Baseball Today April 14

Baseball Today April 14

Baseball Today

Arizona at San Francisco (10:15 p.m.) Strikeout king Randy Johnson makes his season debut for Arizona against Jonathan Sanchez, who struck out a career-high 10 in his last start, Wednesday against San Diego. Sanchez has 18 strikeouts in 10 innings over two starts.

STARS

- Brian Bannister, Royals, gave up three hits in a complete-game, 5-1 win over the Twins. In 21 innings, Bannister is 3-0 and has allowed only two earned runs for an ERA of 0.86.

- Alex Gordon, Royals, went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and a double in a 5-1 win over Minnesota. Gordon also scored three times.

- Jason Bay, Pirates, homered and drove in three runs in a 9-1 win over the Reds.

- Joe Crede and Paul Konerko, White Sox, each hit grand slams in an 11-0 rout of Detroit. The two batters accounted for all 11 runs, scoring twice and driving in nine.

- Lastings Milledge, Nationals, went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored in a 5-4 win over Atlanta.

- Gabe Kapler, Brewers, went 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs in a 9-7 victory over the Mets. Kapler, a minor league manager last season, already has four homers.

- Cliff Lee, Indians, gave up a run on two hits in eight innings of a 7-1 win over the Athletics. Lee struck out eight in improving to 2-0 on the season.

- Derrek Lee, Cubs, had three hits with a double and two RBIs in a 6-5 win over the Phillies. Lee had the only hit off Cole Hamels in a loss on Saturday night.

- Jeff Mathis, Angels, went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in a 10-5 win over the Mariners.

- Clint Barmes, Rockies, had three hits, a homer and drove in four runs in a 13-5 rout of Arizona. It was Colorado's first win over the Diamondbacks in six meetings this year.

- Greg Maddux, Padres, allowed two hits over five innings for his 349th victory as San Diego beat the Dodgers 1-0.

AILING

The Braves' Tom Glavine left his start against the Nationals with a strained right hamstring after failing to record an out in the first inning, matching the shortest outing of his 22-season career. The first four batters Glavine faced reached base before he was pulled.

GRAND SLAMMING

Joe Crede and Paul Konerko each hit grand slams for the White Sox against the Tigers, the third time Chicago has had multiple grand slams in the same game. Darren Lewis and Robin Ventura did in on May 19, 1996, at Detroit, and Ventura hit two grand slams on Sept. 4, 1995, at Texas.

RIDING THE BANNISTER

Brian Bannister (3-0) threw his second career complete game, giving up three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in the Royals' 5-1 win over Minnesota. The only run he allowed was unearned. In three starts covering 21 innings, the second-year right-hander has allowed only two earned runs for an ERA of 0.86.

COMEBACK KAPLER

Gabe Kapler, who managed in the Red Sox organization last season, homered for the second straight day, doubled twice and drove in three runs to help Milwaukee beat the Mets 9-7. The 32-year-old Kapler came out of retirement during the offseason and has four home runs in 26 at-bats. The last time Kapler had at least four homers in a season was 2004, with Boston. He didn't get No. 4 that season until July 21, in his 159th at-bat.

REBOUNDING

After a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs, Pittsburgh rebounded to sweep a three-game set from the Reds. It was the Pirates' first sweep since taking three games from the Astros last April 24-26. They hadn't swept Cincinnati since July 23-25, 2004.

SNAPPED

Cincinnati rookie Johnny Cueto, making his third start, walked his first batter of the year in the Pirates' 9-1 win over the Reds, ending his string of strikeouts without a walk at 22 batters. Cueto had become the only pitcher since 1900 to strike out as many as 18 and walk none in his first two starts.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Wandy Rodriguez struck out seven and allowed five hits in seven innings of Houston's 5-1 victory over Florida. It was his second effective outing in two starts at home this year. Last year, Rodriguez had a 2.94 ERA at Minute Maid Park and the Astros won 11 of the 15 games he started here. On the road, Rodriguez had a 6.37 ERA last season, the highest among NL starters.

BENCHED

Mired in a slump, David Ortiz was held out of the Red Sox's starting lineup against the Yankees. Ortiz, batting .070 with three hits in 43 at-bats, was to work with hitting coach Dave Magadan. Ortiz had arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason and started the season in an 0-for-12 slump. He's hitless in his past 17 at-bats, his worst stretch since he went 0-for-17 in August 2004.

SUCCESSFUL SWIPE

Johnny Damon's steal after leading off New York's 8-5 loss at Boston with a walk was the Yankees' first of the season, ending a 12-game drought. It was their longest at the start of a season since 1948 when a 16-game streak ended with a double steal by Phil Rizzuto and Tommy Henrich. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees' streak without a steal at the start of the season was the longest since the 2003 Toronto Blue Jays didn't get any until their 19th game.

RYAN'S BACK

B.J. Ryan was activated by the Blue Jays on Sunday, barely 11 months after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery. Ryan goes back to the closer's role, though he won't pitch on consecutive days. Jeremy Accardo has been serving as the Jays' primary closer.

