Sunday, May 4, 2003

Notes from Saturday's games

By The Associated Press



COLORADO: LHP Darren Oliver is 3-0 in six career starts against the Cubs. He came close to ending his streak Saturday, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings, but the Rockies bailed him out. "I always love pitching here, I don't know why," said Oliver, who has no decisions in his two starts at Wrigley Field. "That second inning, I got into a little daze. Otherwise, everything was working OK." ... Though manager Clint Hurdle would like to get Bobby Estalella some playing time, there's no question Charles Johnson is his No. 1 catcher. Johnson has played in 20 games, compared with 11 for Estalella. "You're not going to have an 80-80 split. Charles is the No. 1 guy," Hurdle said. "Bobby is going to get games to catch, and hopefully we can keep him involved enough where we keep him sharp. And so far I think we've been able to do that." ... The Rockies are 16-14. That makes them just the third team in franchise history to have a winning record after 30 games. The Rockies started 16-14 in 1995, when they won the NL wild card, and were 21-9 in 1997.

CHICAGO: With Tom Goodwin starting in CF, Cubs manager Dusty Baker shuffled his lineup a bit. Goodwin batted leadoff, with everyone else dropping down a spot. "Guys get a comfort level where they're hitting in the lineup and I don't want to move them around too much," Baker said. "But Goody is Goody. When he plays, he's going to bat leadoff." ... Carlos Zambrano hit his first career home run. He's the third Cubs pitcher to go deep this season, joining Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. ... Cubs pitchers gave up a season-high eight walks. "We were dodging bullets all day," Baker said. ... The Cubs lost for the first time when leading going into the seventh inning. It also was the first blown save for the bullpen.



NEW YORK: LHP Al Leiter, who will start Sunday at Milwaukee, is 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA against the Brewers, although he was only 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two starts at County Stadium. This will be his first start at Miller Park. ... OF Jeromy Burnitz (fractured hand) and RHP David Cone (strained left hip) are eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday. ... The Mets face Milwaukee RHP Matt Kinney (2-1, 2.48) Sunday. They beat Kinney 4-2 the last time they faced him in June 2002, when he was with the Minnesota Twins. ... OF Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who didn't start Saturday, raised his average to .194 by getting four hits Thursday at St. Louis and two Friday at Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE: In losing nine of 10 and six straight through Friday, the Brewers batted .216 (73-for-338) and the pitchers had a 5.40 ERA. In the six straight losses, the Brewers batted .185 (35-for-189). ... In the nine victories coming into Saturday's game, the team ERA was 2.83. In the 20 losses, it was 6.41.



FLORIDA: Derrek Lee has played in 241 consecutive games, last missing one Aug. 10, 2001, against Houston. ... Florida placed LHP Mark Redman on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a fractured left thumb. RHP Justin Wayne was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque and started against the Astros.

HOUSTON: Reliever Billy Wagner made his 400th major league appearance Friday night, the third pitcher in Astros history to reach that number. The others were Dave Smith and Ken Forsch. ... Houston relievers had pitched 105 innings through Friday, most in the NL.



MONTREAL: LHP Joey Eischen hit Fernando Vina in the back and J.D. Drew in the shoulder with pitches in consecutive at-bats in the eighth, but the Cardinals weren't upset. "I know him and he looked over at me and said 'Are you OK?"' Vina said. "You respect that. It's just part of the game." ... LF Brad Wilkerson had his wrist and elbow wrapped in ice after sliding into the stands in foul territory chasing a foul pop in the ninth. But he expects to be able to play in the series finale Sunday. "It's just a little stinger," Wilkerson said. "I'll be fine." ... RHP Javier Vazquez, who starts Sunday, leads the majors with 58 strikeouts. ... Expos relievers have stranded 20 consecutive inherited runners the last 11 games.

ST. LOUIS: Manager Tony La Russa tied Billy Southworth for third place on the team's career victory list with 620. He's 620-604 in his eighth season with the team. Red Schoendienst (1,041-955) is first and Whitey Herzog (822-728) is second. ... Eli Marrero made only his third start of the year at catcher ahead of Mike Matheny, who played in the ninth and has caught all but 25 innings this season. ... Fernando Vina has two homers already this year after totaling one last year. He's connected twice this week. "I wouldn't get too excited about it," he said. ... The bullpen was 4-for-12 in save opportunities before rookie Kiko Calero closed out Saturday's game for his first career save. The Cardinals are without closer Jason Isringhausen, who's been slow to recover from offseason shoulder surgery.



