Monday, May 5, 2003

Notes from Sunday's games

By The Associated Press



COLORADO: Jason Jennings, the NL Rookie of the Year last season, tied his career high with nine strikeouts. Even more impressive was he had them in the first 3 2-3 innings. Jennings left the game in the sixth inning after throwing 99 pitches. "He'd had 100 pitches, so obviously he didn't pitch that efficiently," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. ... Jennings was facing the Cubs for the first time. ... Chris Stynes went 0-for-4 Sunday, dropping his average to .250. But Hurdle said no matter what his numbers are, Stynes has been a great addition to the club. "He's more than proved his worth on the field, and he gives us a lot when he's not in the lineup," Hurdle said of Stynes, who signed with Colorado in January as a free agent. "He has been all that we hoped for and thought we would have and more. And that's regardless of his numbers. There's nothing about a feel-good thing about that signing." ... When the Rockies face the Braves this week, Larry Walker will match Dante Bichette for most games in a Colorado uniform. Walker has played in 1,017 games. Bichette played in a franchise-record 1,018 games for Colorado.

CHICAGO: The Cubs are expected to activate closer Antonio Alfonseca before Monday night's game against Milwaukee. Alfonseca has been on the disabled list since spring training with a strained hamstring. ... Sunday was "Dusty Baker Beanie Baby" day at Wrigley Field. The first 10,000 children under 13 got a limited edition, blue bear with the Cubs logo on its chest. Baker doesn't understand the craze over the plush toys, but his wife collects them. "My wife told me, 'You finally made it big, honey,"' Baker said. "This is part of my penance, I think, to have a Beanie Baby. For years, I told my wife she was crazy. And now here I am. I'm on one now. ... X-rays on RHP Carlos Zambrano's right index finger were negative. Zambrano bruised the tip of his finger Saturday when he tried to barehand a one-hopper from Jay Payton. "It's a little sore today," Zambrano said. ... By taking 2-of-3 from the Rockies, the Cubs won their seventh series. Chicago didn't win its seventh series until June 7-9 last year.



NEW YORK: LHP Al Leiter made his first career start at Miller Park, winning 5-3 over the Brewers. He is 9-2 against Milwaukee, which moved to the NL in 1998. ... Cliff Floyd's grand slam was the first by the Mets this season and third by Floyd in his career. His previous slam came June 19, 2001, when playing for Florida against Atlanta. ... C Jason Phillips arrived in time for Sunday's game. He was called up for the second time this season and replaced 1B Mo Vaughn, who went on the 15-day DL with inflammation of his left knee. Phillips was 0-for-4 Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk in a 1-0 loss to Pawtucket, but was batting .304 in 16 games. He also can be used at first base. ... Vaughn joins OF Jeromy Burnitz (fracture of left fifth metacarpal), RHP David Cone (strained left hip), LHP John Franco (left elbow surgery) and RHP Grant Roberts (tendinitis in right shoulder) on the DL. ... RHP Pedro Astacio is to start Tuesday against the Dodgers. He's 4-7 with a 6.07 ERA in 15 appearances against the Dodgers. ... The two pitchers with most of the team's victories - Tom Glavine (4-2) and Al Leiter (4-1) - are both 37 years of age. ... The Mets hit into seven double plays in the three-game series in Milwaukee. ... RHP Jae Seo isn't concerned about issuing two walks in one inning Saturday. "I already walked one (April 27), so it doesn't make any difference now. I don't care," a smiling Seo said through his interpreter after a no-decision against the Brewers. His season total is three walks in 35 2-3 innings.

MILWAUKEE: RHP Ruben Quevedo, who allowed two runs in six strong innings in Saturday's 3-2 victory, won't get his second start until May 13 against the Cubs. Quevedo, called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, will be used in long relief and as the fifth starter when needed. ... The Brewers scratched 2B Eric Young from the lineup just prior to Sunday's game. Young, who homered and doubled for the only hits allowed by New York's Jae Seo on Saturday night, reaggravated a hip injury. He was replaced by Keith Ginter. ... RHP Ben Sheets, who starts Monday in Chicago, is 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA against the Cubs. ... 1B Richie Sexson's 10th home run, a solo shot off Al Leiter, traveled 440 feet to straightaway center. Sexson leads the team in homers and RBI (21). ... After his hot start following a season-opening stint on the DL, OF Geoff Jenkins has seen his batting average drop to .255. He's in a 4-for-30 slump, going 1-for-12 against the Mets over the weekend after a 3-for-18 road trip that included three games at both Florida and Atlanta. ... CF Alex Sanchez was 0-for-18 before tripling off Al Leiter in the third inning Sunday.



