Cubs win sixth in a row, Rockies lose sixth
CHICAGO – Alfonso Soriano homered and drove in three runs to help Chicago earn its sixth straight win.The NL Central-leading Cubs improved to 25-8 at Wrigley Field this season and handed the Rockies their sixth straight loss.Ryan Dempster (7-2) struggled with his command and lasted just five innings, but managed to get the win. He walked four, hit a batter with a pitch and was charged with three runs and three hits.Carlos Marmol worked the ninth for his third save in four chances.Omar Quintanilla, Todd Helton and Scott Podsednik homered for the Rockies. Former Cub Glendon Rusch (1-3), making his first start since July 9, 2006, gave up nine hits and five runs in 4 2-3 innings.Reds 8, Braves 7CINCINNATI – Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 599th career homer Saturday, leaving him one shy of a seldom-reached mark, and Jay Bruce extended his amazing weeklong debut with a 10th-inning homer that lifted the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves.Bruce’s first big league homer off Manny Acosta (3-2) dealt another crushing road defeat to the Braves, who couldn’t hold a one-run lead heading into the ninth.Griffey was on deck when Bruce connected for the game-winning solo shot. The 21-year-old rookie rounded the bases, flipped his helmet into the air halfway to home, then got pummeled by teammates when he hopped on the plate.The Reds’ top prospect is 11-for-19 in his first five games in the majors, providing one big hit after another. He has a pair of three-hit games and a four-hit game.Francisco Cordero (2-0) pitched the 10th, sending the Braves to an excruciatingly familiar finish. Atlanta has lost its last 20 one-run games on the road since August, matching the second-longest such streak in major league history.Mets 3, Dodgers 2NEW YORK – Carlos Beltran hit a tying homer and Fernando Tatis singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning for the Mets.Mike Pelfrey tossed seven solid innings to keep New York close, making a strong case to stay in the majors. Stifled all afternoon by Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley, the Mets came back against Jonathan Broxton (2-2) in the eighth to win for the fourth time in five games following a 1-7 skid.Blake DeWitt hit an RBI single for the Dodgers, who dropped to 1-5 on their seven-game road trip with their seventh loss in nine games.Duaner Sanchez (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Billy Wagner struck out all three batters in the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances.Padres 5, Giants 1SAN FRANCISCO – Josh Banks pitched a six-hitter for his first career complete game and sent the Padres to their fifth win in six games.Banks had a shutout going into the ninth, but allowed Aaron Rowand’s RBI single.Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run single in San Diego’s four-run first as San Diego staked Banks (2-0) to a comfortable cushion, and added another RBI single in the seventh that scored his big brother, Edgar.The 25-year-old Banks was impressive in his first start of 2008, first for the Padres and second of his career. The right-hander got through six innings on an efficient 60 pitches and finished the day with 101, striking out five and not surrendering a walk.Pat Misch (0-2) allowed five runs – four earned – and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings for the Giants.Red Sox 6, Orioles 3BALTIMORE – Manny Ramirez became the 24th player to reach 500 career home runs, connecting in the seventh inning off Chad Bradford to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Saturday night.The 500-home run club has only two dozen members, but Ramirez also joined an even smaller fraternity. He is only the seventh player in baseball history with 500 homers, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 walks, 475 doubles and a .300 batting average. The others are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia also homered for the Red Sox, and Jacoby Ellsbury stole three bases in a second straight game. Ellsbury also tripled in the seventh off Lance Cormier (0-2) and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Ortiz before Bradford entered to face Ramirez.David Aardsma (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 16th save.Rays 2, White Sox 0ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Scott Kazmir won his fifth straight start, allowing three hits in seven innings in AL East-leading Tampa Bay’s win.The 2007 AL strikeout champion set a Rays record for wins in a month, improving to 5-1 since spending all of April on the disabled list with a left elbow strain.Cliff Floyd homered for the second straight game and B.J. Upton drove in another run off Javier Vazquez (5-4) with an RBI grounder, helping the surprising Rays go 12 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history at a league-best 34-22.Al Reyes and J.P. Howell pitched the eighth for Tampa Bay. Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller and Grant Balfour each got an out in the ninth to finish the Rays’ seventh shutout. Balfour earned his first career save, getting Brian Anderson to fly to center and strand the tying runs.Royals 4, Indians 2KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David DeJesus homered and Kyle Davies pitched five strong innings just hours after being called up from Triple-A to help the Royals end a 12-game slide.Davies (1-0) gave up one run on five hits and became Kansas City’s first winning pitcher since Zack Greinke on May 18. The Royals, who started the game with the fewest runs, sacrifice flies, RBIs and walks in the major leagues, beat reigning Cy Young winner C. C. Sabathia (3-7) to end what manager Trey Hillman had been calling “this miserable streak.”The Royals’ losing streak, begun with a no-hitter by Boston’s Jon Lester, was the longest in the majors since Kansas City and Pittsburgh had 13-game slides in 2006. While going almost two weeks without a win, KC had allowed three grand slams, coughed up a five-run lead in the ninth inning of one game and scored three or fewer runs in nine others.Rangers 8, Athletics 4ARLINGTON, Texas – Josh Hamilton homered and drove in three runs and the Rangers the month of May 19-10, the first time they’ve won 19 games in a month since June 1983.The Rangers (29-28) have won 22 of 34 games since starting the season 7-16, and crawled over the break-even mark for the first time since they were 5-4.Hamilton pushed his RBI total to major league-leading 61 with a two-run homer in the fifth. Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Frank Catalanotto each added three hits for the Rangers, who battered Joe Blanton and the A’s for 14 total hits.Sidney Ponson (4-1) allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings for Texas, which finished the month 19-10 – the first time the team has won 19 games in a month since June 1983.Blanton (3-7) allowed a season-high six runs in six innings, giving up 10 hits and a walk.Mariners 5, Tigers 0SEATTLE – Felix Hernandez allowed just two hits in seven innings, and Kenji Johjima likely scored the most unusual run of his career with a steal of home in the Mariners’ win.The big-budget Tigers have been shut out a major league-leading nine times, three times their total from last year.Hernandez (3-5) struck out seven and snapped his own five-game losing streak. His last win came six weeks ago against Oakland.Justin Verlander (2-8) went seven innings, giving up eight hits and striking out just one. He dropped to 5-1 in his career against Seattle.
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