Monday, September 28, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illinois completes futile effort

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[September 28, 2009]  DENVER (AP) -- A giant welt on his forehead was the least of Clint Barmes' worries. The Colorado Rockies second baseman was trying to corral his young son as he scampered around the clubhouse. Catching his son was proving almost as difficult as the game-saving snare he made Sunday.

Barmes' tumbling catch in the outfield grass started a game-ending double play that secured a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

With the victory, Colorado remains 2 1/2 games ahead of the surging Atlanta Braves in the NL wild-card race.

Barmes went all out to haul in Ryan Ludwick's flair, diving after the ball and then somersaulting. He was all set to fire the ball home to keep Julio Lugo from tagging up at third.

But then he heard right fielder Ryan Spilborghs yelling at him to throw it to first, where the Rockies doubled-up Albert Pujols after the Cardinals slugger took off on contact.

Only then did Barmes realize the play had knocked the wind out of him.


He only had a few seconds to recover as his teammates were on their way to pile on him.

"Unbelievable feeling," Barmes said.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy has Barmes in the lineup just for these occasions. He has stuck with Barmes in spite of his struggles at the plate, where his average has dipped to .248.

"I will never ever give up on Clint Barmes," Tracy said.

Just like St. Louis manager Tony La Russa won't find fault for aggressive baserunning. He thought Pujols did the right thing assuming the ball would drop in for a hit and digging hard for third.

"It was just a great play," La Russa conceded. "He's a great athlete and he got a jump and he made a great play."

Huston Street came on in the eighth for his first six-out save since Aug. 2, 2006, with Oakland. He allowed leadoff hits in both innings, but was able to work out of the jams -- with a little help from Barmes in the ninth.

"It was such a special moment, a special play," Street said.

The Cardinals still have plenty left to play for as they eye home-field advantage in the NL playoffs. They trail the Dodgers by three games for the best mark in the league.

Jorge De La Rosa (16-9) became just the second lefty in Rockies history to reach 16 wins. He gave up three runs and four hits in five innings.

Braves 6, Nationals 3, 10 innings

At Washington, the Braves scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to keep up their late-season surge with a three-game sweep.

Atlanta ran its winning streak to six and remained 2 1/2 games behind Colorado in the race for the NL wild card. Rafael Soriano pitched the 10th for his 27th save.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 5

At Pittsburgh, right fielder Andre Ethier misplayed Lastings Milledge's two-run single for an error that allowed the winning run to score, and the Pirates rallied for four in the ninth inning to prevent Los Angeles from clinching the NL West.

Los Angeles entered with a magic number of two for clinching the division crown, but it essentially was one because the Rockies would lose any tiebreaker with the Dodgers. Colorado beat St. Louis 4-3 later in the day.

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Giants 5, Cubs 1

At San Francisco, Matt Cain pitched eight scoreless innings and Eli Whiteside had a pair of RBI doubles.

Eugenio Velez, Juan Uribe and Pablo Sandoval each drove in a run for the Giants, who had lost six of eight and are five games behind NL wild card-leading Colorado with six to play.

Cain (14-7) gave up three hits, struck out eight and walked two, snapping a personal three-game slide and setting a career high for wins.

Mets 4, Marlins 0

At Miami, Pat Misch pitched an eight-hitter for the first complete game of his career, and New York dropped Florida five games behind wild-card leader Colorado with six to play.

Jeff Francoeur and Anderson Hernandez homered for the Mets. Francoeur also robbed Chris Coghlan of a homer in right field.

Misch (2-4) won for only the second time in 13 career decisions. The left-hander walked three, struck out two and retired his last 13 batters.

Phillies 6, Brewers 5

At Milwaukee, Jimmy Rollins hit his 21st homer, Ryan Howard tied Prince Fielder for the major league RBI lead and Philadelphia moved closer to clinching the NL East.

The Phillies cut their magic number to three. Any combination of wins or Braves losses equaling three would give Philadelphia its third consecutive division crown.

Joe Blanton (12-7) gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings for Philadelphia.

Astros 3, Reds 2

At Houston, Wandy Rodriguez pitched six solid innings, Humberto Quintero homered and the Astros ended the Reds' six-game winning streak. Rodriguez (14-11) allowed two runs and nine hits. Jose Valverde got three outs for his 25th save.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 4

At Phoenix, Augie Ojeda had three hits and drove in three runs and Chad Tracy hit his second home run in two games and finished a triple short of the cycle in his first start since Sept. 9.

Billy Buckner (3-6) worked seven innings, yielding four runs and three hits.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his 40th home run for San Diego, which has lost two in a row after winning six of seven.

[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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