FLORIDA: Juan Encarnacion was scratched from the starting lineup Sunday for only the second game this season. He bruised his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch Saturday and is day to day. ... Ivan Rodriguez didn't start for the fifth time this season, getting a day off.

HOUSTON: Craig Biggio was out of the starting lineup for only the third time this season, also to give him a rest. Biggio has hit .250 for the season, including .300 on the current homestand. Jeff Kent also didn't start, resting for only the second time in 30 games. ... Lance Berkman, hitting .226, was dropped to sixth in the batting order for the second time this season - both time against LHPs.



MONTREAL: RHP Javier Vazquez has a major league-leading 64 strikeouts. In 34 seasons, the Expos have never had a pitcher lead the NL. ... The Expos missed a chance for consecutive winning trips, going 3-3 after sweeping the Brewers. They haven't had back-to-back winning trips of at least six games since Aug. 14-19 and Aug. 28-Sept. 2, 2001. ... Jose Vidro had three of the Expos' six hits against Matt Morris in a 6-2 loss Sunday. "It's not like it was easy out there," Vidro said. "A couple of pitches stayed up and I was able to make good contact, but the rest of the team he shut us down." ... RHP Orlando Hernandez lasted only two innings in his second rehab start from shoulder tendinitis on Saturday, giving up six runs on five hits and four walks. He struck out three and threw 62 pitches. ... The bullpen has stranded 37 of 41 inherited runners on the season, including 20 in a row the last 12 games. ... Michael Barrett is in a 3-for-40 slump. ... None of the six games on the Expos' trip lasted longer than 2:37, and the Cardinals game on Sunday lasted only 2:16.

ST. LOUIS: Jim Edmonds leads the NL with a .402 average and is batting .424 (14-for-33) during an eight-game hitting streak. Albert Pujols is 11-for-24 during a six-game streak and is second in the league at .381 and Edgar Renteria is 13-for-28 during a six-game streak and is third in the NL with a .361 average. ... Cardinals starters had a 2.06 ERA and didn't allow a home run in the 6-0 homestand. ... The Cardinals went 28 innings without a walk before P Matt Morris walked with two outs in the second. ... The Cardinals lead the NL with a .293 average. ... St. Louis has scored four or more runs in 18 of their first 29 games, and are 15-3 under that scenario. ... The Cardinals have committed only two errors in their last 13 games, a dropped fly ball by RF J.D. Drew and a bobbled grounder by 2B Fernando Vina. ... RHP Matt Morris is averaging more than seven innings per start and has two complete games. ... C Mike Matheny has caught all but 25 innings this season, starting all but three of the first 29 games.



CINCINNATI: OF Adam Dunn was out of the lineup partly because the Giants started a LHP and partly because he struck out five times in his previous 10 at-bats and was 1-for-9 in the series. ... SS Felipe Lopez is making a good impression on Reds manager Bob Boone as the leadoff hitter. "He's pretty patient and works the count," said Boone. "That's a good spot for him because he doesn't chase a lot of bad pitches." ... With SS Barry Larkin (strained left calf) expected to come off the DL this week, Boone hopes to get both Lopez and Larkin in the lineup at the same time, moving Lopez to 2B and probably leaving him at the leadoff spot. "Barry could bat second but we'll see," Boone said. "It might be a day-to-day thing where we could flip flop them." ... RHP Jimmy Haynes is to throw on the side Monday when the Reds open a four-game series in St. Louis. Haynes (bulging disc) is eligible to come off the DL at any time, but Boone said he'd like to wait until after the next throwing session to make a decision on him. "He's progressing nicely but one more side and we'll talk," he said.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants dedicated McCovey Point and China Basin Park before the game with a ceremony featuring speeches from Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Willie Mays and Gaylord Perry. The ceremony also featured an unveiling of a Willie McCovey statue. The park is located on the other side of McCovey Cove, the body of water just beyond right field at Pac Bell Park. ... RHP Ryan Jensen is expected to work out of the bullpen during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno of the PCL this week. Giants manager Felipe Alou said there was a possibility that Jensen could return as a relief pitcher. "It's been brought to the table but nothing has been decided yet," said Alou. ... OF Jose Cruz Jr. has been a surprise defensively, but not to Alou. "I saw the guy play on AstroTurf and I respect people who dive on it," he said. "You can come up with all kinds of scraps on the elbows and knees but he doesn't hesitate. He's an amazing defensive player." Cruz leads the majors with eight outfield assists. "I hope they keep running on him," said Alou. "He's so quick and accurate." ... RHP Clay Hensley pitched a seven-inning perfect game for the Giants' Single-A affiliate in Hagerstown on Saturday night. He struck out 10 in a 2-0 victory over Kannapolis. ... After watching OF Barry Bonds get hit by pitches four times within a week, Alou suggested it might be time to respond. "They don't issue warnings for walking guys two or three times a game but if he's going to get hit that's when we have to do something about it," said Alou. "It's not just one team. I'm going to be keeping my eye open."



