It's Yorvit Torrealba's time of year
Rockies catcher continues to drive in runs in playoffs
Yorvit Torrealba hadn't hit a home run since May 6, but at least some of his fellow Rockies weren't surprised when the catcher hit a hanging curve over the left-field fence to extend their lead in the fourth inning of Colorado's Game 2 win against the Phillies.
In fact, Dexter Fowler claims Eric Young Jr. called the two-run shot that helped Colorado tie the NL Division Series at one game apiece.
"E.Y. said he's going to hit a home run," Fowler told the Denver Post. "He just had a feeling."
Torrealba has thrived in postseason play with 10 RBIs in 12 career games.
Ethier happy to watch game-winning hits, too: Andre Ethier has made a habit of delivering game-ending hits this year for the Dodgers, so he knew what to do when veteran Mark Loretta delivered a single to left to complete the Dodgers' improbable ninth-inning comeback in Game 2 of their series with the Cardinals on Thursday night.
"It feels good when you're the one to do it," Ethier, who had a Major League-leading six walk-off hits, told the Los Angeles Times, "but I had as much fun right there, running out there, trying to be the one to tackle Loretta."
Loretta's single was only the fourth game-ending hit in Los Angeles Dodgers playoff history and the first since Kirk Gibson's homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, so he knew whose opinion counts perhaps most when it comes to significant Dodger moments.
"What did Vin Scully say about it? I'll have to ask him," Loretta told the Los Angeles Times.
Cabrera gets high marks all around: Orlando Cabrera's skill, confidence and savvy haven't gone unnoticed by his Twins teammates since the July 31 trade that brought the veteran shortstop over from the A's.
"He's been huge," Mauer told MLB.com. "I think he brings a lot of confidence to our team. We have definitely talented guys, but I think he's come here with confidence that [says], 'Hey, we're going to do this.' And people feed off of that. Not just his defense and his bat, but his leadership in the clubhouse with some of our younger guys."
Twins general manager Bill Smith sounds like someone who's glad he made the trade.
"Well, Orlando, when we got him, one of the things he brought was incredible energy," Smith said. "He's brought some leadership; he's had some huge hits; he's a winner."
Nothing normal about Lee's playoff debut: Cliff Lee had a Cy Young but no postseason experience before his Game 1 start against the Rockies, but the Phillies' left-hander made the right adjustments and pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits and no walks in the 5-1 win.
"I knew there was going to be a little bit more adrenaline," Lee told the Philadelphia Daily News, "but for the most part, I tried to treat it like a normal game."
No explosions from Pujols with pair of walks: The Dodgers demonstrated their respect for Albert Pujols by intentionally walking the Cardinals slugger twice in Game 1.
"Albert is very special," Dodgers manager Joe Torre told MLB.com. "I mean, you see him every single day. He just scares me. I ... He's lethal and he's so calm about it, too."
Giambi pep talk provides grist for young Rockies: With 43 games of postseason experience, Jason Giambi figured it was a good time to give the younger Rockies a little pep talk following their Game 1 loss to the Phillies.
"Jason basically huddled up all the kids that were involved yesterday -- guys that had never been in the postseason -- and Jason's message to them was, 'OK, now you've been to the postseason, so let's get back to being who you are,'" manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post.
Giambi spent most of his time during batting practice on Thursday talking with Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler. Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with a run scored in Game 2. Fowler collected two sacrifice flies. His second one in the seventh inning proved to be the winning run as the Rockies evened the series at one game apiece.
Matsui still powerful: Hideki Matsui thrilled fans from New York to Tokyo with a long, two-run homer to help the Yankees win Game 1 on Wednesday.
"He's amazing," Alex Rodriguez, who scored on Matsui's home run, told the New York Daily News. "We don't see a lot of balls going out to center. He crushed that ball. That was very impressive."
Pineiro brings plenty of success to mound: Down to a must-win situation, the Cardinals planned to pitch veteran Joel Piniero against the Dodgers in Game 3 on Saturday. The 31-year-old right-hander has had perhaps his best season in 2009, going 15-12 with a 3.49 ERA over a career-high 214 innings.
"[Chris] Carpenter and [Adam] Wainwright have been so outstanding that in comparison sometimes Joel gets lost and doesn't get the attention he deserves," manager Tony La Russa told MLB.com. "But for a great majority of his starts, he gives you that same kind of baseball."
Roster spot caught Gathright by surprise: Speedster Joey Gathright, acquired from the Orioles on Aug. 29, wasn't expecting to be included on the Red Sox postseason roster.
"I hadn't really thought about it," Gathright told the Boston Herald. "I just came to play and whatever happened, happened. But I am pleasantly surprised. I've never been in the playoffs, and, so far, it's pretty exciting."
Hunter just worried about wins, not a hex: Torii Hunter and teammates aren't buying into the notion that the Red Sox have some mysterious power over the Angels. They demonstrated that clearly with a 5-0 win against Boston in Game 1 this season.
"We don't really care about that; we'll let you guys worry about that," Hunter told the Los Angeles Times of the supposed Boston hex. "We just go out there and play the game."
The Red Sox eliminated the Angels from the playoffs in 2004, 2007 and 2008, going 9-1 in the process.
Meanwhile, John Lackey held the Red Sox scoreless over 7 1/3 innings for his first postseason win since 2002.
"That's a long way to pitch against that lineup, to get us 22 outs like that," manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times of Lackey's night. "That's a tremendous effort."
"It's nice, for sure," Lackey said, "but we're definitely not toward any goal, for sure. We won one game; we've got to get to three."
Napoli gets another chance to guide Weaver: Mike Napoli, who caught six of Jered Weaver's final nine starts and guided the young right-hander to a 2.11 ERA, was in the Angels' tentative lineup for Game 2.
"Mike has worked well with Jered recently," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "The bottom line is, if Mike is doing the job behind the plate -- and he's done a better job the last 20 or 30 games -- that's obviously a bat you want to put in the lineup to see if it can contribute."
Moehler back with Astros for another year: Brian Moehler and the Astros are exercising their options to extend the pitcher's contract through 2010.
"Moehler agreed to the option, so his deal is done with us," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "I'm happy. He's a true professional and did exactly what we hoped he would do this year, which is to take a start every fifth day."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.