Atlanta East cushion is largest in a while
Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 5:32 pm
By: By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Troy Glaus didn’t let the rain bother him.
Neither did Tim Hudson.
Glaus stayed hot with a three-run homer, Hudson pitched six strong innings around a delay, and the streaking Atlanta Braves extended with lead in the NL East with a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
With the showers splattering off his helmet, Glaus homered in the first off Cole Hamels to give the Braves a quick lead they never relinquished on the way to their 17th win in the last 21 games, including seven in a row.
“It’s not easy. You’ve got to keep your focus,” Glaus said of hitting in the rain. “They wouldn’t have redone it if he had gotten me out. As long as we’re out there playing, you’ve got to play through it.”
Three pitches after the homer, umpires halted play and called for the tarp.
Hudson (6-1) pitched a 1-2-3 first, then returned after a one-hour, four-minute delay to allow only two runs in his fifth straight win.
After losing a potential win in his last start at Florida, when a rain delay prompted the Braves to lift him after four innings, Hudson was determined to keep going this time. He headed to an indoor mound to stay loose.
“I threw two innings off the inside mound, so I actually pitched eight innings and gave up two runs,” Hudson joked. “I don’t know if they’ll factor that into my numbers or not.”
Cole Hamels (5-4) didn’t return after surrendering Glaus’ homer and getting only two outs before the rains struck. It was the shortest start of his career.
“We lost Hamels. It wasn’t very good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Once he passed 40 minutes, he was done.”
The Braves moved to 11⁄2 games ahead of two-time reigning NL champion Philadelphia. They haven’t been in first this late in the season since 2005, the last of their record 14 straight division titles.
Reds 9, Cardinals 8
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Scott Rolen’s biggest day of the season helped beat his old team. Helped keep Johnny Cueto off the hook, too.
Rolen homered twice and doubled with four RBI in a homecoming that still provided sparks even though he was traded after the 2007 season in the Reds’ 9-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
“Good fans, good people,” Rolen said. “A little anxiety, a little anticipation. I’ll enjoy getting on the plane, too.”
Jonny Gomes’ RBI single and Drew Stubbs’ go-ahead sacrifice fly off Blake Hawksworth put the Reds ahead to stay in the seventh inning after Brendan Ryan’s two-run double put the Cardinals ahead 8-7 the inning before.
Joey Votto homered and had four hits, showing no rust from a six-game absence due to a sore neck, and helped the Reds rally after blowing a four-run lead to reclaim first place in the NL Central. The Cardinals won the opener of a three-game series Monday to tie for the lead.
“I wouldn’t use the word nerve-wracking, but I think this year we’ve proven to other people and proven to ourselves that no lead is safe,” Votto said. “We have to respect the opposition and play hard all the way through nine innings.”
Cueto, who had 37 strikeouts in 34 innings in May, didn’t strike out a single batter for the first time in his 72 career starts. He blew leads of 7-3 and 3-0, finally leaving after giving up a walk and three singles to start the sixth. He was charged with eight runs on 10 hits in five-plus innings.
“It was location,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was throwing the ball great. I mean, that’s a good hitting club over there.”
Pirates 3, Cubs 2
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The hometown kid’s first home run helped the Pirates do what they do best — beat the Chicago Cubs.
Pittsburgh-area native Neil Walker hit a two-run homer to the deepest part of the ballpark in left-center to put the Pirates ahead in the eighth and they beat the Cubs for the seventh time this season, 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Walker, the Pirates’ first-round draft choice in 2004 who went to the high school that won the Western Pennsylvania district championship Tuesday night, hit a 0-1 pitch from Ted Lilly (1-5) with Andrew McCutchen on and one out.
“This goes back to being 5 or 6 years old at Three Rivers Stadium, sitting in peanut heaven,” Walker said. “Getting drafted by the Pirates, this is just a Cinderella story. It’s incredible.”
The Pirates improved to 7-1 against the Cubs this season — they’re 15-30 against everyone else — and have won nine of their past 10 against Chicago overall.
Xavier Nady — one of several backups in the Cubs lineup — had four hits, including his third home run, but Chicago lost for the fourth time in five games.
Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones homered for the second consecutive day, Joel Hanrahan (2-1) pitched a perfect top of the eighth and Octavio Dotel a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
“It’s a great moment for Neil, a hometown kid hitting his first home run like that, putting us ahead in the eighth,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “We’re very excited for him. It’s something he’ll never forget.”