News from the Tennessee Valley Sports
FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2007

Jones, Hudson lead Braves to victory
Former Auburn star helps Atlanta snap 3-game losing streak

ATLANTA (AP) — Andruw Jones homered and drove in three runs to back seven strong innings by former Auburn star Tim Hudson, and the Atlanta Braves ended a three-game skid with a 10-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

Matt Diaz, whose solo homer in the second made it 3-0, finished 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs. The Braves have won 13 of 20 despite a three-game sweep by Cincinnati this week.

St. Louis, which scored its only run on David Eckstein’s sacrifice fly in the sixth, has lost four of seven since the All-Star break.

Hudson (10-5) beat the Cardinals for the time in his career, but this start marked the first time he was dominant.

Cubs 9, Giants 8: The Cubs earned their 18th victory in the last 23 games and sixth in seven since the All-Star break, moving six games over .500 (50-44) for the first time since June 11, 2005, when they were 33-27.

Brewers 10, Diamondbacks 1: Yovani Gallardo pitched six shutout innings and Tony Graffanino homered to help the Brewers, who scored four times in the sixth inning to break it open.

Gallardo (2-1) gave up three hits, walked two and struck out four. He started in place of Brewers ace Ben Sheets, who was put on the disabled list Monday with a sprained right middle finger.

Reds 7, Marlins 5: Ryan Freel hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds won their fourth game in a row Thursday by rallying past the Florida Marlins.

The Reds blew an early 3-0 lead and trailed 5-3 before scoring four runs in the eighth against Armando Benitez (2-5). Freel capped the comeback with his third home run, giving him 15 RBIs this season.

Nationals 5, Rockies 4: D’Angelo Jimenez’s first hit in 20 at-bats as a pinch hitter this season was a game-ending RBI single with one out in the 10th inning Thursday night, giving the Washington Nationals a 5-4 comeback victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Jimenez lined a 2-0 pitch up the middle off LaTroy Hawkins (1-5), ran to first base, then was mobbed by teammates who sprinted out of the dugout to celebrate.

Austin Kearns led off the bottom of the 10th with a single to right, advanced to second on a sacrifice and took third on passed ball charged to Yorvit Torrealba. That’s when Jimenez delivered, the last position player the Nationals had on the bench.

Before that at-bat, Jimenez was 1-for-25 overall in 2007. He helped make a winner of Jon Rauch (4-2), who pitched a perfect 10th.

Tigers 4, Twins 3: Brandon Inge’s 10th-inning double off Joe Nathan drove in Timo Perez, pushing the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep of the defending AL Central champions.

Placido Polanco and Gary Sheffield hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the seventh inning for the Tigers, who have baseball’s best record. Todd Jones recorded his 26th save in 30 tries to extend Detroit’s lead in the division over third-place Minnesota to nine games.

Jason Kubel homered for the Twins, who got a solid start from Scott Baker and another dominant relief appearance by setup man Pat Neshek — but nothing to show for them. Center fielder Torii Hunter (hamstring) and right fielder Michael Cuddyer (thumb) were held out of the lineup, which sure didn’t help.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2: Vernon Wells’ tapper rolled to a stop for an infield hit, and the Blue Jays rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to end the Yankees’ five-game winning streak.

Toronto trailed 2-0 when Matt Stairs led off the inning with a long fly for a double. That was a change for the Blue Jays — by the fourth inning, all but two of their batters had grounded out against Chien-Ming Wang’s sinker.

Wang (10-5) jammed Wells and the powerful No. 3 hitter managed just a slow tapper up the third-base line. But Wang had no play, and Troy Glaus followed with a fly to the warning track in center, allowing Stairs and Wells to tag up. Frank Thomas drove in a run with a one-hop groundout that deflected off Wang’s leg, making it 2-1.

Aaron Hill was next and he hit a tying triple that center fielder Melky Cabrera couldn’t cut off. Gregg Zaun completed the comeback with an RBI single.

Angels 3, Devil Rays 0: Kelvim Escobar won his career-best fifth consecutive decision and Garret Anderson drove in two runs to help the AL West Division-leading Angels avoid a three-game sweep.

Escobar (11-3) gave up nine hits over 7 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked three, and hasn’t lost in eight starts since May 31.

Anderson hit a two-run single in the sixth off Andy Sonnanstine (1-5) to put the Angels ahead 3-0. Vladimir Guerrero, who singled earlier in the inning, scored on Anderson’s hit for his 1,000th career run.

Scot Shields retired his only batter in the eighth with a runner on second before Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 27 opportunities.

Indians 7, Rangers 5: C.C. Sabathia became the first 13-game winner in the major leagues despite another shaky start, getting help from Grady Sizemore’s long tiebreaking home run in Cleveland’s 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Sabathia (13-4), who allowed 13 runs in 11 innings while losing his two previous July starts, squandered a 4-0 lead against the Rangers before Sizemore led off the fifth with a 419-foot homer to right-center field that put Cleveland ahead 5-4.

Two days before his 27th birthday, Sabathia allowed four runs and nine hits over six innings .

with two strikeouts and a walk. The three-time All-Star left-hander had a throwing error that led to an unearned run.

Joe Borowski gave up Mark Teixeira’s RBI single in the ninth before picking up his 27th save in 30 chances.

Kameron Loe (5-8) allowed six runs and six hits over six innings. He lost his second straight start since a career-best four-game winning streak.

After Sizemore hit his 16th homer, Casey Blake got a triple when his sinking liner got past diving left fielder Brad Wilkerson. Blake came home on a strange 4-6-3 RBI groundout by Ryan Garko that initially appeared to be an inning-ending double play.

Ramon Vazquez, playing shortstop with Michael Young away to attend a family funeral, was to the side of the base when he caught the relay from Jerry Hairston and made the throw to get Garko out at first. The runner at second was safe, allowing Blake to score.

An inning before his homer, Sizemore made a nice recovery in center field to catch Travis Metcalf’s wind-blown flyball against the wall. The Rangers had the bases loaded when Sizemore took a step in, then had to race back to make the catch. Only one run scored, and Kenny Lofton followed by grounding into a double play.

The Indians loaded the bases in the second before Trot Nixon’s two-run double. Ben Francisco had a sacrifice fly before Sizemore’s two-out RBI single made it 4-0.

Texas got three runs back in the bottom of the second — all after two outs. Wilkerson had a double before Gerald Laird’s two-run homer, his sixth of the season. Vazquez hit the next pitch into the right-center gap for a double and came home on Metcalf’s bunt single when Sabathia threw the ball wide of first base.

Wilkerson had a leadoff walk in the fourth before consecutive bunt singles by Laird and Vazquez, who beat out the throw on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Vazquez finished 3-for-4.

Notes:@ Lofton, the 40-year-old center fielder, made a running over-the-shoulder basket catch near the wall on Jhonny Peralta’s flyball to end the seventh. ... Garko extended a 13-game hitting streak with a leadoff ground-rule double in the eighth. He scored when Francisco singled. ... C Laird leads the AL with nine bunt singles. ... The last batter Sabathia faced was No. 9 hitter Metcalf, who flew out to end a 13-pitch at-bat with two men on for the final out in the sixth.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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