OAKLAND: The Athletics were making their first appearance in Detroit since being swept in last year's American League Championship Series. Oakland, however, is 17-9 in the regular season since Comerica Park opened in 2000. ... Oakland entered the weekend series with a 11-16 mark since the All-Star break, the third-worst record in the American League, but a half-game better than the Tigers. ... SP Joe Blanton had a career 7.83 in four starts against the Tigers before Friday. Donnie Murphy's second-inning homer was his third in seven games after a 46-game drought.
urday, then break it on Sunday.
NEW YORK: Manager Joe Torre is pleased with the second-half surge that had seen the Yankees go 20-8 entering a three-game series against Cleveland, one of the first quality teams New York has faced since the break. ``We feel good about ourselves,'' he said, cautioning that the Indians series is a big one. ``It will come down to how well we pitch. When we (swept) Cleveland in April, they were playing very well and we were struggling, but they have some players on that ballclub.'' ... C Jorge Posada was not in the starting lineup Friday. ``His neck has been sore for three days,'' Torre said. ``He's getting treatment, but it hasn't responded.'' Jose Molina started behind the plate. ... 1B Andy Phillips has a sore toe, but Torre said ``he could be put in for defense.'' ... Torre said he will monitor RHP Joba Chamberlain's work out of the bullpen carefully. Chamberlain, a starter in the minors, made his major-league debut in relief Tuesday.
for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning on Wednesday and sat out Thursday's series finale in Chicago. ... OF David Dellucci took batting practice on Friday, another big step in his comeback from surgery on his hamstring. Dellucci hopes to be able to play baseball ``somewhere'' when he's eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 19. ``I'm making progress,'' said Dellucci, who signed as free agent last winter with Cleveland. ``This has been extremely difficult to deal with. The finish line is ahead and my job is to get to it.''
Red Sox-Orioles
BOSTON: DH David Ortiz was back in the lineup Friday after missing Wednesday's game in Los Angeles because of a sore shoulder. Ortiz was examined by a team doctor and got a cortisone shot on his day off. Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't expect Ortiz back in the lineup so quickly. ``He showed up early, hit and wanted to play,'' Francona said. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka entered Friday's start against Baltimore three strikeouts shy of the Red Sox rookie record held by Ken Brett, who had 155 in 1970. Matsuzaka set the record in the second inning. ... INF Eric Hinske was reinstated from the bereavement list before Friday's game. He did not start. ... Although the Red Sox entered the weekend with the best ERA in the AL (3.81), Boston pitchers posted a 5.29 ERA in the first six games of the nine-game road trip.
BALTIMORE: The Orioles recalled LHP Garrett Olson from Triple-A Norfolk and announced he would start against Boston on Saturday. ``I don't think it's an audition. He'll get the opportunity to start on a regular basis and get his foot in the door for next year,'' Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. To make room for Olson, the Orioles optioned LHP Kurt Birkins back to Norfolk. ... The Orioles entered the weekend series having dropped 26 of its previous 31 games against Boston. ... OF Tike Redman made his first start for the Orioles on Friday. It was his first major league start since he appeared in 135 games for Pittsburgh in 2005.
Blue Jays-Royals
TORONTO: Manager John Gibbons said RHP Josh Towers, who is 0-3 with a 7.47 ERA in his past three starts, is going to the bullpen in the revamped Blue Jays rotation with A.J. Burnett coming off the disabled list on Sunday. Towers has made six relief appearances this season, the last one on June 5 against the Devil Rays. ... RHP Jesse Litsch, who had a 1.71 ERA in five July starts, will start the series finale Monday against the Royals, while RHP Roy Halladay will start on Tuesday against the Angels, giving him an extra day of rest between starts with the Blue Jays idle Thursday. ...The Blue Jays have a 28-12 record at the Rogers Centre since May 11, the best winning percentage, .700, at home during that span.
KANSAS CITY: DH Mike Sweeney, who had surgery July 5 on his right knee, has had difficulty running the bases, delaying a minor league rehab assignment for him. Sweeney said he had hoped to go out by Monday, but instead will travel with the team to Texas, where they open a nine-game trip on Tuesday. ... RF Mark Teahen grounded into a double play in the first inning for the third consecutive game on Friday night. ... LHP Jorge De La Rosa, who is on the disabled list because of a strained elbow, threw a bullpen session Friday. ...RHP Leo Nunez will make his first start Saturday since July 29, when he threw six scoreless innings against the Rangers.
Mariners-White Sox
ll about,'' McLaren said. ``He's going to go in one day and never come out. I can't tell you when that day's going to be but it's going to happen.''
