Houston Takes Series From Dispirited Chicago

ashbySeptember 18: Houston 13, Chicago 1

Chicago’s surge from last in late June to first in early August has been one of the top stories of the season. But by late August, the White Sox cooled off just as the Red Sox took off again, and Chicago was eliminated before this series opener in Houston. They looked like a team that knew they weren’t playing for anything anymore.

Chris Sale’s rough second half hit another low as the Astros pounded him for three home runs in the first inning and he only recorded one out. Sale has given up 10 ya-yas in his last 27 innings.

Houston drilled 20 hits, and six ‘Stros homered. Bob Watson and Moises Alou both had three hits with a dong, and the seven, eight, and nine hitters Art Howe, Dickie Thon, and Alan Ashby combined for nine hits and two dongs. J.R. Richard pitched a complete game.

                   R  H BB
CHI 000 100 000 -  1  4  6
HOU 401 001 43x - 13 20  2
HR: B. Watson (15), J. Altuve (1), M. Alou (29),
C. Cedeno (14), A. Howe (4), D. Thon (7)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Sale       0.1  4  4  3  0  0  
J.R. Richard  9.0  1  1  0  6  5 

CHI 79-72, HOU 64-87

September 19: Houston 5, Chicago 3

This was also a baseball game.

                  R  H BB
CHI 000 012 000 - 3  8  4
HOU 210 010 10x - 5 10  3

HR: C. Lemon (11), J. Bagwell (30)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
E. Cicotte   6.1  5  5  1  3  3  
M. Cuellar   5.2  3  3  1  1  4 

CHI 79-73, HOU 65-87

September 20: Chicago 5, Houston 1

Nolan Ryan handed out walks like candy, and four of Chicago’s five run scorers reached on a free pass. Chicago’s Ed Walsh was stingy in a complete game. Walsh has the third highest runs saved above average in the league.

                  R H BB
CHI 001 020 101 - 5 6  8
HOU 100 000 000 - 1 6  1
HR: none

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
E. Walsh   9.0  1  1  0  1  4  
N. Ryan    8.0  5  5  0  8  4 

CHI 80-73, HOU 65-88
Advertisements

Boston Sweeps Anaheim, Has Original Division Title All But Locked Up

September 18: Boston 11, Anaheim 5

With his command AWOL and bad defense, Dean shot never had a Chance. Er, Dean Chance never had a shot. The Red Sox stung him for 10 runs in 4.1 pitched. Chance himself committed two of Anaheim’s three costly errors.

Boston’s on-base machines at the top of the lineup Wade Boggs, Tris Speaker, and Ted Williams reached safely a combined 10 times in the game.

                   R  H BB
BOS 420 050 000 - 11  9  9
ANA 100 020 011 -  5 10  3
HR: W. Joyner (7)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Lester   7.0  3  3  0  3  6  
D. Chance   4.1 10  7  0  5  3 

BOS 90-61, ANA 65-88

fiskSeptember 19: Boston 2, Anaheim 1

An incredibly hot Cy Young pitched nine innings, his eighth straight start going at least nine innings. He’s shaved nearly an entire run off his season ERA in just those eight starts (from 4.34 to 3.38). Incredibly, all five Red Sox starters have one of the top 15 ERAs in the league among qualified throwers:

3. Smoky Joe Wood 2.88
4. Pedro Martinez 2.89
11. Cy Young 3.38
12. Roger Clemens 3.39
15. Lefty Grove 3.68

Young had a worthy opponent in this one. Jered Weaver took the bump for Anaheim with the eighth best ERA in the league at 3.35 and put on a great duel with Young.

The Angels offense struck first when Troy Glaus drew a walk in the bottom of the third and lead-footed catcher Lance Parrish shocked the house with an RBI triple. But Carlton Fisk’s dream season kept rolling and he slammed a solo shot to tie it up in the fifth. Then after Ted Williams drew a walk in the top of the sixth, Yaz and Pete Runnels followed it up with singles to drive in the winner.

