Rocco Baldelli returned to the Tampa Bay Rays with a bang. In his first at-bat since re-joining the team as a September call-up, Baldelli homered on his first swing against Baltimore Orioles reliever Mike Gonzalez (he was pinch-hitting). Unfortunately for the Rays, the homerun only cut the Orioles lead to 8-7 and the O’s bullpen held on for the win. The Rays homered four times (Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, and Baldelli) but that was not enough.
The NY Yankees also lost, 7-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays so they remain 2.5 games up on the Rays. Yankees starter Phil Hughes struggled, as he allowed six runs on seven hits and three homeruns in six innings. Dewayne Wise and Aaron Hill at the top of the Blue Jays order went 5-for-9 with three runs scored and three RBIs.
The Boston Red Sox were swept by the visiting Chicago White Sox as they lost game three 7-5. The Red Sox and White Sox battled back-and-forth in the late innings, with the White Sox coming back to score four runs in the top of the 9th inning off Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon (and two other relievers). In his second inning of work, Papelbon walked Alex Rios with one out. He then allowed an RBI double to Carlos Quentin and an RBI single to Ramon Castro to tie the game at 5-5.
Papelbon then walked Alexei Ramirez and in came Dustin Richardson, who walked Mark Teahen to load the bases. Robert Manuel came in and walked the first two hitters he faced with two outs to give the White Sox the 7-5 lead. Matt Thornton closed out the game with a perfect 9th inning, including two strikeouts.
On the ESPN Sunday Night game of the week, the SF Giants and LA Dodgers battled. Jonathon Sanchez of the Giants was on as he pitched seven shutout innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out nine. Sergio Romo and closer Brian Wilson pitched two perfect innings to close out the victory (they combined to strike out four). Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers was the hard-luck loser as he allowed just one run until Juan Uribe hit a two-run homerun off him in the 7th inning to give the Giants a 3-0 win.
As other teams in the National League West are surging forward, the San Diego Padres are falling flat. The Padres lost their 10th game in a row and now hold just a one-game lead over the Giants and a 4.5 game lead over the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies swept the Padres this weekend as they won the final game of the series 4-2. Jorge De La Rosa pitched six solid innings for the Rockies as he allowed two runs (a Miguel Tejada two-run homerun in the 6th inning) on six hits. Clayton Richard of the Padres left the game after six innings with the game tied at 2-2 as he allowed two runs (one earned) on nine hits. The Rockies got to the Padres bullpen (one of MLB’s best which has begun to struggle) as Melvin Mora collected a two-run single in the top of the 7th inning to give the Rockies the 4-2 win. Ryan Spilborghs and Carlos Gonzalez combined to go 5-for-9 with two runs scored for the Rockies. Tejada and Chris Denorfia collected five of the Padres seven hits.
The NY Mets battered the Chicago Cubs 18-5 as they collected 21 hits and had three five-run scoring innings. Mets starter Jon Niese allowed five runs in six innings but benefited from the offensive outburst. Niese helped his own cause by going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Rookie Ike Davis went 4-for-6 with three runs scored and three RBIs with a homerun and rookie Ruben Tejada hit his first big league homerun in the 7th inning (while going 2-for-4 with five RBIs).