CINCINNATI: RHP Jimmy Haynes' recovery from a bulging disk in his lower back is going well. He completed a short throwing session in the bullpen Saturday morning with no problems. Haynes, Cincinnati's opening day starter, was eligible to return from the disabled list Saturday, but he won't be ready until next week. ... The Reds are struggling to find healthy starters. RHP Chris Reitsma was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday with biceps tendinitis. Ryan Dempster will make that start on three days' rest, but Cincinnati still doesn't know who will start Monday when the Reds return home to begin a four-game series against St. Louis. ... The Reds dropped to 6-9 on the road. They've had a winning record away from home in three of the past four seasons. ... LF Adam Dunn went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, ending his four-game hitting streak. Dunn is among the major league leaders with nine homers, but he's hitting just .228.

SAN FRANCISCO: Manager Felipe Alou shuffled his slumping lineup, resting three regulars and giving a start to three reserves: 1B Andres Galarraga, C Yorvit Torrealba and CF Ruben Rivera. "Pressure could hurt you, but it could also alert you," Alou said. "You need a certain amount of pressure to keep you on your toes." Galarraga homered and drove in three runs, while Torrealba hit a two-run homer and threw out Cincinnati speedster Felipe Lopez trying to steal second base. ... Barry Bonds' 1,500th hit with the Giants wasn't up to his usual standard. He got a bloop single in the first inning when Ryan Freel and Jose Guillen couldn't get to his popup to shallow right. Bonds also doubled in the third. "There's a gap between him and the rest of the world," Alou said. ... The Giants have scored the first run in 23 of their 29 games this season. They're 17-6 when scoring first.



ATLANTA: The Braves placed RF Gary Sheffield on bereavement leave late Friday, after Sheffield missed his first start of the season to attend the funeral of his wife's grandmother in Chicago. Manager Bobby Cox said Sheffield, who is hitting .353 with eight homers and 21 RBIs, will rejoin the team during its off day in Atlanta on Monday. ... OF Ryan Langerhans was recalled from Double-A Greenville as Sheffield's replacement. Cox was unaware of baseball's new bereavement designation, which allows teams to replace up to two players at a time for 3-to-10 days because of personal emergencies, until this week. "I think it's a good thing, as long as somebody doesn't try to take advantage of it," Cox said. ... Darren Bragg, who made a diving catch of a seventh-inning liner by Luis Gonzalez on Friday night, was in the starting lineup again. "Bragg is an excellent defensive player," Cox said. ... Atlanta came in with an eight-game road winning streak. The last time it won more road games in a row was 1994.

ARIZONA: RHP Curt Schilling made his first appearance since April 17, when he pitched a complete game and beat Colorado 11-2 with a four-hitter. Two days later, Schilling had an emergency appendectomy in St. Louis. ... The team had to make a roster move to bring Schilling off the 15-day DL, so it optioned Robby Hammock, the third catcher and a utility INF, to Triple-A Tucson. That increased the number of pitchers to 11, a move manager Bob Brenly wanted to make. ... Craig Counsell spent most of Saturday morning at the hospital with his wife, Michelle, who delivered their first child, a son, at 6:30 a.m. Mother and child were doing well, and Counsell started the game at 3B and batted leadoff. "He's got to play well - he's got another mouth to feed now," Brenly joked. ... Mark Grace's game-tying double off Atlanta closer John Smoltz on Friday night was his 509th, tying him with Rickey Henderson for 34th on the career list. ... LHP Randy Johnson was back in the clubhouse after having minor knee surgery Thursday. He is expected to miss about six weeks.



PHILADELPHIA: The Phillies are 0-5 on Fridays this year, by a combined score of 33-19. ... The Phillies were 4-0 on Saturdays coming in. ... The Phillies had played only two extra-inning games this season.

SAN DIEGO: Padres closer Trevor Hoffman is throwing on the side every other day as he rehabs from a second offseason shoulder surgery. "It was all right," Hoffman said. "I won't complain about it." Hoffman is expected back after the All-Star break. Hoffman is fifth on the career list with 352 saves. ... It was Dave Winfield bobblehead doll night, and the Hall of Famer was at the game with his family.



PITTSBURGH: For the sixth time in Jeff Suppan's six starts with the Pirates, his teammates scored for him in the first inning as Randall Simon hit an RBI single. ... The Pirates' Kentucky Derby pool was won by bullpen coach Bruce Tanner. "The coaches never win the Final Four pool, so we have to let them win something," SS Jack Wilson said. ... RHP Brian Boehringer has stranded all 11 of his inherited baserunners. Last year, eight of his 23 inherited runners scored. ... The Pirates came in 11-0 when scoring at least four runs. One reason is the starting pitching, which entered with a major league-leading 3.01 ERA. ... 2B Pokey Reese was back in the lineup after missing a game because of flulike symptoms.

