The Cincinnati Reds who have won 6 straight, 9 of their last 10 games, lead a very strong NL Central field, holding a 1 Game lead over St. Louis with Houston and Chicago close behind. The Reds took the first 2 games of the 3 game series with the Houston Astros on on Friday and Saturday by 5-4 and 6-3 scores.
On Friday night, the Reds, in their 20th try, finally beat Roy Oswalt (4-1). Newcomer 2b Brandon Phillips went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs as the Reds jumped off to a 3-1 lead over Oswalt and Houston after 6 innings. They built up a 5-2 lead before Houston came back to score 2 in the 9th. Reds starter Brandon Claussen (2-2) got the win, David Weathers (S7) got credit for the save, while Oswalt took the loss.
On Saturday, the Reds jumped on Houston starter Andy Petitte (1-4) for 6 runs and 11 hits thru 6 innings as Reds starter Aaron Harang (4-1) got the win and David Weathers (S8) picked up another save. Rich Aurilia got his 3rd homer of the season in the 5th for Cincinnati, a solo job, while Jason Lane hit a 2 run homer for Houston in the 2nd inning.
Also in the NL Central, 4th place Chicago and 5th place Milwaukee split games on Friday and Saturday; the Cubs winning 6-2 on Friday behind Greg Maddux (5-0) who pitched 6 innings giving up 2 runs, 8 hits enroute to his MLB leading wins. For the Cubs, Ronny Cedeno hit a 2 run homer in the 6th while going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Jacque Jones (4 HR) also hit a solo blast for the Cubs while going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. David Bush (2-2) took the loss.
On Saturday, the Brewers evened up their series with the Cubs drubbing them with a 16-2 offensive outburst. It was their biggest offensive outburst in six years. Brewers starter Doug Davis (1-2) got the win going 6 1/3 innings and allowing 1 run and 5 hits, while Cubs starter Glendon Rusch (1-4) took the loss.
The Phillies are in the throes of a 3 game losing streak. They lost to Colorado 6-3 on Thursday to split their 4 game series 2 games apiece. Brewers starter Aaron Cook (2-3) pitched 6 innings and got the win while Brian Fuentes (S4) recorded the save. Phils Reliever Ryan Franklin (1-2) got tagged with the loss in relief of starter Jon Lieber (0-4). Brad Hawpe solo homered in the Colorado 2nd, his 7th of the season while Garret Atkins got his 2 HR, a 2 run homer of Ryan Franklin in the 8th.
On Friday, the Phillies lost the first of a 3 game series with the NL Central cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell (1-2) dueled with Phils’ Brett Myers (2-1) for 7 innings with Pittsburgh picking up the 2 lead runs in their 7th as Snell got the win and Myers, the loss. Mike Gonzalez was credited with a save.
On Saturday, the Phillies nearly duplicated their 3-1 loss of Friday, this time losing to the Piates 3-2 as Pirates’ Paul Maholm (1-3) outdueled Cory Lidle (2-3) in a 6 inning battle of the starters. Jeromy Burnitz hit his 5th homer, a 2 run shot off of Lidle in the 4th inning for a 3-1 lead and Aaron Rowand hit his 3rd homer of the season, a solo shot for the Phils in the 8th to close the gap. The relievers shutdown the offenses over the last 3 innings, except for Rowand’s homer, with Pirates’ Roberto Hernandez (S2) getting the save.
The New York Mets sit astride the NL East with a 7 game lead over Atlanta (and the Phils) and in the midst of a 4 game winning streak as they defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-2 and 1-0 on Friday and Saturday in the first 2 of a crucial early season confrontation between NL East contenders.
ON Friday, Mets starter Pedro Martinez, who is now tied with the Cub’s Greg Maddux for the most wins (both with 5-0 records), outdueled
John Smoltz (1-2) over 7 innings as Mets held a 3-2 lead to which they added 2 more in the 9th on David Wright’s 5th Homer of the season, a 2 run blast off of Atlanta reliever Chris Reitsma (0-1). Mets closer Billy Wagner (S6) got credit for his 6th save. David Wright drove in a total of 3 runs on his 4th and 5th homers of the season in the 1st and 9th innings. Chpper Jones hit his 2nd homer of the year in the 6th inning driving in 2.
The New York Yankees have managed to stay one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. On Thursday night the Yanks won the get-away game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-1 taking the 3 game series 2 games to 1. Yanks starter Shawn Chacon (3-1) outpitched Tampa Bay starter Mark Hendrickson (1-1) into the 7th inning, Chacon; the win, Hendrickson; the loss. Yanks closer Mariano Rivera (S3) was credited with the save.
On Friday, the Yanks lost the opening game of a 3 game series with the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 as Toronto starter Roy Halladay (3-1) was the winning pitcher and Jaret Wright (0-2) the loser, both going 5 1/3 and 5 innings respectively. Fran Catalanotto hit his 2nd homer of the season with one on in the 1st inning and Shea Hillenbrand hit a pair of solo blasts in the 6th and 9th innings for his 2nd and 3rd homers of the season. Bernie Williams homered for the Yankees in the 6th with 1 on for his 2nd homer of the season. B.J. Ryan (S4) notched the save for the Blue Jays.
On Saturday, the Yanks scored in each of the 9 innings in routing Toronto 17-6 including 4 homers; J Giambi’s 8th in the 1st, J Damon’s 2nd (a solo blast) in the 2nd inning and 3rd of the season in the 4th inning with one on and J Posada’s 3rd in the 6th inning. Yanks starter Randy Johnson (4-2) got the win although he gave up all 6 Toronto runs in his 5 innings of pitching. Toronto starter Josh Towers took the loss giving up 7 runs to the Yanks in 2 1/3 innings.
The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays split the first 2 games of their 3 game series, Tampa Bay won on Friday 5-2 as Toronto starter Casey Fossum (1-1) pitched 6 innings of shutout ball in getting the win, while Matt Clement took the loss allowing 5 Tampa Bay runs in his 6 innings of work.
On Saturday, the Red Sox bounced back to defeat the Devil Rays as reliever Keith Foulk (2-1) got the win in relief of starter Lenny DiNardo (0-1) with Jon Papelbon (S-10) notching the save by striking out the side in the 9th. Tampa Bay reliever Tyler Walker (0-1) got hung with the loss plus being charged with a blown save. Manny Ramirez notched his 4th homer of the season in the 6th for the Red Sox while Greg Norton, Jonny Gomes (4 for 4 and homer with 1 on) and Toby Hall homered for Tampa Bay.
The hot Detroit Tigers routed the Minnesota Twins by the lopsided scores of 9-0 and 18-1 in the first 2 games of their 3 game series behind solid pitching by winning starters Nate Robertson (3-2) and Justin Verlander (3-2) and an awesome offense accounting for 27 runs, 38 hits and 5 home runs in two games. Twins starters Brad Radke (3-2) and Carlos Silva took the losses.
For More scores from Friday and Saturday games, click here and here as well as for previews and scores of today’s games, click here.