The Wrap: AL
AL Quote of the Night
"A couple of guys were saying, 'Is it that easy?' It isn't, but he makes it look easy."
-- Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey on catcher Joe Mauer who needed to see only three pitches before hitting his first home run of the season.
Joe Mauer made his first appearance of the season for Minnesota after suffering lingering back pain and already appeared to be in midseason form. Mauer hit a solo home run on the first swing of his first at-bat of the season and finished 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI as the Twins collected their third straight victory. Minnesota took advantage of an ineffective Sidney Ponson who gave up all seven of the Twins runs over 4 1/3 innings to remain winless on the season.
As has become their way, the Orioles got out to an early lead, going up 2-0 on Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay in the first inning thanks to a Nick Markakis two-run homer, but failed to sustain the momentum. Halladay went into cruise control after the first inning before giving up two more runs in his final inning to go eight full and improve to 5-1 on the season and 19-4 all-time against the Orioles. Baltimore starter Mark Hendrickson allowed four runs over five innings before giving way to an equally shaky bullpen. Dennis Sarfate came on in relief and gave up two runs of his own before leaving the game after 1 2/3 innings as the middle finger on his pitching hand went numb.
The Yankees jumped out early, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first but had to rally back from down five runs over the final two innings to win their fourth in a row. Jorge Posada's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth completed the Yankees' comeback after the team saw the Angels score all nine of their runs in the sixth and seventh innings to take the lead.
Seattle got the final word in against Oakland as Jose Lopez battled Russ Springer for 14 pitches before driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Typically this season it's been bullpens letting down starting pitchers, in Seattle on Friday, it was the opposite. Mariners starter Carlos Silva gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings while the Athletics' Dana Eveland coughed up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings to turn the game into a battle of the bullpens. Lopez and Russell Branyan each had three RBI for the Mariners while the A's got three from Bobby Crosby and two RBI apiece from Matt Holliday and Kurt Suzuki.
A six-run fifth inning was all Tampa Bay needed to win its fourth straight game against Boston this season. For the second straight night, Evan Longoria hit a home run - this time a grand slam - and drove in four runs. For the year, Longoria is 10 for 22 with four home runs and 13 RBI against the Red Sox. Andy Sonnanstine got his first regular season win since last August, giving up two runs over 5 2/3 innings while Boston's Justin Masterson lost for the first time this year.
Carl Pavano earned his first win of the season, allowing just two runs over 7 1/3 innings and got staked to a six-run lead. The Indians tore apart Tigers starting pitcher Armando Galarraga, handing him his first loss of the season by chasing him after five innings and five runs. Detroit made it interesting late - scoring five runs in the eighth inning - but was unable to score the equalizer before falling Friday.
Jim Thome hit a three-run double in the sixth inning and Chicago manufactured another run in the seventh to overcome a three-run deficit and top the Texas Rangers. Mark Buehrle worked six innings and gave up three runs to remain perfect on the season at 4-0. Texas was again without slugger Josh Hamilton who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained muscle in his rib cage.
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