Philadelphia Phillies Sweep Braves:
Braves Now 6 1/2 Games Back

The Phillies finished a three game sweep of the Braves without the help of a win from a starter during the sweep. Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin took the wins in the series sweep. Ryan Howard had hit only 8 doubles in 233 at bats but hit three doubles yesterday in five at bats and drove in four runs giving him 49 RBI's for the season and raised his batting average to .214. It was the highest his batting average has been since April 5th when he was hitting .235.

On April 19th the Phillies were 8-10. Since then they have posted a 31-16 record. You know Chipper Jones had to be in pain to miss a game against the Phillies. The Braves are not the same team without Chipper in the lineup. Mark Teixeira is the only Brave capable of carrying the team besides Chipper. Jeff Francoeur failed again with the bases loaded by hitting into a double play and I can't picture him as being capable of ever carrying a team.

Congratulations to the Phillies on the sweep and now they travel to Florida to battle the second place Marlins on Tuesday.

White Sox Score 56 Runs
Since Ozzie's Tirade

The White Sox have scored 56 runs in the six games after the tirade of Ozzie Guillen on Sunday a week ago. In their previous six games they had scored a total of 13 runs. Guillen is showing himself to be a master of motivation because since the tirade the White Sox have moved to 5 1/2 games ahead of the second place Twins.

Since last Sunday Orlando Cabrera has raised his average from .240 to .253. Joe Crede has raised his average from .264 to .291 and has hit 5 homers and drove in 12 runs in his last four games. Nick Swisher has raised his average to .221 after hitting .201 a week ago. Paul Konerko was hitting below the Uecker line with a .199 average as recently as Thursday but in the last three games he has had 2 hits a game raising his average to .216.

Alexei Ramirez has regained his hitting stroke as he was hitting .218 on May 29th but is now hitting .295. Ramirez has hit 3 homers and driven in 10 runs in his last ten games while hitting .436 in that stretch. Ramirez has been so hot that Juan Uribe whom he replaced has not even played in the month of June.

Gavin Floyd 7-3 was 1-5 last season and has the most wins of any White Sox starter and was the winner in their 12-2 defeat of the Twins. Mark Buehrle 3-6 is the only White Sox starter with a losing record. The White Sox are only team in AL Central with a winning record and have the longest current winning streak in the majors.

Galarraga Pitches Tigers to 5-2 Win

If someone was told that on June 8th that Armando Galarraga 5-2 would have more wins than any Tigers pitcher their first reaction would be… Armando who? He has as many wins as Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman have combined. Now with Bonderman probably lost for the season Dontrelle Willis will probably be placed back into the rotation. It is a scary proposition though with Willis having walked 16 batters in only 10 innings. The only bright spot for Willis is that righthanded hitters are hitting only .059 against his lefthanded offerings. The performance of Willis could be crucial if the Tigers have any chance of getting back in the AL Central race.

Galarraga pitched the Tigers to a 5-2 win against the Indians yesterday and the Tigrers are only a game and a half behind the third place Indians in the AL Central. Ivan Rodriguez at the age of 36 is starting to slow down hitting .245 and having hit only one homer in 192 at bats this season after hitting home runs in bunches during spring training. Rodriguez current batting average is the lowest he has ever finished a season with and his .349 slugging percentage is the lowest of his career and it has dropped in each of the last four years from his .510 percentage of 2004.

Dan Giese Takes
6-3 Win Over Royals

Dan Giese 1-1 took the win in the Yankees 6-3 defeat of the hapless Royals who have lost 5 of their last 6 games. Jason Giambi hit his 14th homer and is in a four way tie for third in homers in the AL with Milton Bradley, Joe Crede and Manny Ramirez. Things look even worse as the Royals face Mike Mussina 9-4 who has won 8 of his last 9 starts in today's game.

Mussina and Andy Pettitte are the only Yankees starters to register wins since May 21st when Darrell Rasner won his third game of the season.

Halladay, Wells Lead Blue Jays
Out of American League East Cellar

Roy Halladay 8-5 and Vernon Wells combined to lead the Blue Jays out of the AL East cellar with Halladay striking out seven enroute to his sixth win in his last seven decisions in their 5-4 win over the Orioles. Wells was 3 for 4 and homered to lead the Blue Jays offense. Alex Rios will need to help with the offense since he has only one homer since the end of April and 11 RBI’s. Pitching may be 75 percent of baseball but the Blue Jays need to provide that other 25 percent for their season to be successful.

Masterson Masters Mariners Offense:
J.D. Drew Hits Game Winning Homer

Justin Masterson 3-0 pitches the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the listless Mariners offense who could only muster three singles off of Masterson in 6 innings and the Red Sox bullpen nailed down the win with three hitless innings of relief. J.D. Drew homered in the sixth inning to give Masterson the run he needed to win the game.

Drew is hitting .318 which is 48 points higher than his average last season. He has already hit 8 homers after hitting 11 last season and has 32 RBI’s which is half of what he had last season with 15 games left in the first half of this season.

Mark Ellis Hits Walkoff Grand Slam
In Athletics 7-3 Win Over Angels

Mark Ellis hit a walkoff grand slam homer to end a 12 inning battle between the Athletics and Angels. Ervin Santana and Rich Harden both pitched well but Brad Ziegler took his first major league win in relief.

