|Tough day for closers in the National League|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 June 2007 22:11|
New York's Billy Wagner, Arizona's Jose Valverde and Houston's Dan Wheeler blew saves Thursday, and Jonathan Broxton of the Dodgers coughed up a four-run lead in the ninth on a day of wild finishes.
Wagner, who had converted 31 straight save opportunities, lost a 3-2 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies when slumping Pat Burrell homered to tie the score. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins combined for the go-ahead run in the 10th and Philadelphia completed a three-game sweep with a 6-3 win.
Wagner said Burrell has a ``one-path swing, and I threw it in it's path.''
Jose Valverde, who had a chance to tie Milwaukee's Francisco Cordero for the major league lead with his 24th save, gave up a leadoff homer to Pedro Feliz in the ninth, allowing San Francisco to tie the score at 4.
Omar Vizquel singled in Ray Durham in the 11th, and San Francisco prevailed 5-4 to avoid a three-game sweep at Arizona.
``It's nice to get out of here with a win,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``We've had some tough luck here, made some mistakes here. We did tonight. We overcame it. We've got some work to do. We did a lot of good things tonight.''
Dan Wheeler (0-3), who had converted 10 straight save chances, came in to protect a 6-4 Houston lead in Colorado.
Kaz Matsui doubled leading off and scored on a single by Matt Holliday, his fourth hit of the game. Todd Helton singled, Garrett Atkins loaded the bases with a walk and Brad Hawpe tied the score with a sacrifice fly.
Rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki then singled to left to drive in the winning run for the Rockies in a 7-6 victory.
``This is certainly a tough one,'' Houston manager Phil Garner said. ``You feel like you've got it in the bag, the kind we're accustomed to winning, and we just didn't do it.''
In other NL games Thursday, it was: Pittsburgh 3, Washington 2; Chicago 2, Atlanta 1; Cincinnati 5, St. Louis 1; and San Diego 6, Los Angeles 5.
The wildest finish of the night came in San Diego, where the Padres trailed 5-1 in the bottom of the ninth. But against Broxton (2-2), they got five hits and four runs before making their first out of the inning.
Geoff Blum started the winning rally with a leadoff single. Terrmel Sledge reached on a fielding error by first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who fielded his grounder but had the ball pop out of his glove. Marcus Giles singled to left to load the bases, and Paul McAnulty beat out a chopper to bring in a run.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run ground-rule double to right-center, Josh Bard was intentionally walked to reload the bases and Mike Cameron's single to center brought in McAnulty to tie the game.
After Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out for the first out, Russ Branyan walked to force in the winning run, and the Padres won their fifth straight and their 10th in 12 games to remain atop the NL West.
Manager Grady Little said he had no intention of relieving Broxton. Closer Takashi Saito was unavailable because of a strained hamstring.
Broxton faced nine batters, allowing five hits and walking two.
``I wasn't going to use Saito there,'' Little said. ``There are 100 games left. It doesn't make sense.''
Said McAnulty: ``To be able to come back against those guys, that's a great boost of confidence for the team. That let us know we can do anything.''
Pirates 3, Nationals 2
Jason Bay homered off Chad Cordero in the ninth inning, and visiting Pittsburgh won for the third time in nine games.
Bay's homer to right-center was the first run off Cordero (1-1) since the closer returned from the bereavement list on May 14, a span of 13 appearances.
Matt Capps (3-2) got six straight outs to complete a three-hitter.
Dmitri Young hit a two-run homer for Washington.
Cubs 2, Braves 1
Rich Hill matched his career high with 11 strikeouts and visiting Chicago won in manager Lou Piniella's return from a four-game suspension.
Hill (5-4) gave up three hits in eight innings and the Cubs won for the fourth time in five games. Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 13 tries.
Chuck James (5-5) gave up two runs, six hits and three walks for the Braves, who have lost three straight and five of six.
Reds 5, Cardinals 1
Kyle Lohse came within two outs of his second shutout in three starts and visiting Cincinnati got home runs from Ken Griffey Jr., Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Dunn.
Encarnacion had four hits and three RBIs for the Reds, who ended a four-game losing streak.
All of the homers came off Adam Wainwright (4-5), who allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.
Lohse (3-7) went 8 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and one run with a walk and two strikeouts.