WHITE SOX: A bullpen that had been smacked around for much of the season suddenly is performing better. White Sox relievers had gone 4-0 with a 3.06 ERA over the previous 16 games entering Friday's contest against Seattle, lowering its ERA to 5.52. ``It's great to see those guys doing what they're doing right now,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``They were struggling so much. It was kind of hard to watch.'' The bullpen was 3-14 with a 7.46 ERA and 11 blown saves in 65 games from May 8 to July 23. ... The Mariners collected 49 hits and tied a club record with at least 15 hits in three straight games while sweeping Baltimore. They also outscored the Orioles 31-15. Asked about that, Guillen said, ``That surprised you guys, that they scored a lot of runs? They have one of the best lineups in the game.''
Devil Rays-Rangers
nd him. Maddon said, ``He's as hot as I've seen anybody. He's like Austin Powers would say, magma.'' ... Part-time DH Greg Norton, an 11-year veteran, watched the pre-game Rangers alumni game and said, ``I played against most of these guys. Is the writing on the wall?''
TEXAS: Before the game, manager Ron Washington informed regular Gerald Laird and recently-acquired Jarrod Saltalamacchia that they will share catcher's duties the rest of the season. The original plan was for Laird to start five games a week behind the plate with Saltalamacchia getting the other two and playing the other five games at 1B. But the Rangers have been impressed with Saltalamacchia at catcher and want to see more. ``We've got a young catcher we got in a trade and catching him a few games isn't conducive to him growing,'' Washington said. ``It's no knock on Gerald, he's still our guy, but we're at the point of the season where we're evaluating so we want to get a good read on where Salty is.''. ...RHP Kameron Loe's sore back flared up on Friday and his scheduled bullpen session was moved to Saturday. Loe has been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 4. ...Two teams of Rangers' old-timers played in an alumni contest prior to Friday night's game. ...Former OF Rusty Greer will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in pre-game ceremonies on Saturday.
FLORIDA: The Marlins had homered in a season-best 12 consecutive games, hitting 17 during that span. ... SS Hanley Ramirez began the day leading the NL with a .340 batting average, the first time a Florida player other than Miguel Cabrera has led the league in hitting this late in a season. ... 2B Dan Uggla batted fifth for the second consecutive game. Before that, he hadn't hit anywhere besides second. CF Alejandro De Aza was in the No. 2 hole again. It was his third game since missing four months with an ankle injury. ... 1B Mike Jacobs singled leading off the second inning, his second consecutive hit in a two-day span following a team-record 0-for-33 slide.
NEW YORK: C Paul Lo Duca batted eighth for the first time since Sept. 15, 2005, with Florida at Houston. ... RHP Pedro Martinez, working his way back from shoulder surgery, is expected to make his second minor league rehab start early next week in Florida. ... CF Carlos Beltran (oblique) was activated from the disabled list and batted third. The Mets also placed utility player Marlon Anderson on the bereavement list. Anderson, who came out of Thursday's game against Atlanta with a sprained left wrist, traveled to Alabama for his grandmother's funeral. He must sit out a minimum of three days on the bereavement list, with a maximum of seven. ... LHP Tom Glavine goes for win No. 301 on Saturday night against Florida's Scott Olsen.
SAN DIEGO: The Padres placed RHP Doug Brocail on the bereavement list and OF Scott Hairston on the 15-day disabled list Friday, and recalled LHP Joe Thatcher and purchased the contract of RHP Jack Cassel from Triple-A Portland. Brocail is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday in San Diego after attending the funeral of his grandfather in Colorado. Hairston strained a muscle in his left side while trying for a double in the sixth inning at St. Louis on Thursday. ... OF Milton Bradley is almost over the right hamstring strain that's limited him to one pinch-hit appearance since Aug. 3. ``He went through some early work (Friday),'' manager Bud Black said. ``He stressed the hamstring, and said it feels pretty good.'' ... RHP Chris Young's side was stiff Friday after making his first start Thursday since coming off the disabled list with a strained oblique. He will make his next start on Wednesday, Black said.
an infielder is moved to the outfield are accurate throws.'' ... Saturday's Padres starter, RHP Justin Germano, was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two games, including one start, with the Reds last season.
ATLANTA: RHP Peter Moylan, who pitched in all three games against the New York Mets earlier in the week, hasn't allowed a hit in the last 25 batters he faced. He leads all rookies (minimum 60 IP) with a 1.87 ERA and .194 opponents batting average. ... Chipper Jones (.359), Edgar Renteria (.338), Jeff Francoeur (.329) and Kelly Johnson (.322) entered the game all ranked in the top 10 in the NL for road batting average. ... The Braves are 10-4 in road series this season. ... RHP Lance Cormier (0-2, 15.58) will make the start on Saturday.
the rehab) and work my way into the outfield from there.''
