Baseball Report

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Troy Tulowitzki finally ran into a pitcher who could cool him off. Tulowitzki, who has been ripping the ball early this season, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum on Monday night, an 8-1 win for the Giants over Colorado.

That snapped the Colorado shortstop’s eight-game hitting streak, but don’t expect Tulowitzki to have too many 0-for’s this season.

Tulowitzki came into Tuesday’s game batting .345, leading the major leagues with seven home runs and tied for fourth with 14 RBIs. His slugging average of .793 was second to the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.

The Rockies bolted to the top of the NL West standings thanks to a franchise-best start of 11-2, which included a seven-game winning streak. In a four-game sweep over the New York Mets last week, Tulowitzki went 10-for-16 (.625) with four homers, eight RBIs, five runs scored and four walks.

“When he gets hot, he’s a very, very dangerous player,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Not only is Tulowitzki a threat to opposing pitchers, he’s solid in the field too. In a 7-6 win over the Mets on April 11, the 2010 Gold Glove winner helped Colorado maintain a tie with a twisting throw to first on a play at short in the seventh. His two-run homer in the eighth put the Rockies up 7-4.

“It’s weird,” Tulowitzki said of his fielding play. “It just kind of happens when you’ve played this game for a long time. It’s a big momentum shift and it definitely played a big part.”

Castro making his mark: Another shortstop who is excelling early is the Chicago Cubs’ Starlin Castro. He went into Tuesday’s game batting .408 with seven RBIs, 14 runs scored and a .432 on-base percentage.

Castro, who is starting his first full major league season after getting called up last year, helped end Colorado’s seven-game winning streak on Saturday night with a three-run homer in the seventh inning. He went four-for-five in the Cubs 8-3 win.

The leadoff spot in the order has been a perfect fit for Castro, who was hitting .536 at the top of the lineup after Saturday’s victory.

“I’m ready,” Castro said. “I came into the season thinking I would do this, so it’s no surprise.”

Castro, 21, the youngest player in the majors, had nine multi-hit games at the start of this week. His 115 hits since last year’s All-Star break are the most in the majors.

Please explain? Why would a major league pitcher who is making $425,000 this season take six t-shirts worth a total of $59.88 without paying for them?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested and charged for shoplifting at a downtown Cincinnati department store on Monday, about two hours before reporting to Great American Ball Park. Police reports said that Leake removed the price tags from the American Rag t-shirts at a Macy’s store and tried to leave without paying for them.

The first-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum of 180 days in jail.

Leake, who started Saturday’s game, getting the 11-2 win over Pittsburgh, said in a statement that he apologized to his family, to the club and to fans “for this distraction.”

This season, Leake is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA after going 8-4, 4.23 last year.

StatsWatch: The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t the best hitting team in the major leagues, ranking 17th with a .253 average, but they have two players in the top 10 in batting and three in the top 25. Here they are, plus stats through Monday:

Matt Kemp, leading the majors with a .459 batting average (28-for-61); 11 hits in five games through Monday.

Andre Ethier, ninth in batting at .369 (24-for-65); 15-game hitting streak.

Jamey Carroll, 21st with a .340 average (18-for-53); hit in six of seven games.

Diamond Notes: Giants LHP Barry Zito was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, a day after he left his start with a right mid-foot sprain…Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who is on the DL, apparently isn’t suffering from bilateral leg weakness after all. Instead, tests showed that Mauer’s soreness was caused by the flu bug…After missing nearly a year following microfracture surgery on his left knee, Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore returned to action on Sunday, getting two hits, including a home run, in a 4-2 victory over Baltimore. He went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI in his second game back on Monday, a 7-3 win over the Royals…A’s pitcher Dallas Braden has been put on the DL with a stiff left shoulder…Florida’s Gaby Sanchez went into Tuesday’s game reaching base in all 14 games this season, extending his streak to 18 dating back to last year.

Copyright © 2011 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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