Baseball Today April 25

Baseball Today April 25

Baseball Today

Los Angeles at Detroit (7:05 p.m.) Ervin Santana has been nearly unhittable at home with a career record of 26-9. He tries once more to get it done on the road, where he hasn't had nearly the success, taking his 3-0 record and 2.67 ERA to Detroit. Nate Robertson (0-2) opposes him, looking for his first win in four starts.

STARS

- Lance Berkman, Astros, homered and drove in three runs in a 5-3 win over Cincinnati. He's hit 18 homers at Great American Ball Park, the most by any visiting player, and raised his career batting average at the Reds' home to .360.

- Chipper Jones, Braves, celebrated his 36th birthday by going 3-for-3 with a homer in a 7-4 win over the Marlins.

- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, homered twice and finished with three hits while driving in four runs in an 8-2 rout of the Rangers.

- Aaron Cook, Rockies, gave up four hits and a pair of runs in eight innings of a 4-2 victory over the Cubs. Cook struck out five and walked three to win his third straight start.

- Donnie Murphy, Athletics, hit solo shots in the fifth and sixth innings for his first career multihomer game, driving in four runs in an 11-2 victory over the Twins.

- Felipe Lopez, Nationals, hit a grand slam and tied a career high with six RBIs to help Washington win for just the fourth time in 20 games, 10-5 over the Mets.

AILING

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez rejoined the team but was not in the starting lineup against the White Sox. He's been out with a strained right quadriceps since Sunday, but manager Joe Girardi said he might be OK to play this weekend at Cleveland.

BACK IN OAKLAND

Frank Thomas, released by the Blue Jays on Sunday after complaining about his lack of playing time, signed with Oakland and was immediately put in the lineup against Minnesota. He'll be the team's new DH, just as he was in the A's 2006 playoff run and AL West championship that year. Thomas went 0-for-3 with two walks in Oakland's 11-2 win over the Twins.

FIRST LOSS

Yankees rising star Joba Chamberlain lost his first major league game, 7-6 to the Chicago White Sox, when he gave up a run-scoring hit to Joe Crede with one out in the ninth inning. Chamberlain had given up just three runs - two earned - in 32 innings over 26 regular-season appearances since being called up last year. He gave up one earned run in 19 outings in 2007.

LONE-LY RANGERS

The Rangers dipped deeper into the AL West cellar after an 8-2 loss to Detroit. Texas has lost seven straight and was outscored 37-10 in the three-game series with the Tigers, and the scrutiny of Rangers manager Ron Washington could increase. A night earlier, after a 19-6 loss, Washington said, ``Any time a team is in a losing streak, the manager's job is on the line.''

HELP YOURSELF!

Atlanta may have won again, this time beating the Marlins 7-4, but it was no thanks to its pitching staff. Sure, four runs isn't a dreadful outing, but consider this: Starter Chuck James and reliever Manny Acosta combined to go 0-for-3 at the plate, making Braves pitchers a combined 0-for-39 this season. Atlanta is the last team in the NL without a hit from a pitcher.

SAY HI TO MICKEY

The Rays sure seem to like playing in front of Mickey, Minnie and the gang. They swept a three-game set from Toronto in a home-away-from-home series at Disney World, Tampa Bay's first ``home'' sweep since taking three from Texas at Disney last May. The Rays are 6-0 in regular-season games played there in an ongoing effort to bolster fan support in the Orlando area, which is about 90 miles east of the team's domed stadium in St. Petersburg.

STINGY

Cleveland's Cliff Lee pitched a three-hitter to beat Kansas City 2-0 and improve to 4-0 with an almost nonexistent 0.28 ERA this season. In 31 2-3 innings over four starts, the 6-foot-3 Lee has allowed only one run. His nine strikeouts tied his career best. It was his first shutout and fourth career complete game.

CURB APPEAL


Los Angeles unveiled a four-year upgrade plan for Dodger Stadium that owner Frank McCourt said amounts to a new home for the team built around the nearly 50-year-old core of the old. It will include a tree-lined entrance to a landscaped grand plaza beyond center field that will connect to a promenade of restaurants, shops and a Dodgers museum. It's all planned to be done by opening day 2012, with a price tag of about $500 million.

ASTROS SOARING

Lance Berkman homered and drove in three runs to help the Astros beat Cincinnati for their fifth straight win, the longest winning streak since April 16-20 last season. Houston's offense has led the way, scoring 41 runs during the streak.

SPEAKING

``Somebody's got to have the most. It might as well be me.'' - Astros slugger Lance Berkman, who hit his 18th homer at Great American Ball Park - the most by any visiting player - in a 5-3 win over the Reds.

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Re: Baseball Today April 25

Bad weather forecasted for Cleveland as Yankees visit
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Friday night's forecast in Cleveland includes the possibility of thunderstorms and 20-mph winds, but that's alright with the New York Yankees.

As long as there aren't any bugs.

The Yankees return to the shores of Lake Erie on Friday for the first time since a swarm of midges helped derail their playoff hopes there last October, as they open a four-game set against the Indians - who are trying to extend their longest winning streak of the season.

After dropping the first game of last year's AL division series, the Yankees led 1-0 in the eighth inning of Game 2 behind a strong effort from starter Andy Pettitte, who is scheduled to start Friday.

But with a cloud of bugs sticking to his head and neck, reliever Joba Chamberlain walked Grady Sizemore and threw two wild pitches, enabling Cleveland to tie the game. The Indians won 2-1 in 11 innings on Travis Hafner's RBI single, then finished the series by winning Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.

"It's like somebody let them go," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said of the bugs. "Just when you think you've seen it all - that's home-field advantage."

The Yankees (12-11) have won eight straight regular-season games against Cleveland (10-12), including a six-game sweep of last year's season series.

But their third straight first-round defeat last season led New York to change managers, as Joe Girardi replaced Joe Torre in the Bronx. Girardi's team started just 9-10 this year, but a win by Pettitte (3-1, 2.45 ERA) in his last start gave the Yankees their first of three straight wins before they lost 7-6 to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

Chamberlain took his first major league loss in that game, giving up an RBI single to Joe Crede in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"He'll be fine. He'll bounce back," Girardi said. "He's given up a run before in his life."

Pettitte, meanwhile, has won each of his last three starts, but his best effort came Sunday in Baltimore, as he retired the first 14 batters he faced and ended up allowing just four hits and no walks in seven scoreless innings as the Yankees won 7-1.

The left-hander also threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings in last year's playoff game in Cleveland. Last August, in his first start there in more than five years, he went 7 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and earning a 5-3 win.

On Friday, he'll face Paul Byrd, who won the clinching game at Yankee Stadium last fall. He pitched five innings and allowed just two runs in that 6-4 win, after the Yankees had pounded him for seven runs in just two innings in an 11-2 win last August.

The right-hander hasn't beaten the Yankees in the regular season since 1999, and his team has lost his last seven starts against them.

Byrd (0-2, 4.43) is still seeking his first win of 2008, but he's pitched well in his last two starts, allowing just one earned run, walking none in 13 innings and getting a pair of no-decisions. He's gotten just three total runs of support in four starts this year.

But after scoring 26 runs in the last three games, Cleveland (10-12) is hoping to win its fourth straight. The Indians swept Thursday's doubleheader at Kansas City by pounding out 15 hits in a 9-6 win in the first game and getting a three-hitter from Cliff Lee in a 2-0 victory in the nightcap.

New York's offense could be aided this weekend by the return of reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez, who has been out since Sunday due to a quadriceps strain. Rodriguez rejoined the team Thursday, and might serve as DH this weekend as he works his way back.

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