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Runs up thanks to Yanks, Coors

Associated Press
Published May 2, 2003

Jeff Nelson has a theory about why scoring is slightly up after the first month of the season.

"The Yankees seem to be scoring a lot of runs every night," the Mariners reliever said.

Yankees infielder Todd Zeile has his own guess.

"I know when I was in Colorado, there wasn't a lot of scoring there early last season and this year there is," Zeile said. "Maybe that's the difference."

It turns out both are right.

Teams are averaging 9.5 runs this season, up from 9.3 through April last season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That 2.2 percent increase can be attributed to the Yankees' big bats and the thin air in Colorado.

Teams are combining for four more runs a game at hitter-friendly Coors Field a month into the season. Apparently, the humidor the Rockies used last season to make the balls less lively isn't working as well.

"Every day I come here, something different happens," Cincinnati manager Bob Boone said Wednesday after the Reds' 13-11 win over the Rockies. "I'm sure I've seen that before; I just can't remember."

The Yankees are doing their scoring everywhere, averaging 6.6 runs after scoring 5.1 during the first month of last season.

Home runs also are on the rise after dropping for two straight seasons, rising 10 percent from 1.91 last season to 2.10. That's still well below the record-setting April 2000, when teams combined to hit 2.54 homers, and the 2.34 from 2001.

Last season's drop in homers could be attributed to umpires calling the high strike, which hitters are getting used to.

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