Angels 4, Royals 3: Torii Hunter’s catch in the ninth was sick. After the game, Hunter said that it was his second best of all time, with number one being the one in the 2002 All-Star game where he robbed Barry Bonds of a homer. But unlike the 2002 All-Star game, someone won this game, and it was the Angels, who have taken 10 of 13 and now stand poised to take over first place by, oh, Tuesday or so.
Tigers 5, Indians 3: I was listening to this one on the radio as I worked out in the yard, and it was really nice until the color guy followed up a Jhonny Peralta hit with the classic “two of his last three hits have gone to the opposite field, and that’s a really good sign for him,” shtick. Dear Lord there is nothing I hate more than that opposite field rebop. If a guy is struggling, “he has to take what the pitcher is giving him” and hit it to the opposite field. When he does, it’s a “good sign.” If you took that line of commentary away from the broadcast teams, the broadcasts would have about 50% less verbiage. Probably worth noting that just about every announcer who trots out this line is some former slap hitter from back when slap hitters used to hold on to jobs on Major League rosters, but these days, just about everyone can jerk the damn ball to left field, and they probably should be. Peralta himself is someone who is at his most useful when he’s hitting 25 homers a year rather than trying to poke it the other way. Yeah, a hit’s a hit, but if you really want a good sign from him, shouldn’t that sign be him turning on a ball with authority? Anyway, that’s what I was thinking as I was spreading the mulch. Well, that and wondering why Kelly Shoppach was first-pitch swinging in the ninth when Fernando Rodney had no clue where the ball was going.
Cubs 4, Brewers 2: The Cubbies salvage one on an otherwise horrific weekend in Milwaukee. Carlos Marmol gave up a double, balked the runner to third, and then threw a wild pitch to let him score. Still, based on how things have been going lately, that’s some solid relief work for Chicago. Ryan Freel pinch-hit in the ninth and singled but was picked off second base. His injury in Baltimore came on a pickoff throw to second base. What’s he doing down at second base that’s drawing all this attention? Wouldn’t he be better off staying a step or two closer to the bag?
Mariners 5, Twins 3: Nick Blackburn shut out the Mariners for seven innings, giving up only five hits and a walk while striking out six. Then he left and they played the eighth, and that’s when things got ugly. Griffey hit a two run homer that inning, and according to the game story, it went “through a hole in a banner advertising a $25,000 giveaway for such a feat.” Hit bull, win steak?
Blue Jays 5, Athletics 0: The Jays have won seven of ten and have the best record in the junior circuit. They’ve been getting lots of great performances this year from pitchers you’ve never heard of, this time Brett Cecil (8 IP 5, H, 0 ER, 6K). It’s getting the the point where they could run your aunt Tilly out to the hill and get a quality start out of her. Same goes for anyone who faces the A’s, actually.
Astros 12, Padres 5: Miguel Tejada (3-5, 4 RBI), Carlos Lee (3-4, 4 RBI) and Ivan Rodriguez (4-4, 2 RBI) all had big days. Then they went home, watched Matlock and fell asleep in a chair.
Mets 8, Pirates 4: Meanwhile, the Mets can’t seem to lose. Ian Snell thought the Mets had the Pirates’ signs: “”They hit some good pitches. I found out later they had our signs . . . That’s baseball — there’s nothing wrong with it.” Well, unless Pirates’ shortstop Brian Bixler was tipping them while dating Madonna and searching for father figures, I suppose.
Giants 7, Dodgers 5: L.A. drops two of three to San Francisco after losing to the Nats on Thursday. It’s not Juan Pierre’s fault, though, as he’s 9-17 with three doubles, four RBI and a couple of walks since taking over left field for Manny. A combined 0-16 with five strikeouts from Matt Kemp, James Loney and Andre Either really helped do the Dodgers in in this one.
Rockies 3, Marlins 2: The win was nice, but Troy Tulowitzki “tweaked” his left quadriceps in the sixth inning. That’s the same muscle that cost him a big chunk of last season. I enjoyed watching Tulowitzki play so much in 2007, so here’s hoping he doesn’t turn into one of those guys who break out of the gates and then are never the same again.
Diamondbacks 10, Nationals 8: Ryan Zimmerman went 3 for 5 with a home run to extend his hitting streak to 28 games, but it wasn’t enough as Arizona banged out 17 hits to give A.J. Hinch his first win as the Dbacks’ manager. First win as any kind of manager, actually.
Rangers 7, White Sox 1: Vicente Padilla (7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER) posted his second good start in a row, and Hank Blalock hit two homers. The White Sox aren’t scoring any runs lately, and now they go to face the Indians, who haven’t scored any either, so it should be a riveting series, with lots of advice about how guys should be trying to hit the ball the other way.
Yankees 5, Orioles 3: Johnny Damon’s homer in the seventh gets Joba off the hook, as the Yankees win for just the second time in eight games.
Cardinals 8, Reds 7: Micah Owings smacked a two-out pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Unfortunately, Edinson Volquez, who got the start, pitched like Micah Owings, necessitating the rally in the first place. Home runs all over the place in this one, which is kind of what really sucks about Great American Ballpark. Just too many dingers. It feels like Arena Football there sometimes, and it really messes with a baseball fan’s chi when there’s really never a possibility of a nice, purifying pitchers’ duel going down. By the way, I switched to this one on the radio when the Indians-Tigers game ended. Got to it just in time to hear Jeff Brantley going on about how Daniel Herrera “shouldn’t have come into the game trying to strike out Chris Duncan. Instead, he should have been trying to get ahead of the hitter, and then gone for the strikeout.” If you have any clue what the hell that’s supposed to mean, please let me know, because I have no idea.
Braves 4, Phillies 2: It was the Casey Kotchman show, as he goes 3-5 with two doubles and three RBI. Fittingly, this weekend’s return of Brian McCann is met with an injury to Chipper Jones.
Red Sox 4, Rays 3: Papelbon let two reach with a one run lead in the ninth and then fanned Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford. Sorry for the comparison Sox fans, but as a Braves guy, this gave me flashbacks to John Rocker’s glory days. He used to do that kind of thing twice a week.