LOS ANGELES: INF Ron Coomer won the Dodgers' Kentucky Derby pool. He used to own a few greyhounds with former manager Tom Kelly and some Minnesota Twins teammates. ... RHP Eric Gagne entered 32-for-33 in save situations at Dodger Stadium. The only blemish was last Aug. 26, when Arizona's David Dellucci hit a game-tying double off him with two outs in the ninth. ... No complete games have been pitched yet this season against the Dodgers, after nine pitchers went the distance against them last season. One was Pittsburgh's Jeff D'Amico, who did it with the Mets last year and will start the series finale Sunday. D'Amico and Pedro Astacio shut out Los Angeles in back-to-back games for New York last May. ... CF Dave Roberts started for the first time in eight games since hurting his hamstring running out a bunt single at Pittsburgh. He would have started Friday night had it not been for the rain-soaked field. "It's been frustrating," said Roberts, in his first season as an everyday player. "I did everything I could to get back where I feel like I'm 100 percent as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it took a week. But it could have been worse."



Angels-Blue Jays

ANAHEIM: The defending World Series champions have lost two straight and seven of their last 11. Leadoff hitter David Eckstein blamed himself. "It's all on me right now. I'm not doing my job at the plate," said Eckstein, who his hitting .250. "My job is to get on base and I haven't been doing that." Eckstein hit his second home run of the season. Five of his 13 career home runs have come against Toronto. ... OF Tim Salmon extended his hitting streak to a career-high 20 games with a single in the fourth. He is the eighth Angels player to hit safely in 20 or more consecutive games and the first since Garret Anderson in 1998.

TORONTO: RHP Kelvim Escobar, who will be moved into the starting rotation later this month, was supposed to follow starter Doug Davis with a 40-pitch outing but was held back a day because of some stiffness in his shoulder. Instead, he will follow Mark Hendrickson on Sunday. ... The Blue Jays went 2-0 under acting manager John Gibbons, who is handling the managerial duties while Carlos Tosca attends his daughter's graduation from the University of Florida. Tosca returns Sunday. "I was fortunate that these two games we got great pitching, some key hitting that opened up the game," Gibbons said. "And our bullpen the last two days has been solid."


Twins-Red Sox

MINNESOTA: The Twins didn't allow a homer for the second straight game after giving up at least one in their previous 12 games. ... Minnesota struck out 12 times and didn't walk after striking out just nine times and walking 11 times in its previous two games.

BOSTON: Manny Ramirez went 1-for-4 but still is hitting .488 (21-for-43) over his last 12 games, raising his average from .275 to .357. ... Johnny Damon's double gave him 12 extra-base hits in his last 23 hits as he extended his hitting streak to eight games. ... Jason Varitek had the first two stolen-base game of his career. He has 10 career steals. ... The Red Sox did not commit an error one day after committing three, all by Nomar Garciaparra. Before that, they made just one error in six games.



TEXAS: 1B Rafael Palmeiro stayed stuck on career home run No. 498 after going 1-for-3 in the Rangers' 6-5 win at Cleveland. Palmeiro, seeking to become the 19th player to reach 500 homers, was hit on the right elbow by a pitch from Jake Westbrook in the third innings but stayed in. Palmeiro iced his arm following the game, and manager Buck Showalter said the 38-year-old will not start Sunday. "That's one of things that goes overlooked with Raffy, it's how tough he is." ... The Rangers failed to homer after hitting 15 homers in their past five games. ... SS Alex Rodriguez said playing on the same team as Palmeiro has been both a thrill and a learning experience. "He has been a great role model for me and for young guys coming up," Rodriguez said. "When you have an opportunity to play with a first-ballot Hall of Famer it's a real honor." Rodriguez said Palmeiro has a work ethic second to none. "He's got an amazing offseason conditioning program. He's 38 and he doesn't look it." ... Showalter said he will likely let Todd Van Poppel make another start before he decides how he'll use the right-hander. Van Poppel made his first start since Sept. 24, 2000, on Saturday. He settled down after a shaky first inning and allowed five runs and five hits in four innings.

