Monday, August 12, 2002

Notes from Sunday's games

The Associated Press


        SAN DIEGO: The Padres got the leadoff runner aboard in each of the last six innings, but only one of them scored. The Reds' bullpen opened five straight innings by walking a batter. “That was frustrating,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We'd get the leadoff hitter on and wouldn't do much there.” They loaded the bases in the 11th on three walks from John Riedling, but Trenidad Hubbard lined out to shortstop Juan Castro, ending the Padres' best threat. “We get the bases loaded, and Hubbard hits a smash right at somebody,” Bochy said. “You hope for a little bit of luck, and we didn't have it.” ... The Padres played six games against the Reds in the last 10 days and lost five. ... LHP Bobby M. Jones made a fill-in start for injured Oliver Perez and gave up three hits and three runs in four innings. It was his first start since July 4, 2000. ... Jones, acquired from the Mets on July 31, has struggled since the All-Star break, giving up 10 runs in 12 1-3 innings. ... OF Mark Kotsay was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the eighth. He left the game, but X-rays were negative. ... The Padres were swept in Cincinnati for the first time since May 2000. ... The Padres fell a season-high 24 1/2 games behind Arizona in the NL West. It's their biggest deficit since they finished the 1999 season 26 games out.

        CINCINNATI: Aaron Boone's two-run homer in the 12th was his second game-winning homer of the season. On June 14 in Cincinnati, he hit a tying solo homer in the ninth and a solo shot in the 11th for a 4-3 victory over the Pirates. ... Boone went 7-for-16 during the three-game sweep with four homers, two doubles, a single and nine RBIs. Eight of his last 14 hits have been homers. ... The Reds' next 17 games will be against Arizona, Houston and St. Louis. ... RHP Luis Pineda will have surgery later in the week to fix a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Pineda has been on the DL since July 3 with a sore shoulder. He went 1-3 with a 4.18 ERA in 24 relief appearances and two starts.


        ATLANTA: The Braves placed Wes Helms on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb. He will be replaced on the roster by infielder Marcus Giles, who was called up from Triple-A Richmond. ... Atlanta is 24-13 in one-run games and 17-6 in two-run decisions.

        HOUSTON: Houston is 55-2 when leading after eight innings this season, and 132-3 since Minute Maid Park opened in 2001. ... Rookie pitcher Kirk Saarloos has won five consecutive starts and has a 2.87 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on July 20. He has walked only one batter in 31 1-3 innings during that span.


        MONTREAL: Manager Frank Robinson said 26-year-old OF Vladimir Guererro, who homered in each of the three weekend games and already has 202 in his career, will someday put up numbers that “will have everyone saying 'Wow!”' Milwaukee manager Jerry Royster said of Guerrero: “We're already saying 'Wow!”' ... The Expos went 4-2 against Milwaukee this year. Montreal is 17-13 against NL Central teams with three games to play against both the Cubs and Reds. ... Guerrero struck out against Ben Sheets in the eighth inning with two on and the Brewers leading 4-2. “I'll give the kid credit, he really went after him,” Robinson said of Sheets. ... The Expos are 0-10 on Sundays on the road, and 8-1 at home on Sundays this season.

        MILWAUKEE: Manager Jerry Royster insists RHP Ben Sheets will have an outstanding career. “Without a doubt,” Royster said. “Not maybe, without a doubt.” Sheets, an All-Star in 2001 as a rookie after a 10-1 start before finishing 11-10, is 6-14 with a 4.50 ERA this year. His numbers figure to get better, his manager said. “There's never been anybody who throws a curveball and a fastball like he does who hasn't been successful,” Royster said. ... The Brewers are also hoping LHP Glendon Rusch (6-11, 5.08 ERA) can turn things around. “We signed him for two years and we think he'll be a part of our rotation next year,” said GM Dean Taylor, who acquired Rusch in a trade with the Mets. “Good left-handers, as you know, are hard to find.” ... 2B Eric Young has seven hits in his last two games, raising his average to .275 after a horrendous start to the season. “I couldn't slide anymore,” Young said. “I was at the bottom.”


        CHICAGO: Sammy Sosa set an NL record for RBIs in consecutive games with 14. After hitting three homers and driving in nine runs Saturday night, he had five more RBIs Sunday, including a grand slam. ... Sosa's three homers Saturday — all three-run shots in consecutive innings — and his grand slam Sunday gave him 20 homers at Coors Field, the most by a visiting player. Los Angeles' Eric Karros has 19. ... The Cubs' six homers Saturday night were their most since hitting six against Milwaukee on Sept. 12, 1998. The club record is seven, achieved three times. ... RHP Jason Bere, on the disabled list since June 27 with a severely bruised right knee, threw on the side. “I will pretty much leave it in the medical people's hands,” manager Bruce Kimm said. “They will tell me and we will put our heads together on a decision.” ... LHP Steve Smyth got his first major league win and first hit. He had a bunt single in the seventh.

