Mourning in Boston, lonely nights at the park, and David slays the Giants

1. I Like Ike

Oldtimers will appreciate the fun in that headline, the rest of you, who never heard Eisenhower’s campaign slogan, will simply have to appreciate the arrival of the newest young Met, Ike Davis, who made his major league debut last night as New York topped the Cubs, 6-1. Davis had two hits and an RBI in his debut and Angel Pagan hit a 7th inning tiebreaking two-run homer for New York’s first extra-base hit since Friday.

Davis is the 23-year-old son of former major league reliever Ron Davis and hit .480 in spring training. He hit .364 with two homers and four RBIs in 33 at-bats with Buffalo.

He singled in his first MLB at bat and ended the game 2-4.

The first baseman went to Arizona State University. According to Alex Cora, Dustin Pedroia, and ASU product, called Cora and told him that Davis would do well because Arizona State produces tough ballplayers.

Mets starter Jonathon Niese allowed just an unearned run in 5.2 innings and Fernando Nieve (1-0) pitched 1.1 innings for the win

The Cubs have scored six runs in their last three games.

2. Mourning in Boston

I was at Fenway yesterday morning at 11:05 watching the Boston Red Sox finish being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-2. The last time the Rays (10-3) swept the Sox in a four game set was…well, never. The Rays won their seventh straight, all on the road no less, burying the bumbling Bostonians who looked awful in the field, awful at the plate, and awful on the mound.

B.J. Upton had the key hit in a five-run 3rd inning when he hit a three-run homer off John Lackey and off the glove of centerfielder Bill Hall who bounced hard off the wall as the ball fell into the Sox bullpen.

Jeff Niemann (1-0) allowing just five hits and two runs over seven innings for the winners. According to Marc Tompkins of the St. Peterberg Times, Niemann also overcame the inconveniences of the 11:05 a.m. game time (and the three 6 a.m. cell phone alarms he slept through before the hotel phone and room-service knock got him up).

The Red Sox lost their sixth straight at home, their longest losing streak at Fenway since a 12-game streak in 1994. Boston’s 4-9 start is its worst since opening 2-11 in 1996.

The Red Sox are 0-for-30 with runners in scoring position in their past five games and have not held a lead in the past 48 innings.

Only in 1999 had Tampa Bay (5-1 that season) ever won more than three games in Boston for the entire season.

One final note: the outfield fielding was so porous that at one point a mock cheer was produced when a catch was made. For the first time in recent history, there were many boos mixed in amongst the heavy sighs at the conclusion of the game.

3. An Intimate Night in Washington

Craig Stammen (1-0) held Colorado to two runs and five hits in eight innings as the Rockies fell to the Nationals, 5-2. Willie Harris homered as Stammen lowered his ERA from 15.63 to 8.16.

Colorado starter Aaron Cook (0-2) allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in just three innings.

The Nationals have won four of five and are now 7-6 on the season making it the latest point in a season they have had a winning record since Oct. 1, 2005, when they were 81-80.Washington was never above .500 in 2006, 2007 or 2009; its last winning record in 2008 was 3-2

With only 11,623 spectators, it was the smallest announced crowd in Nationals Park history.

4. An Intimate Night in Toronto

Jose Bautista hit two home runs and drove home five as the Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1. Brandon Morrow (1-1) pitched seven innings allowing one run and three hits, walking two and striking out eight. Brian Bannister (0-1) allowed six runs and seven hits in 5.1 innings. The Blue Jays broke a three-game losing streak.

Travis Snider also homered to help the Jays win for the 18th time in 22 home games against Kansas City.

Morrow lowered his ERA from 12.00 to 7.31.

Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay entered the game batting .080, went 2-for-2 with two walks and scored twice, raising his average to .115. He also reached on a catcher’s interference call.

With only 10,314 spectators (20.8% full), it was the smallest announced crowd in Rogers Centre history. It broke the mark set…last Wednesday, when Toronto drew just 10,610.

5. An Intimate Night in Seattle

Doug Fister (2-1) took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and finished allowing the Orioles just three hits, one walk and one run striking out three in seven innings as Seattle topped Baltimore, 8-2.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit a two-run single and Casey Kotchman hit a two-run homer as the Mariners put up a 7 spot in the 3rd. Jack Wilson had three hits, including a pair of doubles.

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen (0-2) went only 2.2 innings and was charged with six hits, seven runs, four were earned, and walked three without a strikeout.

The crowd of 14,528 was the smallest in Safeco Field’s history. The previous smallest was 15,818 on May 6, 2008.

6. Coming Up Today

AL

Royals (Kyle Davies) at Blue Jays (Dana Eveland), 7:07

Rangers (Colby Lewis) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield), 7:10

Rays (David Price) at White Sox (John Danks), 8:10

Indians (Justin Masterson) at Twins (Kevin Slowey), 8:10

Tigers (Rick Porcello) at Angels (Scott Kazmir), 10:05

Yankees (Javier Vazquez) at A’s (Gio Gonzalez), 10:05

Orioles (David Hernandez) at Mariners (Jason Vargas), 10:10

NL

Rockies (Jorge de la Rosa) at Nationals (Scott Olsen), 7:05

Brewers (David Bush) at Pirates (Charlie Morton), 7:05

Phillies (Kyle Kendrick) at Braves (Tommy Hanson), 7:10

Dodgers (Chad Billingsley) at Reds (Homer Bailey), 7:10

Cubs (Carlos Zambrano) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey), 7:10

Marlins (Chris Volstad) at Astros (Brett Myers), 8:05

Cardinals (Kyle Lohse) at Diamondbacks (Dan Haren), 9:40

Giants (Jonathan Sanchez) at Padres (Mat Latos), 10:05

7. On This Date

I hoped you noticed that Tim Wakefield is starting for the Red Sox today. On this date in 1995, the Pittsburgh Pirates released Wakefield. In 1993, Wake was 8-1 record and was named the National League rookie pitcher of the year. Then Wakefield was the Opening Day pitcher for the Bucs, but before long he was sent to Buffalo in the International League, and was 5-15 with a 5.84 ERA. On April 20, 1995, the Pirates released him and he was signed by the Red Sox on April 26, 1995. He pitched four games with Pawtucket going 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA and on May 27 he made his Red Sox debut with a seven inning 12-1 win over the Angels. He has been with the BoSox ever since.

Check out Nine to Know about this fascinating date in baseball history.

8. Taming Tigers

Joel Pineiro pitched 7.2 scoreless innings, Kevin Jepsen relieved Pineiro (2-1) with two men on to retire the side in the 8th, and Fernando Rodney pitched the 9th to record the Angels’ first shutout of the season, 2-0 over the Tigers. Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 4.24) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings and struck out two.

9. I Love Walkoffs

Today I’m loving the diminutive David Eckstein who hit a leadoff walkoff homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Padres a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. The homer off Jeremy Affeldt (2-2) gave San Diego their fourth straight win.

Heath Bell blew his first save in four chances when Juan Uribe hit a hanging 3-2 curve into the stands with one out in the 9th. Tim Stauffer (2-0) pitched the 10th to pick up the win.

Eckstein has 35 career homers and this was his third walkoff.

At 7-6, San Diego is above .500 for the first time since last May 27 when it was 24-23.