Notes from around the majors this week...
—Sometimes you do everything to help your team, and yet you still lose.
On Tuesday night, the Detroit Tigers' Placido Polanco went 3-for-6 with two dingers and a triple, including a two-run shot to start things off in the first and another two-run jack in the 14th.
In between, he smacked a triple and scored a run. But in a marathon game, Polanco didn't end up as the hero; the White Sox's Nick Swisher drilled a three-run shot in the bottom of the 14th to hand the Tigers a 10-8 loss.
On Wednesday in Tampa Bay, Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta went 5-for-5 with a homer, and tied his career high in hits. Yet it was a six-run ninth inning that doomed the Indians; Carlos Pena then sent the crowd home happy with a three-run game-ending blast, giving the Rays a 10-7 win. Incredibly, it was Pena's fifth career game-ending homer already.
—Meanwhile, sometimes you hurt your team, but end up getting the "W".
In that Tampa Bay-Cleveland game, Rays closer Troy Percival was brought in to hold the Indians lead to 6-4. Yet, Percival allowed the inherited runner to steal and wild-pitched him home. However, thanks to the Rays' rally, Percival ended up with the victory despite not really getting the job done in his .2 IP.
—Thanks for ruining shutouts.
Oakland's Bobby Crosby broke up Toronto's Roy Halladay's shutout bid on Monday with a solo dinger in the eighth inning. However, the A's still lost 6-1 to the Blue Jays. Had Halladay not lost the shutout, manager Cito Gaston might have allowed his ace to try for yet another complete game. Instead, Halladay was done after eight.
The Toronto hurler already has seven CGs this year, more than double the next closer competitor in the AL (though CC Sabathia had three in the AL and has added three more since joining the NL). Though Cliff Lee (15-2) is the runaway candidate for the AL Cy Young, it would certainly make things more interesting if Halladay has a few more CGs.
But back to Crosby, with the A's still struggling (now nine straight losses), he again broke another shutout bid on Wednesday--this time, Shaun Marcum's no-hit bid in the sixth. And oh, the A's lost.
Each time, it was the only run the A's would get on the night.
On Tuesday, Chris Carpenter pitched five shutout innings for the St. Louis Cardinals, his first home start of the season. The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner, however, watched his 4-0 lead evaporate in the ninth inning, as the L.A. Dodgers scored four times to tie it and send things to extra innings.
Shaun Marcum, who had the best ERA at one point in the AL, ended a streak of three straight subpar starts since coming off the DL in July, pitching three-hit ball over seven innings to lead Toronto past Oakland 5-1 on Wednesday. Marcum retired 13 straight in one stretch and struck out five in a row, and even escaped a bases-loaded, none out, jam in the seveth.
And this one: Mike Hampton of the Braves picked up his first win in three years on Tuesday, as Atlanta smoked San Francisco 11-4. It was certainly great to see Hampton making his comeback, especially given the way Atlanta's season has gone (having already lost Tom Glavine and John Smoltz).
Hampton, one of the best slugging pitchers when healthy, even added an RBI double to help his own cause—his third RBI already of the season.
For the record, Hampton had gone 1,087 days without a victory.
—They have the same number of home runs??
In his first three games with the L.A. Dodgers last weekend, Manny Ramirez hit two home runs. Incredibly, that's the same number of dingers first-year Dodger Andruw Jones has hit the entire season.
Then, on Tuesday, Jones hit a ninth-inning pinch-homer in the Chris Carpenter game to jump-start the Dodgers' improbable rally, temporarily moving past Ramirez.
Well, Wednesday, Ramirez hit his third L.A. home run and added another RBI-single. But alas, the Dodgers blew their 3-1 lead and fell 9-6.
Ramirez is now hitting .600 in Dodger Blue (12-for-20), with three HRs, six RBIs, in only five games.
Speaking of five games, the Cards' Ryan Ludwick homered in his fifth straight on Wednesday, and Albert Puljos added a grand slam, in the St. Louis win.
By the way, Ludwick and Puljos also homered on Tuesday, when Ludwick's 11th-inning homer won the game four innings after Puljos had seemingly given St. Louis an insurmountable 4-0 lead with his two-run drive.