MLB News and Notes June - 19

MLB News and Notes June - 19

Baseball Today - June 19
Tue, Jun 19, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Minnesota at N.Y. Mets (7:10 p.m. EDT). Johan Santana and Jorge Sosa are each looking for win No. 7.

STARS Monday

-Chone Figgins, Angels, went 6-for-6 and drove in the game-winning run in the ninth inning to lift the Los Angeles Angels over Houston 10-9.

-Joe Blanton, Athletics, gave up one run in eight innings to help Oakland defeat Cincinnati 6-1.

-Cliff Lee, Indians, allowed one run and five hits in seven innings and Cleveland routed Philadelphia 10-1.

-Brian McCann, Braves, homered and drove in four runs to lead Atlanta past Boston 9-4.

-John Maine, Mets, pitched 7 1-3 innings, giving up one run on four hits to help the New York Mets top Minnesota 8-1.

NO K'S FOR CURT

Curt Schilling failed to strike out anyone in Boston's 9-4 loss to Atlanta on Monday. It was the first time that's happened in one of his starts since July 1, 1993, a span of 348 starts. Schilling has endured a lingering hangover from his near no-hitter at Oakland on June 7, which was broken up with two outs in the ninth. In his last two starts, he's given up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in 9 1-3 innings. It was just the third time in his career Schilling did not record a strikeout in a game he started.

FIRED

Sam Perlozzo was fired as manager of the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, the result of his inability to bring last-place Baltimore out of a lengthy funk culminated by an eight-game losing streak. The Orioles were 27-27 and second in the AL East on May 31 before losing 13 of 15 in June. Their 29-40 record is the fifth-worst in the major leagues. Bullpen coach Dave Trembley will be the interim manager when the Orioles begin a six-game trip in San Diego on Tuesday.

JUST SHORT

Detroit had to withstand a three-run ninth-inning rally against closer Todd Jones to defeat Washington 9-8 on Monday. Trailing 9-5, Cristian Guzman hit a two-run triple and Felipe Lopez followed with an RBI single but Jones got Ronnie Belliard to ground out with runners on the corners for the final out to preserve the win.

0-FOR-TAMPA BAY

Tampa Bay defeated Arizona 10-2 on Monday, giving the Devil Rays a 7-0 all-time record against their 1998 expansion partners.

STREAKS

So Taguchi extended his hitting streak to 11 games in St. Louis' 5-3 loss to Kansas City on Monday. ... San Francisco lost their fifth straight game, falling to Milwaukee 5-4.

SNAPPED

Casey Blake had his 26 game hitting streak snapped in Cleveland's 10-1 win over Philadelphia on Monday. The streak had been the longest in the major leagues this season.

SPEAKING

''It's embarrassing. I never gave us a chance. You want to walk around the room and apologize to everybody. Your manager, your teammates, fans. There's no excuse for a game like that.'' - Boston hurler Curt Schilling, on his second-shortest outing of the season in the Red Sox's 9-4 loss to Atlanta on Monday. Schilling was rocked for 10 hits and six runs in 4 1-3 innings.

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Notes from Monday's games
June 18, 2007

BOSTON:
With a lefty (Chuck James) on the mound for Atlanta and the DH not being used, the Red Sox had to sit one of their most dangerous hitters. David Ortiz (.333, 11 HRs, 43 RBIs) was the odd man out in the DH shuffle. ``It's hard not to write his name in there,'' manager Terry Francona said. ``If something happens, if somebody gets hit in the elbow, those things change.'' Right-handed hitter Kevin Youkilis, who was batting .332 with eight homers and 35 RBIs, started at first base. Francona said he talked over the lineup with bench coach Brad Mills on the flight to Atlanta, and made sure to tell Ortiz and Youkilis before the plane landed. ``Just so they know what to expect,'' Francona said. ``Because they play every day and one of them can't play, so I want to make sure they understand, so they can prepare.'' ... The Red Sox released LHP J.C. Romero after designating him for assignment earlier this month. Romero went 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 games before he was dropped from the roster to make room for RHP Mike Timlin.
   
ATLANTA: While 3B Chipper Jones prefers to hit third, he can't complain about batting cleanup. LF Willie Harris has been one of the Braves' hottest hitters, so he was in the second slot, and SS Edgar Renteria slid to third. ``You want to take advantage of the guys who are swinging the bat well,'' said Jones, who batted cleanup for only the fourth time all season. ``Obviously, I'd rather hit third, but I'm not complaining about hitting fourth when those guys are swinging that good. It's another bullet in the holster.'' ... The Braves plan to stick with their five-man rotation, even with an off day coming up on Thursday. That's good news for struggling RHP Kyle Davies, who could have been skipped during a weekend series against Detroit.


