Baseball Today

Jul 4, 2009 - 12:57 PM Detroit at Minnesota (2:10 p.m. EDT). A matchup of AL Central rivals, with the first-place Tigers throwing rookie Rick Porcello (8-5) against the Twins' Nick Blackburn (6-4).



STARS=

Friday=

-Albert Pujols, Cardinals, hit his club-record fourth grand slam of the season and 10th of his career as St. Louis beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-4.

-Brooks Conrad, Braves, smacked a pinch-hit, go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning to lead Atlanta past Washington for its season-high fifth straight victory.

-Rob Johnson, Mariners, doubled home two runs in the 11th inning and Seattle beat the Red Sox 7-6 on Friday night.

-Shin-Soo Choo, Indians, homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs to lead Cleveland to a 15-3 victory over the Athletics.

-Rodrigo Lopez, Phillies, took a three-hitter into the seventh inning and earned his first win in nearly two years, helping Philadelphia snap a six-game home losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the New York Mets.

-Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies, scattered four hits over eight innings as Colorado beat Arizona 5-0.

-Aubrey Huff, Orioles, hit a three-run homer and Baltimore beat the Angels 6-4.

-Placido Polanco, Tigers, hit a pair of extra-inning RBI singles, the second giving Detroit the lead for good in an 11-9 victory over Minnesota in 16 innings.



MANNY RETURNS=

Returning from his 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, Manny Ramirez barely hit the ball out of the infield in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday night. He finished 0 for 3 with a walk.



THE SLAMMER=

Albert Pujols hit his club-record fourth grand slam of the season and 10th of his career in St. Louis' 7-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. He snapped a tie with Hall of Famer Stan Musial for the Cardinals' career grand-slam record, and topped the single-season mark he shared with Jim Bottomley, Keith Hernandez and Fernando Tatis. The homer also was the 350th of Pujols' career, making him at 29 years, 168 days the third-youngest player in major league history to reach that mark. Only Alex Rodriguez (28 years, 282 days) and Ken Griffey Jr. (28 years, 308 days) were younger.



FIRST LOSS=

Kansas City's Zack Greinke lost to the White Sox for the first time in three decisions this season - 5-0 Friday night - and hardly looked like the overpowering right-hander who began the year 6-0. Greinke gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings and his major league-leading ERA went from 1.95 to 2.00.



WALK THIS WAY=

Jake Fox fouled off four pitches before working a two-out walk on a close 3-2 pitch from Mark DiFelice, sending the Chicago Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in 10 innings Friday.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY=

Tommy Hunter earned his first career victory on his 23rd birthday, leading Texas to a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay. Hunter was making his sixth career start and third this season. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out five in 5 1-3 innings.



FIRST IMPRESSIONS=

A few hours after his contract was purchased by Atlanta from Triple-A Gwinnett, Brooks Conrad smacked a pinch-hit, go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Braves beat the Washington Nationals 9-8 on Friday night for their season-high fifth straight victory. ... Jarrett Hoffpauir drove in the go-ahead runs in the ninth inning with his first career hit - a two-run single - as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-4.



STUBBORN STREAK=

San Francisco's Ryan Sadowski has 13 scoreless innings, including seven in a 13-0 win over Houston on Friday night, to start his career. It's the longest such streak by a Giants pitchers since Mike Remlinger's 15 shutout innings in 1991, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.



UNEXPECTED POWER=

Pittsburgh's Brandon Moss hit his second homer of the season and Ramon Vazquez, starting a second consecutive game for injured second baseman Freddy Gonzalez, belted his first homer since July 31, 2008, leading the Pirates to a 7-4 victory over the Florida Marlins on Friday night.



BACK IN BUSINESS

Philadelphia's Rodrigo Lopez (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-2 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night to earn his first win since beating the Phillies on July 7, 2007, when he played for Colorado. The right-hander was sidelined since having elbow ligament replacement surgery 23 months ago.



THE GREAT OUTDOORS=

Outdoor baseball is tentatively set to return to Minneapolis on April 12 when the Minnesota Twins play their 2010 home opener against the Boston Red Sox. The date was contained in a draft schedule for next season that recently was sent to teams and revealed Friday to The Associated Press. This is the 28th and final season for the Twins at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Barring postseason play, the Twins play their final game there Oct. 4 against the Kansas City Royals.



STATS=

Florida's Hanley Ramirez failed to drive in a run for the first time in 11 games, going 0 for 4 in the Marlins' 7-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday night. It was the longest consecutive-game RBI streak by an NL shortstop since the statistic began being officially kept in 1920. ... Arizona made three more errors in a 5-0 loss at Colorado, running their season total to a major league-leading 74. ... Tim Wakefield made his 383rd start for the Boston Red Sox, surpassing Roger Clemens for the top spot on the team's career list. ... The New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira has gone 68 at-bats without a home run, a stretch that dates to June 12.



SPEAKING=

"I don't care if every one hits the top of the wall. I don't care if they do the Jose Canseco thing and hit the head and (it) goes over the fence. It counts." - Pittsburgh's Brandon Moss, who hit his second homer of the season in the Pirates' 7-4 win at Florida on Friday night.