        COLORADO: Manager Clint Hurdle had high praise for Chicago rookie RHP Mark Prior, who beat the Rockies on Saturday and the previous Sunday. “I haven't seen an arm like that since Dwight Gooden,” Hurdle said. “That's quality stuff. Everybody ought to have one of those just to make it fair.” ... Chicago's 15-1 win Saturday marked the largest margin of defeat for the Rockies this season. The Cubs handed the Rockies their biggest loss ever, 26-7 on Aug. 18, 1995. ... Hurdle plans to ease RHP Aaron Cook into the starting rotation. Cook, one of the Rockies' top prospects, made his major league debut Saturday night, pitching two innings of relief. “He'll get a start before the season's over,” Hurdle said. “You're not going to bring a pitcher up with that quality of an arm and not give him an opportunity to start a ballgame.”


        PITTSBURGH: OF Rob Mackowiak, who strained his right oblique muscle last week, was available for pinch-hitting duties. Manager Lloyd McClendon hopes Mackowiak is ready to play full-time when the Pirates return home against St. Louis on Monday. Mackowiak is 4-for-8 with three walks in his last 11 plate appearances. ... The Pirates have 26 wins on the road. They had 24 all of last season. They are still looking for their first winning season on the road since finishing 1992 at 43-38. ... RHP Brian Meadows, scheduled to start Monday's game in Pittsburgh, hasn't won since May 10, 2001, for Kansas City.

        SAN FRANCISCO: Instead of spending another day on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Fresno, OF Tsuyoshi Shinjo returned to San Francisco to rejoin the Giants. He's expected to come off the disabled list (strained right hamstring) when the Giants visit Atlanta on Tuesday. He was 0-for-7 with the Grizzlies. ... The lineup card from Friday night, when OF Barry Bonds hit career home run No. 600, is missing from manager Dusty Baker's office. He planned to present the card to Bonds to commemorate the achievement. “I shouldn't have to lock up everything in my office,” Baker said. “The door is locked, but there's a lot of keys around.” ... 2B Jeff Kent has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games and needs one home run to tie Jack Clark (163) for eighth on San Francisco's career list.


        FLORIDA: 1B Derrek Lee entered with the second-highest batting average of any player (with a minimum 20 at-bats) against Arizona's Curt Schilling. Lee was hitting .478 (11-for-23) with five homers. Only former Atlanta INF Mark Lemke has a better average (.484). ... Florida was outscored 23-9 in dropping four of the first five on its six-game road trip to Houston and Arizona. ... 3B Mike Lowell struck out four times against Randy Johnson in Saturday's 9-2 loss, the second four-strikeout game of Lowell's career. The other was July 8, 1999, against Atlanta's Kevin Millwood.

        ARIZONA: INF Craig Counsell was out of the lineup for the third consecutive day with a pinched nerve in his neck. ... OF David Dellucci was a late scratch because of stiffness in his lower back. Quinton McCracken took his place in the lineup. ... Counsell, LHP Mike Myers, RHP Rick Helling and RHP Curt Schilling plan to attend the players' association labor meeting in Chicago on Monday. Counsell is Arizona's player representative. Myers and Helling are on the executive committee. ... LHP Randy Johnson is 4-0 in his last four starts with an 0.82 ERA. He's allowed three earned runs in 33 innings with 48 strikeouts.


        NEW YORK: C Mike Piazza, fighting a string of nagging injuries that includes a sore left wrist, was in the lineup after going 0-for-4 Saturday with three strikeouts. ... Marco Scutaro had a rough return to the Mets after being called up from Triple-A Norfolk when 3B Edgardo Alfonzo went on the disabled list. Scutaro was called out for interfering with the catcher during his first plate appearance Saturday and had a line drive sail over his head in left field for a double that set up the winning run. Scutaro is primarily an infielder.

        ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals are pondering their next move with pitcher Garrett Stephenson. The right-hander had been expected to report to Triple-A Memphis on Saturday for a rehab start but showed up at Busch Stadium instead. Stephenson said he had stiffness behind his right shoulder. “I don't know what happens next,” Stephenson said Saturday. “I'm going to play it by ear at this point.” Manager Tony La Russa said he was surprised by Stephenson's revelation. “I would've thought we could've heard this earlier — Wednesday or Thursday instead of Friday,” La Russa said. The manager could not say when or where Stephenson would pitch next. ... J.D. Drew's drop to eighth in the batting order ended after one game. Drew was moved to the eighth spot for the first time this year Saturday, but batted second Sunday night. Drew entered with a .255 average and 79 strikeouts.


        PHILADELPHIA: C Mike Lieberthal's three-homer game Saturday night was the first by a visiting player at Dodger Stadium since July 12, 1998, when Ken Caminiti did it for San Diego. “Right now I feel great at the plate, and I'm using all fields,” said Lieberthal, who struggled early in the season following his return from knee surgery last June. “After not seeing live pitching for maybe a year and then coming back, I was doing things wrong mechanically that I think I fixed. I was pulling everything and pulling off every pitch. But there's definitely a difference now.” ... Lieberthal, a two-time All-Star, recently began negotiations for a multiyear contract extension. “Hopefully, I'll be in Philly for my whole career, or at least the next three or four years,” he said. “Early in the season when I was hitting .230, I was just hoping that I would stay healthy so I would get 500 at-bats and kick in the option in my contract for next year. And now, the ball's kind of in my court.” ... RHP Brandon Duckworth, who has a 5.23 ERA, was demoted to the bullpen after a 20-minute meeting with manager Larry Bowa. David Coggin, who allowed one hit over 3 2-3 innings Saturday, will take Duckworth's spot in the starting rotation. “It's not a punishment. It's trying to get him squared away — just like Randy Wolf last year,” Bowa said. “He's just been very inconsistent with everything — pitch selection, location — and his combinations have been terrible.”

        LOS ANGELES: LF Brian Jordan will have an MRI exam Monday to determine the extent of his lower back problems. He missed his third straight game. ... RHP Kevin Brown had another bullpen session following Friday night's rehab start for Triple-A Las Vegas, and will join the team in Montreal on Tuesday for another one. No decision has been made on when he will be activated from the DL. ... LHP Jesse Orosco was unavailable for the second straight day because of a sore back.

       Angels-Blue Jays

        ANAHEIM: Starter Jarrod Washburn is 11-1 on the road this season. ... Washburn went to a three-ball count on just one batter. ... Washburn threw 87 pitches, 63 for strikes. ... The matchup of Washburn and Roy Halladay marked only the second time this season two pitchers with at least 14 wins have faced off. On Thursday, Boston's Derek Lowe beat Oakland's Barry Zito. Both Lowe and Zito have 15 wins.

        TORONTO: OF Jose Cruz (twisted left ankle) sat for the second straight game. OF Dewayne Wise started in right field. Cruz remains day to day. ... INF Dave Berg returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a contusion on his right calf on Tuesday. ... Starter Roy Halladay wasn't sure he hung a pitch to Anaheim's David Eckstein, who homered for the lone run of Sunday's game. “I thought he hit a good pitch,” Halladay said. “I don't know if it was really hung but what's he, 5-2?” Eckstein, listed at 5-foot-8, laughed when asked if his small stature gave him an edge. “To a bigger guy it's probably a good pitch,” he said. “I'm definitely a smaller target. Being small might have helped me out.”

       Twins-Red Sox

        MINNESOTA: Cristian Guzman has a nine-game hitting streak. He is hitting .395 during the stretch. ... Luis Rivas has an eight-game hitting streak, including two home runs and four RBI's. ... The Twins have made just three errors in their last 22 games. Two of the three errors were made by pitchers. ... Minnesota's bullpen leads the American League relief pitchers with 301 strikeouts.

        BOSTON: Manager Grady Little said before Sunday's game that he will juggle his starting rotation so Derek Lowe will get a start against the Yankees, in New York, during the teams' Sept. 2-4 series. ... Dustin Hermanson, currently on the 15-day DL with an infection in his elbow, will get a rehab start Tuesday at Pawtuckett, Boston's Triple-A franchise. ... Saturday's 2-0 shutout of Minnesota was the Red Sox's major league-leading 16th shutout this season. Their 16 shutouts in their first 115 games is the most by a major league team after 115 games since Atlanta had 20 shutouts in 1992.