CLEVELAND: The Indians have struggled to score with runners in scoring position all season, and especially with the bases loaded. Jody Gerut bounced out in the first inning of Saturday's 6-5 loss, dropping Cleveland to 2-for-23 with the bases loaded this season. "We have to do a better job of taking advantage of our scoring opportunities," manager Eric Wedge said. ... Wedge is also upset with the lack of production in the middle of his lineup. On Saturday, Cleveland's 3-4-5 hitters - Ellis Burks, Shane Spencer and Jody Gerut - went 2-for-13 with one RBI. "We need more from them," Wedge said. ... Gerut has been wearing his cap under his batting helmet because the Indians don't have a helmet that first snugly enough for him. "I've been doing it Little League style," Gerut said of the double-billed look rarely seen in the majors. ... RHP Jose Santiago's blown save on Saturday made the Indians' relievers 4-for-9 in save opportunities this season.


Devil Rays-Tigers

DETROIT: DH Dmitri Young was a late scratch from the starting lineup after injuring his right elbow in batting practice, but was able to pinch-hit in the eighth inning. "I didn't think he would be available at all, but he told me as the game went on that he could hit left-handed," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He can't hit right-handed, though. We'll have to see how that goes." ... Trammell said that he never considered pinch-hitting for Matt Walbeck with the tying runs on base and two out in the 10th. With Brandon Inge already out of the game, Walbeck, who has just one hit in 22 at-bats this season, was the only experienced catcher available. Shane Halter has played a few innings behind the plate and Eric Munson was a catcher in the low minors, but Trammell didn't see them as viable options.

TAMPA BAY: Suspended manager Lou Piniella watched the game from the broadcast side of the Comerica Park press box. He sat through most of the early portions of the game, but was seen pacing as his team blew a four-run lead before winning in the 10th inning. ... Dewon Brazelton took a no-decision Saturday in his first start of the season and the third of his career. As he did in his major league debut last Sept. 13, he allowed two homers, including one in the first inning. "It was exactly the same as last season," he said of Carlos Delgado and Bobby Higginson's early homers. "It was exactly the same pitch - everything was exactly the same. I figured that I had that out of the way, so I could really get after them." ... Aubrey Huff has hit six of Tampa Bay's last eight homers, including two on Saturday.



OAKLAND: C Ramon Hernandez's right arm was wrapped from the wrist to above the elbow after Saturday's game. In the ninth inning, Jorge Posada was hit by Keith Foulke pitch's and the ball struck Hernandez in the right thumb. Oakland manager Ken Macha pinch hit for Hernandez in the 10th after Eric Chavez's go-ahead home runs. "I'm just going to wait and see what happens," Hernandez said. If the thumb is swollen on Sunday, he might have an X-ray. ... Scott Hatteberg, who had been hitless in 18 at-bats through the fourth inning, got hits in his final three at-bats. "I felt the same way I've felt this whole trip," he said. "Some balls fell in for me. I wasn't getting any hits, but I haven't felt I was in a slump."

NEW YORK: SS Derek Jeter could take batting practice in the cage Sunday for the first time since he dislocated his left shoulder during the Yankees' regular season opener on March 31. Jeter continued hitting off a tee and taking soft toss Saturday. He hopes to rejoin the Yankees by May 13. ... RHP Antonio Osuna, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain April 23, played catch for the second straight day. He also did running and agility drills. ... RHP Steve Karsay (right shoulder) threw off flat ground and could be ready for a bullpen session by the late in the week. ... RHP Rolando Arrojo threw batting practice. The former Tampa Bay and Boston pitcher was released by Pittsburgh in spring training.



KANSAS CITY: CF Carlos Beltran was scratched from Saturday's lineup with right shoulder soreness. He is listed as day-to-day. ... RHP Runelvys Hernandez (4-1) absorbed his first loss since last Sept. 10; the three earned runs he allowed to Baltimore were the most he's yielded in 2003. ... Manager Tony Pena drew his first ejection of the season arguing balls and strikes. ... The Royals have been in first place 27 straight games, their longest streak since 1980 (115). ... RHP Miguel Ascencio's complete game Friday was the first of his career and Kansas City's first since Jeff Suppan last Sept. 26. ... LHP Chris George (3-2) will seek to tie his career high in wins Sunday. George went 4-8 in 2001. ... The Royals have outhomered their opponents 36-20. ... 3B Joe Randa has an 11-game hitting streak, longest by a Royal this season. He was rested on Saturday.

