Sat, Jun 16, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Nieuwenhuis stars as Mets sweep Rays

BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE:Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a home run and a two-run shot as Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson gave up a career-worst eight runs in just 3-2/3 innings

AP, ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

New York Mets catcher Josh Thole, left, heads for the throw as the Tampa Bay Rays’ Ben Zobrist scores on a double by Matt Joyce in their game in St Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

INTERLEAGUE PLAY

New York’s Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a leadoff homer and later connected for a two-run shot as the Mets completed a three-game sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 in interleague play on Thursday.

Nieuwenhuis began the afternoon with a home run off Jeremy Hellickson (4-3). He then homered again during a four-run fourth, helping the Mets take an 8-4 lead. It was his first career multihomer game.

The Mets responded well to being swept in a three-game series by the New York Yankees last weekend, outscoring Tampa Bay 29-9 in this series.

New York starter Johan Santana (4-3) allowed six hits over five-plus innings.

Hellickson gave up a career-worst eight runs in 3-2/3 innings. The reigning American League Rookie of the Year is 0-3 over his past five starts.

ORIOLES 12, PIRATES 6

In Baltimore, Maryland, Steve Pearce homered and drove in a career-high five runs to lead Baltimore past Pittsburgh, completing a three-game sweep.

Matt Wieters had four hits and five RBIs for the Orioles, who built a 10-0 lead en route to their fifth straight victory.

Much of the damage came against former Oriole Erik Bedard (4-7), who yielded seven runs in 3-1/3 innings.

Baltimore moved 11 games over .500 and within a half-game of the first-placed New York Yankees in the American League East.

The Orioles outscored Pittsburgh 27-13 in their fifth series sweep of the year, already matching their total from last season.

Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter (3-3) retired his first 12 batters, but ended up allowing five runs in six innings.

DIAMONDBACKS 11, RANGERS 3

In Arlington, Texas, Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra homered in Arizona’s win over American League West-leading Texas.

The Diamondbacks scored one run while losing the first two games of the series, but led for good in the finale after Kubel’s two-run homer in the second off Scott Feldman (0-6).

Parra’s three-run shot capped a five-run sixth.

Arizona starter Daniel Hudson (3-1) struck out a season-high seven without a walk in seven innings, only six days after the shortest start in his four major league seasons.

ASTROS 6, GIANTS 3

In San Francisco, J.D. Martinez hit his first career grand slam as Houston beat San Francisco to avoid a three-game sweep.

Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-4) went six innings, allowing six hits.

A day after teammate Matt Cain pitched a perfect game, Giants starter Barry Zito (5-4) lasted five innings, allowing five runs.

PHILLIES 6, TWINS 1

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Joe Blanton pitched his second complete game of the season to steer Philadelphia past Minnesota.

Blanton (6-6) struck out seven, while going the distance for the eighth time in his career, snapping an ugly string of five straight starts with at least five runs allowed.

Jim Thome homered for the second day in a row for the Phillies.

Twins starter Scott Diamond (5-2) gave up four runs in six innings.

CARDINALS 5, WHITE SOX 3

In St Louis, Missouri, David Freese homered, doubled and drove in three runs to lead St Louis past Chicago.

St Louis scored more than two runs for the first time in seven games.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook (5-6) retired his first 12 batters on 41 pitches.

Westbrook threw only 67 pitches in six innings. He had been 0-4 with a 7.55 ERA in his previous six outings. He was also 0-5 with a 5.87 ERA in his previous eight starts against the White Sox.

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