        TEXAS: LHP Kenny Rogers was still annoyed Sunday with accusations by the Indians on Friday night that he was scuffing baseballs. “It's a bunch of junk,” he said. “They have been caught corking bats. Albert Belle did it in 1995. Think he was the only one? Puh-leeze.” ... SS Alex Rodriguez leads the majors in hitting in day games, going 39-for-95 (.411). “Are you insinuating I should be a Cub?” Rodriguez said when told of his prowess. “No, I want to be a Ranger. I love day games. I get my rest and I see the ball well.” ... Rodriguez had his 44th multihit game on Sunday, fourth in the AL. ... RHP Aaron Myette, who won Sunday's game, is the second Canadian-born starting pitcher in Rangers history, joining Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins. Myette credits pitching coach Orel Hershiser with helping him in many areas. “He is just great,” Mayette said. “He's got so much to teach and communicates so well.” ... 1B Rafael Palmeiro has 1,547 RBIs and needs four more to tie Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann for 30th all-time.

        CLEVELAND: OF Milton Bradley was not amused when the Texas Rangers sent a baseball to him in the Indians clubhouse. It had pine tar and vaseline on it and inscribed: “To Milton. All the best, Kenny Rogers.” Bradley had complained Friday night that Rogers was scuffing baseballs. “They were trying to make light of it, but everyone knows he was doing it.” Rogers said Rangers 1B Rafael Palmeiro autographed the ball. “Raffy's my boy,” he said. ... SS Omar Vizquel, in an 0-for-26 slump, was moved into the leadoff spot Sunday. He struck out his first time up, then got two hits. “I went to (manager) Joel Skinner and suggested a little change,” Vizquel said. The slump followed a career-high 18-game hitting streak. “The last few games of the streak, I wasn't swinging well, I was getting lucky hits,” said Vizquel, who has batted .311 (28-for-90) as a leadoff hitter this season. ... Opposing batters are hitting .363 (65-for-170) against RHP Charles Nagy. ... The Indians batted just .147 (13-for-88) in three games against Texas. ... RHP Jason Beverlin is headed for Triple-A Buffalo and RHP Dave Burba, re-signed last week, is due to be activated Tuesday. RHP Chad Paronto, sidelined since July 29 with elbow tendinitis, will go to Double-A Akron on rehab assignment.


        BALTIMORE: The Orioles entered Sunday's game at Detroit 8-3 since Chris Richard came off the DL from a shoulder injury and 3-1 since Jeff Conine came back from a hamstring injury. “Anytime you get those kinds of people back, it really adds a spark to the lineup,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “It puts other people in positions in the lineup to hit more comfortably.” ... Starting pitchers other than RHP Rodrigo Lopez entered Sunday 7-12 with a 6.89 ERA since the All-Str break. Lopez is 5-1, 3.15 ERA since the break after taking Saturday night's 3-2 win over the Tigers. ... RHP Pat Hentgen threw 70 pitches in a five-inning rehab start Saturday for Class-A Delarva and allowed a run on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk against Augusta. Hentgen has been on the DL all season after undergoing “Tommy John” elbow ligament replacement surgery a year ago.

        DETROIT: George Lombard and Wendell Magee, who are usually platooned in center field, were both in the outfield Sunday as left fielder Bobby Higginson got a day off. Lombard started in left and Magee in center. “Higgy needed a day off,” manager Luis Pujols said. “He played every day wnd we're goint to California and it's not going to be an easy trip, California to Baltmore.” ... 1B Carlos Pena came to the Tigers last month with a solid defensive reputation, and nothing he's done in the field has surprised Pujols. “I saw him play winter ball, and when the ball's hit to him you don't worry about it much,” Pujols said. ... 2B Damion Easley also got a day off Sunday, with Damian Jackson starting in his place.

       Mariners-White Sox

        SEATTLE: After RHP Ryan Franklin threw 4 2-3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief against Chicago Sunday, manager Lou Piniella said he's considering putting Franklin back in the Mariners' rotation. “I'll think about it tomorrow (Monday) and have final decision on Tuesday,” Piniella said. “When he was in the rotation before (RHP Jeff) Nelson wasn't available, but with Nelson there, I'm a little deeper out there (in the bullpen).” Franklin, 4-2, overall, made four starts earlier this year, going 1-2 those games. He was on the DL in early July with viral infection. ... RHP James Baldwin continues to struggle. Sunday against the White Sox, his former team, Baldwin allowed six runs on eight hits in 2 2-3 innings. In his previous start, Tuesday at Toronto, he gave up six runs in 3 2-3 innings. In his last four starts, Baldwin has permitted 21 runs in 19 1-3 innings (9.79 ERA) and is 1-3. “My location right now is a problem,” Baldwin said. “I need to find a way to get my location back. I haven't been able to locate anything my last few starts. In this game, location is everything.”... Over their last 23 games, the Mariners are 11-2 when their bullpen doesn't allow a run. On Sunday, Seattle's relievers held the White Sox scoreless for 5 1-3 innings, but the Mariners lost 6-5. “We fell behind by too many to early,” Piniella said. “We can't spot them that many and expect to make up that much ground every time.” ... 1B John Olerud, 2-for-4 Sunday with a two-run homer, is nine for his last 20 with two HRs and eight RBIs.

