From the daily archives: Thursday, July 14, 2011

By Bob Hurst

To compete with Philadelphia in the National League East this season, the Atlanta Braves knew their pitching would have to be up to the task, and Jair Jurrjens would be a big part of that.

After an injury-plagued 2010 season, Jurrjens has emerged as the Braves ace, going 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA, ranking second in the majors in wins and ERA. And his performance has helped Atlanta rank second in the majors with a 3.11 ERA.

Jurrjens, who went 7-6 with a 4.64 last season while battling hamstring and knee injuries, has won four consecutive decisions, which helped him earn his first All-Star game selection.

The right-hander is the first pitcher to win at least 12 games with an ERA under 2.00 at the All-Star break since Randy Johnson did it with Arizona in 2000. The last Braves pitcher to do it was Greg Maddux in 1998.

In his last start on July 6, Jurrjens allowed a run on five hits in six innings of a 9-1 victory over Colorado. It was his fourth straight start of allowing no more than one run.

“It’s a good feeling,” Jurrjens told the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. “That’s what you work for during the offseason and the season, to try to start out on a good run and go into the break with good numbers, then try to grind the second half out.”

Jurrjens isn’t taking anything for granted, considering the flame-out experienced by the Rockies Ubaldo Jimenez, who was 15-1 at the All-Star break last year and 4-7 after.

“The season is still long,” Jurrjens said. “Everybody know what happened to Ubaldo last year.”

On July 1, Jurrjens pitched his second complete game of the season in a 4-0 win over Baltimore. He took a no-hitter into the seventh and wound up allowing one hit.

“It was one of his best performances of the season,”. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s been the most consistent pitcher we’ve had, and today was no different.”

Jurrjens now turns his attention to the second half of the season, and helping to get the Braves into the postseason.

“There’s still a lot of big games to play, big games to pitch. The goal is to get into the playoffs.”

Jeter reaches 3,000-hit club: Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit in grand style on Saturday. Coming into the game at Yankee Stadium against Tampa Bay, Jeter had only two home runs this season, and hadn’t hit one at home since an inside-the-park homer last summer.

Jeter needed two hits to become the first New York Yankees player to reach 3,000 hits. He singled in his first at-bat. Then in the third, Jeter pounced on a curve ball from Rays pitcher David Price, hitting a home run into the left-field stands in front of a sold out crowd of 48,103.

He added a double and two more singles in a 5-for-5 day, including the tie-breaking hit in the eighth inning of a 5-4 Yankees win.

“I don’t think you can script it any better,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s just remarkable the day that he had.”

Jeter thought his 3,000th would be like most of his other hits in his career.

“Hitting a home run was the last thing I was thinking about,” he said. “I was excited, but to be honest with you, I was pretty relieved. There was a lot of pressure to do it here.”

Jeter is the 28th major leaguer to get 3,000 hits, and the 11th player to get all 3,000 hits with one team.

StatsWatch: Here are the longest hitting streaks so far this season —

 

Andre Ethier, Dodgers, 30 games

Hunter Pence, Astros, 23 games

Ryan Braun, Brewers, 22 games

Pablo Sandoval, Giants, 21 games

Ryan Theriot, Cardinals, 20 games

 

Quotable: “Money is cool, but I’m only 23, so I have plenty of time to make money. It’s a milestone. Mr. Jeter deserved it.” — Christian Lopez, who caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit, a homer, and returned the ball to Jeter without asking anything for it. The Yankees gave Lopez memorabilia and four suite tickets to every game the rest of this season, including the playoffs.

 

Diamond Notes: New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano hit a total of 32 home runs, 12 in the final round, to win the Home Run Derby on Monday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez was second with 31 homers, 11 in the final round…Former Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis made his first start since June 29, 2010 on Sunday for Cincinnati. Willis, who was pitching for Triple-A Louisville, was called up by the Reds and allowed two runs on four hits in six innings at Milwaukee…Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is on the DL with a meniscus tear in his right knee. Jones, hitting .259 with eight homers and 46 RBIs, had surgery and will be out four to six weeks.

 

 

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

 

Almost 500 Pounds of Marijuana Found Hidden in the Boat

Dana Point, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine interdiction agents stopped a private pleasure boat Saturday off the coast of southern California with almost 500 pounds of marijuana hidden on board.

On July 9th, CBP marine interdiction agents conducted a routine boarding of a 23-foot Neptune cuddy cabin vessel near Dana Point, Calif. Dana Point is located on the coast of Southern California, between San Clemente and Laguna Beach, about 60 miles south of Los Angeles.

On board, agents discovered multiple hidden compartments in the vessel with packages concealed inside. Agents brought the vessel and two male passengers to shore for a more intensive examination.

Working with Border Patrol agents and members of the Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Team or LA BEST, a multi-agency task force led by U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, the agents found 55 bundles of marijuana hidden throughout the vessel. In total, the marijuana weighed almost 500 pounds, with an estimated street value of about $300,000.

Agents also discovered two more men at a nearby dock with a vehicle and trailer, waiting for the boat to arrive. The two additional men were also taken into custody.

The incident is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. ICE HSI is presenting the four suspects detained Saturday for federal prosecution. In addition to the prosecution, ICE HSI will also seek to seize the vessel, vehicle, and trailer.

The San Diego Air and Marine Branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a member of the Maritime Unified Command. The Maritime Unified Command is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP Office of Air & Marine, CBP Office of Field Operations, CBP Border Patrol, ICE, as well as state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The Maritime Unified Command utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the southern California coastal border.

 

Calexico, Calif. – Early yesterday morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico Station arrested an illegal alien from El Salvador with criminal history of felony sex charges.

The incident occurred at approximately 4 a.m., when Border Patrol agents working near the Calexico East port of entry apprehended a group of five illegal aliens attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico. All five illegal aliens were transported to the Calexico Border Patrol station where agents discovered that one of the group members is a convicted sex offender who had previously been deported from the U.S. He was identified as 33-year-old Rodolfo Castillo-Sosa, a convicted felon out of Los Angeles Calif. with extensive criminal history including a charge for sex with a minor under the age of 16.

Castillo is currently being held by the U.S. Border Patrol where he will be presented for federal prosecution charges.

 
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