Following up, here are the games from Friday, 4/14.
Baltimore beat the Angels in exciting fashion: the Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a Melvin Mora single; Jeff Mathis, starting at catcher for the Angels, tied things back up in the top of the ninth; and then Ramon Hernandez, showing the rook how it's done, smacked the game-winning bomb off of Scot Shields in the bottom half. The game featured eleven runs, not an inordinate amount, but it took the teams eight homers to get there. Each starter (Rodrigo Lopez, Magic Santana) gave up three bombs. It's a good thing they were hitting all those homers, because the teams combined for just one walk, by Casey Kotchmann, Anaheim's first baseman.
Boston managed just two runs against Jaime Moyer and two Mariner bullpenners despite ten hits and four walks. Fortunately for Boston, Curt Schilling and Jon Papelbon shut down the anemic Mariner offense, allowing just one run on four hits and no walks. Moyer actually struck out eight in his six innings, but Schilling, who struck out seven himself, was too good.
Kevin Youkilis, still leading off for Boston, walked twice. Two of Boston's three starting outfielders were Adam Stern and Wily Mo Pena, which tells you two things: Coco Crisp is hurt, which you knew; and the Red Sox might not let Trot Nixon bat against a single lefty this year (though, amusingly, in his five plate appearances against portsiders so far, he's got three hits, including a homer, and a walk; against righties, he's 3-17 with a homer and five walks).
Detroit got back on track, beating Cleveland behind Kenny Rogers's eight-inning, one-run outing. Brandon Inge supplied a couple of homers for the Tigers, while Chris Shelton (who, if you'll recall, is a slugging first baseman) hit his third triple of the year.
Shelton, whose middle name is apparently Bob, never managed more than two triples in any minor league season, then broke out for three in 388 at-bats last year. He's on pace for about 48 this year, to go with his 60 doubles and 112 homers. I think it's fair to say three things:
That'd be a historic season.
It's not going to happen.
The Pirates really miss him.
Kansas City won its snail race with Tampa Bay as they induced the Devil Rays to score seven late runs. Elmer Dessens gave up three unearned runs for the Royals with the help of a Doug Mientkiewicz error. Scott Kazmir walked four in six innings (too many), but was outdone by Scott Elarton, who walked six in 6 1/3 innings (way too many). Travis Harper threw three perfect innings for the Rays to earn his first win of the year. And don't be surprised if it's his last.
Minnesota beat the Yanks behind Scott Baker's strong outing: seven innings, three hits, one walk, one run. His four strikeouts were adequate, but he walked a fine line: fourteen of his sixteen outs on balls in play came in the air. When you're facing a team full of Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and Gary Sheffield, those fly balls won't always fall for outs. (As I write this during Sunday's Twins-Yanks game, Giambi just hit a two-run homer off of Brad Radke to straightaway center.)
Baker, who was born six days before me, threw 53 innings for the Twins last season, so he's not quite a rookie this year. He was drafted by the Twins out of Oklahoma State. Luke Scott is his only OK State teammate to have made the majors before him, and he had a two-year head start.
The White Sox found themselves in another slugfest, losing 13-7 to Toronto. The teams combined for 31 hits, seven walks (six by Chicago), and one hit batsman (Joe Crede, who was 4-4 on the day). The Sox went into the ninth down 13-5, but tried to mount a comeback with back-to-back solo homers by Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye. Clearly, it was too little, too late.
Greg Zaun hit three doubles for Toronto and Vernon Wells hit his fifth homer of the season.
The Cubs sent Pittsburgh to their ninth loss of the year. Sean Marshall "earned" his first major-league win, giving up four runs in five innings, but getting eight runs of support. Craig Wilson hit his fifth homer of the year filling in for Sean Casey, who stuck around only long enough to get one at-bat. Apparently, Casey has a broken back, but he'll return in 6-8 weeks, which sounds funny. Six to eight weeks sounds like recovery from a broken arm or something, not a broken back. Either way, though, not to be callous to Casey, but the Pirates will be better off if he gets Pipped by Wilson.
The Mets won yet another game, moving to 8-1 behind Tom Glavine's six-inning, one-run (none earned) performance. He struck out eleven Brewers in the game. I was surprised to find that he also struck out eleven batters in a September 29th performance against the Rockies last year, a two-hit shutout. Glavine had a couple of months last year when he barely broke eleven strikeouts.
The Braves beat San Diego, though Tim Hudson was mediocre, with four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Oscar Villareal was the pitcher of record when the Braves took the lead, so he picked up his fourth win of the year, which is pretty remarkable, considering the Braves only have five wins overall. Jeff Francoeur handed Villareal that win with his third homer of the year (and of his last two games).
A Reds-Cardinals game isn't one you'd expect to end 1-0, and when you see that Chris Carpenter started for St. Louis, you wouldn't figure Cincinnati would the game. But both things are what happened on Friday. Aaron Harang picked up his second win of the year with seven innings of four-hit ball. Harang also knocked in the only run of the game with a single in the fifth. Adam Dunn and Jim Edmonds each struck out three times and Felipe Lopez flashed the "speed" part of his power-speed combo by stealing his fourth base of the year.
Philadelphia scored ten runs in the first six innings in Colorado, so the Rockies' four-run ninth just narrowed the final margin of victory to two runs. Chase Utley had another two-homer day to power the Philly offense. Garret Atkins hit his seventh double of the year, which is a lot of two-baggers.
Arizona shut down Houston 5-1 behind eight strong innings by Brandon Webb. The D'Backs gave out no free passes and Conor Jackson hit his second homer of the year.
Brad Penny threw six nice innings for the Dodgers, giving up just one run, but the Giants scored one in the top of the ninth to win the game 2-1. Jamey Wright, of all people, threw eight innings of one-hit ball for the Giants and Todd Worrell tossed the ninth for his fourth save of the year. Jeff Kent homered for the only Dodger run, and Jason Repko stole his fourth base of the year. Rafael Furcal also added his third steal, and avoided making an error as well.