NEW YORK: 1B Jason Giambi, who has six hits in his past 24 at-bats, got a day off. "Giambi is basically struggling," manager Joe Torre said. "I told him today, don't even pick up a bat. Just sit back and try to rest your mind and rest your body." ... SS Derek Jeter was given a scheduled day off. Jeter was sporting a baseball-sized bruise on his left hamstring, where he was hit by a pitch Saturday. Jeter is slated to play Monday at the Chicago White Sox. ... LHP David Wells will try to become the 99th pitcher to win 200 games Monday against Chicago. ... LHP Andy Pettitte will concern himself about his pending free agency after the season. "I'm just trying to help this team," the 20-game winner said. "I owe it to a lot of people here not to worry about that right now. Just worry about trying to give everything I've got ... heart and soul ... the rest of the season." ... C Jorge Posada has 29 homers, one short of tying Yogi Berra's single-season club record for homers by a catcher. "I really hate to break this record," said Posada, who has worked with Berra at spring training. "I would like to tie it. Right next to Yogi Berra sounds kind of cool."
TAMPA BAY: RHP Jeremi Gonzalez hit New York 1B Nick Johnson with a pitch in the fifth inning Sunday. Tampa Bay has hit 91 batters this season, which is three short of tying the major league record set by the Devil Rays last year. ... Rookie CF Rocco Baldelli was out of the lineup Sunday. He is 0-for-7 against New York Yankees RHP Roger Clemens, who started the game. Baldelli struck out in his first six at-bats against Clemens. ... The Devil Rays need to win three of their final seven games to avoid a third consecutive 100-loss season. ... Tampa Bay went 2-9 during an 11-game stretch against the Yankees and Boston.
BOSTON: The Red Sox play four games at home against Baltimore and three at Tampa Bay to finish the season, hoping to hold their AL wild-card lead. "We control our own thing," Kevin Millar said. "That's a great feeling. All parts of this team are playing well and we need to keep doing it." ... Manager Grady Little joked before the game that his team was conducting two separate Sunday chapel services, one for regular players and one for his beleaguered bullpen. ... Closer Byung-Hyun Kim bounced back from a shaky outing on Friday - he hit two batters in the ninth - for a 1-2-3 ninth on Sunday to get his 15th save. Little, who has been trying to find the right mix from his bullpen all season, wanted to get Kim back in a save situation as soon as possible. "There's not a whole lot of time for experimenting right now," he said. "We need him. He's as important as any closer is to a team."
CLEVELAND: Inning for inning, and almost pitch for pitch, Indians rookie LHP Cliff Lee matched Pedro Martinez and kept the Boston Red Sox in check. "I've always been confident," Lee said. "That's never been an issue for me. There's no use in going out there thinking, 'I'm going to get crushed."' Lee pitched seven strong innings in Cleveland's home finale Sunday, providing the Indians and their fans another positive note to carry into the offseason. It was Lee's eighth start since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo in August. He made the most of every one of them. The 25-year-old, who began the season on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain and hernia, allowed three earned runs or less in his eight outings for Cleveland. ... The Indians finished 38-43 at home, their worst home record since going 35-46 at old Cleveland Stadium in 1987. It's the second straight year they've been under .500 at home. The last time they did that was in 1973-74. ... Cleveland drew 1,730,001 fans to Jacobs Field, their lowest season total in the ballpark's 10-year history and their fewest fans since 1992. They drew 2.6 million a year ago. ... Despite being shut out twice in the series, the Indians still outscored the Red Sox 13-8. ... C Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to 10 games and has hit safely in 22 of 23.
TORONTO: Carlos Delgado is hitting .500 (5-for-10) with three homers and eight RBIs off Baltimore starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. Delgado's homer was the 22nd of his career against the Orioles. ... Toronto has won 13 of the last 16 series against Baltimore with two splits. ... The Blue Jays have clinched a non-losing season for the first time since 2000. They have won 45 games on the road, second in the AL to the Yankees (50). ... OF Reed Johnson's four hits match a career high set against Baltimore on June 23 in Toronto. Johnson extended his hitting streak to 18 games the longest by a rookie in the AL this year and a Blue Jays rookie record.