DETROIT: Manager Jim Leyland said LHP Kenny Rogers will make his first start of the season Friday at Atlanta. Rogers, on the 60-day disabled list after having left shoulder surgery on March 30 to remove a blood clot and repair arteries, said he had ``no clue'' about his assignment. ``Until I get on the mound, I'm not taking anything for granted,'' Rogers said. ... The Tigers optioned RHP Yorman Bazardo to Triple-A Toledo and recalled RHP Eulogio De La Cruz from the Mud Hens. Bazardo was 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in four relief appearances. ... RHP Justin Verlander waited for 10 minutes to get through security at RFK Stadium after forgetting his MLB-issued ID card. ``I guess a no-hitter means nothing these days,'' teammate Zach Miner told Verlander.

WASHINGTON: OF Brandon Watson's 43-game hitting streak at Triple-A Columbus, an International League record, has drawn notice from the Nationals' brass. But manager Manny Acta said there are no plans to recall Watson, who hit .176 in 34 games from 2005-06. ``We haven't talked about it, but that doesn't mean what he's doing is not being noticed,'' Acta said. ... LHP Michael O'Connor, sidelined since March 28 following left shoulder surgery, was activated off the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Double-A Harrisburg. ... Acta said RHP Levale Speigner, whose Thursday turn in the rotation is being skipped because of an off day, would be available to pitch in long relief beginning Wednesday. ... Three Nationals starting pitchers will make rehab starts this week: RHP John Patterson, on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow and biceps soreness, will pitch for Class-A Potomac on Thursday. RHP Jason Bergmann will pitch for Triple-A Columbus at Rochester on Wednesday, while RHP Jerome Williams will throw for Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday.


MINNESOTA: Manager Ron Gardenhire remembered his playing days at Shea Stadium mostly for its proximity to LaGuardia Airport. ``I think the planes made me make mistakes,'' he said. ... AL MVP Justin Morneau's game-winning home run Sunday was his third this season and the 99th homer of his career. The Twins have lost after each of Morneau's first two game-winners. ... 2B Luis Castillo came in with a 32-game hitting streak at Shea Stadium. The streak began Sept. 2, 2001, and the former Marlin was hitting .388 at Shea during that stretch. ... Twins reliever Matt Guerrier had pitched 41 1-3 innings out of the bullpen, second-most among AL relievers behind Joel Peralta of Kansas City (44 innings).

NEW YORK: Through 33 home games, the Mets' average attendance of 44,591 was third-highest in majors, trailing only the New York Yankees (51,370 through 34 games ) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (45,978 through 36 games). ... The Mets led the majors with 86 steals. That total included 53 in the last 33 games. ... RHP Joe Smith was second among NL rookies with 32 appearances and had not allowed a run in 29 of those outings.


KANSAS CITY: Manager Buddy Bell said Mike Sweeney, primarily the team's DH with only five games at first base this year, was not expected to start during the three-game series in St. Louis. Ryan Shealy, batting .211, was at 1B on Monday and Bell said he'd consider using 2B Fernando Cortez or 3B Alex Gordon at first base in the series. ... RHP Scott Elarton, who starts the middle game of the three-game set Tuesday, hasn't made it past 5 1-3 innings all season. ... The Royals have won three straight series but haven't won four in a row since June 2003. ``The team hasn't thought about it, and I didn't even know about it,'' Bell said.

ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals didn't consider calling up OF Rick Ankiel from Triple-A Memphis to replace ailing Jim Edmonds because he has no options remaining and the team can't guarantee regular playing time for the former phenom pitcher the rest of the season. Ankiel hit three homers on Saturday. ``We talk about Rick a lot, but every day that he has four at_bats he's closer to getting to the big leagues and staying here,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``Not having flexibility with him is a big problem right now.'' ... RHP Chris Carpenter reported no problems from his first bullpen session on Sunday since surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow and is scheduled to throw again later this week. La Russa is trying not to get too excited about the progress the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner has made. ``I know I have an idea, a kind of a rough date, and I hate to even say that because it's unfair to the player,'' La Russa said. ``He's got so much work to do, but I mean, he's excited.''


