|Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman fail to hold 9th inning leads; Padres prevail anyway|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 10 August 2007 21:59|
While Wagner's struggles sunk the Mets on Friday night, the Padres persevered and won despite Hoffman's blown save.
Hanley Ramirez hit a go-ahead, two-run double off Wagner in the ninth inning and the Florida Marlins rallied past the Mets 4-3 in New York.
Khalil Greene homered and drove in three runs, including the go-ahead run in the 11th in Cincinnati, and San Diego overcame a rare Hoffman failure with a 12-7 win over the Reds.
On a night when Barry Bonds added to his home run record with No. 758 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, two of baseball's top 10 all-time saves leaders couldn't add to their totals. Wagner and Hoffman came in with a combined success rate of 88.8 percent, having saved 861 games in 970 chances.
It was Wagner's second blown save in 28 chances this season. The left-hander escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam to save a 4-3 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night. He hadn't allowed a run in 20 outings since June 15.
``Just one of those nights where I didn't make the pitches,'' Wagner said. ``I was trying to go up and in. It was probably more middle. I'm just not locating very well.''
Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer in his return from the disabled list, giving the Mets the 3-2 lead they handed to Wagner (1-1) in the ninth. After entering with a streak of 21 scoreless innings, he couldn't hold it.
``Billy's been outstanding all year. You expect him to close the game,'' Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
Miguel Olivo hit a leadoff single and pinch-hitter Jason Wood walked with one out. Ramirez, who began the day leading the NL with a .340 batting average, drove a 1-2 pitch over Beltran's head in center field to score both runners. The 2006 NL Rookie of the Year pumped his fist as he pulled into second base.
``I like the pressure moments,'' Ramirez said. ``I was looking for a mistake and I got it.''
In other NL games, it was: Philadelphia 5, Atlanta 4; Milwaukee 5, Houston 4, 11 innings; Los Angeles 2, St. Louis 1; Chicago 6, Colorado 2; Arizona 11, Washington 4; and Pittsburgh 8, San Francisco 7.
Hoffman had converted 25 consecutive save opportunities before Brandon Phillips led off the ninth with a double and Scott Hatteberg followed one out later with a double off the left field wall to tie the game at 7. Hoffman came back to get two popups and end the inning, but the blown save was Hoffman's first since April 27 against Los Angeles.
``Those were pretty hard-fought at bats,'' Greene said about Phillips and Hatteberg. ``One thing he's always been able to do is come back and maintain.''
David Weathers (2-4), Cincinnati's sixth relief pitcher, walked the bases loaded with one out to set up Greene's sacrifice fly to left field, which snapped a 7-7 tie. Josh Bard followed with a two-run triple down the right field line, and Kevin Kouzmanoff greeted reliever Victor Santos with a first-pitch two-run homer to left.
Weathers left the clubhouse before the media was allowed in, but Reds manager Pete Mackanin said the closer - who had converted 22 of 27 save opportunities - can't be expected to deliver every night.
``He doesn't do that,'' Mackanin said about Weathers' control problems. ``It's just one of those things. It's totally unexpected. That's just the way it goes. You can't expect him to be as good as he's been all year.''
Pirates 8, Giants 7
At San Francisco, Bonds connected for career homer No. 758 and his third clout of the week, and rookie Rajai Davis singled, doubled and tripled, but it was not enough to beat Pittsburgh.
Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer in the fourth for Pittsburgh, which rallied with six runs in the eighth. The Pirates got four straight singles to start the inning, then later a sacrifice fly by Jack Wilson off loser Vinnie Chulk (4-4), Nate McLouth's tying RBI double and a go-ahead, two-run single by Freddy Sanchez.
Phillies 5, Braves 4
At Philadelphia, Jayson Werth scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by Yunel Escobar in the seventh inning, and Philadelphia hung on for its third win in four games and pulled ahead of Atlanta for second in the NL East.
Cole Hamels (13-5) gave up four runs and five hits in the first inning, but retired 17 of his last 19 batters while allowing just two baserunners.
Brewers 5, Astros 4, 11 innings
At Houston, Corey Hart hit an RBI triple off Brian Moehler (1-4) in the top of the 11th inning and Milwaukee snapped a four-game losing streak.
Chris Spurling (2-1) shut out the Astros in the 10th to earn the victory and Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect 11th for his 35th save in 41 chances.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1
At St. Louis, James Loney broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer off Adam Wainwright (10-9) with one out in the ninth inning for Los Angeles.
Brad Penny worked seven innings of five-hit ball for the Dodgers, who won for only the second time in eight games. Joe Beimel (3-1) allowed an intentional walk in the eighth and Takashi Saito worked out of trouble for his 29th save in 32 chances.
Cubs 6, Rockies 2
At Denver, Jason Marquis (9-7) held the Rockies to five hits in 6 2-3 innings and Chicago beat Colorado for the second straight night.
The Cubs defeated Aaron Cook (8-7) for the first time in three starts. Cook was roughed up for five runs and eight hits over six innings and lost for first time in six starts.
Diamondbacks 11, Nationals 4
At Phoenix, Conor Jackson drove in four runs with two homers, and the Diamondbacks won for the 16th time in 19 games.
Livan Hernandez (8-7) got the victory despite allowing home runs by Felipe Lopez, Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns in the sixth. Hernandez allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out one and walking one.