Sunday, July 28, 2002

Notes from Saturday's games



The Associated Press

        NATIONAL LEAGUE
       Cubs-Cardinals

        CHICAGO: Sammy Sosa was held to two walks Saturday but manager Bruce Kimm said they played a key role in the Cubs' win. “He kept innings going and showed what a complete player he is,” Kimm said. ... The Cubs are 10-8 since Kimm took over as manager and he said he has been impressed by their effort. “I think this team is trying very hard and they play better than the record shows,” he said. ... Kimm said 1B Fred McGriff who had a tough game in the field Friday would play Sunday after sitting out Saturday. “It was so hot, it was a good time to rest him, but he's our guy,” Kimm said.

        ST. LOUIS: Garrett Stephenson is scheduled to make a simulated start Sunday in preparation for a rehab assignment at Class-A Peoria. Stephenson (1-1) has been out most of the season with a pulled hamstring and had leg surgery June 6. The Cardinals hope to have him back by September. ... The Cardinals have made at least one error in a season-high nine straight games. ... Tino Martinez had a six-game hitting streak snapped Saturday when he went 0-for-3.

        ———
       Pirates-Astros

        PITTSBURGH: The Pirates have been shut out eight times this season, while holding their opponents scoreless twice. ... Mike Williams needs one more save for his 100th as a Pirate.

        HOUSTON: Daryle Ward's home run Friday night was the 300th home run hit by a Houston player at Minute Maid Park. ... Houston has not lost a home series to Pittsburgh since 1991.

        ———
       Marlins-Expos

        FLORIDA: RHP Brad Penny's next start has been pushed back to next Saturday against Milwaukee. A blister on his right index finger forced Penny — who was originally scheduled to start against St. Louis on Wednesday — to leave 4 1-3 innings into Thursday's 3-2 win. ... 2B Luis Castillo is tied with Jeff Conine for the Marlins' career hits lead with 737. ... 1B Derek Lee matched his career high by hitting in his 12th straight game Saturday.

        MONTREAL: RHP Tony Armas Jr. was placed on the 15-day DL because of a strained lower back muscle. Armas sustained the injury to right side of his lower back early in Friday's 6-5, 10-inning win. Armas is 8-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 18 starts this season. RHPs Zach Day and Britt Reames were recalled from Triple-A Ottawa. INF Henry Mateo was optioned to Ottawa. ... The Expos held their second discount tickets and hot dogs promotion of the season. A crowd of 29,778 — the second-largest Olympic Stadium crowd of the season — was on hand for the first promotion, a 3-2 loss to San Francisco on May 11. ... RHP Tomo Ohka has a 7.71 ERA over his last two starts, allowing 16 hits and eight runs over 9 1-3 innings to raise his ERA from 3.07 to 3.43.

        ———
       Reds-Mets

        CINCINNATI: 1B Adam Dunn hit a mammoth home run that hit the top of scoreboard in right-center with a loud thud during batting practice that drew gasps from fans and teammates. Dunn hit one when it counted, too: his 21st of the season in the sixth inning, an estimated 410 feet into the second deck in right field to tie the game at 1. ... Ken Griffey Jr. said he felt no effects from being hit in the helmet by a pitch from Mark Guthrie on Friday night. ... C Kelly Stinnett struck out in his first four at-bats before walking in the 11th inning Saturday. ... The Reds struck out 15 times against six Mets pitchers. ... SS Barry Larkin did not start after injuring his lower right calf in the fourth inning Friday. He is day to day.

        NEW YORK: LHP Mark Guthrie extended his career-best scoreless streak to 25 2-3 innings over 31 appearances. He struck out Adam Dunn with Aaron Boone on third and intentionally walked Ken Griffey Jr. in the eighth inning. ... Closer Armando Benitez pitched 2 1-3 innings, his longest outing of the season. ... The Mets signed LHP Kelvin Garay, their 11th-round draft pick (327th) in this year's draft. Garay, from Colegio Santa Cruz High School in Puerto Rico, will start his career with Kingston of the rookie Appalachian League.