Fisk now owns the second best wOBA in the league at .408.

                  R H BB
BOS 000 011 000 - 2 9  3
ANA 001 000 000 - 1 4  1

HR: C. Fisk (22)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Young   9.0  1  1  0  1  7  
J. Weaver  8.0  2  2  1  3  4 

BOS 91-61, ANA 65-89

September 20: Boston 6, Anaheim 4

The Red Sox are bulldozing their way to locking up the Original Division and made it 13 wins in their last 14. They officially eliminated Baltimore, Chicago, and New York with this sweep of the Angels, and the mathematic eliminations of Oakland and Minnesota look to be mere formalities to be taken care of in the near future.

The Angels announced after the game that they are shutting down starter Kelvim Escobar for the year. Escobar got roughed up in this one, but he put together a respectable season: 31 games, 197 IP, 4.20 ERA, 0.8 HR/9, 4.2 BB/9, and 6.5 SO/9.

                  R  H BB
BOS 001 010 400 - 6 10  7
ANA 001 000 210 - 4  8  3

HR: T. Williams (3), T. Hunter (12)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Grove    7.0  4  4  1  3  7  
K. Escobar  6.1  6  6  1  5  2 

BOS 92-61, ANA 65-90

Baltimore Completes Expansion Division Dominance With Wins in Toronto

Baltimore OriolesSeptember 18: Baltimore 8, Toronto 7 (12 innings)

The Jays ran up a 7-1 lead in the sixth inning but then frittered it away over the next three frames. The Orioles creamed three home runs in the game, including Frank Robinson’s 28th of the year that tied the game up in the top of the ninth.

But it was walks that got Baltimore the winning run in extras. Manny Machado and Matt Wieters drew free passes around a Cal Ripken hit, and Ken Singleton drew an RBI walk off Scott Downs.

                      R  H BB
BAL 001 000 312 001 - 8 14  9
TOR 020 005 000 000 - 7 10  4

HR: F. Robinson (28), M. Machado (5), C. Ripken (10),
E. Whitt (10), T. Fernandez (2)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Palmer   5.2  7  2  2  3  3  
S. Marcum   6.2  4  4  1  4  4 

BAL 81-70, TOR 67-84

September 19: Toronto 5, Baltimore 1

Roy Halladay followed up his first shutout of the year with another dandy, this time giving up one run in eight innings.

The teams each had 10 combined walks + hits, but Toronto slugged out six extra-base hits compared to just one double by the Orioles.

                  R  H BB
BAL 100 000 000 - 1  9  1
TOR 020 000 12x - 5 10  0

HR: S. Green (26)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Powell    8.0  5  5  1  0  7  
R. Halladay  8.0  1  1  0  1  7 

BAL 81-71, TOR 68-84

September 20: Baltimore 3, Toronto 1

The next day the Blue Jays couldn’t muster a single extra-base hit, while Baltimore slashed three triples (one each by George Sisler, Frank Robinson, and Cal Ripken).

Both teams wrapped up their inter-division schedules for the season. Baltimore dominated the Expansion Division, 28-8, and Toronto had relative success against the Original Division at 23-25. (That’s the best among Expansion teams except for Kansas City, who are 22-23 with three more games to go.)

                  R H BB
BAL 000 020 001 - 3 9  0
TOR 000 001 000 - 1 6  2
HR: none

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
H. Howell  8.0  1  0  0  1  2  
J. Key     8.0  3  3  0  0  6 

BAL 82-71, TOR 68-85

New York’s 11th Hour Come-Back Turns Series In Their Favor Against Oakland

September 15: Oakland 10, New York 0

New York’s Lefty Gomez has been the squad’s least-terrible starter most of the year, but has now gotten pounded mercilessly in his last two starts. Last time out, he gave up seven runs in a third of an inning. This time, he at least got through an entire one inning while giving up seven runs.

Every Oakland batter knocked a base hit, and Left Gomez shut out the best offense in the league. Gomez dropped his ERA to 3.27, seventh best in the loop.