MILWAUKEE: 2B Tony Graffanino will have surgery on his injured right knee as soon as the swelling goes down. The 35-year-old Graffanino tore his ACL and meniscus when he came down awkwardly after a leaping catch in Wednesday's game in Colorado. He underwent an MRI exam in Milwaukee on Thursday that revealed a torn ligament. It's the third significant knee injury in five years for Graffanino, but manager Ned Yost is confident Graffanino will recover again. ``The guy's already come back from two Tommy John surgeries,'' Yost said. ``Doctors are good these days.'' ... Rickie Weeks was called up from Triple-A Nashville to replace Graffanino less than two weeks after he was sent down. Since Aug. 1, Weeks has hit .455 (10-for-22) in six games. He was batting only .212 this season with the Brewers, but Yost is expecting him to produce. ``We would've liked for him to get a few more at-bats, but he was raking it down there,'' Yost said. ``He's ready to come back.'' ... The Brewers had a much-needed day off on Thursday, after getting outscored 36-10 in a three-game sweep in Colorado. ``It was good to just take a step back, re-evaluate and take a bit of a break,'' Yost said.
HOUSTON: Manager Phil Garner was still uncertain of the timetable for CF Hunter Pence's return from a right wrist sprain. Pence was hitting .330 when he was injured July 23. He hit off a tee earlier this week. ``He is making progress, swinging the bat better, throwing better,'' Garner said. ``Throwing was a little bit of a problem for him four or five days ago, but now he's throwing a little bit better. It's a good sign, but I don't have a date yet.'' ... A Houston Astros affiliate won the Venezuelan Summer League championship on Thursday with a 4-1 win over a team representing Pittsburgh. The VSL Astros took two of three games in the championship series. They also won titles in 2001 and 2005.
LOS ANGELES: 1B James Loney batted third for the fourth time, a spot he could be manning on a regular basis in the future. ``He's got a chance to be a run-producer,'' manager Grady Little said. ``I think one day you'll see him in the middle of lineups regularly, and that day might be now.'' Loney had four homers in 167 at-bats, but Little believes there's plenty of power potential. ``He hits the ball too hard, and too regularly, not to hit some balls out of the park.'' ... Newly acquired Mark Sweeney, second on the career pinch hit list and with a major league-high 16 pinch hits this year, won't be asked to do much more than that. But Little said he could be used in double-switches in the OF or 1B.
ST. LOUIS: Rick Ankiel's three-run homer Thursday night was his first since April 26, 2000. According to research by home run expert David Vincent, it's the longest gap between homers since Rafael Belliard went 10 years, from 1987-97, between long balls. ... RF Juan Encarnacion was not in the lineup for the second straight game, with Rick Ankiel again taking his spot, and third time in four games. ``You try to put the best team on the field to win,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``The one you see is the one I think has the best chance.'' ... La Russa had the pitcher batting eighth for the seventh straight game. In the first six games, pitchers were 3-for-12 at the plate and the ninth-place hitters were 5-for-25.
CHICAGO: 3B Aramis Ramirez joined the team before Friday's after seeing a hand specialist in Chicago for tests on his right wrist. ``We still don't know anything,'' manager Lou Piniella said. ... Chicago's lineup remained the same from Thursday's game when the team had 10 runs and 16 hits. ``No need to change it,'' Piniella said. ... Piniella said he will only use RHP Kerry Wood to start innings. ``It takes him a little longer to get warmed up,'' Piniella said.
t won't be Taylor Buchholz,'' Hurdle said. ``We could use someone from within the system or could grab somebody off the wire.''
WASHINGTON: 1B Dmitri Young was out of the lineup for the second game in a row Friday because of tightness in his left hamstring. He was hurt while coming out of the batter's box in the first inning of Wednesday's game in San Francisco. ... Young is batting .370 in his last 70 games. ... Arizona is one of three NL teams that the Expos/Nationals have a winning record against (37-30). The others are San Diego and the Chicago Cubs. ... CF Nook Logan had hit safely in seven consecutive games going into Friday night's contest.
ARIZONA: After taking two of three from Pittsburgh, the Diamondbacks have won six consecutive series. ... RHP Brandon Webb carries a streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings into his start on Saturday night. The club record is 30. ... The Diamondbacks are facing five left-handed starters in the six-game home stand that ends Sunday. ... RHP Brandon Lyon and RHP Tony Pena each has 24 ``holds,'' tied for fourth in the majors.

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