        ———
       Phillies-Braves

        PHILADELPHIA: RHP David Coggin has put together a scoreless streak of 16 innings, a season high for the Phillies, but his control is a major concern. Coggin walked three in one inning Saturday after walking the only two batters he faced the previous night against the Braves. For the season, he has surrendered 44 walks in 58 innings. ... Coggin isn't the only Phillies pitcher having trouble with his control. Philadelphia walked 15 in the first two games of the series at Turner Field. “We walked way too many guys,” manager Larry Bowa said. “You can't walk that many against a good team like that.” ... LF Pat Burrell misplayed a fly ball that dropped in foul territory near the stands in the first inning. Gary Sheffield took advantage of the miscue with a run-scoring double. ... The Phillies, who started the season 3-21 away from Veterans Stadium, haven't lost in their last eight road series (6-0-2) — their longest such streak since 1954. They have a chance to extend that mark after splitting the first two games against the Braves.

        ATLANTA: RHP Kevin Gryboski said his right elbow has been hurting for about a month, but he didn't go on the disabled list until Saturday. Gryboski, a key member of the Braves' bullpen, had given up six earned runs in his last 9 1-3 innings when he succumbed to the pain and swelling. His slider was especially affected by the mysterious injury. “It's just bothering me a lot,” Gryboski said. “I tried pitching through it, but I couldn't do it.” He will undergo a MRI on Monday in hopes of determining the cause of his pain. In the meantime, the Braves activated RHP Darren Holmes to take Gryboski's spot on the 25-man roster. He had been on the DL since July 7 with a laceration on his right thumb. ... LHP Mike Remlinger gave up a run in the eighth inning, ending a streak of 14 2-3 scoreless innings in his past 15 appearances. Four of the eight runs Remlinger has surrendered this year came in an April 28 game against Houston, when he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced. Other than that outing, his ERA is a remarkable 0.71. ... RHP Greg Maddux lasted only 5 2-3 innings, but still threw a season-high 100 pitches. ... RHP John Smoltz is one short of the franchise record after earning his 38th save. “When I signed on for this, I didn't think about any records,” said Smoltz, in his first full season as the Braves closer. “I'm not going to start now.”

        ———
       Rockies-Brewers

        COLORADO: Colorado claimed LHP Mark Watson off waivers from Seattle. Watson was 1-0 with an 18.00 ERA in three appearances with the Mariners from July 14-19. He also pitched six games with Cleveland in 2000. ... In addition to 12 games in four cities on their longest road trip of the year, the Rockies also travel to Cooperstown, N.Y., Monday to participate in the Hall of Fame game. John Thomson will start for the Rockies. ... Larry Walker's .528 batting average over his last 10 games (19-for-36) pushed him atop the entire major leagues with a .363 batting average entering Saturday. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki was at .362.

        MILWAUKEE: Milwaukee scored at least 10 runs in each of the first two games of its series with Colorado. The last time the Brewers scored 10 runs in three consecutive games, Sept. 9-11, 1998, against the Chicago Cubs, they lost two of the games. ... Milwaukee is trying to avoid losing 100 games for the first time in the team's history, but its chances will drop dramatically if it doesn't get hot before September. In the season's final month, the Brewers play 18 games against the top three teams in the Central Division (St. Louis, Cincinnati and Houston) and three-game series against Arizona and San Francisco. Only a three-game series against the lowly Cubs on Sept. 2-4 provides relief.

        ———
       Padres-Diamondbacks

        SAN DIEGO: Rookie SS Ramon Vazquez doubled twice for the first time in the 90th game of his career. Ron Gant was the last Padres player to hit two doubles in one game, on July 2 at St. Louis. ... Starter Brian Lawrence matched his season high by issuing three walks. ... The Padres had gone 23 innings without a run before Mark Kotsay's RBI single in the sixth. ... Because of injuries, the Padres have used 50 players, the most in the big leagues, through 104 games. Last year they set an NL record and tied the major league record by using 56.