                   R  H BB
NY  000 000 000 -  0  4  1
OAK 531 001 00x - 10 11  7
HR: none

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Gomez   1.0  7  7  0  4  0  
L. Grove   9.0  0  0  0  1  2 

NY 76-72, OAK 81-67

mattinglySeptember 16: New York 7, Oakland 5 (14 innings)

Oakland was one out away from victory in the top of the ninth with Dennis Eckersley on the hill, Lou Gehrig on first, and Babe Ruth at the plate. The Babe lifted a fliner to the left field corner, and Rickey Henderson gave chase. Rickey had a bead on it, but slammed into the wall just as the pill hit his glove. The impact caused the ball to squirt away from him, and Rickey was shaken up and stayed on the ground where he fell. By the time center fielder Al Simmons raced over to throw the ball back in, Gehrig had torn a path all the way from first base to tie the game, and Ruth was standing on third base. The official scorer hit Rickey with a harsh E7.

Eck stranded the Babe to force extras. Nobody could break the tie in the 10th-13th innings, but the Yanks put together a two-out rally in the 14th. Gehrig took a walk, Ruth doubled, Bill Dickey walked the bases loaded, and Don Mattingly swatted his fourth hit of the day to drive in two.

                         R  H BB
NY  200 100 101 000 02 - 7 12  4
OAK 400 000 010 000 00 - 5  7  2

HR: D. Mattingly (3), E. Collins (3), 
J Giambi (16)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Caldwell  7.1  5  5  2  2  2  
T. Hudson    6.0  3  3  1  0  4 

NY 77-72, OAK 81-68

September 17: New York 9, Oakland 8

The Yanks built up a 9-2 lead after five and a half innings before the A’s put up a spirited comeback attempt. Bert Campaneris collected a rare home run that plated three in the sixth inning, but the A’s stranded runners in the seventh, eighth, and ninth and fell a run short.

The A’s are still in second place, but the losses dropped them eight games behind Boston with just 12 games remaining.

                  R  H BB
NY  001 305 000 - 9 13  4
OAK 000 024 200 - 8 10  7

HR: A. Rodriguez (23), J. Foxx (25),
B. Campaneris (4)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
O. Hernandez  5.2  6  6  2  3  4  
C. Bender     5.1  6  6  1  3  1 

NY 78-72, OAK 81-69

3 Cruz Missiles Help Seattle Take Series v. Detroit, But M’s Lose Division Lead

cruzSeptember 15: Seattle 5, Detroit 0

The Mariners rotation has overall been a strength, particularly on days Randy Johnson or Jamie Moyer are going, and the team is right in the thick of the Expansion Division title chase. But when Seattle fans are feeling greedy, they can’t help but wonder where they’d be if Felix Hernandez had been pitching to his potential this season. King Felix gave them a glimpse in this game on his way to his second shutout, which pulled his season ERA down to 5.35. It will be bad news for Kansas City if Hernandez has found his game for his remaining two starts, one of which is scheduled to come against the Royals.

The Tigers got their hits in against Hernandez, including three off the bat of Norm Cash, but never could score. Recent addition Nelson Cruz continues to crush for Seattle and drilled a single, double, and homer and drove in three.

                  R H BB
DET 000 000 000 - 0 9  1
SEA 000 002 03x - 5 8  2

HR: N. Cruz (5)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
G. Uhle       7.1  3  2  0  2  5  
F. Hernandez  9.0  0  0  0  1  5 

DET 69-79, SEA 78-70

September 16: Seattle 7, Detroit 4

All seven Seattle tallies came on three home run ding dongs against Tommy Bridges, courtesy of Edgar Martinez, A-Rod, and Cruz.

Jamie Moyer did not have his best stuff, but Jeff Nelson and Shigetoshi Hasegawa backed him up with 3.1 shutout innings.

