I have a dentist appointment today, but I also have recaps of all 11 MLB games from yesterday. Eat it up, then floss.
Dodgers 5, Braves 3 (12 innings): I guess, sooner or later, the word's going to get around the league that Matt Kemp might beat you, the inimitable Vin Scully said. It's Kemp's second Billy Zane in five games and might be the last time you see an opposing manager opt to pitch to Kemp with first base open and the game on the line. (Though, it should be noted that Kemp was 0'fer and had three strikeouts before the walk-off in the 12th.) The Dodgers possibly wouldn't have needed Kemp's familiar heroics in extras if it weren't for Don Mattingly letting Kershaw push him over for one more batter, David Ross, in the 9th inning; Ross singled in the tying and go-ahead runs, finally forcing Mattingly's hook. Luckily, the Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the 9th on a two-out single by Casey Blake, forcing extras and, then, Kemp.
Royals 3, Indians 2: Roughly 12-percent into the season, the Indians are surprising, and with a healthy Grady Sizemore (3-for-5) who knows if this is another one of those odd years they decide to play well enough to contend for and take the Central title. They looked a little like most expected on Thursday, though, blowing a game in the late innings to the also surprising KC Royals. Indians closer Chris Perez blew his first save of the season in his 7th try, giving up two runs in the bottom of the 9th on a bases loaded, Melky Cabrera walk-off single. Note: Royals have the most wins at home in all of baseball right now (granted, they've also played the most home games in all of baseball, too).
Twins 3, Orioles 1: No Mauer, Morneau, or Young, so how about a good ol' fashioned pitcher's duel? 15 strikeouts -- Scott Baker with nine of those -- and two walks in 18 innings, and an ol' player by the name of Jim Thome with two RBIs, including the game-winner in the 6th. Vladimir Guerrero brought in a run in the 8th inning, but newly appointed closer Matt Capps slammed the door in the 9th for the Twinkies. The Twins are still looking for their first series win of the season, but this win gave them a split with the O's - the first series of the year they haven't lost.
Cardinals 5, Nats 0: Tony La Russa has a serious case of pink elephantitis eye, and Kyle Lohse made sure not to risk catching it via a La Russa trip to the mound -- Lohse went all nine innings for the Cards, giving up just two hits and two free baserunners while striking out six. The middle of the lineup for the Cardinals (Pujols, Holliday, and Freese) had all five ribs, four coming from Holliday and Pujols homers.
Mariners 1, A's 0: Not tired of pitching duels? King Felix struck out eight in 7.2 scoreless innings to best Brandon McCarthy's 8 innings of one-run ball. The lone run in this one was a 4th inning home run off of the bat of Adam Kennedy. Brandon League picked up the save for the Mariners, retiring the final three hitters in the 9th after allowing a leadoff single to Josh Willingham.
Marlins 9, Pirates 5: The Marlins used a five-run 2nd inning to propel them to a 9-5 win over the Pirates. Marlins 26-year-old center fielder Scott Cousins whipped out the bread and mustard, and hit a grand salami in the inning -- his first career home run. That's Scott Cousins! Marlins catcher Brett Hayes added a three-run shot, giving the seven and eight hitters a total of [grabs calculater] SEVEN ribs. 21-year-old Mike Stanton hit his first home run of the new season after hitting 22 during his rookie campaign. Chris Volstad got the win for the Marlins, because somebody had to.
Phillies 3, Padres 0: Roy Oswalt might be having problems with his lower back, but the results aren't indicating as much. He went six innings in Thursday's win, giving up just one hit, and striking out seven, improving his record to 3-0 and lowering his season ERA to 1.88. He was moving slow on a ball back to the mound, leading the MLB Network crew to speculate he's in a lot of discomfort, but whatever it is, it's definitely not affecting the old timer's pitches any. The Phillies got a pair of home runs in the 2nd inning and that's all the Phillies would need, but Ben Francisco added his second RBI in the third inning for good measure. For the Padres, Mat Latos continued his slow start, allowing three runs in 4.1 innings, raising his ERA to 5.94 on the season.
Mets 9, Astros 1: No contest for the Mets, as David Wright led the way with three ribs (solo HR and a two-run double). Chris Capuano went seven strong, allowing the Astros' lone run. Astros pitcher J.A. Happ didn't pitch all that well, but he was 2-for-2 at the plate.
White Sox 9, Rays 2: The White Sox bats came alive en route to snapping their seven-game losing streak. After starting the season racking up 10-plus hits in six of their first seven games (4-3), the White Sox hadn't had 10-plus since Game 7 (3-8). They got 10 against the Rays on Thursday, helping them score in five of nine innings. Paul Konerko led the way with three hits and two ribs. The Rays were led by SAM FULD, who is hitting a team-best .348 through 66 ABs.
Reds 7, Diamondbacks 4: Fresh off stealing some t-shirts, Reds pitcher Mike Leake went seven strong, allowing just three runs and striking out six, improving his record to 3-0 on the young season. Daniel Hudson, who came to the D-Backs from the White Sox last year and absolutely mowed in his 11 starts, is struggling thus far this season -- he gave up seven earned in 5.1 innings, seeing his ERA dip to 5.92.
Red Sox 4, Angels 2 (11 innings): This game carried into the wee hours of the night when I was slipping into REM, but I think I saw Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double in the 11th, Jed Lowrie knock Pedroia in with a sac fly, and then Papelbon close it out in the bottom half. What felt like several hours earlier, Josh Becket threw a wasted gem (8 innings, three hits, two runs, and five strike outs) and Carl Crawford still did not get a hit. Bobby Jenks eats up the win for the Sox, while Rich Thompson took the loss for the Angels.
Pitchers of the Night:
Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: 9 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K's
Roy Oswalt, Astros: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.
Scott Baker, Twins: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 K's
Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 8 K's
Hitters of the Night:
David Wright, Mets: 2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 3-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B
Scott Cousins, Marlins: 2-for-4, 1 Grand Slam, 4 RBI, 1 2B
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates: 3-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 SB, 2 BB
Links of the Day:
What To Watch For:
Red Sox vs. Angels (10:05 p.m. EST): Jon Lester (1-1, 3.20 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (4-0, 1.16 ERA). The teams won't be well-rested, but if this game is anything like Game 1 of the series, then this will be well worth losing some sleep over.
Tigers vs. White Sox (7:05 p.m. EST): Justin Verlander vs. Mark Buehrle. Good way to start off the inter-division rivalry.
Other pitchers of note going tonight: Sabathia for Yanks, Pineda for the Mariners, Volquez for the Reds, Hamels for the Phillies, Billingsley for the Dodgers, Gallardo for the BrewCrew, and Tommy Hanson vs. Madison Bumgarner in a 10:15 p.m. EST nightcapper.