        ARIZONA: RHP Curt Schilling is the first pitcher since Randy Jones in 1976 to win 18 games before Aug. 1. Jones won his 18th in San Diego's 101st game, while Schilling earned his in Arizona's 104th. ... Schilling (18-3) also picked up his 150th victory (150-104) while recording his sixth straight win for the first time since July 18, 1999. ... During the first six games of a homestand that ends Sunday, Arizona starters are 5-0 with a 0.98 ERA. ... The Diamondbacks' six-game win streak matches their longest of the season (April 11-16). ... The Diamondbacks put C Damian Miller on the 15-day DL with a strained lower back before the game and activated 1B Erubiel Durazo (oblique strain) from the DL. Durazo, who hadn't played in July, went 2-for-3 and hit a three-run homer. ... CF Steve Finley will sit out games until at least Tuesday waiting for a bone bruise on his left elbow to heal.

        ———
       Dodgers-Giants

        LOS ANGELES: RHP Kevin Brown will throw in the bullpen at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Brown, who's recovering from back surgery, reportedly looked good during a similar throwing session earlier in the week. ... The Dodgers have won four of their first five games at Pacific Bell Park this season. Los Angeles won five of nine games last season at the Giants' park. ... 3B Adrian Beltre apparently got the message when the Dodgers acquired Tyler Houston from the Brewers earlier this week. Houston was acquired to give Los Angeles another left-handed bat — and to light a fire under Beltre, whose inconsistency and unwillingness to hit the ball to the opposite field had frustrated manager Jim Tracy. In the Dodgers' first two games since Houston's arrival, however, Beltre went 7-for-9 with five RBIs. Houston played first base in both games, getting four hits on Friday night in his debut before going 0-for-5 Saturday. “That's the kind of player (Beltre) is capable of being,” Tracy said. “Once he gains the realization that there are hits on the right side of second base, he could become a very good major league third baseman.”

        SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants have lost three straight games for the first time since July 3-5. ... On Sunday, the Giants will wear replica jerseys of the 1951 NL champion New York Giants, who won the pennant on Bobby Thomson's famous homer. Twelve players from the 1951 team, including Thomson and Alvin Dark, will be honored before the game. ... Dusty Baker will manage the 1,500th game of his career on Tuesday in Philadelphia. ... RHP Jay Witasick was added to the Giants' lengthy DL Saturday with a bruised left foot. Witasick was hit by a line drive from Beltre in the fourth inning of the Dodgers' 11-6 victory on Friday. Witasick continued to pitch for three more innings, but his foot swelled overnight. The Giants replaced him on the 40-man roster by purchasing the contract of RHP Manny Aybar from Triple-A Fresno and moving Jason Christiansen from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day list.

        AMERICAN LEAGUE
       Athletics-Rangers

        OAKLAND: The A's and Rangers combined to use eight pitchers in the seventh inning of Friday night's 12-4 Texas victory, setting an AL record. Each team used four pitchers in the inning, which tied the major league mark. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets used eight pitchers in the eighth inning of a game Aug. 26, 1987, five by the Dodgers and three by the Mets. ... Entering the game, Oakland had played 12 one-run games over the previous 22. The A's were 8-4 in those 12 games, 21-7 in one-run games for the season.

        TEXAS: 2B Michael Young started four of the Rangers' team record-tying five double plays Friday night. Only one 2B in major league history has started five double plays in a game: Jerry Priddy of Detroit on May 20, 1950. ... RHP Ismael Valdes will take his regular turn in the rotation Sunday night. Valdes left a start last Tuesday after seven innings due to soreness in his left knee.

        ———
       Tigers-Indians

        DETROIT: When Bobby Higginson, Robert Fick and Randall Simon each finished with four hits in Friday's win, it marked the first time that a Tigers trio had done it since June 13, 2000. On that day, Higginson, Brad Ausmus and Shane Halter each got four hits against Toronto. ... 3B Chris Truby went 0-for-4 for Triple-A Toledo on Friday night as he continued to rehab from a pulled ribcage. ... No. 9 has been lucky for the Tigers this season. Detroit's collective .303 batting average coming in was the AL's highest out of the bottom spot in the batting order. Tigers No. 9 hitters lead the league in doubles, triples, and slugging percentage. Ramon Santiago and Brandon Inge have batted mostly in the No. 9 hole. ... Damion Easley's homer in the third inning gave the Tigers an extra-base hit in 55 of their last 57 games.