                  R  H BB
DET 000 013 000 - 4  8  3
SEA 203 000 20x - 7 11  0
HR: S. Crawford (2), E. Martinez (14),
A. Rodriguez (26), N. Cruz (6)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
T. Bridges  6.2  7  7  3  0  2  
J. Moyer    5.2  4  4  1  1  1 

DET 69-80, SEA 79-70

September 17: Detroit 11, Seattle 2

Schoolboy Rowe continues to deal for Detroit. “Where’s that Schoolboy been all year?” wondered Sparky Anderson after the game. With five starts under his belt, Rowe’s ERA sits at 2.01.

The Mariners were tasting a sweep as they took a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning, but Miguel Cabrera launched a three run homer against Randy Johnson to take the lead for Detroit, and the Tigers ran up the score with multiple runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth. Ty Cobb lashed a single and two triples, and Cabrera had his best day of a mostly disappointing season and took a walk, singled, doubled, and homered. Charlie Gehringer poked four singles, and Johnny Bassler couldn’t be stopped, taking a walk and collecting four hits that included a double.

Nelson Cruz made it three straight games with a homer.

                   R  H BB
DET 000 030 233 - 11 17  3
SEA 010 100 00x -  2  5  1
HR: M. Cabrera (8), N. Cruz (7), R. Cano (14)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
S. Rowe     9.0  2  2  2  1  8  
R. Johnson  5.0  3  3  1  2  5 

DET 70-80, SEA 79-71

The loss dropped the Mariners one game behind Kansas City in the Expansion Division. With just 12 games left in the regular season, here are the teams’ remaining games:

        Seattle    Kansas City
9/18    v TEX      v CLE
9/19    v TEX      v CLE
9/20    v TEX      v CLE
9/21    v TEX      off
9/22    @ TEX      @HOU
9/23    @ TEX      @HOU
9/24    @ TEX      @HOU
9/25    v KC       @ SEA
9/26    v KC       @ SEA
9/27    v KC       @ SEA
9/28    off        off
9/29    v HOU      @ ANA
9/30    off        @ ANA
10/1    v HOU      @ ANA

Possibly a slightly easier schedule for Seattle, but they’re mighty close. Of course those three games against each other loom large.

Boston Wins 10th Straight in Series Win Over Toronto

yazSeptember 15: Boston 4, Toronto 3 (13 innings)

The Blue Jays could taste victory with a one-run lead and one out with nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth. But sloppy defense reared it’s head as it has for Toronto all season long. A Roberto Alomar error at second allowed John Valentin to reach, Wade Boggs singled Valentin over to third, and Tris Speaker drove in the tying run.

It stayed tied until the bottom of the 13th, when Mark Eicchorn faced just three batters: Dwight Evans singled, Carl Yastrzemski walked, and Carlton Fisk walked it off with an RBI single.

                        R  H BB
TOR 000 030 000 000 0 - 3  8  5
BOS 011 000 001 000 1 - 4 13  6
HR: none

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Key     7.0  2  2  0  6  3  
L. Grove   8.0  3  2  0  3  2 

TOR 66-82, BOS 88-60

September 16: Boston 10, Toronto 8

Both offenses went wild in this one as starters Doyle Alexander and Mel Parnell both got slammed. Another Alomar error extended the bottom of the first inning and paved the way for a Nomar Garciaparra three-run dong.

Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yastrzemski all reached safely four times. Ted Williams belted two doubles to increase his league-leading total to 45 for the season.

Toronto’s loss mathematically eliminated them from the division title, while Boston’s win was their 10th straight, a streak that has them positioned to run away with the Original Division.

                   R  H BB
TOR 111 012 020 -  8 15  8
BOS 610 200 10x - 10 13  4
HR: N. Garciaparra (13)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
D. Alexander  3.1  9  6  1  1  1  
M. Parnell    5.0  6  6  0  7  1 

TOR 66-83, BOS 89-60

September 17: Toronto 3, Boston 2

Dave Stieb was impressive against the menacing Boston lineup and dueled Roger Clemens nicely. Alomar, Fred McGriff, Shawn Green, and Ernie Whitt all collected hits in the sixth inning to plate all three of the Jays’ runs. Clemens struck out a season-high 11 in the loss.

