A Loss, A Hit, Nine Steals and Two Walkoffs

1. A Win After a Loss

Early yesterday, the Colorado Rockies shockingly discovered that their team president 48-year-old Keli McGregor was found dead in a Salt Lake City hotel room. McGregor had been the team’s president since 2001 and in the organization since October 1993. Then last evening, the visibly moved Rockies went out and defeated the Nationals, 10-4.

“What took place tonight on the field was a wonderful tribute to a man that we obviously loved. The game tonight, and the way it turned out, eases the pain. It’s there. There’s no getting around it. Eventually with some time, it will go away, but not immediately,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. There is no indication of time or cause of death but no foul play is suspected.

Team leader Todd Helton brought a jersey into the dugout that had McGregor’s name on it and the No. 88 he wore as a second-team All-America tight end.

Winning pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (2-1), won despite allowing four runs and seven hits in 5+ innings. He struck out six and walked four and had a three-run double in the 3rd. Ryan Spilborghs followed De La Rosa’s double with a two-run homer.

Scott Olsen (0-1) gave up seven runs in two-plus innings in his second start of the season.

Pudge Rodriguez had two hits, his fifth straight multi-hit game, to raise his batting average to .444.

2. V Gets a W

Javy Vasquez picked up his first win in his third try in his return to the Yankees as New York topped Oakland, 7-3. Vasquez (1-2) allowed three runs and six hits in 5.1 innings, struck out six and walked three and lowered his ERA to 8.27.

Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, Nick Swisher a two-run single, and Jorge Posada also drove home two for the Yankees who only had five hits but drew 10 walks off four Oakland pitchers. Gio Gonzalez (1-1) took the loss throwing 4.1 innings giving up three hits, five runs and five walks and five strikeouts.

Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, Damaso Marte and Mariano Rivera all pitched scoreless relief.

3. Twins Keep Winning

Kevin Slowey (2-1) gave up just one run on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in eight innings as the Twins (10-4) continued to win, defeating the Indians, 5-1. Justin Morneau had two hits and an RBI for the Twins while a Travis Hafner homer accounted for the lone run for Cleveland

Justin Masterson (1-1) gave up five hits, five runs, two earned, struck out six, but walked five, and hit one batter in throwing 96 pitches in a four-inning outing.

The Twins scored four times in the 3rd when after shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera made his first error of the season on an inning-ending double play ball. Then Masterson walked J.J. Hardy to score one run and followed that with a wild pitch in which he booted catcher Lou Marson’s throw to him at the plate, allowing Michael Cuddyer to score from third and Delmon Young to score from second.

4. Pelfrey on a No Run Run

Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey allowed just pitched three hits in seven innings leading the New York Mets to a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Pelfrey (3-0) ran his scoreless streak to 19 innings by allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out six. Carlos Zambrano (1-2) pitched six innings giving up two runs on six hits while striking out nine.

Fernado Tatis pinch-hit a two run homer. Jason Bay was 0-2 with two strikeouts and has struck out 21 times in 51 at bats this season.

The Cubs have lost four straight, scoring just six runs and have scored just 53 runs while compiling a 4-9 record.

5. On Tap for Today

AL

Royals (Zack Greinke) at Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum), 12:37

Rangers (Matt Harrison) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett), 7:10

Rays (Wade Davis) at White Sox (Mark Buehrle), 8:10

Indians (David Huff) at Twins (Francisco Liriano), 8:10

Tigers (Jeremy Bonderman) at Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05

Yankees (Phil Hughes) at A’s (Ben Sheets), 10:05

Orioles (Kevin Millwood) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez), 10:10

NL

Giants (Todd Wellemeyer) at Padres (Jon Garland), 6:35

Rockies (Jason Hammel) at Nationals (John Lannan), 7:05

Brewers (Yovani Gallardo) at Pirates (Zach Duke), 7:05

Phillies (Roy Halladay) at Braves (Tim Hudson), 7:10

Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda) at Reds (Aaron Harang), 7:10

Cubs (Carlos Silva) at Mets (Oliver Perez), 7:10

Marlins (Josh Johnson) at Astros (Bud Norris), 8:05

Cardinals (Chris Carpenter) at Diamondbacks (Edwin Jackson), 9:40

6. One Hit, One Win

Talk about efficiency. The Padres got only one hit but that was all they needed to secure a 1-0 win over the Giants that enabled them to move into a first-place tie with San Francisco in the mediocre NL West.

