BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

A Prince becoming king


Alex Rodriguez is not the only player leaving the yard at an alarming rate. Over in the National League, Prince Fielder leads all hitters with 37 home runs. He has homered in four of his last five games and is now only two behind A-Rod for most in the majors.

With 37 homers in the Brewers' 119 games, Fielder is on pace for 50, which would break the team record of 45 held by Gorman Thomas (1979) and Richie Sexson (2001 and '03). A 50-home run season would also set a little history, with Prince joining his father Cecil as the first father-son combo to each have a 50-homer season (Cecil had 51 in 1990). However, unlike his dad's 1990 Tigers, Prince finds himself in the middle of a pennant race, trying to get the Brewers to the postseason for the first time since 1982.

Did anyone say MVP? By the way ... he is only 23 years old.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
  1990 2007 (through Aug. 14)
Fielder Cecil Prince
Home runs 51 37
RBIs 132 89
Batting average .277 .288

FORWARD THINKING: WEDNESDAY
Erik Bedard • Orioles at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. ET Erik Bedard (12-4, 3.11) gets the call for the O's in the rubber game. Bedard has been money on the road, going 8-1 with a 3.73 ERA. The pinstripes will send Phil Hughes (2-1, 4.64) to the mound. The rookie pitched well in his last start, allowing just one run on four hits over six innings against the Indians, to pick up his first win since returning from the DL.

• Giants at Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET: Now that the chase is history, San Francisco needs something to celebrate. How about playing spoiler? It won't be easy against Tim Hudson (13-5, 3.01), who is 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in the second half. As Hudson builds a Cy Young case, Russ Ortiz (2-2, 5.18) looks to rediscover the stuff that helped him win 36 games over two seasons (2004-05) with Atlanta.

Mark Buehrle • White Sox at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET: Neither team expected to be under .500 in August. When reality falls short of expectations, the dog days can be especially long -- so it's important to have attainable goals once the playoffs seem out of reach. Mark Buehrle (9-7, 3.34) shoots for his seventh straight season of 10 or more wins. Joe Blanton (9-8, 4.10) eyes his second victory since the All-Star break.

• Wednesday's complete list of probable starters

NEWS AND NOTES
Nomar Garciaparra • The Dodgers' postseason hopes took another hit Tuesday. Third baseman Nomar Garciaparra was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left calf muscle. Garciaparra said the injury has plagued him for more than a week. "We all have injuries and you deal with them. It wasn't an easy decision," said Garciaparra, who is on the DL for the ninth time in his career and third time in less than two seasons with the Dodgers.

• Pedro Martinez pitched three perfect innings in his second rehabilitation start before allowing three runs in the fourth. Martinez, who has been working his way back from right shoulder surgery in October, threw 60 pitches for the Mets' Gulf Coast League (rookie level) team and then another 20 fastballs in the bullpen. Martinez struggled through three innings Aug. 8 and was pulled before reaching his target pitch count, allowing five runs and six hits in a Class A start.

• Masumi Kuwata, the 39-year-old former Japanese star who finally reached his goal this season of pitching in the major leagues, was designated for assignment by the Pirates. The Bucs have 10 days to trade him, release him or send him to the minors outright. He has been offered a spot at Triple-A Indianapolis, but he may choose to retire.

• There was no 24th-hour reversal in the talks between the Yankees and the Padres. The Yankees withdrew Kei Igawa from trade waivers before Tuesday's 2 p.m. ET deadline, ending conversations between the teams about a deal involving the left-handed pitcher.

• The Tigers and first-round draft pick Rick Porcello reached agreement on a four-year contract worth $7.28 million. The 6-foot-5 right-hander from New Jersey pitched for the nation's top-ranked high school team and was among the most-touted prospects in the country. Represented by Scott Boras, Porcello was picked No. 27 overall in the June draft. Porcello fell in the draft due to signability concerns from small-market teams.

• Bluffton University baseball coach James Grandey returned to Atlanta -- the city where he was critically injured in a bus crash -- and got a chance to heal a little more Tuesday night. Grandey watched from the owner's box as the Braves faced the Giants. "It doesn't get any better than this," Grandey said. "This is baseball, a game we all love." Five of Grandey's players were killed when their bus plunged off a highway overpass in the early-morning hours of March 2. The driver and his wife were also killed. Grandey suffered a dislocated ankle and numerous broken bones in his face. He spent two weeks in an Atlanta hospital before returning home to Ohio.

REMEMBERING SCOOTER
Rizzuto had a positive impact on the game.
IN THE ZONE
Roy Halladay Roy Halladay pitched his major league-leading fifth complete game, allowing five hits in the Blue Jays' 4-1 win over the Angels. Halladay (14-5) won his third straight start and improved to 10-1 with a 3.36 ERA at home this season. He has thrown 29 complete games since 1998, second-most in the American League behind David Wells' 33.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo
Bobby Cox got tossed in the Braves' win over the Giants, passing John McGraw for the most ejections (132) in baseball history.
NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
GOOD
Magglio Ordonez Magglio Ordonez hit a three-run homer in Detroit's four-run 10th as the Tigers beat the Indians 6-2 to move one game ahead of Cleveland in the up-for-grabs AL Central. Ordonez finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs and increased his AL-leading batting average to .359.
BAD
Jeff Francis Jeff Francis took his first loss since June 8. The lefty lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on six hits while walking six, as the Rockies fell 8-0 to the Padres. The defeat ended the lefty's string of eight straight winning decisions -- a club record for a starter and one win shy of matching the overall franchise record held by Julian Tavarez. Francis fell to 4-9 lifetime against San Diego, including 2-5 at Petco Park.
UGLY
Byung-Hyun Kim The Marlins roughed up Byung-Hyun Kim in the Diamondbacks' 14-5 loss. Kim lasted only 17 pitches in his second start for the D-backs since they claimed him off waivers from Florida. He retired one batter and gave up four runs (three earned), hiking his ERA with Arizona to 23.62.
NORTH SIDE BLUES
Reds send Cubs to seventh loss in 10 games.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"God, it would be nice to have this guy 35 times a year going out there and giving you the effort he gives you every five days."
-- Nationals manager Manny Acta, praising Shawn Hill, after a 3-2 loss to the Phillies. Hill didn't allow a run over six innings in his first start since missing more than three months with a sprained right elbow.


 

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