Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Soriano returns to D.C.

Although he only played one year in the nation's capital, there's no doubt that Alfonso Soriano made a lasting impression... 46 home runs, 41 stolen bases, 41 doubles, 119 runs, 95 RBI's??? Those are AMAZING numbers... only a select few have hit 40 homers and stolen 40 bases in a single season. Soriano got off to a slow start for his new club, the Chicago Cubs, but lately he has gotten hot. His 11 home runs in the month of June helped him to be selected again the the All Star team and be named NL player of the month for June. Soriano helped stake Cubs starter Ted Lilly to a 7-0 lead at RFK Stadium, going 2-for-5 with an RBI, run and a stolen base as the Cubs cruised to a 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. Lilly pitched a very strong seven innings, allowing only a run and three hits, while walking three and striking out five to pick up his 7th win of the year. The suddenly hot Cubs have now won nine of their last ten games, while the Nats have suddenly gone ice cold, losing 12 of their past 16 games. Carlos Zambrano goes for the Cubs tonight while Tim Redding makes his first start for the Nats.

Locally, the Dodgers got the "Lowe-down" again as they took on the Atlanta Braves at Chavez Ravine... For five innings, the game was a great pitching duel between Dodgers' Derek Lowe and Braves ace John Smoltz... Lowe gave up only a run in five effective innings, scattering eight hits while striking out five. Two of those hits came to lead off the top of the sixth inning and with that Lowe was replaced by Joe Beimal, who made some great pitches to get the Dodgers out of the jam. Smoltz was similarly effective, only allowing a run on six hits through the first five frames... Smoltz was cruising along in the sixth inning, getting James Loney to strike out for what should have been the final out of the inning. The pitch however was well out of the strike zone, and got past catcher Brian McCann for a wild pitch. Loney reached base, and then up stepped Matt Kemp. Kemp powered a 1-2 pitch deep into the Dodger bullpen in left field to give the Blue Crew a 3-1 lead. From there, the Dodgers cruised as they put up five more runs off the Braves bullpen in the 7th inning... Catcher Russell Martin celebrated his first All-Star Game selection, leading the Dodgers with four hits. He also stole his 16th base of the season as the Dodgers won 7-2. With the victory, the Dodgers remain a game back of the San Diego Padres in the National League West race...

Lastly, I want to give congratulations to the Rocket, Roger Clemens... he pitched a brilliant eight innings, giving up only two hits and a run, while walking one and striking out four in a 5-1 Yankees win over the Minnesota Twins. The victory was the 350th of Clemens' brilliant career... Even with the victory, the Yankees remain mired in third place, 11 games back of the American League East division leading Boston Red Sox. Kason Gabbard pitched an effective 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs for the Sox in a 7-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. With the win, the Red Sox remained 10 1/2 games in front of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East.


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