ATLANTA: OF Andruw Jones leads the NL with 31 RBIs. ... Atlanta is 6-2 in one-run games. ... The Braves have an off day Monday, then open a six-game homestand against Colorado and San Francisco.

ARIZONA: When Bob Brenly was tossed after just three batters Saturday night, it was his second ejection of the season and the seventh of his three-year managerial career. ... RHP Byung-Hyun Kim (bruised right ankle) was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 30. RHP Miguel Batista will take Kim's scheduled start Monday night against Philadelphia. ... Arizona also placed LHP Stephen Randolph on the 15-day DL. The Diamondbacks recalled LHP Chris Capuano and purchased the contract of RHP Scott Service from Triple-A Tucson. ... Junior Spivey's two-run shot Saturday night was his first career pinch-hit home run.



PITTSBURGH: LHP Scott Sauerbeck already has allowed three home runs in 13 innings. He surrendered only four over 62 2-3 innings in each of the last two seasons. ... RHP Jeff Suppan has a 2.06 ERA in six starts since joining the Pirates as a free agent in January. The nine-year veteran had a 5.32 ERA in 33 starts last year with Kansas City, and has never finished a season with an ERA lower than 4.37. "It was different coming into spring training this year, not knowing many guys on the team and being in a different league, so there were a lot of adjustments to make. But, so far, so good," said Suppan, who last pitched in the NL in 1998 with Arizona. "As a starting pitcher, you go out there and try to control the things that you can control - throwing strikes, keeping the ball down and changing speeds. Those are the things I concentrate on when I go out there to pitch." ... The Pirates have never had a winning season since C Jason Kendall came aboard in 1996, and are a combined 130 games under .500. But the turnaround of the World Series champion Anaheim Angels has given Kendall hope that he can win a Series ring just like Angels RF Tim Salmon. "It was great to see that happening to someone like that because you rarely see guys staying with one club anymore," said Kendall, in the second year of a six-year, $60 million contract. "I want to stay with Pittsburgh my whole career - but I'm not in this game to stay with one team my whole career if I'm going to be 30 games out of first place every September. I want to win, and I want to win in Pittsburgh. I think that'll make it much sweeter when I'm on the top."

LOS ANGELES: LF Brian Jordan, who didn't start in seven consecutive games because of a virus, has played the last two games despite a sore left quadriceps. He was hurt while running the bases Friday night. "It's still tight," he said. "I can't hit that last gear yet." ... The Dodgers renew their hostilities with the Mets on Tuesday night at Shea Stadium, with Guillermo's beaning of Mike Piazza still fresh in everyone's minds - except, perhaps, Dodgers pitching coach Jim Colborn. "It never even entered my mind that that confrontation was coming up," Colborn said. "It's entering my mind because you guys in the media want to make a big deal out of it. Mike did what he thought he wanted to do. It's you guys who are overreacting - and I'm not entirely patient about it. Guillermo's got to throw the ball to spots, and it doesn't matter which batter's in there, or which umpire, or which stadium."



PHILADELPHIA: 3B coach John Vukovich was ejected in the top of the first inning for saying something to plate umpire Bill Hohn after Jim Thome took a second called strike. Hohn took a few steps toward Vukovich and tossed him. Gary Varsho replaced Vukovich in the coach's box. ... Vukovich's last ejection was Sept. 10 last season at Florida, when he was tossed by Marty Foster for arguing a play at the plate.

SAN DIEGO: The Padres scored one or zero runs for the fifth time this season. ... Left-handed Ramon Vazquez batted leadoff against a left-hander for the first time this season. His previous 23 starts at the top of the order were all against right-handers. He struck out in his first two at-bats against Randy Wolf and finished 0-for-4.


Angels-Blue Jays

ANAHEIM: OF Tim Salmon went 0-for-4, ending his 20-game hitting streak. "It was nice to have it," said Salmon, who added that he now has a greater appreciation for Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game streak. ... The defending World Series champions have lost three straight and eight of 12. ... Nine of Garret Anderson's team-leading 24 RBIs have given Anaheim the lead. ... SS David Eckstein's throwing error in the second inning ended Anaheim's 90-inning errorless streak.

