Sweeps, a Walkoff and a Loss

1. Twins Sweep

Twins

The Twins continue to battle the Rays and the Yankees for the title of being the best team in baseball this season and they firmed up their case by completing their first sweep in nine series this season disposing of the Detroit Tigers, 5-4. Denard Span showed what a leadoff batter is supposed to do by putting together three singles and a walk scoring once and driving home a run.

Kevin Slowey (4-2) earned the win giving up seven hits and three solo homers. Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila each homered twice for the Tigers.

Rick Porcello (2-3) took the loss and tied his career high with four walks, allowing five hits and five runs in 5.1 innings but lowered his ERA to 7.50.

2. Yanks Sweep

Please don’t mention this to the Red Sox, but the Yankees swept the Orioles and it wasn’t that big a deal. Coming off a three-game sweep of the Sox, the Orioles lost to NY, 4-1,4-1, and yesterday 7-5 in a game that wasn’t that close.

The storyline for this season for the Yankees is “we have met the enemy and it is age.” With Jorge Posada on the bench with a sore calf, Mariano Rivera sitting out this series with a sore left side, Andy Pettitte (4-0) started and pitched five innings giving up one run on six hits and two walks,

An MRI of an Elbow

before he left the game with stiffness above his elbow and in the back of his pitching arm. An MRI showed mild inflammation of his elbow.

Nick Johnson and Nick Swisher each homered and Mark Teixeira hit a two-run double. The Yankees need three pitchers to close out the 9th and left the tying runs on base. Alfredo Aceves got the save, as Joba Chamberlain was unavailable after closing out the previous two games.

Ty Wigginton, Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold all homered for the O’s.

David Hernandez (0-4) took the loss for Baltimore allowing six runs on six hits and four walks in 3.2 innings.

Derek Jeter played his 2,164th game, tying Lou Gehrig for second in Yankees history behind Mickey Mantle‘s 2,401.

3. Jays Sweep

The Indians were one out away from a win in front of the 12,563 fans gathered at Progressive Field

Blue Jay

when Fred Lewis doubled, Aaron Hill hit a roller that went between the legs of shortstop Luis Valbuena and Adam Lind hit a two-run homer and suddenly the Blue Jays had a 5-4 victory and the Indians were swept.

Indians closer Chris Perez (0-2) took the loss and Jays’ reliever Jason Frasor (1-1) earned the win. Toronto starter Brandon Morrow struck out a career-high nine in 5.1 innings

Travis Hafner hit his third homer of the season.

The Indians are 1-5 on this current homestand and have dropped five straight series. Cleveland is 5-1 against the Chicago White Sox and 5-16 against everyone else.

4. Zito 5 for 5

Barry Zito improved to 5-0 in six starts as the San Francisco Giants beat the Florida Marlins, 3-2. Brian Wilson gave up a run in the 9th but left runners stranded at the corners for his fifth save in six chances. Zito pitched seven-plus and allowed seven hits and one run to lower his ERA to 1.49.

Aaron Rowand hit his third home run of the season and his second in two nights for the Giants. Nate Robertson (2-3) lost his third decision in a row allowing three runs, two earned, in 5.1.

5. Today and Tonight on the Field of Play

AL

The match-up from hell: Angels (Scott Kazmir) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka), 7:10 Will 200 pitches be thrown before the end of the 5th inning?

Royals (Kyle Davies) at Rangers (Matt Harrison), 8:05

Blue Jays (Dana Eveland) at White Sox (John Danks), 8:10

Orioles (Brad Bergesen) at Twins (Carl Pavano), 8:10

Rays (Jeff Niemann) at Mariners (Ryan Rowland-Smith), 10:10

NL

Cardinals (Kyle Lohse) at Phillies (Roy Halladay), 1:05

Braves (Tim Hudson) at Nationals (Scott Olsen), 7:05

Cubs (Randy Wells) at Pirates (Brian Burres), 7:05

Giants (Matt Cain) at Marlins (Ricky Nolasco), 7:10

Diamondbacks (Dan Haren) at Astros (Wandy Rodriguez), 8:05

Brewers (David Bush) at Dodgers (John Ely), 10:10

6. Boston 3 for 3

Nomar Garciaparra proved you can go home again as he was honored before the Red Sox defeated the Angels, 3-1 for their third straight win over the struggling Halos. John Lackey made his debut against his old teammates and showed Angels management why guaranteeing the extra year of his contract was a worthwhile investment, at least for last night.