Eric Chavez was 3 for 4 and drove in 2 runs and is hitting .313 since returning to the lineup for the Athletics. Since these days few pitchers pitch into the seventh inning due to pitches being counted I count a quality start as 3 runs in 6 innings and going by that criteria Harden has had five quality starts in a row.

Rangers Defeat Rays 6-3
As Bottom Of Order Delivers

Doug Mathis 2-1 took the win for the Rangers as the bottom of the order came through for the Rangers. The sixth, seventh and eighth hitters all had two hits while the ninth hitter German Duran recently called up from Triple A hit his second homer of the season.

David Murphy one of the best kept secrets in baseball hit his 8 th homer and drove in his 40 th run while subbing for Josh Hamilton who had the day off. Matt Garza 4-3 took the loss for the Rays.

Marlins Clobber Reds 9-2

The Marlins feasted on the offerings of Aaron Harang 2-9 and this time Harang couldn’t blame the loss only on lack of offensive support despite the Reds scoring only two runs. Harang gave up 7 earned runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings and took the 9-2 loss.

Ryan Tucker 1-0 was the beneficiary of the potent Marlins offense as he won his first major league start. He allowed one run and 2 hits in 5 innings but was wild walking 5 batters while striking out 6. The Marlins bullpen locked up the win with four innings of sterling relief work as they recorded eight of the last twelve outs by strikeouts and the Reds struck out 14 times in the contest.

Hanley Ramirez homered twice giving him 14 for the season while Dan Uggla drove in three runs to lead the Marlins offense.

Pirates Defeat Diamondbacks 6-4

Phil Dumatrait 3-3 defeated Doug Davis 2-3 and the Diamondbacks 6-4 as the Pirates won the third of game of the four game series. Jack Wilson and Jason ' Bay ' drove in two runs each. Mark Reynolds hit his 12 th and 13 th homers for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause.

Today the Pirates will send Zach Duke 2-4 to the mound against future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson who will be seeking his 289 th career victory.

Zito Pitches Giants to 6-3 Defeat of Nationals

Barry Zito 2-9 took the win in the Giants 6-3 defeat of the Nationals yesterday defeating Garrett Mock 0-1 in Mock’s first major league game. Zito walked 4 while striking out 2 batters and in his last two games has totaled 9 walks and 3 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. Even worse he has walked 40 this season while striking out 35. Zito should get more of a test on Friday when he faces the Athletics. Nothing too much can be made of his win today considering it came against a rookie pitcher making his first major league start.

Astros Blow 3-0 Lead:
Lose to Cardinals 5-4

The Cardinals could only manage four singles off of Astros pitching but still won despite two Astros doubles and Lance Berkman’s three run homer which gave him 51 RBI’s for the season. The homer tied him with Dan Uggla for second in the NL with 18 each and three behind leader Chase Utley with 21.

Kyle Lohse 7-2 took the win for the Cardinals allowing 3 runs in 6 innings while Wandy Rodriguez 2-2 took the loss despite not allowing an earned run in the game but allowed 5 unearned runs and lowered his ERA to 1.99.

Cubs Salvage Split With Dodgers
By Posting 3-1 Win in 4 Game Series

Jason Marquis 4-3 defeated Brad Penny 5-8 and the Dodgers 3-1 yesterday in Los Angeles. Marquis allowed no earned runs in 6 1/3 innings while Penney absorbed his sixth straight loss. Penny last won a game on May 2 nd.

Both teams scored in the first inning then the Cubs scored twice in the fifth to seal their 3-1 win. Mark DeRosa hit his 8 th homer.

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field on Tuesday to face Tom Glavine 2-2. The Cubs will counter with Ted Lilly 5-5.

Brewers Edge Rockies 3-2
Behind Jeff Suppan

Jeff Suppan 4-4 pitched the Brewers to a 3-2 win over the Rockies and after finishing April with a 5.19 ERA has lowered his ERA to 2.92. Joe Francis 2-6 pitched a quality start but still took the loss as the Rockies offense could manage to score only 2 runs and one of them was driven in by Francis.

Gabe Kapler hitting .330 for the Brewers is getting more at bats since Mike Cameron is hitting only .214. Kapler is hitting .462 in his last ten games and is hitting .311 against lefthanders and .345 against righthanders so there is no reason to platoon him with Cameron. His only shortcoming is that he is hitting .410 in day games but only .205 in night games.

Who Will Wagner Blame
For 8-6 Loss to Padres?

Billy Wagner 0-1 has been quick to blame his teammates when they make a mistake that loses a game so now it is time to blame himself after entering the game yesterday in the eighth inning and giving up a three run homer to Tony Clark that erased a 6-4 lead the Mets had taken into the bottom of the inning. He didn’t start the inning so was only charged with two of the runs.

Wagner blew his third save while taking his first loss of the season. Maybe Wagner will find out it is not wise to point fingers at teammates for mistakes because he could be in the same situation himself like he was yesterday. Maybe his teammates will be more magnanimous than he was when he was pointing out their shortcomings.

Pedro Martinez did not have his best stuff as he gave up 4 runs and 10 hits in 5 innings and his ERA now stands at 6.91. Brian Giles and Jody Gerut had three hits each for the Padres.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Padres and 7 th win in their last 10 games. They will entertain the Dodgers starting Tuesday and are three games behind the second place Dodgers but first they must pass the third place Giants who are a game ahead of them in the NL West standings.

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