BALTIMORE: Jay Gibbons earned the Orioles' MVP award, voted on by the media. Although leading the team with 98 RBIs, Gibbons said others, including recently traded P Sidney Ponson and OF/1B Jeff Conine, were just as worthy. "By default," Gibbons joked when informed he'd won. "You could have chosen a lot of guys, even guys that aren't here anymore." Gibbons received 22 of 26 first-place ballots. ... Gibbons continued to struggle against Toronto starting pitcher Mark Hendrickson, going 0-for-2 and hitting into a double play. Gibbons is 1-for-13 (.077) vs. Hendrickson. ... Baltimore finished the season at .500 at home (40-40). It's the first time they avoided a losing season at home since 1997. ... Crowd favorite B.J. Surhoff pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth inning and got standing ovation in anticipation of his last home at-bat in an Orioles uniform. ... P Kurt Ainsworth, acquired in a trade for P Sidney Ponson from San Francisco, made his Oriole debut by pitching the ninth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.
KANSAS CITY: LHP Brian Anderson is enjoying his time with Kansas City and is hoping that the Royals talk to him about coming back next season. Anderson is a free agent after the season and is 4-1 in his six starts since joining the Royals on Aug. 25 from a trade with Cleveland. "I don't know, it's not up to me. They have my phone numbers and they know who my agent is," said Anderson. "Certainly if they were interested in bringing me back, I would listen long and hard. I have enjoyed my time here." It didn't take much time for Anderson to fit in with the Royals. "I think the front office has made the transition easy. My teammates are great. I thoroughly enjoyed my teammates in Cleveland. This group reminds me of those guys. It doesn't seem to be any cliques on the team, everybody gets along with everybody." ... LHP Darrell May went at least eight innings for the fifth time in 2003 on Sunday and reached 10 wins for the first time in his career. He is now 10-3 in his last 18 starts with a 3.33 ERA after starting the season 0-4. ... SS Angel Berroa stole his 20th base in the first on inning on Sunday. He became the third Royal with 20 or more stolen bases on the season, joining Carlos Beltran and Desi Relaford. ... The Royals need just one victory for their first winning season since 1994 (64-51) and the first in a non-strike year since 1993 (84-78).
CHICAGO: Frank Thomas is not ready to worry about whether he will or will not be back with the White Sox next season. "I'm not going to worry about that right now. I have been here my whole career. Hopefully things work out and that's key for me right now," said Thomas. ... Thomas believes the White Sox are still feeling the effects from being swept by Minnesota last week. "I think guys are not the same since Minnesota," said Thomas. "That hurts everyone a little bit. We worked hard and we had a situation where we felt we were going to the playoffs and when you can't get it done, I think it takes a couple of days for everyone to realize that we are still playing and competing." ... OF Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-2, snapping his eight-game hitting streak.
DETROIT: Manager Alan Trammell realizes there may not be wholesale changes in his team next year. "We're going to wait until the end of the season and make some decisions on what we need," he said, later adding: "Let's be honest. A lot of guys will be back." ... Jamie Walker made his 75th relief appearance, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the Tigers' single-season list. ... Detroit has lost 23 of its last 24 against Minnesota. ... LF Craig Monroe went 2-for-4 Sunday and is batting .406 against the Twins this year. ... 3B Shane Halter left after the fourth inning with a mild strain of his right quadriceps muscle. He was replaced by Kevin Witt. ... Nate Cornejo's string of eight straight starts lasting six innings or more ended Sunday. He gave up six runs in 5 2-3 innings.
MINNESOTA: Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins will definitely go with a 10-man pitching staff for the playoffs, assuming they make it. He won't address how the team will set up its postseason rotation until the division is clinched, however. ... CF Torii Hunter, who has a sore knee and back, got a day off. ... Jacque Jones returned to RF Sunday after a week of being limited to DH duties. Jones has been nagged by a groin injury for most of the second half. He hurt the muscle most recently while sliding into second base Sept. 13 at Cleveland. "Whatever," he said when asked before the game if it's easier to focus when he's playing in the field. "It doesn't matter. You've still got to hit." ... In their 43-year history, The Twins have never had more than three hitters qualify for the batting race and hit .300 or better. They have a chance this year, with A.J. Pierzynski (.311), Shannon Stewart (.308), Jones (.306) and Mientkiewicz (.302).