CURSE AVERTED

Construction workers jackhammered through concrete Sunday and pulled out a Red Sox jersey from their new stadium, foiling a worker's bid to curse the Yankees. Team officials said they may press charges against the overzealous Red Sox rooter, who was unavailable for comment.

SPEAKING

``I wouldn't try to label it - surreal, spectacular. I'm just playing baseball, enjoying being at the ballpark, enjoying being in the clubhouse, enjoying winning games, enjoying being with my teammates.'' - Gabe Kapler, who managed in Class A Greenville last year, on his return to playing. He homered for the second straight day, doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Brewers in a 9-7 win over the Mets.

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Re: Baseball Today April 14

B.J. Ryan returns to Jays' bullpen just in time for Baltimore series
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jeremy Accardo proved to be a very capable substitute closer last season. The Toronto Blue Jays, though, are a much more formidable team with a healthy B.J. Ryan available.

Ryan and the Blue Jays look to build on their second series sweep of the season Monday night when they open a two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Ryan, who developed into one of the game's top closers while pitching for the Orioles (7-5) from 1999-2005, saved 38 games in 2006, his first season with Toronto (7-5). His 2007 season, however, only consisted of five appearances due to an elbow injury that required ligament replacement surgery.

After starting this season with Class-A Dunedin, Ryan was activated from the disabled list before Sunday's game at Texas. The big left-hander gave up a leadoff triple in the bottom of the 10th before retiring the next three batters to preserve the Blue Jays' 5-4 victory and a three-game sweep.

"It's good to get the first one under your belt,'' Ryan said. "Extra innings on the road, it means even more. That's why I worked hard all winter, to get the opportunity to come back. It wasn't the prettiest save but the bottom line is to make a pitch when you have to. We got a good outcome."

With Ryan back, the Blue Jays now have three left-handers and three right-handers in their bullpen. Ryan's presence also allows Accardo, who saved 30 games last season, to move into a set-up role.

"You don't see that anywhere," manager John Gibbons said. "Lefties are so hard to find to begin with. It's a good thing. But our lefties can also get out righties and our righties can get out lefties."

Toronto rebounded with three straight wins after losing three straight at home to Oakland.

"It's huge," Gibbons said. "We got swept by Oakland so we had to regroup. We had to come in here tired after a long trip. Our guys played some good baseball. We've got a good, solid ballclub and we're playing hard."

Gibbons' team now looks to extend its win streak with Dustin McGowan (0-0, 3.27 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander has pitched effectively in each of his first two starts, but has been supported with only five total runs.

He allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings Wednesday in the Blue Jays' 6-3 loss to Oakland.

McGowan is 0-2 with a 7.52 ERA in six career appearances - three starts - against the Orioles.

Baltimore returns home after losing four of six on the road to Texas and Tampa Bay. The Orioles lost four of their last five on the trip, including Sunday's 6-2 defeat to the Rays.

Nick Markakis hit a solo homer for Baltimore, which went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and left nine runners on base.

The Orioles loaded the bases with one out in the first, but were unable to score.

"It would have been nice to put three on the board in the first," manager Dave Trembley said. "I think that would have set the tone for the game."

Matt Albers (1-0, 0.00) will make a spot start after Baltimore played a doubleheader at Texas on Thursday. The right-hander, acquired from Houston in the Miguel Tejada trade, has pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings in three relief appearances this season.

Albers was 3-11 with a 5.71 ERA in 18 starts last season for the Astros, allowing 15 home runs in 93 innings. This will be his first appearance against Toronto.

The Blue Jays went 10-8 last season against the Orioles, winning four of their last six games at Camden Yards.

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Re: Baseball Today April 14

Yankees likely to add catcher after Molina leaves with hamstring injury
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON (AP) -New York Yankees catcher Jose Molina injured his hamstring Sunday night, forcing sore-armed Jorge Posada to take over and making the addition of another catcher likely.

After the Boston Red Sox's 8-5 win Sunday night, Yankees manager said the team probably would add a catcher. They open a two-game series Monday night at Tampa Bay.

''I'm not sure what's going to happen with Molina now,'' Girardi said. ''He hurt his (left) hamstring. That's why we took him out. ... It was pretty bad.''

Girardi said Molina was hurt in the fourth inning when he slid in safely on Johnny Damon's sacrifice fly. He trotted slowly to first on a ground out in the sixth and a single in the eighth. Wilson Betemit pinch ran for him, and Posada, who has a sore right shoulder, moved from designated hitter to catcher in the ninth when Boston stole two bases without drawing a throw.

''It's kind of hard,'' Girardi said. ''I was hoping they didn't get anyone on where they could run. It didn't work out that way.''

Molina said: ''It doesn't feel really, really bad. It's tight.''

Shortstop Derek Jeter, who missed his sixth straight game Sunday night with a strained left thigh, might play Monday night, Girardi said.

''We'll make a decision after we go through the workout,'' he said.

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