Fallen Angel

Lackey (3-1) pitched two-hit ball for seven innings and Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz homered for the winners. Brandon Wood homered for the Angels who have lost six straight and have opened May at 0-5 in team history.

Daniel Bard pitched a perfect 8th and Jonathan Papelbon worked the 9th for his eighth save.

Terry Francona (579-421) managed his 1000th game with the Red Sox, fourth-most in club history. Boston (14-14) returned to the .500 mark.

7. Bradley 8 for 8

Things are getting ugly for the Seattle Mariners. Matt Garza (5-1) became the American League’s first five-game winner and Cliff Lee suffered his first Mariner loss as Tampa Bay topped the M’s, 8-3. Garza allowed five hits and two runs in eight innings and reached the five win mark faster than any pitcher in Tampa Bay history, eight games ahead of the pace set by Andy Sonnanstine in 2008.

Lee gave up five runs, four earned on 10 hits in eight innings. The Rays scored three in the 8th and three in the 9th to improve to 11-1 on the road this season. That’s the major league’s best start away from home since the 2003 Yankees also started 11-1. At 20-7, Tampa Bay extended the best AL start since the 2005 Chicago White Sox.

The Mariners lost their fifth straight at home, but the good news is that was only seen by 14,627, the second-smallest crowd in the 10-year history of Safeco Field.

Evan Longoria stretched his hitting streak to 11 games.

Franklin Gutierrez hit the Mariners first homer in 77 innings and the 10th for the team this season.

Then there is Milton Bradley who is out indefinitely after asking the Mariners for help with an emotional issue. That is eight teams and eight emotional issues for Bradley, extending his own major league record.

8. Another baseball loss

Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts has passed away at age 83. Roberts pitched many great years for the perennially losing Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950’s but did lead the Whiz Kids to the NL title in 1950.

He led the NL in wins from 1952 to 1955, innings pitched from 1951 to 1955 and complete games from 1952 to 1956. He won 286 games and put together six consecutive 20-win seasons. Roberts had 45 career shutouts, 305 complete games, 2,357 strikeouts and had a lifetime ERA of 3.41. He gave up only 1.3 walks per game over his career.

The Phillies retired his jersey, No. 36, in 1962 and he was inducted into the Hall in 1976.

He is the answer to the trivia question, who gave up the most home runs of any pitcher in major league history? Roberts gave up 505 homers, 19 to Duke Snider, 15 to Ernie Banks, and 13 each to Roy Campanella and Eddie Mathews.

Author James A. Michener, who lived outside Philadelphia, once summed up Roberts’ career in The New York Times.

“For two generations of fans, he symbolized the best in athletic competition,” Michener wrote. “Day after day he went out there and threw that high, hard one down the middle, a marvelously coordinated man doing his job. If he had pitched for the Yankees he might have won 350 games.”

9. I Love Walkoffs

I need a Walkoff image. The best provided gets an autographed copy of my book.

Orlando Cabrera led off the 10th inning for the Cincinnati Reds with a walkoff homer to give the Reds a 5-4 victory. It was the fifth walkoff of his career and it came off Pedro Feliciano (1-1).

The Reds took two of three from the Mets, both in walkoff fashion. and gave the Reds their second last-swing victory in a wild series. Micah Owings (3-0) pitched one perfect inning after Francisco Cordero blew a one-run lead and a save in the 9th.

Brandon Phillips, Jonny Gomes and David Wright all homered. The teams combined for 11 homers in the three games, all solo shots.

New York is 1-4 in extra innings and 3-6 in one-run games.