Around the horn with baseball

Published: Sunday, May 24 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria doubles during second inning baseball action in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2009 as he drove in one run against the Florida Marlins. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

J Pat Carter, AP

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"If you weren't around to see the 1962 Mets, here's a reminder."

—Dodgers announcer Vin Scully

Describing the play on Monday night when the Dodgers were playing the Mets, who made five errors that night. The reference, of course, is to the team that still holds the record with 120 losses.

131Runs batted in for Rays third baseman Evan Longoria in his first 162 games in the big leagues. It's a total that only Ryan Braun (134) and Albert Pujols (133) have beaten among active players.

Perfect prospect

Cleveland Indians prospect Jeanmar Gomez had been nearly perfect since being promoted to Double-A Akron.

On Thursday, he was.

Gomez pitched the first perfect game in franchise history, shutting down Trenton 3-0 in the Eastern League.

With his pitches breaking in every direction, the 21-year-old righty retired all 27 batters without much trouble and struck out eight. He is 4-0 with an 0.31 ERA since moving up from Class A earlier this season.

"It was a great experience," Gomez said through interpreter and pitching coach Ruben Niebla. "The ball hit by the last batter, I didn't see until I turned around and he had it in his glove. I've never experience this before. It's beautiful."

Left fielder Matt McBride made a diving catch on Kevin Smith's liner leading off the ninth inning.

"I was going to dive no matter what, even if it was 20 feet away," McBride said.

Missing Manny

How much difference can one bat make in a lineup?

Well, before Manny Ramirez was suspended, Andre Ethier was batting .317 with a .996 OPS. Since then, he's hitting .125 with a .319 OPS and 14 strikeouts in 11 games.

Coincidence? You make the call.

Birthday suit

There's no gentle way to say this. Free-spirited Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff likes to take his clothes off.

"I like shock value," he explained. "I like messing with people. If I don't feel like doing an interview that day, I'll just get buck naked and most (reporters) won't come up to me."

—Combined wire reports


Despite changing the traditional separation of the American and National Leagues, interleague play's biggest success is pitting geographical rivals (Cubs-White Sox, Mets-Yankees, Dodgers-Angels, Cardinals-Royals) against each other.

But that's not how the first game was on June 12, 1997. Interleague play started with the AL's Texas Rangers hosting the NL's San Francisco Giants — not exactly natural rivals — in that first match-up.

The first five years of interleague play was limited to playing teams in a corresponding division (AL East vs. NL East, etc.). By 2002, MLB had worked out the kinks, creating a rotation among the different divisions. They also played all interleague games before the All-Star game.

The best interleague team: The New York Yankees at 123-87 have the best winning percentage (.586); the worst: Pittsburgh Pirates (.380).

Overall, the American League has had the better record in the last five seasons and has won eight of the 12 interleague seasons.

Source: mlb.com

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