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August 2017
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‘MLB’ Articles

Westbrook starting to regain pitching form; beats Orioles 5-1

compiled from staff and wire reports

Jake Westbrook is starting to put aside worries about his elbow and arm and is now just thinking about wins, pitch counts, shutouts and complete games.

Westbrook on Sunday gave up nine hits and completed his 13th career complete game, and Cleveland beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 Sunday in Baltimore for their second straight series win.

Matt LaPorta Indians (clippers photo)

Westbrook (2-2) didn’t pitch at all in 2009 while recovering from reconstructive right elbow surgery. He was 0-2 in his first six starts in 2010 before beating Kansas City last Tuesday.

That complete game was his first since April 8, 2008 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Westbrook struck out eight, one short of his career high, and walked none.

Westbrook was helped throughout the game by some top-notch defensive plays including two double plays and a first-inning catch by All-Star centerfielder Grady Sizemore. Also Shin-Soo Choo trying to stretch a single into a double.

The Indians continue to show they have power as Matt LaPorta and Russell Branyan homered for Cleveland, who won the series 2-1. They previously won two of three from Kansas City and now has back-to-back series wins for the first time this season.

Slumping Pat Burrell is dumped by Tampa Bay in favor of Blalock

compiled from staff and wire reports

Pat Burrell’s stay in the American League and Tampa Bay is history due to being unproductive.

The Rays designated Burrell for assignment before Saturday’s game against Seattle and have picked up the contract of infielder Hank Blalock from their Triple-A team, Durham.

Burrell has struggled since he joined the Rays two months after helping the Philadelphia Phillies beat Tampa Bay in the 2008 World Series. He hit .221 with 14 homers and 69 RBI’s in 2009, while trying to make the transition from everyday outfielder to designated hitter.

Pat Burrell (mlb)

The 33-year old was hitting .202 with two homers and 13 RBI’s in 24 games this season. He was 2 for 25 with no extra-base hits or RBI’s in May and batted .053 (1 for 19) against left-handed pitching.

The rays will be responsible for the remainder of Burrell’s $9 million salary in the second season of  a $16 million, two-year contract.  If he is released, a team that signs him would pay just a prorated share of the $400,000 minimum.

In he is traded, Burrell would receive a $200,000 bonus.

Hank Blalock’s job will be to DH and play first and third base for Tampa Bay.

Hank Blalock (mlb)

Blalock, who signed a minor league contract with the Rays in March, is a two-time All-Star who spent his first eight MLB seasons with the Texas Rangers.

The 29-year-old Blalock hit .234 with 25 homers and 66 RBI’s in 123 games last year after missing much of the 2007 and 2008 with injuries.

Blalock’s minor league deal included a clause allowing him to opt out and seek a job with any team if he wasn’t going to make the 25-man roster coming out of spring training. Instead, he was patient and accepted an assignment with the Durham Bulls where he hit .349, tied for second in the International League, with four homers and 24 RBI’s in 26 games.

Down 2-0, Indians score 8 runs in 9th to stun Orioles, 8-2

compiled from staff, wire and Indians news

Austin Kearns belted the go-ahead, three-run homer off Orioles rookie closer Alfredo Simon in an eight-run ninth inning to lift the Cleveland Indians to improble 8-2 win over Baltimore in Oriole Park at Camden Yards Saturday night.

The loss ended the Orioles’ season-high three-game winning streak.

Austin Kearns (mlb)

Mitch Talbot (mlb)

With one-out and Baltimore ahead 2-0, Simon (0-1) gave up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera and walked Mark Grudzielanek. Shin-Soo Choo followed with an RBI single before Kearns slammed an 0-2 split-fastball to left field for his third homer.

Mike Redmond added a two-run double off Cla Meredith before Trevor Crowe, just called up from Triple-A Columbus, finished off Cleveland’s biggest inning of 2010 with a two-run homer.

Cleveland had been 0-16 when trailing after eight innings.

Mitch Talbot (5-2) allowed two runs and five hits. He walked two, struck out three and left after eight innings.

Before the nightmarish ninth inning, Simon had been 5 for 5 in save chances since taking over closer duties when Mike Gonzalez and Jim Johnson got hurt.

Ty Wigginton homered twice for Baltimore.


* Playing in his 34th game, Ty Wigginton exceeded his home run output from 2009, when he hit 11 in 122 games.

* Before the game, Cleveland put infielder Andy Marte on the 15-day disabled list with a non-baseball medical issue and recalled Trevor Crowe from Triple-A Columbus.

Reds nip Cardinals 4-3 in Gillette Civil Rights Game; half-game back


CINCINNATI, OHIO–Saturday’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds was the fourth annual Civil Rights Game as part of the Civil Rights Weekend.

Major League Baseball founded the Gillette Civil Rights Game in 2007 as a platform to honor the pioneers of American culture who have affected change, and to examine baseball’s place in society, both historically and in the current moment.

The 2010 honorees included Hall of Famer Willie Mays, Women’s Tennis star Billie Jean King and Entertainer Harry Belafonte received the Beacon of Life, Beacon of Change and the Beacon of Hope Awards, respectively. Also being involved in the weekend were former Atlanta Mayor, United States congressman and ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young giving the keynote address at the Awards Luncheon. Also being recognized was Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson; Hall of Famer Ernie Banks throwing out the first pitch and there was a special tribute to Lena Horne, who just passed away last week at age 92. Her video tribute brought a standing ovation from the crowd in Great American Ballpark.

