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 11, 2013

American League

Torii Hunter
Twice in his four at-bats, Torii Hunter came to the plate with runners in scoring position and both times he delivered solid singles, driving in three runs and scoring twice as the Tigers mauled the Blue Jays, 11-1.

Hunter, batting a brisk .405, was 2-for-4; teammate Prince Fielder also had two hits and drove in four runs, supporting the eight innings of work by Doug Fister (2-0), who allowed one earned run while scattering eight hits.

A regular starter since 1999, Hunter arrived in Detroit during the off-season after five seasons with the Angels.

Oddly enough, the Tigers, last season's AL champs, are chasing the Kansas City Royals, winners of four straight. Detroit trails KC by a game in the Central division.

National League

Bryce Harper
As a rookie last season, Bryce Harper turned plenty of heads, winning the NL rookie of the year award batting. 270 with 22 homers, 57 RBI, 18 steals and 98 runs..

He doesn't seem to be suffering from much of a sophomore slump, batting .417 with eight RBI, two of which he produced in Thursday's interleague, 7-4 win over the visiting White Sox.

Harper was on base four of the five times he went to the plate, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and two walks, scoring twice. The Nationals have won three straight, sweeping the Sox, but find themselves a game back of the Braves in the NL East, who have put together a six-game winning streak.

The Braves and Nationals open a three-game series in Washington beginning Friday at 7:05 pm EDT.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A.J. Pollock Leads Arizona over Pirates; Brandon Moss Helps A's to 7th Straight Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 10, 2013

American League

With their 11-5 win over the Angels, Oakland has won seven in a row, launching themselves to the top of the AL West standings with a one-game lead over Texas.

Brandon Moss
Spearheading the A's 16-hit assault was Brandon Moss, who tripled in a pair of runs in the third inning, stroked a solo homer in the fifth, walked and scored in the A's five-run sixth and singled home another run in the seventh to finish off Oakland's scoring.

Moss was 3-for-5 with four RBI, scoring twice. The capable first baseman is batting a cool .400, with 10 RBI and two home runs.

After starting the season with two losses to Seattle, the A's came back to win the final two games of that series, then swept the Astros three straight and have won the first two games of their series with the Angels, which culminates tonight at 7:05 PDT in LA. The A's are 5-0 on the road while the Angels are still searching for their first home win (0-2).

National League

A.J. Pollock
While Buster Posey and Barry Zito (2-0, 0.00 ERA) were busy busting one on the Rockies with a 10-0 win, their third straight, Arizona kept pace with a 10-2 win at home, leaving the Diamondbacks and Giants tied atop the NL West with identical 6-3 records.

Pace by rookie center fielder A.J. Pollock's best game as a pro, Arizona blew away the visiting Pirates with three runs in each of the first and second innings and four more in the fourth.

Pollock who was 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs, doubled and scored the first run for the Diamondbacks in the first on a wild pitch, socked a three-run homer in the second and led off the fourth with a solo shot.

Pollock played 17 games with Arizona in 2012, and has stuck as the regular center fielder.

Avoiding the sweep in Pittsburgh, the D'Backs get a day off Thursday before opening a three-game home set with the Dodgers on Friday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jose Altuve, Chris Carter Power Astros in 16-9 Rout of Mariners; Lance Lynn Fans 10 in St. Louis Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 9, 2013

American League

Jose Altuve
Houston's tenure in the American League is just eight games old, but the Astros have already settled into their usual position, at the bottom of the standings in the West division.

Chris Carter
On Tuesday, however, the Astros showed they have some punch, scoring 13 runs in the first four innings in a 16-9 win over the Seattle Mariners for their second win of the season against six losses.

The barrage was led by a couple of Houston's "youth movement" players, second baseman Jose Altuve and first baseman Chris Carter.

Altuve, who hit .290 in 147 games last season, was 4-for-6 against the Mariners, stroking a pair of singles, a double and his first homer of the season, a two-out, two-run, fourth inning shot, raising his batting average to a sharp .353. Altuve drove in four runs from the leadoff spot.

Carter belted a pair of solo homers and had two singles in six at-bats, driving in three runs. Carter's homers were his first of the season. He socked 16 in 67 games with Oakland last year and was traded to the Astros during the off-season.

Lance Lynn
National League

St. Louis isn't planning on letting the Reds forge a big lead in the NL Central.