        CHICAGO: White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said Sunday he plans to find more playing time for left-handed hitting Jeff Liefer, who has played four positions in 45 games this season. Sunday, Liefer started instead of slumping Frank Thomas at DH and delivered a three-run homer and double in three at-bats. “I'm disappointed about not getting the at-bats I wanted to get him,” Manuel said. “It's been tough to get him at-bats. On this (upcoming) trip, I'm going to try to get him in as much as possible.” Manuel added that could mean fewer at-bats for Thomas, LF Carlos Lee or even an off-day for 1B Paul Konerko or RF Magglio Ordonez. ... Liefer, who asked to be traded earlier this season because of lack of playing time, hit .256 with 18 HRs in 83 games last year. This season, he's hitting .219 with three HRs. “I've got to play to prove myself,” Liefer said. “Hopefully I'll get to play in the next month-and-a-half. It's definitely been a frustating year.”....Thomas looked like he was coming out of his season-long funk early last week, but has slipped back into it, going 0-for-11. Manuel admitted he can't determine which direction Thomas, hitting only .237 with 19 HRs, is headed. “Frank has always been kind of unorthodox with his hitting style,” Manuel said. “You can never tell when he's going good or going bad. The odd thing is he hasn't been able to get a consistent 15-20 games or even five or six.” Manuel added he doesn't think Thomas should still be affected by the torn right tricep that sidelined him for all but 20 games last season....Ordonez went 1-for-4 Sunday to extend his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. He's 13-for-32 with 4 HRs during that span.

       Devil Rays-Royals

        TAMPA BAY: Rookie outfielder Carl Crawford, 21, hit his first major league home run Saturday in his 22nd game. “He's a line drive guy now,” Devil Rays manager Hal McRae said. “Two or three years down the road, he'll hit for power.” The speedy Crawford already had five triples. “He reminds me of Willie Wilson (McRae's teammate in Kansas City), the way he runs those triples,” McRae said. “He doesn't lose any speed when he hits second base. He turns it up another gear.” Wilson led the American League in triples three years, including a Royals' record 21 in 1985. ... Chris Gomez, who had not played in the past seven games, started at shortstop Sunday. Infielder Andy Sheets, who had homered in the previous two games, did not start. ... Jared Sandberg has hit 14 of his team-leading 15 home runs since June 4, the most by any third baseman in the majors since then.

        KANSAS CITY: Right fielder Aaron Guiel homered in the first to extend his hitting streak to eight games. ... All-Star first baseman Mike Sweeney went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly Saturday at Colorado Springs in his second rehab game with Triple-A Omaha. Sweeney is on the DL with a back and hip strain. ... Manager Tony Pena said he will spend the off-day Monday in Wichita, Kansas, scouting the Royals' Double-A Texas League affiliate. ... Jeff Suppan, who starts Tuesday against the New York Yankees, is looking for his first win July 17. He is 0-4 with a 6.93 ERA in his past four starts. ... Closer Roberto Hernandez does not have a save since July 20.


        OAKLAND: RHP Mark Mulder fell to 1-4 with a 9.47 ERA in the regular season against the Yankees. He's 1-1 against them in the playoffs. Manager Art Howe let Mulder struggle through six innings because the bullpen was “chewed up.” ... The eight runs allowed by Mulder were the most against him since Cleveland also scored eight last Aug. 23. ... Terrence Long was in an 0-for-14 rut before homering off Mike Mussina. ... The A's finished up a 4-2 road trip.

        NEW YORK: C Chris Widger threw out Ray Durham trying to steal second in the fifth, but hit his right thumb on batter Miguel Tejada during the follow-through. The game was delayed for a minute while a trainer and manager Joe Torre checked on him. Widger stayed in and said he was fine after the game. ... Shane Spencer hit his sixth homer of the season and first in 66 at-bats since June 18 at Colorado. The Yankees are 35-6 when Spencer homers. ... 3B Robin Ventura got his second straight day off. He banged his knee during Friday night's game, but Torre said he's OK.


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