Berkman tallies another four-hit game
Astros slugger experiences 15th such day in his career
Lance Berkman had four hits Sunday against Milwaukee, the 15th time in his career he has had a four-hit game.
His first three hits were a home run, a double and a double, respectively. Leading off the bottom of the 12th inning, Berkman stepped into the batter's box and stroked his fourth hit of the game, an infield single that traveled 65 feet and trickled under the glove of pitcher Mitch Stetter.
"You gotta be able to put a ball under the defense as well as over it," Berkman told the Houston Chronicle after the Astros' 8-6 win.
Zimmerman gets a rare day off: Ryan Zimmerman finally took a day off.
The Nats' young star had a planned day off on Sunday, giving up third base for the first time since Sept. 18, 2006, when Melvin Dorta was the team's starting third baseman. Zimmerman played in all 162 games last year.
"I knew I wouldn't want to" play 162 again, Zimmerman told The Washington Post. "It's tough. It takes a toll on your body. Two days of relaxing and doing nothing, you can't really tell anybody how much that does for you in the course of a long season. It's better for me. It's better for the team. It's better for everybody."
Zimmerman had played in 205 straight games, the second longest active streak. Only Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur, with 356 consecutive games played, has a longer one.
Benoit improving as the calendar turns: Joaquin Benoit seems past the arm weakness that he experienced in Spring Training. The right-hander has not allowed a run in two outings, and, with regular closer C.J. Wilson getting a night off after appearing in three straight games, he got a save on Saturday.
"I think I've figured some things out mechanically," Benoit told the The Dallas Morning News. "I don't think I got enough innings this spring, and I tried to do some things to get my arm strength up. It made my arm hurt a little bit, and all my pitches were up. But now my arm feels good."
Reed Johnson's catch leaves them aghast: On April 25, Reed Johnson made a head-long, diving catch at Nationals Park in Washington that people are still talking about -- and probably will be for some time. For Johnson, seeing his teammates react was the best part.
"Seeing [starting pitcher] Ryan Dempster's reaction and [then-left fielder] Mark DeRosa's reaction and [reliever] Kerry Wood's reaction was the best," Johnson told the Chicago Sun-Times. "They didn't say anything to each other -- they were just looking at each other. DeRosa's looking through the chain-link fence at Woody, Woody's looking back at him and they're kind of just staring at each other like, 'Did that just happen?' Those reactions, at least to me, were better than the catch, just to see those guys so excited about it."
Lee tops in month with 5-0 record: After going 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA in April, and going through a streak of 27 innings during which he didn't allow a run, Cliff Lee was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April.
"It's nice to win the award, but I'm more concerned about our team winning games," the Indians' left-hander told the The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We've got a long way to go."
Meche pitches seven shutout innings: Gil Meche delivered seven innings of scoreless pitching in the Royals' 2-0 victory over the Indians on Sunday.
"It was outstanding," manager Trey Hillman told MLB.com. "Everybody knows how badly he needed that -- and how badly we needed that. Like I said before the game, there's no better medicine than a 'W.'"
Sheets finds mechanics lead to sore 'love handles': Ben Sheets has reported no further triceps soreness since missing 10 days but some other parts of his body needed some readjustment.
"I'm sore in places I've never been sore in before," Sheets told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before Sunday's game against Houston. "My 'love handles' are sore. I think my mechanics probably contributed to that."
Upton's shoulder not a fan of cold weather: B.J. Upton was back in the lineup Sunday for the first time since he was forced to leave Thursday's game with a strained left shoulder. Upton went 0-for-3 with one walk against Boston. Upton said he didn't feel any pain, but he did say he wasn't swinging the bat freely.
"When it was warm, it was fine, but going in and out of the cold weather [from the field to the dugout], it tends to get a little stiff," he told the St. Petersburg Times.
Debut on the horizon for Parisi: Cardinals pitcher Mike Parisi was recalled from Triple-A Memphis for Sunday's game against the Cubs. A starter in Memphis, Parisi feels he can fill a variety of roles.
"There's no real plan," Parisi told MLB.com. "They need innings. I'm still longed out from being a starter, to get some innings. I can come in for an inning, or I can come in for an out or start. It's kind of up in the air."
Delwyn Young provides option in a pinch: Delwyn Young, who was out of options when he made the Dodgers' roster out of Spring Training, is providing the club with a strong pinch-hitting option off the bench.
Despite the difficulties involved in hitting cold, Young has six hits in his first 15 at-bats for a .400 average as a pinch-hitter.
"I'm still learning," Young, who hasn't started a game, told the Los Angeles Times. "You have to pay more attention. You can't let little things get by you."
Cust sees dramatic rise in average: Jack Cust's slow start is a distant memory. The A's outfielder hit his third homer in four games while going 2-for-3 in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Rangers.
"He just looks loose out there," A's manager Bob Geren told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Maybe he's starting to see it better, but he's just relaxed."
Sore hamstring keeps Kinsler on the bench: Ian Kinsler was held out of the lineup for the second straight game Sunday due to a sore right hamstring. Kinsler told The Dallas Morning News that the hamstring had grown more sore during Friday's game.
Kinsler was active on the bases during the game and also slipped at second base while trying to make a play. When he woke up on Saturday, he felt soreness in the hamstring.
"I'm not worried about it," manager Ron Washington said. "It's just some tightness, and this is precautionary. If he's down a couple of days, we'll be OK."
Lieber makes jump from bullpen to rotation: Jon Lieber is set to get back into the starting rotation on Wednesday, his first start since June 20, 2007. While he's glad to have the opportunity, he also is hopeful that the man he is replacing, Rich Hill, will be back in that role sooner than later.
"Whatever the club needs me to do, I'm willing to do it," Lieber told MLB.com. "It's an unfortunate thing to me, because I think Rich Hill is a Major League pitcher. Right now, it's command issues. He'll be back up here soon. I want to see him back up here soon. We need him to be where he needs to be to help us win."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.