Stealing Signals: This Weekend In Baseball

Phillies up 2-1, but we have a series now: The Dodgers knocked Jamie Moyer around for five runs in the first inning on a series of base hits (Blake DeWitt’s bases-loaded triple being the big one) and hit batters — it got even chippier after that. Russell Martin was hit by pitches twice, and the benches cleared after Hiroki Kuroda buzzed one over Shane Victorino’s head.  Kuroda pitched steadily for the better part of seven innings; a needed tonic after Chad Billingsley stretched the bullpen in Philly on Friday, and the staff gave up eight runs in the Citizens Bank Band Box.  Now, Derek Lowe will line up against Joe Blanton tomorrow, and even on three days rest, he has a bit more advantage in a park more friendly to pitchers than the aforementioned band box.

Red Sox and Rays tied at one a piece: After Daisuke Matsuzaka essentially took it to Tampa in Game One to snatch homefield advantage on Friday, the Rays knocked Josh Beckett for eight runs on Saturday. Scott Kazmir wasn’t having a great day either, and so the score was kept clos, with the game eventually being sent into extra innings on a wild pitch by Tampa reliever Dan Wheeler, who otherwise threw 3.1 great innings of relief for the Rays.  Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, and Jonathan Papelbon did the same great work for the Red Sox, but every Boston fan felt a bit of dread when Mike Timlin walked out for the bottom of the 11th, and you could have written an Easterbrook-like “game over” in your mind after he walked both Dioner Navarro and Ben Zobrist. Replacing Navarro with pinch runner Fernando Perez was the right move, as Jason Bartlett grounded to third as Perez was stealing, keeping them out of the double play and forcing Timlin to walk Akinori IwamuraB.J. Upton hit a ball to shallow right that no one else but Perez would have tagged up adn scroed on — he has home in about nine long, quick strides.

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