Jay Bruce has been red hot in the Minor Leagues lately and he was still hot as a firecracker in his major league debut. He had a double, two singles and two walks and a stolen base and drove in two runs. His plate discipline was impressive for a 21 year old. It was evident in 2007 that Bruce was on the fast track to the major leagues when he played at three levels in one year.
The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6, which made the day even more memorable. Adam Dunn hit his 14th homer of the season and drove in four runs and Johnny Cueto (3-5) allowed 2 earned runs in 5 innings to take the win. Adam LaRoche hit his 6th homer of the season and after hitting one homer and driving in 5 runs during April has hit 5 homers and drove in 19 runs in May with 4 days left in May. He was hitting .163 at the end of April, but is hitting .295 after yesterday's game in May and has raised his average from .197 on May 14th to .236 now. If he had been hitting this well from the start of the season, the Pirates may be higher in the standings now, since Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth have hit well from the start.
The Reds' roster at mlb.com is showing only four infielders, so it appears the Reds decided to go with six outfielders so they could call up Bruce. Ryan Freel, Jerry Hairston, and Corey Patterson will see less playing time in the outfield with the addition of Bruce to the roster. Hairston played shortstop last night, so is like a fifth infielder. Freel has played second and third base this season, so he makes the sixth infielder even if listed as an outfielder. So Patterson will be affected more than the others since he is not an infielder. It will be interesting to watch how the Reds do the rest of the season now that Bruce has joined the team.
Around the Bases
Last night was such an eventful night that I will not do detailed recaps of the games and will just highlight the most noteworthy games. Franklin Gutierrez hadn't homered since April 25th, but made up for it last night when he hit a first inning grand slam off of Mark Buehrle (2-6) as part of a five run first inning, and the Cleveland Indians went on to defeat the Chicago White Sox 8-2 with Aaron Laffey 3-3 taking the win.
Alex Cintron singled in the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Baltimore Orioles a 10-9 victory over the New York Yankees. It was the only time of the game that the Orioles were ahead in the game, as the Yankees had scored four times in the top of the second inning to make it 4-0. The Orioles countered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the second though, and they tied the score at 4-4. In the fourth inning, the Yankees scored four more times in the top of the frame. Once again, the Orioles scored four more to tie it in the bottom of the fifth inning, tying the score at 8-8. Neither team scored again until the Yankees scored once in the top of the eleventh inning. The Orioles then scored twice in the bottom of the eleventh inning to win the game.
The Orioles homered five times in the contest, while the Yankees homered four times. Both teams doubled three times for a total of 15 extra base hits in the game. LaTroy Hawkins blew the save and took the loss. From now on, Yankee fans will know to be afraid... very afraid when Hawkins enters a game in relief. In one game early this season, he allowed 6 runs to score in 2/3 of an inning. There is a reason that he has played on five teams in the last five years. The worst thing is that if he is still around when Joba Chamberlain becomes a starter that he will be in even more games.
At first glance it seems like Andy Sonnanstine (6-3) pitched a bad game in the Rangers 12-6 win over the Rays but he actually gave up only 2 earned runs in 5 innings with 5 runs being unearned. Vicente Padilla (7-2) struck out 10 in 6 innings and has already won more games than he won in 2007 when he compiled a 6-10 record. Josh Hamilton hit a grand slam in the eighth inning and drove in five runs giving him 58 for the season which is 14 more than Carlos Quentin, who is second in AL.
Michael Cuddyer singled in the winning run in the 12th inning to give the Minnesota Twins a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. Joe Nathan blew his first save of the season when he allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Ervin Santana 7-2 pitched the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Jeremy Bonderman allowed 2 runs to score in 6 1/3 innings. The Tigers are tied for last with the Royals with both teams having 21-31 records.
Greg Smith (3-4), who lives in Alexandria, Louisiana, which is across the Red River from the city I grew up in, pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball to take a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays for the Oakland A's. Three of his four losses have come in quality starts so he is pitching better than his record indicates. Frank Thomas showed the Blue Jays made a mistake by releasing him, as he doubled and raised his average to .258. He hit .167 with the Blue Jays, but has hit .319 since joining the A's.
Daisuke Matsuzaka had to leave with shoulder fatigue after four innings in the Mariners 4-3 defeat of the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez hit his 499th homer and the 500th homer watch will begin today.
Kyle Kendrick (4-2) allowed 2 runs in 7 1/3 innings to help the Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Colorado Rockies 7-4. Ryan Howard drove in his 38th RBI of the year and his 26th this month after having only 12 RBI's at the end of April. The Phillies have scored 42 runs in their last three games. The win moved the Phillies to within a game and a half of the Florida Marlins in the NL East.
The Milwaukee Brewers, who trailed for most of the game, scored once in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to take a walkoff 3-2 win in bottom of the ninth on a walkoff sacrifice fly by Mike Cameron in the bottom of the ninth inning. Chipper Jones raised his Major League leading average to .418 and has a chance to still be hitting going into June.
Johan Santana pitched seven innings and allowed 3 runs and struck out 7 in the Mets 5-3 defeat of the first place Marlins in a NL East contest. Billy Wagner notched his 10th save of the season and lowered his ERA to 0.43.
The Chicago Cubs scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to take a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sean Gallagher (2-1) pitched seven innings of one run baseball to take the win. Since the 1930's, the Abbott and Costello comedy team have been asking "Who's On First?", and last night that question was answered since Hu was actually on first when Chin-Lung Hu reached first base. I may be wrong, but I am almost positive no other player has played baseball with a two letter last name.
The Houston Astros moved into a second place tie with the St. Louis Cardinals after defeating them 8-2. Hunter Pence was 5-for-5 and Carlos Lee drove in his 45th run leaving him one behind teammate Lance Berkman who is leading the NL with 46 RBI's.
Tim Lincecum (7-1) pitched the San Francisco Giants to a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lincecum has not allowed more than 3 runs in any game this season. He has pitched at least 6 innings in each start this season but did pitch only 4 innings in a relief appearance because of a rain delay. Benjie Molina hit his 6th homer and drove in 3 runs giving him 34 for the season and since the season is not yet a third over he should have a 100 RBI season.
In a battle of last place teams the San Diego Padres defeated the Washington Nationals 4-2. Adrian Gonzalez hit his 15th homer and drove in his 44th run of the season. Gonzalez already has half of the 30 homers he hit last season in only a third of this season so he is on track to hit 45 homers this season.