Mike Leake Reds (ASU photo)

As for the game itself, the Cardinals were trying to win another game in this series against the 2nd place Reds in the NL Central Division. St. Louis won Friday night and they had Adam Wainwright, one of their Cy Award candidates pitching against Reds rookie Mike Leake.

The Cardinals have been in more meaningful games over the years than the Reds, so they know how to win these games and usually play without any pressure on their backs. It’s the other team that feels and plays with pressure.

St. Louis opened the scoring against the Reds phenom Mike Leake in second inning. David Freese doubled down the leftfield line; Yadier Molina tapped a slow roller to third moving Freese to third and Skip Schumaker hit a sacrifice fly to left center, 1-0 Cardinals.

The Reds have been resilient all season and they showed it by coming back twice in the game. The first comeback was in the bottom of the second, Jay Bruce doubled to right center; two slow infield groundouts to Cards’ third baseman David Freese moved Bruce to third and he scored on a base hit by Ramon Hernandez to left, 1-1 tie.

But the Cardinals always had an answer for whenever the Reds scored. In the top of the 3rd, Colby Rasmus who has been a thorn in the Reds side the last two seasons, hit a 411 foot homer to centerfield and it was 2-1 St. Louis. The third inning was probably Leake’s worst inning, giving up the homer and walking Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday back-to-back.

Drew Stubbs Reds (mlb)

The score stayed 2-1 St. Louis until the bottom of the fourth when Jonny Gomes hit a 2-2 curveball from Adam Wainwright, 433 feet into the upper deck in leftfield to tie the game at 2-2. The Reds hitters seemed to be right on Wainwright’s pitches. Eventhough he is one of the top 3-4 pitchers in the NL, Wainwright is only 2-2 lifetime against the Reds with a 4.46 ERA.

The Reds took control of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Scott Rolen doubled to the corner in left; Jonny Gomes was intentionally walked; Drew Stubbs, who is showing more patience at the plate batting seventh, tripled to rightcenter plating Rolen and Gomes to make it 4-2 and then it was up to the bullpen to hold off the Cardinals.

Arthur Rhodes and Nick Masset threw scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth and then would come the adventurous ninth with closer Francisco Cordero, who always seems to have a little suspense when he closes games. But let’s give him an out here. He hadn’t  pitched since Monday in Pittsburgh due to the success of the starting pitching staff. So he was a little rusty.

In the ninth inning, David Freese singled to center and moved up to second on a wild pitch; Yadier Molina grounded out to shortstop moving Freese to third and Skip Schumaker knocked him in with a base hit to center, cutting the lead down to 4-3 Reds.

Jon Jay pinch-hit for Jason Motte and struck out. Before we go any further, Reds manager Dusty Baker before the inning started inserted rookie Chris Heisey into left field to replace Jonny Gomes defensively. It would prove to be a wise decision.

Joe Mather doubled down into the left field corner and the ball did not come right to Heisey, it just laid on the warning track. He went to pick it up and relayed the ball to shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Cards third base coach Jose Oquendo was trying to stop Skip Schumaker from scoring from first base, but with the ball in front of him, Schumaker thought he could make it home and force 2 good throws from the Reds defense. Well the Reds defense did make to good throws. Cabrera took the relay throw and threw a one-hopper to catcher Ramon Hernandez to the left of the plate and all he had to do was dive into the baseline and tag out Schumaker at the plate for the final out. Home plate umpire Rob Drake was set up behind the plate to be in a good position to make the call and it was a good call as Hernandez put the tag down in the baseline and the runner was out. Reds win 4-3 and are a half-game out of first place in the NL Central.

The winning pitcher was Mike Leake (4-0), the losing pitcher Adam Wainwright (5-2). Francisco Cordero notched his 12th save out of 14 chances.

Mike Leake is the first Reds pitcher to begin his Major League career at 4-0 since 1976 when RHP Santo Alcala began 5-0 and RHP Pat Zachary went 4-0.

The sellout crowd of 41,326 was the second of the season, both against the Cardinals.

SOUNDS FROM THE POSTGAME LOCKER ROOM (To listen to an audio file, click on the link)

44 942 Chris Heisey Reds LF On the ball getting stuck in the corner and not coming to him (

44 945 Drew Stubbs Reds CF Got to meet Willie Mays was an honor (

44 947 Drew Stubbs Reds Cf Being a part of Civil Rights Day in Cincinnati (

44 948 Drew Stubbs Reds CF He is getting more comfortable at the plate (

44 953 Mike Leake Reds Rookie Pitcher The Reds starters 6 of 7 quality starts in a week (

Cardinals hold off Reds, 4-3 on MLB’s Civil Rights Weekend kickoff

compiled from staff and wire reports

Albert Pujols ended St. Louis’ longest homer drought in three years with a two-run shot and left-hander Jaime Garcia pitched into the seventh inning, beating the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3 on Friday night.

Ryan Ludwick blasted a two-run shot off Aaron Harang (2-5) that also barely cleared the outfield wall, giving spark to an offense which hadn’t homered in the last nine.

Garcia (4-2) has gone at least six innings and given up two or fewer runs in all seven starts. It’s the best opening streak by a rookie since the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela opening up the 1981 season with 8 games under his belt.

Albert Pujols (MLB)

St. Louis’ win opened up baseball’s Civil Rights Weekend, honoring those individuals who worked for equality. Harry Belafonte, Willie Mays and Billie Jean King will receive Major League Baseball’s Beacon Awards at a luncheon Saturday.

On Saturday evening, the Cardinals and Reds will wear replica 1947 caps and jerseys, honoring the year Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barriers.

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