ANAHEIM: OF Garret Anderson was out of the lineup for the second straight game Sunday because of lower back spasms. Anderson hadn't missed a game until being a late scratch from the lineup Saturday night. He has a career-high 196 hits, and six games left for a chance to get 200. He is also two doubles shy of becoming one of four current major leaguers with at least 50 doubles in consecutive seasons. The others are Houston's Craig Biggio, Seattle's Edgar Martinez and Colorado's Todd Helton. ... It was 14 years ago Sunday that the Angels played the longest game in franchise history, a 5-4, 17-inning loss at Cleveland.
TEXAS: SS Alex Rodriguez is trying to become the only third player in 71 seasons to lead the AL in homers for three straight seasons. Harmon Killebrew did for Minnesota from 1962-64, and Ken Griffey Jr. did it for Seattle from 1997-99. Rodriguez hit two homers Saturday to regain the major league lead at 46. ... After playing their final home game Sunday night, the Rangers finish the season with six games on the West Coast. They play three games at Oakland starting Monday. Texas is 4-12 against the A's this season, including four straight losses. The most Texas losses in one season to Oakland were 13 last season.
SEATTLE: Starter Gil Meche (15-11) allowed five runs in the second inning and he didn't even record an out before he was through. Meche's outing was his shortest of his career and his second straight poor start. Meche lasted just 2 1-3 innings in a 10-5 loss at Texas on Sept. 16 and has a 35.10 ERA in his last two outings. "I couldn't get out of what I caused," Meche said. "The whole second inning was like a personal nightmare. Giving up runs like that - I had no damage control. The whole second half has been a bad dream as far as I can tell. I'm giving up runs and I can't seem to do anything to stop it." Meche fell to 0-3 in five career starts against the A's. He threw 45 pitches, 26 for strikes. ... The Mariners lead the season series 9-7, going 5-5 in Oakland. ... John Olerud extended his hitting streak to nine games with a sixth-inning single and is hitting .333 during the span. ... Bret Boone and Carlos Guillen both had their six-game hitting streaks snapped.
OAKLAND: Rookie RHP Rich Harden was scratched from his start because of back spasms and replaced by the lefty Ted Lilly, who beat Seattle for the first time in eight career starts. He entered 0-4 with a 6.89 ERA against the Mariners. Harden, called up from Triple-A Sacramento on July 17, thought he could pitch and be effective Sunday, but added, "Whatever's best for the team." He said his back has given him problems since he began his pro career in 2001 at short-season Class A Vancouver. "We're not pulling any strings here," manager Ken Macha said. "The guy's hurt." ... Injured LF Jose Guillen got to test out the broken bone in his left hand with a pinch-hit at-bat in the seventh after the Mariners took out all but one of their regulars. Guillen grounded into a double play. He has taken batting practice for two straight days and expects to be in the lineup Monday against Texas. "It looks like a done deal," he said. "At this point in the season, I've got to try anything I can to finish the season and help the team. That's why they brought me here." ... 2B Mark Ellis hit his first career grand slam in the fifth. ... The A's have not been swept at home in 45 series. The last time it happened was from May 7-9 last year against Boston.
NATIONAL LEAGUE Cubs-Pirates
CHICAGO: Kerry Wood, scheduled to start Monday against Cincinnati, has a 1.00 ERA in his last five starts and is coming off a 2-0 shutout of the Mets. He is 9-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 14 career starts vs. the Reds and is 2-0 in four starts this season. ... The Cubs are 8-6 against the Reds entering the three-game series. ... Manager Dusty Baker considered dropping a slumping Sammy Sosa lower in the lineup, then hit him fourth for the 27th time this season Sunday. Sosa has batted third 104 times. He went 3-for-17 in Pittsburgh, with a hit-and-run single Sunday.
