Three teams are tied for the best record in the American League. Two are expected, in the Rays and Rangers. The third is the Baltimore Orioles, who are tied with the Rays at the top of the AL East, 2.5 games ahead of the Yankees. Baltimore’s fatal 15 game stretch ended last night, and I initially predicted that they’d go 5-10 during those 15 games. Well, they actually went 9-6. The Orioles have five games over the rest of the month against the Royals, three against the struggling Red Sox at Camden Yards (who the Orioles swept two weekends ago at Fenway Park), and six on the road against their beltway rivals in Washington and in Toronto. The Rays on the other hand, have five against Boston, and three each (all at home) with Atlanta, Toronto, and the White Sox. Then, the two teams will square off in Tampa Bay to begin June. Things are about to get really interesting in the AL East.
Game of the Night: Rockies 5, Giants 4. These two teams traded early runs, before the Rockies plated two in the sixth and one in the seventh to take a 4-1 lead. All four runs, of course, came off of Giants ace Tim Lincecum. Then in the seventh, the Giants tied the game with three of their own, courtesy of a two run double by Melky Cabrera and an RBI single from Angel Pagan. The Rockies didn’t take this lying down, as Marco Scutaro hit a solo homer (that only went 359 feet) off of untouchable Giants reliever Santiago Casilla. Rafael Betancourt finished the Giants off, and the Rockies knock the Giants down to .500 on the season.
Pitching Line of the Night: Ervin Santana has a winning streak, after shutting out the A’s over 7 2/3 innings on four hits, three walks, and nine strikeouts. Cliff Lee was amazing for the Phillies, allowing one run over eight innings on five hits, one walk, and ten strikeouts. Of course, he got a no decision, thanks to Chad Qualls. Josh Beckett rebounded from the golf fiasco last week by shutting out the Mariners over seven innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out nine.
Hitting Line of the Night: Travis Ishikawa got the start for the Brewers at first base, and went 3/5 with two runs scored, five RBI, and two homers. He has a .915 OPS on the year in mainly a bench role, and could get more playing time at first with Mat Gamel’s injury. AJ Pierzynski of the White Sox went 5/5 with two runs scored, three RBI, and a double. Hunter Pence of the Phillies went 3/5 with two solo homers, including the game winner.
Spotlight Series: returns on Friday
Other Games: The Indians shut out the Twins 5-0 as Derek Lowe threw a complete game shutout – without striking anyone out. The Padres jumped on Stephen Strasburg early on a wet day in Washington, and beat the Nationals 6-1. The Tigers used an eight run sixth to beat the White Sox 10-8. The Phillies edged the Astros 4-3 in ten after Pence’s walkoff. The Red Sox shut out the Mariners 5-0. Jason Motte blew the save, but the Cardinals rallied to beat the Cubs 7-6. The Yankees couldn’t solve Wei-Yin Chen, and the Orioles prevailed 5-2. The Braves thrashed Johnny Cueto, and beat the Reds 6-2. The Angels shut out the A’s 4-0. The Brewers and Zack Greinke decimated the Mets, and won 8-0. The Rays beat the Blue Jays 4-3, but the real standout was Brett Lawrie’s meltdown in the ninth. The Marlins beat the Pirates 6-2 to finally get Josh Johnson a win. The Royals beat the Rangers 7-4 to take both games of their two game set. The Diamondbacks beat the Kemp-less Dodgers 4-1.
Today’s Games: The awful Clay Buchholz will take on Jeremy Hellickson in Tampa. Erik Bedard and Gio Gonzalez will go at it in Washington. Felix Hernandez will take on Ubaldo Jimenez in Cleveland. Hiroki Kuroda and Kyle Drabek looks solid in Toronto. The resurgent Johan Santana starts for the Mets against the Reds. Matt Garza goes for the Cubs against the Phillies. Yu Darvish will take on the A’s. Felipe Paulino has a tough task against the Orioles. Pat Corbin is half the age of his opponent, Jamie Moyer. Jaime Garcia vs Madison Bumgarner is the matchup of the night in San Francisco.
Enjoy your day of baseballl, everyone.