FLORIDA: OF Reggie Abercrombie took a circuitous route to reach Chicago on Monday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Sunday's 5-4 loss to Kansas City that Abercrombie had been optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Abercrombie flew there Sunday night, then was told to fly back to Chicago the next morning after the team changed its mind. ``We sent Reggie on a little trip,'' Gonzalez said. ... RHP Lee Gardner was optioned to Albuquerque to make room for Monday's starter, RHP Josh Johnson, who was activated from the disabled list before the game. ... 1B Mike Jacobs (broken right thumb) has been taking live batting practice and is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Single-A Jupiter on Monday. RHP Logan Kensing (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class-A Gulf Coast. OF Cody Ross (left hamstring strain) continues to experience discomfort with hard running activities. RHP Henry Owens (right shoulder inflammation) is not throwing. OF Alejandro De Aza (right ankle sprain) will not participate in any baseball-related activities for three to five days.

CHICAGO: The White Sox announced Monday they have agreed to contract terms with 14 of their selections in the June draft, including five of their first seven. LHP Aaron Poreda, the team's first-round pick from the University of San Francisco, has been assigned to Great Falls in advanced rookie league. ... The slumping White Sox have lost nine of 12 in interleague play. The White Sox are 103-84 overall in interleague play, the fourth-best winning percentage of any major league team. ... OF Scott Podsednik (abductor muscle), on rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, could rejoin the team on Monday. ... OF Darin Erstad (ankle) said he doesn't want to rush back and have to be out for an extended period of time.


TAMPA BAY: Manager Joe Maddon announced his engagement to Jaye Sousoures. Maddon proposed in Boulder, Colo., during Tampa Bay's trip to Denver last week. No date has been set for the wedding. ... OF Rocco Baldelli, out since May 16 with a left hamstring strain, has started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham. He's expected to rejoin the Devil Rays on Friday. ... LHP J.P. Howell makes his fourth start Tuesday night at Arizona. He has allowed one earned run in two of his three starts and six in the other. Pitching for Kansas City, Howell won his major-league debut at Phoenix on June 11, 2005.

ARIZONA: LHP Randy Johnson, who is on the 15-day disabled list with glute tightness, saw a doctor in Los Angeles on Monday. Manager Bob Melvin said he hopes Johnson will return for the Los Angeles Dodgers series June 25-28. With a day off Thursday, the Diamondbacks will probably skip Johnson's turn in the rotation to keep the other four starters on their regular rest. ... RHP Max Scherzer, the club's first-round pick in 2006, has been promoted to Double-A Mobile after striking out 30 in 17 innings at Single-A Visalia. Scherzer went 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his first three professional starts.


PHILADELPHIA: OF Pat Burrell was out of the lineup for the second straight game. He's batting .211 with 29 RBIs in 194 at_bats and was 1-for-13 on the Phillies' recent homestand. ``It's up to (hitting coach) Milt Thompson and myself to work with him,'' manager Charlie Manuel said. The Indians are throwing three LHPs in the three-game interleague series: Cliff Lee, Jason Stanford and C.C. Sabathia. Burrell is batting .156 (10-for-64) with three homers and 10 RBIs against lefties. ... Manuel used 1B Ryan Howard as the DH on Monday ... OF Aaron Rowand, who left Sunday's game with leg cramps, was in the lineup Monday. ... Former Indians RHP Jose Mesa, claimed by the Phillies after being released by the Tigers, returned to Jacobs Field. The Tigers were in Cleveland when the let Mesa go on June 3. He signed with the Phillies on June 9 and hasn't allowed a run in three appearances.

CLEVELAND: DH Travis Hafner, homerless in June, and in a prolonged slump, got a second straight day off Monday with the Indians facing LHP Cole Hamels. Hafner, who is 5-for-30 in his past eight games, also sat on Sunday. Manager Eric Wedge felt it's a good time to give his DH a mental health break. Hafner has only one homer in his last 18 games and entered Monday with a .262 average. ``The best thing about it is we have a long way to go,'' Wedge said. ``That's one thing about great hitters like Travis, you know they are going to come around. Hopefully a couple days off will help him.'' ... RHP Rafael Betancourt entered Monday with a 1.17 ERA, fourth best among AL relievers. He had not allowed a run in his previous 15 games, and had walked just three in 30 2-3 innings. ... Cleveland's bullpen came into the series against Philadelphia with a 1.73 ERA since June 6.