                  R H BB
TOR 000 003 000 - 3 9  1
BOS 000 101 000 - 2 9  5

HR: none

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
D. Stieb    7.0  2  2  0  3  4  
R. Clemens  9.0  3  3  0  1 11 

TOR 67-83, BOS 89-61

Kansas City In Good Position After Stunning Sweep of Minnesota

September 15: Kansas City 2, Minnesota 0 (11 innings)

Two of the weakest offenses in the league got off to an appropriate start by not scoring for 10 innings. Bret Saberhagen pitched into extra innings for the first time and was superb, throwing 10 shutout innings while issuing just one walk. Johan Santana was similarly stingy for five innings, after which he was pulled to preserve his innings for a couple of more short starts to come.

It figured that the Royals would find the going easier against long reliever Firpo Marberry, but Firpo refused to allow a run in four innings, and Joe Nathan then threw a perfect 10th for Minnesota. Then in the top of the 11th, Jesse Crain took over the mound for the Twins. After a single by Danny Tartabull, John Mayberry, replacing Mike Sweeney at first base, strode to the plate for the first time in the game. Big John has been KC’s MVP this season, and he added another feather to his cap with a game-busting dinger. Mayberry has reached safely in 58 of last 89 plate appearances (.652 OBP).

Greg Holland nailed down the bottom of the 11th for the Royals.

                    R  H BB
KC 000 000 000 02 - 2 11  0
MN 000 000 000 00 - 0  6  1
HR: J. Mayberry (23)

starters         IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Saberhagen  10.0  0  0  0  1  3  
J. Santana      5.0  0  0  0  0  9 

KC 78-70, MN 80-68

sweenSeptember 16: Kansas City 8, Minnesota 1

The Royals were thrilled to steal a game that Santana started, but the going looked tougher the next day as Walter Johnson took the hill with loads of inning still under his belt. But a minor miracle occurred – they actually hit the Big Train. Willie Wilson, George Brett, and Willie Aikens all singled and the Royals had already plated two runs in the first inning before Jose Offerman lined one of the most shocking home runs of the season. It was his first of the year, and only the THIRD given up all season by Johnson in 260 innings! The two-run dinger gave the Royals a quick 4-0 lead after half an inning.

Then Danny Jackson went to work on one of his finest days of the season. He went the distance on the hill and gave up just one run while walking zilch.

In the seventh, Harmon Killebrew made an error at third base that elongated another Royals rally. Alcides Escobar and Tartabull had already doubled in the inning before Sweeney took Johnson to the seats. That’s right – in his first 259 innings of the season, Walter gave up two jacks, and then in his next seven innings, the Royals tagged him for two more.

                 R  H BB
KC 400 000 400 - 8 12  1
MN 001 000 000 - 1  8  0

HR: M. Sweeney (13), J. Offerman (1)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
D. Jackson  9.0  1  1  0  0  4  
W. Johnson  6.2  8  5  2  1  6 

KC 79-70, MN 80-69

September 17: Kansas City 8, Minnesota 2

The Royals completed the massively helpful sweep on the strength of more noisy bats and another great start, this time courtesy of Mark Gubicza. Goobie threw a complete game and gave up two unearned runs. The Twins scored three runs in the entire series, and only one of them was earned.

Sweeney’s second homer in as many days was the highlight of a full-team offensive attack by KC.

Having come into the series tied with Seattle atop the Expansion Division, the thrilling sweep moved the Royals into great position as they await the results of the Mariners series against Detroit.

                 R  H BB
KC 110 015 400 - 8 12  1
MN 020 000 000 - 2  5  3
HR: M. Sweeney (14)
starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Gubicza   9.0  2  0  0  3  4  
G. Mogridge  5.0  5  5  1  0  1 

KC 80-70, MN 80-70