PITTSBURGH: RHP Josh Fogg's next start apparently will be moved back from Thursday in New York to Friday in Wrigley Field. That would allow rookie RHP Ryan Vogelsong, who has won his last two starts, to start Thursday against the non-contending Mets. ... Manager Lloyd McClendon said Sunday he considers landing a closer and solidifying third base to be the Pirates' top offseason priorities. The Pirates traded former closer Mike Williams and 3B Aramis Ramirez during the season. 3B Jose Hernandez is unlikely to return next year, while the Pirates have never settled on a closer since Williams was dealt. If the Pirates can find a closer, it would allow their other relievers to settle back into their preferred roles: long relief (Brian Meadows), middle relief (Mike Lincoln), left-handed specialist (Joe Beimel) and setup (Brian Boehringer and Julian Tavarez). ... The Pirates likely will finish the season with a team batting average 20-plus points higher than last season. The Pirates hit an NL-low .244 last year, but their current team average of .268 ranks behind only Atlanta and St. Louis in the NL. ... A scoring change made Sunday gave the Pirates' Tike Redman a double in the eighth inning Saturday night and took away an error from Cubs 2B Mark Grudzielanek. ... LHP Oliver Perez probably won't pitch again this season, McClendon said. Perez has a blister on his pitching hand and was lifted after 1 2-3 innings Sunday. He was scheduled to pitch again Saturday in Chicago. RHP Salomon Torres likely will start in his place. Kip Wells (9-8) is scheduled to start Tuesday in New York and the final game of the season Sunday in Chicago. Jeff D'Amico (9-15) will pitch Wednesday against the Mets.
CINCINNATI: The Reds finished their road trip 4-6. They finish the season with a six-game homestand starting Tuesday against Chicago. ... Chris Reitsma earned his 11th save against the Phillies. He has nine wins and needs one more for the Reds to avoid not having a 10-game winner for the first time since 1882. ... Dan Serafini earned his first win since Sept. 6, 2000, when he was with Los Angeles. ... The Reds finished with a 108-75 record at Veterans Stadium, to be demolished in February.
PHILADELPHIA: Kevin Millwood (14-11, 3.87) faces Dontrelle Willis (13-6, 3.37 ERA) Tuesday in the first of a three-game series. Brett Myers (14-8, 4.31 ERA) and Randy Wolf (16-9, 4.13 ERA) will follow for Philadelphia. The Phillies have six of their last 10 on the road. ... Thome hit his 24th homer at Veterans Stadium, leaving him one shy of Mike Schmidt's season record set in 1980. His 24 RBIs in September lead the NL. ... 3B David Bell, on the DL since July 11 with a back injury, worked out with the Phillies Florida Instructional League staff Sunday and reported no problems. He is scheduled to play with the FIL team Monday. ... Pitchers Mike Williams and Brett Myers had some pregame fun in the clubhouse with a remote-control rat. Myers sent it into manager Larry Bowa's office when he was meeting with reporters. Bowa was unfazed. "If it was a black cat, then I'd be concerned," he said.
FLORIDA: 3B Mike Lowell, who broke a bone in his left hand and was placed on the DL Aug. 31, will have his hand examined Friday. If all is well, he hopes to possibly play the final weekend of the regular season. Fortunately for Greg Maddux, Lowell wasn't in the lineup. He's hitting .386 (17-for-44) with four homers against the Atlanta right-hander. ... Rick Helling got his first victory as a Marlin in Saturday night's 5-4, 11 inning win over Atlanta. He has an 0.71 ERA in eight appearances over 12 2-3 innings since coming over from Baltimore. Helling has been primarily a starter during his major league career. ... Prior to Sunday's game, the Marlins were 2-1 against Maddux this year. He had a 11.25 ERA and had allowed six home runs during that span against Florida. ... CF Juan Pierre, with 61 stolen bases, is one shy of the Marlins record of 62 set by 2B Luis Castillo in 2000.
ATLANTA: The Braves used a franchise-record nine pitchers and tied a franchise record by using 26 players in Saturday night's 5-4, 11 inning loss to the Marlins. ... The 49 doubles by Marcus Giles, an Atlanta club record, is one shy of the franchise record set by Hugh Duffy in 1894. RHP Paul Byrd, who had surgery on his right elbow on April 11, said he will begin throwing within a few days. ... The Braves' minor league players of the year were: Triple-A Richmond, P Andy Pratt, 7-10, 3.40 ERA; C Johnny Estrada, .328, 10 HR, 66 RBIs. Double-A Greenville, P Adam Wainwright, 10-8, 3.37 ERA; 3B James Jurries, .284, 9 HR, 54 RBIs. Single-A Myrtle Beach, P Macay McBride, 9-8, 2.95 ERA; 3B Andy Marte, .285, 16 HR, 63 RBIs. Single-A Rome, P Anthony Lerew, 7-6, 2.38 ERA. C Brian McCann, .290, 12 HR, 71 RBIs.
