The Cubs won a homer-filled game in exciting fashion, as Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa went back-to-back with solo homers in bottom of the ninth to win it, with Alou's homer being the deciding shot. Chicago hit five home runs, and the Reds hit three of their own. Ken Griffey hit his third bomb and also threw out Todd Walker at the plate, helping out former Oaklander Aaron Harang.
Miguel Batista was hailed as an excellent signing by the Blue Jays this winter, but he's been ugly in two of his first three games, including last night's seven run performance in just four innings. He'll probably right the ship and have more games like his two-run outing against Boston as the year goes on.
Pat Burrell and Jim Thome had their first homers of the year, helping Eric Milton to his first National League victory for the Phillies. Burrell and Thome where essentially the whole Phillie offense, combining for six of Philadelphia's eight hits.
Tom Glavine pitched a seven-inning gem, but his relievers gave up seven runs to the Pirates in the top of the eighth, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Mets scored four runs of their own against two Pirate relievers in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn't enough to bring the win back home. The Mets walked two, but only one in that eighth inning, and they made one error, but that happened earlier in the game, also. The Pirates didn't manage an extra-base hit all game. Pittsburgh managed that rally with a bunch of singles, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and one stolen base. They scored seven runs on just five hits. Yeah, it's ugly, but it's a dub.
The Marlins lost just their second game of the year, as Jaret Wright pitched just well enough to hand a winnable game over the Brave bullpen, who closed things out from there. I saw some of this game, though, and Wright didn't look very good. He was wild, despite toning down his velocity to try to get more movement and command on his pitches. If he has a "successful" year, it'll probably be in the Russ Ortiz mode, giving up runs and walks, but getting enough offense to get wins next to his name.
I heard there was something going on in Boston. I'm working the phones to find out what it was. Everyone's keeping it real hush-hush, though.
Milwaukee managed just three baserunners, all singles, against Roy Oswalt, and didn't turn any of them into runs. Oswalt took home a 10-strikeout, 94-pitch complete game shutout. I really have no idea what kind of pitchers Oswalt and Roy Halladay are, but I've always kind of grouped those two and Tim Hudson into some weird triumvirate in my head. Maybe it's the "Roy factor" for the two non-A's. I don't know.
Scott Podsednik had two of the Brewers three hits and, predictably, stole two bases, giving him nine on the year. Watch out, Rickey!
Sources in Boston tell me that Jorge Posada hit his fifth homer of the year. Expect another mid-ballot MVP year from Posada. As much as I hate him for his mouth and attitude displayed against the A's a few times, he's an excellent player who's been consistently very good since 1998. His power outage in 1999 hurt his value a little that year, but he still got on base.
The Royals's starts (Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney) went deep, Gonzalez twice, helping Johan Santana to a six-run outing, but the Twins won anyway, as Jimmy Gobble and the KC bullpen couldn't keep Minnesota off the board. Lew Ford hit a triple and his second homer of the year. Torii Hunter went down and the Twins haven't felt a thing in his absence. That's the Minnesota outfield situation for you.
Denny Stark had a preposterously ugly day in St. Louis, giving up 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings, including four home runs, two of them to Reggie Sanders (who was the answer to the AFLAC trivia question on the Mets broadcast last night: Who's the only other player aside from Raul Mondesi to have 800 runs and 800 RBI in his career without a single 100-RBI season? I got it right, on sheer luck). Tony Womack stole his sixth base, but that's chicken feed compared to Podsednik in Milwaukee right now.
Dan Wilson got on base four times (two singles, a double, a walk), Bret Boone had three hits, and John Olerud walked thrice, leading the Mariners to ... a shutout loss at the hands of Chan Ho Park and the Rangers. Park didn't go the distance, as he had thrown 105 pitches after seven, but Carlos Almanzar had no trouble, giving up just a walk in two innings to close things out. Three very nice performances were wasted by the rest of the Mariners, who got on base two times total: a single by Randy Winn, who was subsequently thrown out stealing, and a single by Edgar Martinez. Seattle's in an ugly funk. They started ugly, giving up ten runs in their first two games against Anaheim, and now they've been shutout by Texas, but in between, they were losing regular baseball games, scoring some runs, but giving up a few more. They're not as bad as their record right now, but don't expect them to beat the Rangers by much for third place this year.
Randy Johnson broke out the Unit of old, throwing a complete game shutout, with eight strikeouts, against the Padres. San Diego managed just two singles and a walk against Johnson, who even chipped in with a double on the offensive side.
Barry Bonds vs. Eric Gagne. What a match-up that must have been. Bonds won the battle, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth for the Giants, but it wasn't enough, because The Goggled One was protecting a three-run lead. Gagne may actually be human this year. We have to be prepared for the possibility.