        CLEVELAND: 1B Jim Thome is the 15th player to hit at least 30 homers in seven straight seasons. Jimmie Foxx holds the major league record with 12 seasons (1929-40). The other active players who have done it are Barry Bonds (1992-2001), Sammy Sosa (1995-2002), Rafael Palmeiro and Mike Piazza (1995-2001). ... OF Matt Lawton was activated from the disabled list before the game. Lawton had been out since July 12 with a strained left calf, and he's hoping he can salvage the remainder of his first season with the Indians. Lawton's disappointing season has included a separated right shoulder. What bothers Lawton most is his .242 batting average. “It's been hard looking out at the scoreboard and seeing that I'm hitting in the .240s, and I know I'm a lot better than that,” he said. “I've wanted to turn this thing around.” ... Indians interim manager Joel Skinner said RHP Charles Nagy will stay in the starting rotation despite allowing six runs and 12 hits in 2 2-3 innings Friday night.

        ———
       Orioles-Red Sox

        BALTIMORE: Jorge Julio had not allowed an earned run in his last 21 games, going 2-1 with 10 saves. ... The team recalled INF Brian Roberts from Triple-A Rochester on Friday only after canceling plans to activate Chris Richard from the 60-day DL. Richard strained a muscle during a batting practice rehab stint at Rochester earlier this week. ... The Orioles sure seem to like playing the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Entering the game, they were 16-10 since 1999 at Fenway, and only 7-20 in Camden Yards.

        BOSTON: Manager Grady Little said knuckleballer Tim Wakefield would take Rolando Arrojo's spot in the rotation Wednesday at Anaheim. “We're in a transition period, trying to get things straightened out the best we can,” Little said. Arrojo gave up five runs in just three innings in Friday's 9-2 loss to the Orioles. ... Little also said left-handed reliever Alan Embree, on the 15-day DL with elbow inflammation, would be activated Monday. ... Burkett is 10-0 against AL teams this season, but 1-6 lifetime against Baltimore.

        ———
       Yankees-Devil Rays

        NEW YORK: Manager Joe Torre said the Yankees will go with five starting pitchers after RHP Roger Clemens completes his rehab assignment, and a decision on which of the six starters will go to the bullpen could probably come by next weekend. “The role, which ever one is going to be told, is going to be to help us win,” Torre said. “It's tough to make that decision, but I know there would be a lot of managers that would like to make that tough decision and have my problem.” Torre would not name potential bullpen candidates, but the choice might come down to either Jeff Weaver or Orlando Hernandez. ... Torre talked with RF Raul Mondesi, who carried his bat up the first base line after homering in Friday night's game. “We don't do that here,” Torre said. “What he did last night isn't what he normally does. I guess he's had some problems here, got hit a couple times and that was part of the explanation.” ... Closer Mariano Rivera (right shoulder strain) has started his rehab at the Yankees' minor league complex. He could play catch in the next day or two. ... OF Shane Spencer (sore right elbow) can hit, but is still unable to throw. It will likely be at least a few more days before he can play in the field.

        TAMPA BAY: INF Andy Sheets will start taking flyballs in pregame workouts. Sheets had seven RBIs in his first six games since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on July 20. “The more places he can play, the more opportunities to play,” manager Hal McRae said. ... INF Felix Escalona will make his first start Sunday — at third base — since injuring his right groin July 16. ... 1B Steve Cox, who entered in an 11-for-69 slide, will get the day off Sunday. DH Aubrey Huff will replace Cox at first, and 3B Jared Sandberg will be the designated hitter. ... Sunday's starter, RHP Tanyon Sturtze, hasn't won at Tropicana Field since last Oct. 6, when he beat New York Yankees scheduled starter Andy Pettitte. ... Former Houston manager and broadcaster Larry Dierker filled in as the analyst on the Devil Rays' TV broadcast, working with Dewayne Staats. It was the first time the duo has worked together since broadcasting Astros games in 1984.