SAN DIEGO: RHP Ben Howard is one of several young players that manager Bruce Bochy will look at closely in the final week of the season. Howard will start Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "The key to Ben is his command," Bochy said. "He can get a little wild." Howard has walked 15 batters in 27 2-3 innings. ... SS Khalil Greene was taken out of the game to start the seventh inning after landing on his hip making a diving stop of a ball hit by Jay Payton. "He hurt his hip sliding into home plate in San Francisco," Bochy said. "He couldn't even run after making that dive today so had to come out." ... 2B Mark Loretta has an 11-game hitting streak. ... Loretta had two hits, moving him within two hits of the franchise record for most hits in a season by a second baseman. Roberto Alomar had 184 hits in 1989. ... OF Brian Giles homered Sunday, but finished the 10-game road trip 7-for-35. ... Greene is a candidate for the Fall Instructional League. "He is a candidate and had been considered for the Olympic club team," Bochy said. "It looks like joining the Olympic club team won't happen." ... Bochy said Padres officials will decide on candidates for Winter Ball after the season. ... 3B Sean Burroughs homered, giving him two homers and two RBIs in his last eight games. He is hitting .179 (5-for-28) over that stretch.
COLORADO: RHP Jason Jennings was hospitalized over the weekend with a virus and will miss his final scheduled start on Friday in San Diego. Jennings also missed his last start on Saturday, ending his string of 61 consecutive starts since he was called up late in the 2001 season. "To get him out running and throwing and trying to jump-start him for the possibility of one more start, it's not worth the risk," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He could fall right back into the cycle he just came out of." ... 1B Todd Helton went 3-for-4 on Sunday, giving him 200 hits for the season. He is the only player in Rockies history to have 200 hits twice in a season, having had 216 in 2000. ... Helton also is one double shy of a third season of at least 50 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBIs. No player in big league history as done it three times. Helton and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein are the only ones to have done it twice. Helton did it in 2000 and 2001, Klein in 1930 and 1932. ... The Rockies had a number of breakdowns in 2003, but Hurdle said his team's "ability to get signs and ability to bunt the ball" ranked as "major disappointments." And he said the bunting problems weren't limited to pitchers. ... RHP Chin-hui Tsao has made his final start of the season. Tsao pitched six innings in earning the win on Sunday. It gives him 42 1-3 innings, and the Rockies want to preserve his rookie status for next season.
HOUSTON: Manager Jimy Williams wasn't faulting Adam Everett for getting thrown out trying for third by CF So Taguchi for the final out in the eighth with the Astros down 6-4. "He's hustling on that play, and you don't want to take that style away from him," Williams said. ... LHP Ron Villone is to start Monday against the Giants. He's 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in 14 career appearances, two of them starts, against San Francisco. ... Jeff Kent is batting .370 (27-for-73) this month with nine multihit games. He has 22 homers, tied for the franchise record by a second baseman with Craig Biggio (1995, '97). ... Biggio has been hit by a pitch 241 times in his career, two behind Ron Hunt for second overall. ... The Astros are 14-5 in September.
ST. LOUIS: Japanese import So Taguchi was treated to his first major league curtain call after his two-run homer in the fourth. "There's nothing in Japan like that," Taguchi said. "I think St. Louis fans are the best in the world." ... The Cardinals are 9-12 in September and 32-31 since the All-Star break. ... Albert Pujols was 0-for-1 with three walks and needs 10 total bases in the last five games to become the fourth player in franchise history to get 400 in a season. Stan Musial was the last to do it, with 429 in 1948. ... Eduardo Perez had his third three-hit game of the season with two singles, one of them on a bunt, and a double. He missed only a week after an emergency appendectomy on Sept. 2. ... Albert Pujols was 0-1 with three walks.
