Game of the day: Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m. The Phillies have been the best team in the National League so far this season, and the Braves – with their five-game winning streak – are the hottest team in baseball. Cliff Lee (2-2) will start for the Phillies, hoping to erase the memories of his last start against Atlanta on April 8, easily his worst start of the season. Lee allowed six runs on 10 hits in just 3 1/3 innings pitched in that game, and has fought to lower his season ERA to 3.66 since then. Right-hander Derek Lowe (2-3) will pitch for Atlanta, looking for his first win since April 16. Lowe pitched well in his only previous start this year against the Phillies, allowing two runs in seven innings in a 3-0 loss on April 10.
Other games to watch:
Tampa Bay at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m. The Rays have won eight of their last 11 games, while the Orioles have been inconsistent since their fast start to the season. But Baltimore will send rookie left-hander Zach Britton (5-1) to the mound in the series opener Friday, and Britton has been the O’s best pitcher this year. Britton made his major league debut against Tampa Bay on April 3, allowing one run on three hits in six innings. Right-hander James Shields (2-1) will start for the Rays, aiming for his fifth straight quality start. Over his last three outings, Shields has allowed two runs over 26 innings, lowering his season ERA to 2.14.
Cleveland at Los Angeles Angels, 10:05 p.m. The division leaders open a three-game series Friday with a matchup of good young right-handers. Indians starter Justin Masterson (5-0) has been dominant this year for Cleveland, allowing three runs or fewer and lasting at least through the sixth inning in each of his six starts. Angels starter Tyler Chatwood (2-1) has been solid since he made his major league debut April 11 against the Indians. He has a 4.94 ERA, but he has kept his team in games, and the Angels have won three of his five starts.
Games you should have seen
Cleveland 4, Oakland 3, 12 innings. Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson hit RBI singles in the top of the 12th inning to lead the league-leading Indians past the A’s. Oakland got the tying run to third base with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, but Hideki Matsui popped up to end the game. Oakland outfielder Ryan Sweeney tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the eighth inning with an RBI double. Sweeney went 5 for 6 in the loss. The Indians have won eight of their last nine games.
St. Louis 6, Florida 3. Lance Berkman hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie and send the Cardinals to a win over the Marlins. The revitalized Berkman has 10 home runs this season in his first year with the Cardinals. Albert Pujols went 3 for 3 for St. Louis and Matt Holliday went 2 for 4 with two RBI. Marlins ace Josh Johnson had his worst start of the season, allowing five runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings pitched.
Stat you should know: .392/10/32 The triple crown stats through 29 games for St. Louis outfielder Lance Berkman. In the unlikely event Berkman continues on that pace for the rest of the season, he would hit 52 home runs and drive in 162 runs. Berkman last hit 30 or more home runs in 2007, and last drove in 100 or more runs in 2008. The 35-year-old’s best days were supposedly behind him when he joined the Cardinals during the offseason.
Star of the night: Tampa Bay left-hander David Price pitched to within one out of a complete game, and ended up allowing one unearned run on four hits in 8 2/3 innings pitched in the Rays’ 3-1 win over Toronto.
Chatter: “Upset? You mean like I want to fight somebody? No. I’m not happy, but I’m not upset about it.” — Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, when asked if he was upset he was a healthy scratch for New York’s 6-3 loss Thursday against Detroit