The Wrap: NL
With Cam up in Boston this weekend doing something like this, I'll be guiding you through the NL Wrap. Consider me your huckleberry.
NL Quote of the Night
"It made me feel good when they were cheering, I'll be honest."
-- Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge on the warm reception the home crowd gave him after blowing his first save since joining the Phillies last season.
Well it had to happen sooner or later. Brad Lidge finally blew a save. And received a standing ovation from the home crowd. After converting 47 consecutive regular-season saves, Lidge gave up four runs against the Padres on Saturday including a three-run homer to Kevin Kouzmanoff. Lidge hadn't blown a save since September 2007, a stretch that also included a World Series title. Meanwhile, San Diego's Heath Bell collected his major-league leading seventh save to seal the team's victory. With the win, the Padres remain tied for first place in the NL West with Los Angeles at 9-3, good for the second best record in the majors behind Florida's 10-1 start.
The Nationals choked away a five-run lead as Florida's Jeremy Hermida hit a two-run home run to tie the game in the ninth and a three-run homer to win the game in the 11th inning. Adding injury to insult, Washington also lost back up outfielder Roger Bernadina who broke his ankle while making a catch at the wall. The worst part: Bernadina wasn't even supposed to play Saturday. Elijah Dukes was fined and benched for the game because he showed up late to the ballpark. Why did he show up late? He was doing community outreach work. Even when Elijah Dukes's heart is in the right place there are ramifications.
Perhaps it really is time to break up the Pirates as another pitcher has a stellar outing. Ian Snell gives up just four hits over seven scoreless innings to lower the team's major-league leading ERA down to 2.63. Providing the offense was right fielder Craig Monroe who hit two three-run homers and drove in six runs as Pittsburgh teed off against three Atlanta pitchers.
With Milwaukee's Yovani Gallarado pitching as well as he was, New York ace Johan Santana didn't have much room for error and he didn't need it. Santana struck out seven over a scoreless seven innings then turned it over to his bullpen that allowed just one hit in the final two innings. Gallardo was in step with Santana, pitching six scoreless innings but had to watch from the dugout as the one walk Brewers reliever Carlos Villanueva gave up eventually came around to score in the seventh inning.
Aramis Ramirez hit a game-winning, two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning to push the Cubs past the Cardinals. St. Louis's Kyle Lohse followed up last week's stellar complete game shutout with a more pedestrian line of four runs over five innings but failed to factor into the decision.
Manny Ramirez finally hit his first home run of the season Saturday and quickly followed with his second. Ramirez hit solo shots in consecutive at-bats. Of course Manny being Manny, this may lead to a torrid stretch where he hits five home runs in three days. Not to be out-done, fellow Dodger Andre Ethier also hit two runs and drove in a total of four runs. The offensive explosion allowed Los Angeles pitcher Chad Billingsley to pick up his third win of the season.
Giants fans can breathe a sigh of relief as stud pitcher Tim Lincecum shows the same form that won him last year's Cy Young by he tying a career-high for strikeouts, sending away 13 Diamondbacks. Unfortunately for Giants fans, none of it mattered as Doug Davis handcuffed San Francisco to earn the win. Davis scattered eight hits over eight innings and struck out six to give the Diamondbacks just their fourth win of the season. Arizona snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak by scoring their two runs off of San Francisco closer Brian Wilson.
Houston's Wandy Rodriguez strikes out a personal best 10 and the Astros knock around Reds ace Aaron Harang for the team's third win in four games. Geoff Blum did the heavy lifting for Houston, tallying three RBI while going 3 for 4.
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