NL makes statement on Interleague weekend

NL makes statement on Interleague weekend

Every year since 2004, the American League has ruled Interleague Play, getting the best of the National League in head-to-head matchups and establishing superiority that's held up, for the most part, in the All-Star Game (no NL win since 1996) and in the World Series, in which four of the last six champions have come from the AL.

  • 134 wins
  • 118 wins
But while looking back at the just-completed 14 series that made up the first round of Interleague Play in 2010, it's clear that the NL has come to play and might be making a statement that recent Interleague history is just that -- history.

The NL showed up strong in the first group of three-game series, going 22-20 against the AL, and from sea to shining sea, baseball was once again captivated with the strategy, intensity and sheer drama of the Grand Old Game, Interleague style.

With 2 1/2 weeks to the next round of Interleague Play, here's a roundup of round one:

Subway serve held: Mets 2, Yankees 1
The Mets had to wait until the last game of the weekend, on Sunday night, but they held off the Yankees, 6-4, to win two out of three in front of their home fans at Citi Field. The Mets have ground to make up in the NL East, and taking a series against the world champs on their home turf might give them the momentum boost they've been seeking.

Boston makes Citizens arrest: Red Sox 2, Phillies 1
The hot Red Sox kept rolling despite the fact that they were playing in Citizens Bank Park, the home of the two-time defending NL champion, and despite the fact that they had to face former AL East nemesis Roy Halladay in the rubber match Sunday. But Boston prevailed, taking two of three in a key matchup between expected postseason contenders.

Putting the 'A' in Bay: A's 3, Giants 0
Chalk up another one for the AL -- and a decisive one to boot. The Oakland A's held their own and then some at their home stadium, sweeping the Bay Area-rival Giants and giving up only one run in the three games -- with two straight shutouts to finish them off. The young and rapidly improving A's moved to one game above .500 and became the first team to hold the Giants to a single run in a three-game series since the Cardinals did it June 7-9, 1949 -- at the Polo Grounds.

Rolling on the road: Rays 2, Astros 1
The team with the best record in baseball (32-12 after Sunday's win) and the best road record in baseball (19-5) kept on winning in Interleague play when the Rays stormed back to take the Saturday and Sunday games in Minute Maid Park. Now they'll return home to Tropicana Field to take on their AL East rival Red Sox.

Walking off in style: Cardinals 2, Angels 1
Felipe Lopez's walk-off single in the 10th inning over a five-man infield not only gave St. Louis a home-series win over a playoff contender in the Angels of the AL West, but it also put the club back into first place in the tight NL Central, a half-game over the Cincinnati Reds.

Happy in Hollywood: Dodgers 2, Tigers 1
The Dodgers have been hot, and it continued in their first Interleague series of the year when they took the first two of the three-game set against the visiting Tigers, losing only Sunday's getaway game. Things are looking up with Manny Ramirez healthy again and shortstop Rafael Furcal coming back this week, although things will get tougher with Andre Ethier on the sidelines.

Desert dinger duel: D-backs 2, Blue Jays 1
Nobody in the Majors has hit more home runs than the Blue Jays, and no stadium has hosted more long balls in 2010 than Chase Field. The result in the Valley of the Sun was scorching offense, with Arizona winning the first two games and the Jays getting revenge in the finale.

Big win in Texas: Cubs 2, Rangers 1
Three games deep in the heart of Texas, three one-run decisions. Fortunately for the Cubs, solid pitching, including Carlos Silva's sixth win against no defeats, and clutch hitting led to two consecutive 5-4 victories over the weekend, allowing Chicago to escape from Arlington with a rare series win against the team that's leading the AL West.

Buckeye ball: Reds 2, Indians 1
Cincinnati is one of the pleasant early-season surprises, and it kept its mojo going by taking the first two in the road series against their interstate and Interleague rivals, dropping only the Sunday game. The Reds' young pitching staff continued to impress as they geared up for what could be a season-long divisional battle with St. Louis.

Willingham belts for Beltway belt: Nationals 2, Orioles 1
After dropping the opener of this series to the nearby Orioles, the team from our nation's capital stormed back in a big way, winning Saturday and walking off victorious Sunday on Josh Willingham's homer in the 10th that gave the NL another big Interleague win and got Matt Capps off the hook after Washington's closer blew his first save of the year.

Sweep-less in Seattle: Padres 2, Mariners 1
The oddity of Mariners co-ace Cliff Lee giving up eight runs in the first game of this Interleague set and still getting a win as Seattle scored 15 runs dissolved into what most fans expected out of this series: good starting pitching and a few timely hits making the difference. Saturday's 2-1 result was a nail-biter and Sunday's game was close until the late innings, proving again that the Padres just might be for real and the Mariners have more work to do.

Put it on the board: White Sox 2, Marlins 1
Sure, the Marlins' 13-0 win on Sunday probably didn't sit very well with the fans at U.S. Cellular Field, but before that game took place, the White Sox had taken the first two games of the set convincingly, getting important ace-like performances from Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd. For a team struggling to gain consistency and momentum, two out of three could be a big step forward.

Still on Target: Twins 2, Brewers 1
One tough Sunday loss kept Minnesota from sweeping Milwaukee over the weekend in Minneapolis, but the Twins remain in front in the AL Central and still managed to score 26 runs in a three-game set. Now they get to stay home in their comfy new ballpark and take on the Yankees for the first time at Target Field.

Rock-ing on the road: Rockies 2, Royals 1
Kansas City took the opener of this three-game series in a rout, but the Rockies asserted the early trend of NL dominance in Interleague Play by winning the next two at Kauffman Stadium, including the Sunday rarity in which Royals ace -- and 2009 AL Cy Young winner -- Zack Greinke didn't make it out of the fourth inning and suffered his earliest exit from a game in two years.

Doug Miller is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.