CINCINNATI: Ken Griffey Jr.'s much-hyped trek toward Seattle is getting attention from the media in Oakland. The Reds begin a three-game series at Seattle on Friday. Griffey hasn't returned there to play since leaving the Mariners after the 1999 season. ... Injured closer Eddie Guardado, another former Mariner, pitched an inning for Triple-A Louisville in a rehab outing as part of his return from reconstructive elbow surgery. ... The Reds began the three-game interleague series 0-6 all-time against the A's.

OAKLAND: Injured RHP Rich Harden, on the DL since April 16 with a strained right shoulder, threw 27 pitches in a simulated game and is slated to work an inning or two in relief for Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday. If everything goes well, he could be activated in time to pitch Friday or Saturday out of the bullpen in New York against the Mets. ``It's a step in the right direction,'' Harden said. ``I'm getting closer to getting back out there. The way I feel now, hopefully it won't be that long.'' ... Gold Glove 3B Eric Chavez returned to the lineup after missing two games with soreness on the left side of his ribcage.


HOUSTON: Craig Biggio, who entered Monday needing two extra-base hits to become the 27th player to reach 1,000, witnessed one member of that exclusive fraternity make the milestone in person. It was Rafael Palmeiro, who did it against the Astros on June 15, 2002. ``I'm basically a leadoff guy with less than 300 home runs. And to be knocking at the door of 1,000 extra-base hits, I mean, that's pretty cool stuff,'' said Biggio, who has 286 homers, 657 doubles and 55 triples. ... The Astros were 0-8 this season when Mike Lamb started at first base - until Sunday, when he hit a grand slam and drove in five runs at Seattle while Lance Berkman sat out with flulike symptoms. Lamb was back at first when the Astros began a nine-game road trip against the AL West-leading Angels, and Berkman was the designated hitter.

LOS ANGELES: The Angels began a nine-game homestand with three players among the AL's top 10 in batting average - SS Orlando Cabrera (.342), 1B Casey Kotchman (.333) and RF Vladimir Guerrero (.329). Cabrera and Kotchman are the second and third most difficult to strikeout in the league, and Guerrero came in tied for second in fewest at_bats per RBI (3.9). ... Guerrero is trying to become only the third player with 10 or more consecutive seasons with 25 home runs and a batting average of .300 or better. Lou Gehrig did it for 11 straight years, and Ted Williams accomplished it in eight consecutive big league seasons, a stretch that was interrupted by a three-year stint in the military.


SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants placed INF Rich Aurilia on the 15-day disabled list with a neck strain, retroactive to June 17. C Eliezer Alfonzo (left knee strain) was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. He will have arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to remove damaged cartilage sustained during a collision at home June 8. The contract of INF Luis Figueroa was purchased from Triple-A Fresno, where he was batting .310 in 63 games.

MILWAUKEE: OF Tony Gwynn, batting .301 in 49 games, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville and 2B Rickie Weeks was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game against the Giants. The Brewers want Gwynn to play on a more consistent basis. Weeks, who is coming back from right wrist tendinitis, bats eighth and not leadoff as the club works him back into shape. ... OF Corey Hart has batted leadoff 14 times since May 30 and came into Monday night's game batting .352 with five home runs, 12 RBIs and seven stolen bases.

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A's call up Komine
June 18, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Oakland Athletics recalled right-hander Shane Komine from Triple-A Sacramento on Monday to give them some length in the bullpen, optioning right-handed reliever Ruddy Lugo to the River Cats.
   
The 26-year-old Komine, who made his major league debut with the A's last season, went 3-8 with a 5.31 ERA in 14 starts for Sacramento. He was second in the Pacific Coast League with 14 home runs allowed.

Oakland claimed Lugo off waivers from Tampa Bay last Thursday. He had a 37.80 ERA in two appearances for the A's.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 19

Marlins activate Johnson
June 18, 2007

CHICAGO (AP)-Florida Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson was activated from the disabled list in time to make his first start of the season Monday night against the Chicago White.

Johnson, 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA last year, missed the first 10 weeks of this season with an irritated ulnar nerve in his right elbow.

To make room on the roster, right-hander Lee Gardner was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Gardner was 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 23 games for Florida.

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Giants put Aurilia on DL, bring up Figueroa
June 18, 2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) -Rich Aurilia's sore neck finally forced him to the disabled list, and the San Francisco Giants hope all he needs is a little more rest.
   
Aurilia has received multiple injections in the past few weeks to help alleviate the pain that's bothered him since last month, and the Giants put the infielder on the 15-day disabled list before they played the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.

The move was retroactive to Sunday.

``He needed some time to get this neck issue to clear up so we went ahead and put him on the disabled list for at least 15 days to see if we could get this right,'' manager Bruce Bochy said.

