Saturday, September 05, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: A season of potential

National League roundup

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[September 05, 2009]  DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Rockies brought Jason Giambi aboard for his big-hit capability.

InsuranceSo far, the veteran slugger is definitely delivering.

Giambi again came through in a tight situation, rescuing the Rockies with a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth during a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

He's now 2-for-2 with a walk and four RBIs in three pinch-hit appearances since joining the team earlier this week.

"We know what (Giambi) can do. He's definitely a professional hitter," Yorvit Torrealba said. "He's a good guy to have around. He's a good guy to have on your team."

Giambi better be wary, though. The expectations are mounting.

"He's digging himself a hole. If he ever happens to get out, we're all going to be mad at him," Seth Smith said, smiling. "He's helping us win games."

Not to mention keep pace with San Francisco in the NL wild-card race. The win kept Rockies a game ahead of the Giants, who beat the Milwaukee Brewers earlier Friday.

Too early to start scoreboard watching?

"I don't worry about it," Smith said. "Obviously, it would be best for us if they lost. But there's nothing we can do about it."

After Torrealba singled in the eighth and was bunted over to second by Clint Barmes, Giambi was brought in off the bench.

Giambi lined a pitch from Blaine Boyer (0-2) into left-center, easily scoring Torrealba. After reaching first, Giambi clapped his hands in excitement as the crowd followed suit.

On Wednesday, Giambi had a pinch-hit, two-run single in a win over the New York Mets. He also drew a bases loaded walk the night before.

"He's come up with some big hits for them," Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously, this one tonight hurts us ... That's what he's getting paid to do over there and that's his role."

With Giambi's left-handed bat available on the bench, Smith has been getting more regular playing time. He had a career-best four hits on Friday, including two doubles that produced three runs.

Rafael Betancourt (1-1) got Chris Young to ground out to end the eighth to earn the win. Franklin Morales, filling in for the injured Huston Street, pitched the ninth for his second save in three chances.

After giving up a run in each of the first two innings, Dan Haren settled in and stymied the Rockies. He scattered seven hits over six innings and struck out eight against a team he typically torments. Haren has a 2.86 lifetime ERA against Colorado.

"I had probably my worst stuff of the year," Haren said. "I was able to battle through and give us a shot."

Jason Hammel lasted six innings, giving up five hits and four runs (three earned).

Ian Stewart hit a solo homer for the second straight game, sending an 0-1 pitch from Haren into the second deck in right-center. His homer in the second inning was his 21st of the season.

Torrealba's single in the eighth extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He's one away from tying Joe Girardi's mark for longest streak by a Rockies catcher.


Giants 3, Brewers 2

In Milwaukee, Bengie Molina homered on the first pitch of the eighth inning keep up the pressure in the NL wild-card race.

The Giants, who've lost 14 of 18 in Miller Park, scored two unearned runs before Molina's shot to deep center field and worked around 10 walks, the most they've allowed in a nine-inning game this year.

Prince Fielder drove in his 121st run, tops in the majors, and Jeff Suppan took a no-hitter into the fifth, but Milwaukee unraveled on an error in the sixth before Todd Coffey (4-4) allowed Molina's homer.

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Cardinals 14, Pirates 6

In Pittsburgh, Ryan Ludwick homered twice, Adam Wainwright became the majors' first 17-game winner, and St. Louis got its 10th win in 12 games.

Last-place Pittsburgh lost its eighth straight despite a six-run fifth against Wainwright (17-7) that briefly gave it the lead after trailing 5-0 - only to watch Albert Pujols give St. Louis the lead again with a three-run homer, his major league-leading 43rd.

Ludwick went 5 for 5 with five RBIs, and he and Matt Holliday hit back-to-back solo home runs.

Astros 7, Phillies 0

In Houston, Cliff Lee (5-2) struggled for the second straight start after his eight-game winning streak ended.

He lasted only three innings, giving up six runs and nine hits.

Wandy Rodriguez (13-9) struck out seven in seven innings and drove in two runs with a double.

Padres 2, Dodgers 0

In Los Angeles, rookie Wade LeBlanc pitched two-hit ball over six innings, and San Diego scratched out a pair of early runs against the luckless Clayton Kershaw to beat Los Angeles.

LeBlanc (1-1) struck out two, walked three and retired his final nine batters in his fourth start of the season and eighth in the big leagues.

Reds 3, Braves 1

In Atlanta, Bronson Arroyo gave up one run in seven innings and Cincinnati beat Atlanta for its fifth straight win, matching a season high.

Arroyo (12-12) gave up six hits and one run in seven innings and beat Derek Lowe (13-9), who gave up seven hits and three runs in seven innings. The Braves have lost three straight.

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was ejected for the seventh time this season, and the second time in two games, to extend his major league record to 150.

Mets 6, Cubs 2

In New York, Cory Sullivan homered and made a diving catch in left field and Bobby Parnell made a stellar start for the Mets.

The rookie right-hander pitched seven shutout innings in the longest outing of his career.

Pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis came through with a tiebreaking single that triggered a five-run eighth inning.

Marlins 9, Nationals 6

In Washington, John Baker homered and matched a career high with four RBIs, Jorge Cantu also connected and Florida dealt Washington its seventh consecutive loss and officially eliminated the Nationals from postseason contention.

Cantu and Hanley Ramirez had two RBIs each in Florida's third straight victory.

[Associated Press; By PAT GRAHAM]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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