TORONTO: 1B Carlos Delgado is 11-for-22 in his career against Anaheim starter Ramon Ortiz. ... RHP Kelvim Escobar, slated to move into the rotation later this month, pitched three hitless innings for his fourth save. Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said last week Escobar would no longer be the closer. Escobar pitched three innings so he could build up arm strength. He has a 10.13 ERA. "It was weird to get a save with three innings," Escobar said. "I'm happy. I haven't had this feeling in a long time. It was great to get back out there and throw the ball the way I did." ... Toronto pitchers gave up 50 runs in the first five games (2-3) of the homestand but just 10 in the final four. "It's good to see, as a staff, that we've somewhat come around," starter Mark Hendrickson said. "Now we just have to keep it going."


Twins-Red Sox

MINNESOTA: The first four batters in the starting lineup went 9-for-18 with seven runs. ... The Twins batted around in the sixth and seventh innings, the first time they've done that twice in a game since last June 7 against Florida. ... Twins relievers pitched three scoreless innings after allowing 13 runs in the previous two games. Before that, they gave up 20 runs in 26 games. ... Minnesota is 13-2 when scoring at least four runs.

BOSTON: Starter Tim Wakefield tied Cy Young for fourth place in Red Sox history with 327 appearances by a pitcher. With four strikeouts, Wakefield also tied Luis Tiant for fourth in club history with 1,075. ... Boston had just nine hits, the first time in seven games it had fewer than 11. ... RHP Robert Person, expected to be called up soon, pitched one inning for Triple-A Pawtucket against Norfolk, allowing one earned run, one hit and two walks. He had no strikeouts. ... Shea Hillenbrand went 0-for-4 for the second straight game after a career-high 13-game hitting streak.



TEXAS: SS Alex Rodriguez always wears a Cleveland Browns T-shirt underneath his Rangers jersey. "I'm not a Browns fans, but I am a Butch Davis fan," Rodriguez said of the Cleveland football coach. Rodriguez, a Miami native, works out in the offseason at the University of Miami's football facility. When Davis coached the Hurricanes in the 1990s, he occasionally asked Rodriguez to address the team. ... 1B Rafael Palmeiro did not start because of a bruised right elbow. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and said the elbow affected his swing. "Yeah, it hurt," he said. Palmeiro was hit by a pitch from Jake Westbrook on Saturday. "It's very sore," Palmeiro said. "I just couldn't get out of the way." ... Manager Buck Showalter said he would not try and dissect what went right or wrong during a 3-3 road trip. "I don't dwell much on segments of the season," he said. "All I know is we are still not where we want to be." The Rangers fell three games below .500 at 14-17, the same record they had after May 6 last year. ... A segment of the ESPN reality show "Beg, Borrow and Deal" where contestants could win a car by turning a double play with Rodriguez did not take place as program producers had hoped. Instead, people on the show had to try and sell 100 hot dogs during the game, stopping to eat one frank after each 10 sold.

CLEVELAND: Rookie 1B Travis Hafner did not play because of what manager Eric Wedge said was "some dizzy spells." Wedge would not speculate on the cause, but said it did not appear serious and that Hafner, batting just .191, was available to pinch-hit. "We would have told him to just pick out the ball in the middle and hit it," Wedge said. ... The Indians purchased the contract of RHP Jason Boyd from Triple-A Buffalo and sent RHP Jose Santiago outright to the Bisons. "Boyd throws a good sinker and we'll use him in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings," Wedge said. "Jose threw too many sinkers in the same spot, and too many up and over the middle of the plate." ... The average age of four of the five pitchers in the starting rotation is 23.3. C.C. Sabathia and Jason Davis are 22, Ricardo Rodriguez 24 and Jake Westbrook 25. "Old man" Brian Anderson at age 31 rounds out the rotation. ... The Indians improved to 2-9 without OF Milton Bradley. They are 7-12 with him in the lineup. Bradley has been sidelined since April 23 with a strained right hamstring.


Devil Rays-Tigers

TAMPA BAY: The work Aubrey Huff has been doing with hitting coach Lee Elia is paying off. Huff has five home runs in his last 32 at-bats, and three in the past two games. He was also robbed of another home run Sunday on a leaping catch at the left-field wall by Detroit's Craig Monroe. "Huff had a real nice road trip, five home runs," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's been working with our hitting coach on weight shift and it's starting to pay dividends." Huff has eight home runs this season. ... LHP Nick Bierbrodt completed his three-game suspension.