San Francisco called up Luis Figueroa from Triple-A Fresno. Figueroa has appeared in 12 major league games, with the Blue Jays last season and the Pirates in 2001.

Bochy said Figueroa will take on a utility role with the Giants.

``He played everywhere, all over the field in Fresno, including the outfield,'' Bochy said. ``He gives us some infield depth and was doing a good job.''

The Giants also moved catcher Eliezer Alfonzo to the 60-day disabled list. He was placed on the DL on June 9 with a right knee sprain after he was hurt in a collision with Oakland's Donnie Murphy at home plate in the 10th inning the day before.

Alfonzo will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday in an effort to help speed his recovery, which is expected to take six to eight weeks. Head trainer Dave Groeschner said Alfonzo wanted to have the operation and he believed it would be for the best.

``We just don't want to get down the road four to six weeks when he starts doing some functional activity, where he's actually running and catching and have an issue with a cartilage tear set us back,'' Groeschner said.

Aurilia last played Saturday in Boston and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He had missed the previous four games due to the neck ailment.

Aurilia also missed four starts last month because of a stiff neck that required shots. Most recently, he said he received ``epidural-type injections'' between three vertebrae.

``After he got the second injections, he felt better with a few days' rest. Maybe we just didn't give him a long enough rest,'' Groeschner said.

The 35-year-old Aurilia is batting .236 with two home runs and 19 RBIs in his second stint with San Francisco, but hasn't homered since connecting May 20 off Joe Kennedy of the Athletics.

Aurilia signed an $8 million, two-year deal in December to return to the Giants as the team's primary first baseman, though he has been sharing duties with Ryan Klesko and has been filling in all over the infield.

Aurilia helped San Francisco reach the World Series in 2002. Despite struggling with injuries, he had six home runs and 17 RBIs during that postseason.

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Chone Figgins Goes 6-for-6 as Angels Edge Astros, 10-9
Monday, June 18th, 2007

Chone Figgins had six hits, including a game-winning RBI triple in the ninth inning that gave the Los Angeles Angels a 10-9 victory over the Houston Astros in an interleague game on Monday night. Figgins finished 6-for-6 with a double and four singles to go with his tiebreaking triple. He drove in three runs and tied Garret Anderson’s 1996 franchise record for hits in a game to help the American League West leaders rally from a 9-4 deficit.

Figgins also became the first major league player to get six hits since Seattle’s Raul Ibanez on Sept. 22, 2004, at Anaheim, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Francisco Rodriguez (1-2) earned the victory, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the ninth by striking out Craig Biggio. The Angels paid -230 on the moneyline (meaning a winning bet of $230 would yield a $100 profit).

Biggio was 1-for-6, leaving him 10 hits shy of 3,000. Mike Lamb and Luke Scott homered for the Astros against John Lackey, and Mark Loretta was 4-for-5 with three RBIs.

Dave Borkowski (1-1) retired his first two batters in the ninth before giving up a single to Reggie Willits. Trever Miller came on and Figgins lined the lefthander’s 1-and-1 pitch to rightfield, sending Willits scampering home.

In other interleague action on Monday:

New York Mets 8, Minnesota 1: John Maine took a three-hit shutout into the eighth inning to earn his second win in eight starts as the Mets paid -168 at Shea Stadium. Carlos Delgado homered and Maine (7-4) limited Minnesota to four hits over 7.1 innings as the National League East leaders won for only the fourth time in 16 games this month.

Cleveland 10, Philadelphia 1: Cliff Lee beat another NL team, and Kelly Shoppach hit a three-run homer off Cole Hamels to lead the Indians’ rout at home. Lee (4-4), injured and inconsistent most of this season, improved to 10-1 in interleague play. He won for just the second time in six starts, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings - his longest start since May 8. Shoppach, batting .552 (16-for-29) in his last eight games, connected in the second inning off Hamels (9-3), the NL’s only nine-game winner. Cleveland paid +112.

Detroit 9, Washington 8: Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames homered, and the visiting Tigers scored six times in the fifth then held on for the win. Guillen drove in three runs, and Gary Sheffield had two RBIs for the Tigers, who have won three of four and are 9-4 in interleague play this season. They were -155 favorites.

Atlanta 9, Boston 4: Brian McCann homered and drove in four runs off Curt Schilling, who endured his first strikeout-free start since 1993. Schilling was rocked for 10 hits and six runs in 4.1 innings in Atlanta, his second-shortest outing of the season. More telling, the 40-year-old righthander failed to strike out anyone - the first time that’s happened since July 1, 1993. The Braves were +137 underdogs at home.