BALTIMORE: The Orioles activated DH David Segui from the 15-day DL (strained right hamstring) and placed RHP Rodrigo Lopez on the 15-day DL with a strained oblique muscle. ... LHP Eric DuBose will be recalled from Triple-A Ottawa on Sunday and will make his first start in the majors against Kansas City. ... Melvin Mora is batting .371 (16-for-43) over his last 13 games. ... 1B Jeff Conine has hit .385 (10-for-26) over his last seven games. ... The Orioles have struck out 140 times, fewest in the AL. ... RHP Sidney Ponson's nine strikeouts vs. Kansas City on Saturday were the most by an Oriole this season. Ponson went a season-high eight innings and has at least 6 IP in each of his last five starts (3-1, 3.03 ERA). ... LHP Buddy Groom has not allowed a run in 11 outings this season.


Mariners-White Sox

SEATTLE: Reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki, on the disabled list since April 23 with a strained muscle in his lower back, will pitch on a rehab assignment Tuesday for the Class A Inland Empire 66'ers in San Bernardino, Calif. Sasaki will be re-evaluated Wednesday and then could rejoin the Mariners on Thursday. "We'll see how his health is, how is arm is, re-evaluate and go from there," manager Bob Melvin said Saturday. Sasaki, who's with the team in Chicago, will throw off the mound Sunday. ... Melvin didn't start Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez and Mark McLemore on Saturday, resting them for the long season ahead. "Travel has a lot to do with it. We travel more than anybody in baseball and we have a veteran team," Melvin said. "It's hard not to write those names in the lineup, but I think in the long run it will be to our benefit." Randy Winn was moved to the leadoff spot, Willie Bloomquist got a start in left and Greg Colbrunn was the DH. ... Of Edgar Martinez's 2,000 hits, 1,368 have come as a DH. The only other DHs with more hits at that position are Harold Baines (1,688), Hal McRae (1,555) and Paul MOlitor (1,457).

CHICAGO: Manager Jerry Manuel rested cleanup hitter Magglio Ordonez, who hit into two double plays and struck out twice Friday night. Brian Daubach, batting just .074, got the start in right field with Paul Konerko moved up to No. 4 in the batting order. "Magglio is a guy who has really responded well to a break," Manuel said. Ordonez has also struggled against Seattle's Saturday starter, Freddy Garcia, with just four hits in 19-bats (.211). ... Chicago hit into four double plays Friday night as the White Sox continued a pattern of inconsistent hitting. The White Sox have grounded into 28 double plays this season, third-most in the AL. Six of their starters Saturday night were batting under .250 and only one was hitting .300. "We're not hitting and it's kind of frustrating us," Manuel said. "They're human like everybody else when they're struggling." ... The White Sox may not be the fastest team in the league afield, but they're quick when it comes to playing games so far this season. Through the first 29 games, Chicago's average time was just two hours, 34 minutes, down 15 minutes from a year ago and 20 minutes from 2001. The White Sox have played 14 games under 2:30 and seven of those have lasted under 2:20. That includes a game against Oakland last week that took just 1:54, the quickest game in the majors this season.

Locals win Flying Pig
Complete results

Giants 6, Reds 1
Reds Box, Runs

Giants 9, Reds 6
Reds notebook: Riedling prepared to start
Harnisch putting in his innings
First win of season gives Graves shot of confidence
Aussie takes American game for a kick and a jog
Reds chatter
Reds Q&A

Fay: MLB power rankings
NL: Pujols, Cards hot
AL: Pedro twirls five-hitter
Notes from Saturday's games
Louisville 4, Buffalo 1
Cy Young vs. Cy Old
Mix up makes Choi the NL rookie of month
Ex-Astro Lugo says he didn't strike wife

Funny Cide up in Derby
Jockey Santos realizes dream with a gelding
Frankel accepts defeat in stride
A win for owners, and their home state
In a N.Y. minute - or two
No fade at finish for humbled Patton

Bengals begin to take shape
Newest receiver should fit right in
Bengals Q&A
Kitna comes out with early praise for Warrick

Price fired as Alabama football coach
Tide president made the right call
Alabama players upset by coach's firing

Daugherty: O.J. Mayo
Prep Insider
Prep results, schedule

Cronin's goal is to outfox ex-employers UC, U of L for recruits
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Court: newspaper may be entitled to Knight records
Duncan to repeat as MVP

Ky. Speedway still hoping for Cup race
Driver Nadeau critical but improving

Giguere pulled in loss to Stars
Clones lose finale

Verplank maintains 3-shot lead

Venus advances

De La Hoya stops Campas

Ignorance is bliss for Thomas More
Some college coaches can't be trusted
'I made some very, very poor decisions'
Division II Lewis beats BYU for NCAA title
Top Of The Second power rankings

This weekend's sports on TV, radio

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