MONTREAL: The Expos swept a four-game series at Shea Stadium for the first time since September 1979. ... SS Orlando Cabrera has played in 163 straight games since Sept. 24, 2002. ... Despite all the travel and the limited budget allotted by major league baseball, the Expos (81-76) need only one more victory to clinch their second consecutive winning season. "It would be a sense of pride no matter what," manager Frank Robinson said. "Under the circumstances, yeah, it would be a nice accomplishment for this team." Three wins in their last five games would surpass last year's total of 83. The last time Montreal had back-to-back winning seasons was three in a row from 1992-94. ... RHP Tomo Ohka has allowed only four homers in his last 67 innings spanning 11 starts. ... Three of Montreal's last six wins have come in its final at-bat.
NEW YORK: Mike Piazza singled in the first inning for his 1,700th hit. ... RHP Jae Weong Seo is 0-4 in his last five starts despite a 2.56 ERA. ... Seo made his 30th start of the season, the first Mets rookie to reach that number since Ron Darling (33) and Dwight Gooden (31) in 1984. Gary Gentry has the team's rookie record, with 35 starts in 1969. ... With seven games to play, the Mets are only two games ahead of San Diego for the worst record in the NL.
ARIZONA: Manager Bob Brenly liked the way his pitchers shut down Milwaukee CF Scott Podsednik in the three-games series. Podsednik, among the frontrunners - along with Arizona RHP Brandon Webb and Florida LHP Dontrelle Willis - for NL Rookie of the Year, was 3-for-11. ... Webb is to start Tuesday at Colorado and probably Sunday at home in the season finale against St. Louis. ... RHP Curt Schilling, on the disabled list twice this year, made his 450th pitching appearance Sunday. ... The Diamondbacks have won six of eight and are 4-2 on a nine-game trip that started in Los Angeles. They're 2-1 against both the Dodgers and Brewers. "Any other time of year, we'd take that," Brenly said. "But in our circumstance, that's not good enough." ... Arizona and Colorado have split their season series (8-8), but Colorado is 5-2 at home against the Diamondbacks.
MILWAUKEE: Manager Ned Yost said the team's biggest losses this year were LF Geoff Jenkins (broken left thumb) and RHP Todd Ritchie (right rotator cuff surgery). Jenkins was batting .296 with 28 homers and 95 RBIs when he got hurt. ... RHP Ben Sheets, who is to pitch Tuesday against St. Louis, also hopes to start the season finale at Houston on Sunday. Sheets (11-12) has won 11 games in each of his three full seasons in the major leagues.
SAN FRANCISCO: Todd Linden hit his first major league homer Sunday against the Dodgers' Kazuhisa Ishii - becoming the 12th player to homer into the second deck at Dodger Stadium. He is the eighth visiting player to do it, joining Barry Bonds (2002), Eddie Taubensee (2000), Wiki Gonzalez (1999), Carl Everett (1999), Nick Esasky (1987), Dave Parker (1984) and Dave Kingman (1976). ... The Giants, who complete their regular-season schedule with a four-game series against the Dodgers, will finish ahead of their rivals in the standings for the seventh straight season - their longest streak since 1921-31. ... RF Jose Cruz Jr., the only regular in manager Felipe Alou's starting lineup on Sunday, was the only one to go hitless aside from Neifi Perez.
LOS ANGELES: RHP Darren Dreifort already has had two ligament replacement operations on his elbow and spent the final four months of the season on the DL because of a sprained right knee that required surgery. He is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his right hip Tuesday in Boston. "He said it's been bothering him a lot the last couple of months, but he didn't say anything about it because the other things were more acute," team physician Dr. Frank Jobe said. "It's something that we want to take care of now, while he's recovering from his knee, so it won't take any additional time. There are only a few people in the country who do a lot of these (surgeries), and you want to get somebody that does hundreds of them. It's just a new technique that's been working very well, so we wanted him to get it." ... The Dodgers finished their home schedule 46-35, the same as last season. Their attendance at Dodger Stadium was 3,138,626. It's the eighth straight season in which they drew 3 million at home and the 18th time overall, a major league record. ... The Dodgers' 68 home runs at Chavez Ravine this season were five fewer than last year and the fewest since 1996 (62). ... The Dodgers' are scheduled to open next season at home against San Diego on April 5.