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Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 04/29/2011

Leading off: Veteran aces face off in Cardinals-Braves opener

Game of the day: St. Louis at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m. Accomplished veteran right-handers make this series opener a game worth watching, as Chris Carpenter will start for the Cardinals and Tim Hudson will pitch for the Braves. Carpenter (0-2) has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his five starts this year, but the Cardinals scored three or fewer runs in each of those starts and Carpenter still hasn’t earned a win despite his solid 3.90 ERA. Hudson (3-2, 3.57 ERA) has been solid for the Braves so far, but he has struggled to a 5.50 ERA in nine career starts against St. Louis. After struggling to hit early in the season, the Cardinals have scored five or more runs in 14 of their last 17 games.

Other games to watch:

New York Mets at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m. The Mets had their six-game winning streak snapped Thursday, but they enter this three-game series with the Phillies having won six of their last seven games and have perhaps their best chance to win a game in Philadelphia on Friday. The Phillies placed scheduled starter Joe Blanton on the disabled list with an elbow injury Thursday, and minor league call-up Vance Worley will start in Blanton’s place. Worley compiled a 1.38 ERA in his first five career major league appearances late last season. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey (1-2) will start for the Mets, coming off his best outing of the year last Friday against the Diamondbacks. Even after allowing one earned run in seven innings in that start, Pelfrey’s ERA this season is 7.23.

Texas at Oakland, 10:05 p.m. The Rangers and A’s open a four-game series in Oakland on Friday, and both teams will send their opening day starter to the mound. C.J. Wilson (3-0) struck out 10 Royals in his most recent start for Texas on Sunday, and he has pitched at least into the seventh inning in each of his last four starts. Trevor Cahill (3-0) has allowed just one earned run in four of his five starts this year, and sports an impressive 2.30 ERA.

Games you should have seen:

Toronto 5, Texas 2. The Blue Jays scored three runs in the top of the ninth to break open a tie game and beat the Rangers. The first run of the inning came on a squeeze bunt by Corey Patterson, and two more runs scored with two outs on a seemingly harmless ground ball that led to two Rangers errors. Toronto first baseman Adam Lind hit his third home run of the series in the first inning, driving in the only runs the Blue Jays would score until the ninth. The Blue Jays, who took three of four from Texas, clinched a series win for the first time since April 5-7 against Oakland.

San Francisco 5, Pittsburgh 2 . The game itself was unspectacular, but San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong made the Giants’ win notable. Vogelsong earned his first major league win since 2005, allowing two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched. The 33-year-old right-hander pitched in Japan for three years, spent last season in the minor leagues and hadn’t made a major league start since 2004. The Giants called him up when left-hander Barry Zito went on the disabled list earlier this month. San Francisco had lost five of its previous six games before Thursday.

Stat you should know: 8. Runs batted in Thursday by Tampa Bay second baseman Ben Zobrist in the Rays’ 15-3 win over Minnesota. Zobrist went 4 for 6 with an RBI single, a three-run home run, and two two-run doubles to set the Rays’ single-game franchise record for RBI. Zobrist has 16 RBI in his last four games after knocking in only seven in his first 20 games of the season. His 23 RBI suddenly lead the American League.

Chatter: “Thousands of times I wondered if I was ever going to pitch in the big leagues again, let alone get a chance to be a starter again and win a game.” – Vogelsong after earning his first win since 2005

By Greg Schimmel  |  10:28 AM ET, 04/29/2011

 
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