Milwaukee 5, San Francisco 4: Prince Fielder belted a two-run homer and Rickie Weeks had two hits for the Brewers, who were -152 favorites at Miller Park. Yovani Gallardo earned his first victory, giving up three runs off four hits in 6.1 innings. Ray Durham was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer for the Giants.

Kansas City 5, St. Louis 3: Odalis Perez won for the second time in 10 starts as the Royals exploited mistakes by St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright.
John Buck homered and Mark Teahen had two hits and an RBI for the Royals, starting a 10-game road trip after a season-best 6-3 homestand during which they took two of three from the Cardinals and outscored the World Series champions 28-16. Wainwright (5-6) gave up five runs - four earned - in seven innings. He committed his first two errors in the first and then made a mental mistake later in the game. The Royals were +150 underdogs on the road.

Chicago White Sox 10, Florida 6: Jim Thome added to his career interleague home-run lead with a three-run shot, and the struggling White Sox matched their season high for runs in a victory. Jose Contreras (5-7) got his first win since May 21, allowing eight hits and five runs in 6.2 innings at home. White Sox rightfielder Jermaine Dye made two diving, outstretched catches but had to leave the game as a precautionary measure in the fourth inning with a strained right quadriceps. The White Sox were -138 favorites.

Tampa Bay 10, Arizona 2: Brendan Harris fell a double shy of the cycle and Jason Hammel earned his first career win as the Devil Rays improved to 7-0 against their 1998 expansion partners. Tampa Bay paid +161 as a road underdog. Harris hit a solo homer in the third, singled in the fifth and tripled in the seventh, all against starter Livan Hernandez (5-5).

Oakland 6, Cincinnati 1: Joe Blanton struck out five and didn’t walk a batter to win for the third time in four starts and Mark Ellis’ three-run homer highlighted the Athletics home victory, which paid their supporters -198. Eric Chavez hit a sacrifice fly, and Nick Swisher had three singles and an RBI groundout for the Athletics, who improved their regular-season mark against the Reds to 7-0.

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Cardinals move Wells to bullpen
June 19, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Cardinals scratched pitcher Kip Wells from his scheduled start on Tuesday, giving the right-hander the news about three hours before a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Brad Thompson and Todd Wellemeyer, who had been listed to pitch on Wednesday and Thursday, each were moved up a day. Wells, 2-11 with a 6.93 ERA, will work out of the bullpen the next few days and is set to start on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Thompson threw two scoreless innings of relief and about 40 pitches on Saturday at Oakland, four days after allowing eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings at Kansas City.

Wells leads the major leagues in losses and lasted only 1 1-3 innings in his last start at Kansas City, giving up six runs, three hits and four walks. Wells, who signed a $4 million, one-year contract as a free agent during the offseason, appeared to have gotten a reprieve from bullpen duty when Braden Looper was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder strain on Monday.

Manager Tony La Russa informed both Thompson and Wellemeyer of the possible change in the rotation after Monday's 5-3 loss to the Royals, but didn't see Wells in the clubhouse. Wells, apparently after checking the lineup card, stuck his head in La Russa's office and beckoned with his finger while the manager was meeting with reporters.

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Schilling sent back to Boston for MRI exam
June 19, 2007

ATLANTA (AP) -After getting roughed up in two straight starts, Red Sox starter Curt Schilling was sent back to Boston to get an MRI exam on his right shoulder.
   
Schilling nearly pitched a no-hitter at Oakland on June 7, giving up a two-out single to Shannon Stewart in the ninth inning.

But the right-hander hasn't looked the same in his last two outings, giving up 11 earned runs and 19 hits in 9 1-3 innings. He was hit hard Monday night by the Atlanta Braves, who said Schilling lacked his usual velocity in a 9-4 loss.

Taking no chances, the Red Sox sent Schilling back to Boston to get checked out by the team's medical director, Dr. Thomas J. Gill.

``The ball didn't come out of his hand too well,'' manager Terry Francona said. ``He didn't complain of pain or anything. The ball just wasn't coming out.''

Schilling, who ranks 14th on the career strikeout list, failed to fan anyone Monday night - the first time that's happened in one of his starts since 1993.

``It's embarrassing,'' Schilling said. ``I never gave us a chance. You want to walk around the room and apologize to everybody. Your manager, your teammates, fans. There's no excuse for a game like that.''

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