Chase Headley singled in the 4th off Jonathan Sanchez then stole second. He advanced to third on a foul pop-up and then scored on a Scott Hairston sac fly. Headley stole a career-high three bases and has five in two nights.

Winning pitcher Mat Latos (1-1) and Sanchez (1-1) both went seven innings and retired their final 12 batters.

San Diego won their fifth straight game while the Giants lost their third straight one-run game.

7. A Giant Hole

It was bad enough that Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It was only made worse by his lame statement that he received a prescription for a drug was banned by MLB in the Dominican Republic as part of his treatment to start a family with his wife. But the killer part of this is that Volquez’ indiscretion will only cost him $133,743 in salary and nothing in missed games because he is already on the Disabled List, and not for his inability to procreate.

Talk about giant loopholes. The 26-year-old Volquez is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and isn’t expected to rejoin the Reds until at least midseason. The suspension is in effect immediately and he can serve the suspension while continuing his rehabilitation.

“When he’s ready to pitch, he’ll be able to pitch,” general manager Walt Jocketty said.

Good luck making babies minus the testosterone that usually decreases from steroid use, Edinson.

8. I Love Walkoffs

The Red Sox stole one from the Rangers after the Texas nearly robbed Boston blind. This is a good story as 31-year old rookie Darnell McDonald, signed by the Red Sox as a minor league free agent on Nov. 24, and called up from Pawtucket earlier in the day, hit a wall scraper in the 9th to give Boston a 7-6 win over Texas.

Kevin Youkilis opened the inning with an infield hit off the body of Frank Francisco (2-3), advanced on a passed ball and was sacrificed to third. After Mike Lowell was intentionally walked and Adrian Beltre popped to first, Jason Varitek walked on four pitches before McDonald hit the game winner.

Lowell had been brought into the game as pinch-hitter for David Ortiz who, on a night in which he saw 19 fastballs and failed to put one in play, saw his average drop to .146 with 17 strikeouts in 11 games. The other problem, J.D. Drew, went 0-4 with two strikeouts and saw his average drop to .133 with 19 strikeouts in 14 games.

In his first Red Sox at bat, McDonald pinch-hit a homer in place of Josh Reddick who also had been brought up from Pawtucket earlier in the day. In the 6th, Reddick hit a two-run double. McDonald and Reddick were brought up as Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron were finally put on the Disabled List after being out for days. It is still unclear who misdiagnosed this situation that hamstrung manager Terry Francona both in the field and at the plate.

Meanwhile the Red Sox continued to be disgraceful in the stolen base category as Texas stole a team record nine bases in nine attempts including five in the 3rd inning as even gimpy-legged Vladimir Guerrero stole second and third. The Rangers swiped all nine against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and catcher Victor Martinez. Red Sox catchers have thrown out just one of 31 runners this season.

Jonathan Papelbon (1-1) pitched a hitless steal-less 9th for the win.

9. I Love Walkoffs

I am loving Nate McLouth who led off the 10th with a walkoff homer as the Braves topped the Phils, 4-3. The Phils were stunned in the 9th when closer Ryan Madson surrendered a two out, two-run blast to Troy Glaus and then followed that by giving Jason Heyward another opportunity to grow his legend, as the rookie tied the game with a homer, sending the game into extras.

The McLouth homer came off Jose Contreras (0-1). Billy Wagner (1-0) pitched a perfect 10th for the win. Madson blew his first save in four chances as the Phils have now lost four of their last five.

Kyle Kendrick threw eight scoreless innings for Philadelphia and Braves starter Tommy Hanson gave up six hits and two runs in 4.2 innings.

I will be appearing today with Jay Ferraro 12:30-12:45pm EST on Baseball Digest LIVE found on www.blogtalkradio.com./baseballdigestlive.

I’m heading on a roadtrip, so there will be no more Billy-Ball’s this week.

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