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"This is the major leagues, you can't go out there and make three errors and expect to win a game. We looked like the Bad News Bears out there." - Arizona's Mark Reynolds, after the Diamondbacks increased their major league-leading errors total to 74 with three more in a 5-0 loss at Colorado on Friday night.



SEASONS=

July 4=

1905 - The Philadelphia Athletics scored two runs in the 20th inning, giving Rube Waddell a 4-2 victory over Cy Young of the Boston Red Sox. Both pitchers went the distance. Young did not allow a walk.

1908 - George Wiltse of the New York Giants pitched a 10-inning, 1-0 no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies.

1912 - George Mullin of the Detroit Tigers celebrated his 32nd birthday by pitching a no-hitter over the St. Louis Browns.

1925 - Two of the great left-handers of their time - Herb Pennock of the Yankees and Lefty Grove of the Athletics - hooked up in a pitchers duel that New York won 1-0 in 15 innings. Pennock gave up four hits and walked none.

1939 - Jim Tabor of the Boston Red Sox hit three home runs, including two grand slams, in an 18-12 triumph over the Philadelphia Athletics in the second game of a doubleheader.

1976 - The Phillies' Tim McCarver lost a grand slam when he passed Garry Maddox on the basepaths. The Phillies still beat the Pirates 10-5 at Pittsburgh.

1983 - Dave Righetti of the New York Yankees pitched a 4-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

1984 - Phil Niekro of the New York Yankees struck out five Texas Rangers to become the ninth player to pass the 3,000-strikeout plateau. No. 3,000 was Larry Parrish.

1984 - The New York Mets beat the Braves 16-13 in 19 innings at Atlanta. The game went until just before 4 a.m. on July 5, and was followed by a fireworks display for the 10,000 still left in the stands.

2000 - St. Louis' Keith McDonald homered in his first major league at-bat as the Cardinals defeated Cincinnati 14-3.

2006 - Victor Martinez went 5-for-6 and Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner each hit two of Cleveland's six home runs, powering the Indians to a 19-1 rout of New York. The win was Cleveland's largest at home in more than 56 years, since a 21-2 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics on June 18, 1950.

2006 - Jose Contreras tossed 6 2-3 scoreless innings to win his 17th straight decision and lead the White Sox to a 13-0 victory over Baltimore.

2008 - Colorado homered six times to rally from a nine-run deficit for the biggest comeback in franchise history and an 18-17 victory over Florida. Chris Iannetta singled home the winning run off Kevin Gregg in the ninth inning. The Rockies and Marlins combined for 35 runs on 43 hits, 21 of them for extra bases with eight home runs.

July 5=

1904 - The Philadelphia Phillies snapped the New York Giants' 18-game winning streak with a 6-5 10-inning victory.

1935 - Tony Cuccinello of the Dodgers and his brother Al - for the Giants - each hit home runs in the same game to mark the first time in major league history that brothers on opposing teams connected for homers. Brooklyn beat New York 14-4.

1937 - Hal Trosky hit three home runs to pace the Cleveland Indians to a 14-4 victory over the St. Louis Browns in the opener of a doubleheader.

1937 - Frank DeMaree of Chicago went 6-for-7 in the first game of a doubleheader, in which the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 13-12 in 14 innings. DeMaree had three doubles and three singles. The Cubs won the second game 9-7 and DeMaree had two more singles.

1947 - Larry Doby became the first black to play in the American League. He struck out as a pinch-hitter as Cleveland lost 6-5 to the White Sox.

1961 - Bill White hit three home runs and a double to power the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1987 - Mark McGwire became the first rookie to hit 30 homers before the All-Star break and Jose Canseco homered twice, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

1991 - The Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins were given final approval by baseball owners with a unanimous vote to join the NL in 1993.

1993 - Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics opened both games of a doubleheader with a homer to become the second player to accomplish the feat. Harry Hooper of the Boston Red Sox homered to start both games against Washington on May 30, 1913.

1998 - Roger Clemens became the 11th pitcher in baseball history to notch 3,000 strikeouts. Clemens needed five strikeouts to reach the 3,000 mark in Toronto's game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He struck out Quinton McCracken and Wade Boggs in the first inning and then got Mike DiFelice, Miguel Cairo and Randy Winn in the third to reach the milestone.

1998 - Juan Gonzalez became the second player to top 100 RBIs before the All-Star break, homering in the first and seventh innings off Seattle's Randy Johnson to improve his major league-leading total to 101. Gonzalez ended with the second-most RBIs before the All-Star break in major league history. Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers had 103 in 1935 en route to 170.

2000 - Luis Gonzalez became the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle as Arizona beat Houston 12-9.

2004 - Eric Gagne's streak of 84 consecutive saves ended when he blew a two-run lead for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who came back to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings. Gagne relieved with a 5-3 lead at the start of the ninth but allowed pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez's RBI double and Chad Tracy's run-scoring single on an 0-2 pitch. Gagne had not blown a save chance since Aug. 26, 2002.

2005 - Boston's Manny Ramirez hit his 20th grand slam in a 7-4 win over Texas, passing Eddie Murray for sole possession of second place on the career list. Lou Gehrig hit 23.

Today's birthday: Jesse Crain 28.






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