        ———
       Blue Jays-Twins

        TORONTO: A lack of playing time was key to Darrin Fletcher's sudden retirement from the Blue Jays on Friday. After returning from a stint on the disabled list in May, Fletcher saw limited playing time at catcher behind Ken Huckaby and Tom Wilson. ... OF Pedro Swann, 31, who was recalled Friday to replace Fletcher on the roster, has appeared in just four major league games in his 12-year professional career, all with the Braves in 2000.

        MINNESOTA: Joe Mays' second start since returning from the 60-day disabled list might not have looked good on the stat sheet, but manager Ron Gardenhire was happy with what he saw. “He's going to get right back to where he was last year,” Gardenhire said after Mays allowed five runs in five innings in the Twins' 10-5 victory. “He's got great stuff. They did not get to his fastball. He just had one bad inning.” ... The shoulder tendinitis that put Twins reliever Mike Jackson on the disabled list Friday is not believed to be serious. The Twins feel that with a period of rest, he'll be able to return to the bullpen in mid-August.

        ———
       Royals-White Sox

        KANSAS CITY: The Royals have scored just five total runs in the four games of their current road trip. They are hitting .203 (26-for-128) and the pitching staff has posted a 7.88 ERA, allowing 28 runs in 32 innings. The Royals have also lost 21 of their last 26 on the road. “We haven't been able to hit like we do at home,” manager Tony Pena said. “Everybody on offense is trying too hard. We put a streak together at home and we want to do it on the road. Everybody is pressing. It's not a lack of effort.” ... In Chuck Knoblauch's fifth game back from the disabled list he raised his batting average on Friday from .176 to .194. He went 4-for-5. It was his first four-hit game of the season. “Since he's joined us from the DL he's been able to swing the bat the way we know he can,” Pena said.

        CHICAGO: Willie Harris batted leadoff in place of Kenny Lofton, who got the day off. Harris, now getting a full-time chance in the majors after the White Sox traded Ray Durham, hit his first big league home run Friday night. Harris was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Manager Jerry Manuel thinks Harris will be someone that he will usually bat at the top of the order. ... Manuel was pleased with RHP Dan Wright's performance Friday night. Wright improved to 7-8 against the Royals. He gave up two runs, scattered eight hits and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings. “I think it is time to take the inconsistent label off of him,” Manuel said. “He and Jon Garland are no longer young pitchers, they have the experience to go out and get better with every outing.” ... Magglio Ordonez is 20-for-46 (.435) with five home runs and 11 RBIs over his last 10 games. Frank Thomas is 16-for-41 (.390) with five doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs over his last 11 games to raise his average from .231 to .249. ... Todd Ritchie was scratched from Sunday's start due to inflammation of the right shoulder. RHP Rocky Biddle will take his spot.

        ———
       Angels-Mariners

        ANAHEIM: Brad Fullmer committed a baserunning gaffe in the sixth inning. Fullmer tried to go from first to third when Orlando Palmeiro's grounder went off SS Carlos Guillen's glove for an error. Guillen retrieved the ball and threw out Fullmer easily at third. ... Garret Anderson has a 13-game hitting streak with his AL-leading 37th double in the first inning.

        SEATTLE: Mariners 1B John Olerud made the defensive play of the game in the sixth when he leaped into the air to snare Adam Kennedy's line drive and then doubled Orlando Palmeiro off first. ... Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners had his 11-game hitting streak snapped. ... Bret Boone has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Seattle is 11-28 when scoring three runs or less. ... The Mariners lead the majors with 50 sacrifice flies. Olerud (8), Desi Relaford (7), Jeff Cirillo (7) and Dan Wilson (6) are all in the Top 10 in the AL.

        ———

       



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