|Zito, Penny roughed up; Clemens pushes himself in first minor league start|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 18 May 2007 23:03|
On the first night of interleague play this season, Detroit routed St. Louis 14-4 in a World Series rematch and several top pitchers were on display. But Zito and Penny, two of those aces, were way off their game.
In his dreadful return to the Oakland Coliseum, Zito never guessed the strike zone would be tougher to find than the visitors' clubhouse. The Athletics hammered him for seven runs and six hits Friday in a 15-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants to open the Bay Bridge Series.
Zito (3-5) also issued seven of the Giants' 13 walks during an awful night for the club and its $126 million left-hander, who couldn't get an out in the fifth inning. He got a mixed reception from Oakland fans.
``It was kind of strange, (but) I don't know if my emotions played into it,'' said Zito, who won 102 games and the 2002 AL Cy Young Award during seven seasons with the A's. ``It creeps into your mind that it's a different situation, but it's my job to block that out and treat them as normal opponents.''
Penny (5-1) also struggled, giving up eight runs and eight hits in five-plus innings during the Los Angeles Angels' 9-1 victory over the Dodgers in the Freeway Series opener at Anaheim, Calif.
The right-hander's ERA jumped from a major league-best 1.39 to 2.54. In his previous eight starts this year, he allowed a total of eight earned runs.
``You know you're going to lose a game. I don't care if I give up 10 runs or one run and lose, it's the same result,'' Penny said. ``I wasn't horrible. I was around the plate, but I wasn't locating as well as I have been in the past.''
In other interleague games, it was: the Chicago Cubs 6, the Chicago White Sox 3; the New York Mets 3, the New York Yankees 2; Florida 8, Tampa Bay 4; Cleveland 9, Cincinnati 4; Philadelphia 5, Toronto 3; Baltimore 5, Washington 4; Texas 7, Houston 4; Minnesota 8, Milwaukee 1; Kansas City 5, Colorado 2; and San Diego 8, Seattle 1. Atlanta's game at Boston was postponed by rain and rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
In the only NL game, Pittsburgh beat Arizona 11-5.
Clemens is four innings closer to his major league return, and pushing himself relentlessly.
With New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner watching from a private box at Legends Field in Florida, Clemens threw 58 pitches and gave up only a solo homer for Class-A Tampa in the first minor league start of his latest comeback.
``Right now I'm in high gear. In the next four or five days, hopefully I'll be able to step back and get a grasp on everything,'' the 44-year-old Clemens said.
``I've pushed my body to a point now in the last three weeks that hopefully I can start trying to retain some energy so I can get a little better results when I get on the mound.''
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner allowed three hits and struck out two against the Fort Myers Miracle, a Minnesota Twins affiliate. He left to a standing ovation from the crowd of 10,257.
The Boss liked what he saw.
``He looked good. He looked fine,'' Steinbrenner said. ``He was all we expected.''
Erik Lis homered in the first inning off Clemens, who came out after a perfect fourth. He estimated he threw 50 to 55 pitches while warming up before the game, then did some additional work in the bullpen afterward.
The Yankees said Clemens' fastball topped out at 91 mph and averaged 90 during his outing.
``I think I'm a little further along than I anticipated,'' Clemens said.
The Rocket agreed to a $28,000,022, one-year contract on May 6 and has been working out at the Yankees' complex in Tampa since last Monday. He's scheduled to make a start with Double-A Trenton on Wednesday and could join New York's rotation as early as May 28 at Toronto or June 2 or 3 at Boston.
Tigers 14, Cardinals 4
At Detroit, Andrew Miller (1-0) pitched six scoreless innings in his first major league start and the Tigers scored nine runs in the fifth to gain a small measure of satisfaction after losing the 2006 World Series to St. Louis in five games.
Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez homered early for the Tigers, who had the game well in hand when a Detroit pitcher made yet another error against the Cardinals. Jason Grilli threw away a pickoff attempt in the eighth, but by then Detroit held a huge lead. Tigers pitchers made a record five errors in last year's Series.
Detroit tagged Braden Looper (5-3) and set a season high for runs and hits (18). In one game, the Tigers also surpassed the 11 total runs they scored in the World Series last October.
Cubs 6, White Sox 3
At Chicago, Angel Pagan hit a tying triple in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball at Wrigley Field. Backup catcher Toby Hall, playing his first game behind the plate this season after coming back from a shoulder injury, had two errors and the passed ball that cost the White Sox.
Jermaine Dye homered off winner Ted Lilly (4-2), who went seven innings. Ryan Dempster earned his ninth save, bouncing back from a deflating loss Thursday against the Mets. It was the first taste of the Windy City rivalry for Cubs manager Lou Piniella.
Mets 3, Yankees 2
At New York, Endy Chavez's first home run of the year, a go-ahead, two-run shot off Andy Pettitte (2-3) in the fifth at Shea Stadium, led the Mets to a victory that dropped their crosstown rival 10 games back in the AL East for the first time in the Joe Torre era.
Oliver Perez (5-3) limited the Yankees to Hideki Matsui's two-run homer in the fourth. The nine-time defending AL East champion Yankees (18-22) fell 10 games behind division-leading Boston. The Yankees had not been double digits back in the AL East since they trailed the Red Sox by 10 games after play on Sept. 22, 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Marlins 8, Devil Rays 4
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Byung-Hyun Kim (2-2) won his Marlins debut and Aaron Boone hit a grand slam off Edwin Jackson (0-6), ending Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak.
Indians 9, Reds 4
At Cleveland, Ryan Garko and Grady Sizemore homered to help Cliff Lee (2-0) improve to 8-0 in interleague play. Garko hit a three-run homer off Kyle Lohse (1-5) and Sizemore had four hits, including a two-run shot, as Cleveland improved baseball's best home record to 15-3.
Phillies 5, Blue Jays 3
At Philadelphia, Jon Lieber (2-2) pitched seven-plus strong innings and Brett Myers escaped a bases-loaded jam for his fifth save, helping the Phillies (21-21) win for the seventh time in nine games. Philadelphia won with only three hits - all singles in the fifth.
Orioles 5, Nationals 4
At Washington, Brian Roberts tied a career high with four hits, Steve Trachsel (2-3) won for the first time in five starts and Baltimore snapped a five-game skid. Chris Ray got his ninth save.
Twins 8, Brewers 1
At Milwaukee, Boof Bonser (2-1) struck out a career-high 11 in seven innings and Torii Hunter hit his second grand slam this season to help Minnesota win for only the third time in 11 games. Chris Capuano (5-2) took the loss for the Brewers, who have dropped six of eight.
Rangers 7, Astros 4
At Houston, Nelson Cruz and Ramon Vazquez hit consecutive homers, and Robinson Tejeda (4-3) held the Astros hitless for five innings. Sammy Sosa added a two-run double and Eric Gagne earned his second save.
Royals 5, Rockies 2
At Denver, Emil Brown hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer to highlight Kansas City's five-run eighth. Joakim Soria got his ninth save.
Padres 8, Mariners 1
At Seattle, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run double for an early lead and Chris Young (5-3) made it stand up. Russell Branyan added a three-run homer.
Pirates 11, Diamondbacks 5
At Pittsburgh, Xavier Nady hit a three-run homer off Doug Davis (2-5) to back winner Ian Snell (4-2).