After losing the opener of their three-game set in Cincy, the Cards rode the arm of Lance Lynn to a 6-1 victory, evening their record at 4-4, while cutting the Reds' division lead to one game.

Lynn allowed one earned run on four hits over six innings with one walk. He struck out 10 for his first win of the season (1-0), throwing 101 pitches before departing the mound.

A trio of St. Louis relievers finished up, each working an inning, setting down the Reds on one hit.

Homer Bailey will start Wednesday's rubber game against Cardinal starter, Jake Westbrook, at 1:45 EDT in St. Louis.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Paul Maholm Blanks Marlins, Justin Upton Socks 6th Homer for Braves; Robinson Cano Leads Yankees over Indians

Players of the Day for Monday, April 8, 2013

American League

Cano: 3-4, 2HR
Even though the Yankees roster has been decimated by injuries (Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, A-Rod), there's still plenty of pop in the lineup, as the Cleveland indians found out on Monday in an 11-6 loss.

The Yanks cranked out 13 hits in the win, scoring three in the first inning, before Cleveland tied it in the bottom of the frame, but then New York scored a run or more in each inning from the third through the seventh.

Smack in the middle of the offensive outburts was Robinson Cano, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo homers, a double, two RBI and four runs.

Off to a slow start, Cano doubled his hit output from three to six, raising his batting average from .130 to .222.

The Yankees are 3-4 and tied with Baltimore and Tampa Bay in second place in the AL East. The trio trails Boston by two games.

National League

Maholm: 7IP, 1H, OER
After a failed attempt at buying its way into the playoffs in 2012, Miami unloaded most of the expensive talent it had acquired and this season is feeling the effects of self-imposed austerity.

Upton: 6 HRs
Paul Maholm blanked the Marlins on one hit over seven innings, leading the Braves to a 2-0 shutout of Miami, the third time this season the Marlins have failed to score a run.

Justin Upton went 4-for-4 with his sixth home run, a sixth-inning solo whack, after singling and scoring in the fourth inning. Upton leads the NL with six homers in seven games this season and is batting .423 with eight RBI.

Improving to 2-0, Maholm was money on the mound, fanning seven with three walks, the only hit a single off the bat of Placido Polanco in the third inning. Maholm finished strong, getting 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, plunking Juan Pierre with two down in the fifth the only break in his hitless string. Maholm has allowed just seven hits and no runs over 12 2/3 innings to start the season.

The 6-1 Braves hold a one-game lead over the Mets in the NL East.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Will Middlebrooks, Carlos Santana Star in 13-0 Romps by Boston, Cleveland; Matt Carpenter Leads Cardinals over Giants

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 7, 2013

American League

Carlos Santana
Will Middlebrooks
If you're in a 13-run club pool, you got a double dose on Sunday, as the Indians dumped Tampa Bay and Boston wrecked Toronto by identical 13-0 scores.

Each game produced a no-doubt-about-it player of the day, splitting the AL variety of the award.

At Tropicana Field in Tampa, as the Indians banged out 17 hits, Carlos Santana went 5-for-5 with two doubles and two singles, capping off his night with a ninth-inning, two-run homer off Rays' reliever, Fernondo Rodney. Santana drove in three runs and scored three times.

In Toronto, the Red Sox took over sole possession of first place in the AL East with their 13-0 rout, spearheaded by third baseman Will Middlebrooks' 4-for-4 performance, which included three home runs and a double, resulting in four RBI and four runs scored.

National League

Playing the rubber game of their three-game series in San Francisco, the St. Louis Cardinals made an early season statement to the defending world champs with a resounding, 14-3, victory.

Matt Carpenter
After the Giants nicked starter Adam Wainwright for two runs in the bottom of the third, St. Louis bats exploded for nine runs in the top of the fourth, chasing Giants' starter, Matt Cain after just 3 2/3 innings.

Matt Carpenter got to the plate twice in the inning, singling with a man aboard and later scoring, just moments before he went plate-ward again, delivering a two-out, bases-loaded singled which plated two more runs and sent Cain to the showers.

In the seventh, Carpenter doubled with two outs, driving in Jon Jay, later scoring on Adam Craig's single, finishing up a 3-for-5 effort with three runs and three RBI.

St. Louis took the final two games of the series after losing the opener, leaving both teams with 3-3 records. Carpenter ended the day with a .320 batting average.