DETROIT: Craig Monroe and Andres Torres have provided the Tigers with a much-needed lift since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo. Monroe is hitting .325 (13-for-40) with two home runs and eight RBIs since being recalled April 18. He also robbed Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff of a home run with a leaping catch in left field Sunday. Torres is batting .269 (7-for-26) and has played well in center since being recalled last Tuesday. "We've been waiting for something like this to happen all season," manager Alan Trammell said. ... The Tigers have scored in the first inning in consecutive games for the first time this season.



OAKLAND: C Ramon Hernandez sat out because of a bruised right thumb. He was nicked by a ball that glanced off Jorge Posada on Saturday, and is listed as day-to-day. Mark Johnson took Hernandez's place. ... Scott Hatteberg had been 1-for-11 with five strikeouts lifetime against Roger Clemens before hitting a home run in the first inning. "He owns me, the guy is such a good pitcher," Hatteberg said. ... Mark Ellis, Erubiel Durazo and Eric Byrnes all faced Clemens for the first time in their careers. Like a lot of hitters, they didn't fare too well, combining to go 0-for-10 against the Rocket.

NEW YORK: Bench coach Don Zimmer, hospitalized since Thursday night with a gastrointestinal problem, was to be released Sunday, manager Joe Torre said. ... With wins in his next two starts, Roger Clemens could then try to earn his 300th career victory at his old home, Fenway Park. His next start after that would also probably be against the Boston Red Sox, in New York. "You can continue to look ahead all you want," he said. ... Composer Marvin Hamlisch and "Wiseguy" author Nick Pileggi were at the ballpark as guests of Torre and they talked to the manager in his office before the game. Hamlisch said he'd been a Yankees fan since he was a young boy and said one of his favorite memories of being at Yankee Stadium came when he was about 10 or 11. "We were sitting in the bleachers for a doubleheader against the Red Sox. It was raining, and my tuna fish sandwich was getting wet. Ted Williams hit a home run and beat the Yankees," he said. "I met him years later and told him that if we were going to get beat, and it was by Ted Williams, then that was OK."



KANSAS CITY: 3B Joe Randa went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending an 11-game hitting streak. ... OF Michael Tucker is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. ... The Royals have hit homers in 12 of the last 14 games and have outhomered the opposition 37-20 this season. ... LHP Chris George's fourth win ties his career high set in 2001 (4-8). ... Reliever Jason Grimsley has appeared in 18 of the Royals' 28 games.

BALTIMORE: The Orioles recalled LHP Eric DuBose from Triple-A Ottawa to make his first major league start. To make room for DuBose, Baltimore put OF B.J. Surhoff on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring. The Orioles will option DuBose to Ottawa on Monday and recall RHP Travis Driskill from the same club, manager Mike Hargrove said. ... The Orioles stranded seven and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. It was the third time they've been shut out this season. ... Baltimore batters have struck out a major league-low 147 times.


Mariners-White Sox

SEATTLE: In the first two games of the series, the Mariners had 30 hits. OF Mike Cameron was 5-for-7 with a double, a triple, two home runs and eight RBIs. "We have really gone through a streak where we have scored multiple runs, double digits in hits," manager Bob Melvin said. "Somebody's got to do it and right now it's his turn." ... Melvin said White Sox manager Jerry Manuel is doing a good job, despite Chicago's recent struggles. "I try not to think about that stuff. I think the guy does a good job over there and I have always been impressed of how he handles his team," Melvin said. "A .500 club is not the worst thing in the world, but I know they have high expectations over there and rightly so - they have a talented team." ... Seattle's catchers both came in with hitting streaks. Dan Wilson had a 10-game string and backup Ben Davis a seven-game run.

CHICAGO: Manager Jerry Manuel said he isn't worried about his job despite the recent struggles of his team. Chicago came in having lost nine of 13, but Manuel believes that fans who are criticizing him or calling for him to be fired are just desperate for a winner. "No, I feel every year there is a need to win here. They have been on the dive for a long time and they want one bad, so they are looking for anything," he said. "They will try anything now, but we have to be patient." ... The White Sox came in just five games behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central. "We haven't had a good run or a good break and we are still kind of hanging around," Manuel said. "I think with the group of men that we (have) we are capable of doing that." ... The White Sox came in batting just .203 in their last 12 games. "I know patience is tough for the people here, I know they want things right now, but the thing is I think we have a good enough team to be there at the end," Manuel said. "I'm here to win ballgames. I'm not here to develop or anything like that, I'm here to win, that's why I took the job." ... RHP Dan Wright made his fourth rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday night. He allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, with five strikeouts and no walks.

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