Nine to Know: May 17th

  1. The Angels are now 2-0 in games that Albert Pujols homers. Pujols hit a three-run homer last night as the Angels topped the White Sox, 7-2. Jerome Williams (4-1) won his fourth straight decision and became the first pitcher in franchise history to win his first seven home starts with the club. Just in case you didn’t know: Just four years ago, Williams was pitching for the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League and last season was pitching for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League.
  2. Let’s hear it for the ageless wonder Jamie Moyer (2-3) who beat Arizona, 6-1. Moyer allowed one earned run on six hit and two walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out five, but that wasn’t the big story of the game. With two outs in the 4th, Moyer hit a roller between the pitcher’s mound and first and beat it out and two runners scored. The two RBI tied Moyer’s career high set against Pittsburgh when he was with the M’s in June 2004. At 49 years and 180 days, Moyer is now the oldest batter to get an RBI topping Julio Franco‘s previous record of 49 years and 25 days.
  3. It was a proud night for the Detroit Tigers: not only did they lose 11-7 to the lowly Minnesota Twins, but each member of the infield made an error. The Twins  Josh Willingham had three hits and is hitting .299 with seven homers and 22 RBI.
  4. The Billy-Ball.com newsroom talks a lot about the the great games that Felix Hernandez pitches that he ends up with a no-decision or a loss. No such discussion today as the King (3-3) gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in  3.2 innings in the Mariners 9-3 loss to the Tribe. On the other hand, Ubaldo Jimenez actually pitched well, or at least well enough, as he gave up five hits and three runs over six innings.
  5. In case you haven’t noticed, the Yanks are now 8-9 in May after their 8-1 loss to the Blue Jays last night. The loss was a combination of poor pitching from Hiroki Kuroda and poor hitting as they managed only three hits off Kyle Drabek and company. Edwin Encarnacion hit 13th homer, J.P. Arencibia hit his fourth, Kelly Johnson hit his eighth, and Jose Bautista hit his ninth. While Bautista is still hitting only .199, in 23 April games, Bautista hit .181 with three homers and 10 RBI and in 15 May games he’s hit .226 with six homers and 10 RBI.
  6. After an 11-11 April, despite their 2-1 loss to the Rays last night which ended a five-game winning streak, the Boston Red Sox seem to be playing better baseball despite their 6-9 May record. The reason for Red Sox Nation optimism is that in the last six games, Sox pitchers have allowed five runs. Jeremy Hellickson (4-0 2.77 ERA) allowed one run and five hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two. He’s won six straight games. The We’ll See Dept.: Adrian Gonzalez who hasn’t homered in 103 at bats promised to hit one tonight.
  7. It took two tying runs in the top of the 9th and then an Adam Jones homer in the top of the 15th, but the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Kansas City Royals, 5-4 last night. Overall, the Orioles are 5-2 in extra-inning games, but 5-0 on the road. They have won in 10 in Los Angeles and Chicago, 13 and 17 in Boston, and now 15 in KC.
  8.  The Phillies (19-19) are back to .500 for the first time since May 3 after beating the Cubs, 9-2 as Kyle Kendrick and the bullpen held the Cubs to three hits. From the Just Doesn’t Feel Right Dept.: After 119 at bats, Alfonso Soriano hit his first homer of the season. It was his 342nd career homer and it tied Ron Santo for 87th place on the all time HR list.
  9. The Houston Astros topped the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-3, last night. I mention this only because I find it interesting that both teams now have a 16-21 record. Oddly, the Brewers were 16-21 last season as well before ending the season with a 96-66 record. The Astros won their 16th game in their 45th game of the season. The Astros’ Carlos Lee hit his first homer since April 2. It was his 352nd of his career which enabled him to pass Dick Allen and Todd Helton and tie Ellis Burks for 81st place on the all time dinger list.