The Wrap: AL
AL Quote of the Night
"If you walk Morneau and pitch to him you're going to get your feelings hurt."
-- Minnesota's Denard Span about teammate Jason Kubel who completed the cycle with a game-changing grand slam.
Jason Kubel became the third major leaguer this season to hit for the cycle and did so in dramatic fashion. Kubel, a homer shy of the cycle, blasted an eighth-inning grand slam off of Los Angeles reliever Jason Bulger. Not only did the slam put Kubel in the history books, it also completed Minnesota's five-run rally as the Twins scored seven runs in the inning to edge past the Angels. In addition to being the third cycle of this young 2009 season, Kubel's is the third one this week. Ian Kinsler went an astonishing 6 for 6 for his cycle against the Orioles on Wednesday. Los Angeles' Orlando Hudson became the first Dodger to hit for the cycle at Dodgers Stadium and did it Monday in the team's home opener, no less.
This game displayed the difference between good teams and bad teams. A good team protects an eight-run lead, a bad team manages to cough it up even with its ace on the mound. The Orioles were a bad team on Friday. Nick Markakis staked the O's to an 8-0 lead in the second inning thanks to the second grand slam of his career. Baltimore tagged Boston starter Brad Penny for all eight and chased him after three innings. The lead wouldn't last as Boston chipped away in the bottom half of the inning, getting four back off of Jeremy Guthrie. For the second straight game, defensive miscues cost the Orioles as the Red Sox scored three unearned runs. Over their past two games, Baltimore has given up a combined 29 runs, 10 of them unearned.
Owners of the American League's best record (8-3), the Seattle Mariners get it done without an impressive offense like those in Toronto or Texas but with the majors' third-best team ERA. Seattle sits behind Pittsburgh (2.90) and Florida (2.97) with a 3.01 ERA. The good pitching performances continued Friday as staff ace Felix Hernandez turned in a quality start, giving up three runs in six innings for his second win of the season.
Tampa Bay Rays 6, Chicago White Sox 5
Ben Zobrist had a pinch-hit grand slam and Carlos Pena hit his fifth home run in six games as Tampa Bay rallied past Chicago. Zobrist's sixth-inning grand slam quelled a White Sox charge after Rays starter James Shields gave up three runs in the top half.
Kansas City Royals 13, Texas Rangers 3
We know the ball carries in Texas but when even the light-hitting Royals can hang 13 on the scoreboard, you know things have gotten ridiculous. Kansas City sports the AL's worst team batting average (.245) but managed to churn out 19 hits off of four different Rangers pitchers. Leading the onslaught was third baseman Mark Teahen who went 5 for 6 with nine total bases and designated hitter Mike Jacobs who drove in a game-high four runs.
Oakland Athletics 8, Toronto Blue Jays 5
Matt Holliday hit a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning as Oakland opened its series in Toronto with a win. Marco Scutaro and Aaron Hill each hit their fourth home run of the season in a losing effort. Neither starting pitcher made it past the fourth inning as Toronto's David Purcey went 3 2/3 innings while Josh Outman lasted exactly four for Oakland.
It took them a day to get used to their new digs but the Yankees got their first win in their new home. New York used five solo runs - including Derek Jeter's tie-breaking shot in the eighth inning - to push past Cleveland on Friday. Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain continues to scuffle this year, giving up five runs in less than five innings of work to get a no-decision.
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