|Astros Michael Bourn grimaces after he’s called out at first in the first against Atlanta. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)|
Rockies top Reds
Contreras goes down but Colorado wins 7th straight
The Colorado Rockies keep losing players and winning games.
Starting pitcher Jose Contreras came out in the third inning with a strained quadriceps yesterday, his second start for injured Aaron Cook.
No matter, the bullpen and a makeshift lineup that was missing its top two sluggers led the Rockies to their seventh straight win, 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.
“Got to keep the train going,’’ Eric Young Jr. said.
It’s chugging along at full steam these days.
The NL wild-card leaders increased their cushion to 4 1/2 games over idle San Francisco and crept within two games of first-place Los Angeles in the NL West. The Dodgers had the day off.
“We are playing great baseball,’’ Jason Giambi said. “I’m excited that we are doing the little things, moving runners, getting big hits when we need it and getting great pitching.’’
All this despite losing pivotal players.
With Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Stewart sitting out a third straight game with back stiffness, the team again had to rely on a patchwork lineup.
With their top two sluggers out, the Rockies went with Clint Barmes at shortstop, Garrett Atkins at third and Young at second. The team even gave first baseman Todd Helton the day off, starting Giambi instead.
“It speaks volumes as to the depth and strength of this organization,’’ said manager Jim Tracy, whose team is 63-32 since he took over.
Young was just trying to jump-start a listless offense when he put down a two-out bunt in the third inning.
His bunt, though, slipped through the fingers of pitcher Kip Wells as he tried to field it, and the speedy Young easily beat it out.
Seth Smith had an RBI single, Giambi laced a two-run double to deep center and Atkins added a two-run homer.
Angels 3, Mariners 0 - John Lackey pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game of the season, Torii Hunter broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer, and host Los Angeles beat Seattle to move a season-best 29 games over .500.
Lackey (10-7) struck out seven and walked one to help the Angels increase their AL West lead to five games over idle Texas. The righthander has allowed one earned run in 26 innings over his last three starts.
Royals 7, Tigers 4 - Alex Gordon and Alberto Callaspo homered, leading last-place Kansas City past visiting Detroit for a surprising three-game sweep of the AL Central leaders.
Zach Miner (6-5) gave up three runs and five hits in relief for the Tigers, who rolled into town Tuesday on a six-game winning streak, fresh off a three-game sweep at Tampa Bay.
Blue Jays 3, Twins 2 - Jose Bautista hit a solo homer, Brett Cecil won his final start of the season and host Toronto beat Minnesota.
Minnesota has not won consecutive games since a three-game winning streak from Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
Nationals 8, Phillies 7 - Ian Desmond homered and drove in four runs in his major league debut and Livan Hernandez pitched into the eighth inning, leading host Washington over Philadelphia.
Marlins 13, Mets 4 - Nick Johnson drove in four runs and visiting Florida beat listless New York to gain ground on the NL East-leading Phillies.
Braves 9, Astros 7 - Garret Anderson drove in three runs, Nate McLouth homered and Atlanta broke out of its offensive slump with a victory in Houston.