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Full Count for May 4 2006: Evil Empire is back in 1st

1. A-Rod: clutch?: Alex Rodriguez has taken many shots over his career about not being able to come through in clutch situations. This year, he is only hitting .242 with runners in scoring position. But last night, he won the game for the Yankees with a 10th inning RBI single. The Devil Rays chose to pitch to the slugger with runners on second and third and walk Hideki Matsui, but their plan backfired. The hit broke A-Rod’s 0-12 slump, and the win sent the Yankees to first place for the first time this season.

2. Showing his age: Greg Maddux has really had a spectacular season so far. At age 40, he started the year out 5-0, his best-ever start to a season. But he came back down to Earth on Wednesday, as he lost to Arizona. Maddux’s career record versus the D’Backs dropped to 1-9, his only losing record against any NL team. He was ripped for 5 runs and 10 hits in only 5 innings pitched in his worst performance of the season. Arizona’s Chad Tracy did most of the damage, with a homer and 4 RBIs. Miguel Bautista picked up the win, and surprising Jose Valverde achieved his 8th save of the year. The D’Backs are a game back of the Rockies for the NL West lead.

3. A week to remember: Only three games into this week, Travis Hafner has already put up unbelievable numbers. His homerun and 4 RBIs in the Indians rout of the A’s marked Hafner’s third straight game with these totals. So, in his last three games, he has 3 homers and 12 RBIs. The entire Indians lineup did well in a 14-3 win on Wednesday. Up 5-3 entering the 8th inning, the Indians ruined the A’s bullpen for 9 runs. In fact, no Oakland pitcher on the night allowed less than two earned runs. Indians starter Paul Byrd turned out one of his first decent performances of the year, with 3 allowed through 7. Cleveland is still 5 games back of the White Sox in the AL Central.

4. Back to 2003: Jason Schmidt has struggled ever since his magnificent 2003 and 2004 campaigns. Last night, he took the first step to getting back on track, with a shutout against the Brewers. He allowed only 5 hits and did not walk a batter on the night. This was Schmidt’s first shutout since August 2004. In other news, Barry Bonds failed to homer, going 0-4 on the night. He remained at 712 for the season. The Giants (14-13) are right in the middle of the packed NL West division, in which every team has from 12 to 16 wins.

5. Staying in Miami?: The Marlins, who have the lowest attendance and payroll in baseball, have talked about moving to a different city this year. San Antonio would certainly be a possibility. An amendment was approved by the Florida Senate that could give the team a new stadium. This is good news for a team that has the third lowest record in baseball and is in last place.

By Vin

Vin is a Philly boy who shouldn't be invited into your house because he'll judge you on your book and music collection. He owns Dawkins, Utley, Iverson, and Lindros jerseys, which is all you really need to know about him. He can be reached at [email protected].

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