Brewers 11, Pirates 6: A pretty impressive offensive performance for Milwaukee. Now, if they could only get some pitching. Oh, wait. Brewers' fans have visions of 1987 Doyle Alexander and 1998 Randy Johnson dancing in their heads. The way C.C. has pitched recently, those may not be unrealistic expectations.
Twins 4, Indians 3: Silver lining: the eight straight losses for the Indians brings some sort of clarity to this team, however grim. By officially going into the tank like they have, the Indians have made it a little easier for Shapiro to do the things he needs to do to ensure that they can contend over the next couple of years (i.e. Sizemore's prime). Things like unload their soon-to-walk ace for much needed offensive help. Things like designate their "closer" for assignment. Things like bringing back guys like Hafner, Martinez, and Carmona slowly, ensuring that they don't get overworked, re-injured, or disillusioned in some desperate and tenuous playoff run this season. Sure, losing sucks, but sometimes the timing works out OK. Just ask the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs.
Braves 7, Houston 6: 17 innings. As Mac said, this one reminded me an awful lot of Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS, except this time (a) Atlanta won; and (b) both Houston and Atlanta kind of stink so it doesn't really matter all that much. Chipper Jones reached base seven times in nine plate appearances. Some folks down south are sad that he's not hitting .400 anymore, but his OBP is still up around .485, and that's nothin' to sneeze at.
Tigers 2, Mariners 1: Only 15 innings? The Astros and Braves mock them for their lack of stamina and resolve. Jamie Burke takes the loss for Seattle, which is pretty cool considering that Jamie Burke is a catcher. According to the box score he didn't walk anyone, and according to the game story he hit 86 on the gun. Scouts from the Rangers, Royals, Pirates, and Nationals were later seen writing furious memos to their front offices.
Reds 6, Nationals 5: Edinson Volquez wasn't all that dominant today -- he gave up three runs in six innings -- and after the game, Nats' manager Manny Acta vented: "We should have won the game. We caught Volquez on one of his bad days. We should have scored eight runs against him." The Nats have scored eight runs against a pitcher only once this season, and have scored that many in an entire game only six times. They are currently dead last in runs scored in all of Major League Baseball. In other words, Manny Acta probably needs to aim lower.
Rangers 11, Orioles 10: Only 22,000 showed up for this one. But you know how these things go. Some day there will be hundreds of thousands of people who will all claim to have been at the first game in which All-Star pitcher George Sherrill saw action.
Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2: A month or two ago I thought that the Dbacks had the luxury of allowing Randy Johnson to come back at his leisure and see what he had left in the tank with no real worries about whether things would pan out or not. In light of a horrifying month for both Arizona and Johnson, I had reassessed, figuring that if Arizona managed to hang on to the division, it would be with Johnson as the situational lefty at best. Given yesterday's performance (6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 10K) maybe it's time for me to reassess again. Of course only a couple more starts will tell us whether yesterday's performance was actually a function of Johnson figuring it out or merely a function of playing the Padres.
Mets 4, Phillies 2: All-Star Billy Wagner blows his sixth save in 25 chances, but has his bacon saved by a .269/.296/.366 hitter who just so happens to be the Mets' Clutch God this season. Apropos of nothing except my desire to note that he's not even the best hitting second baseman in his division whose name starts with the letter U, Chase Utley goes 1-6.
Marlins 10, Rockies 5: Cody Ross in the four-game series against the Rockies: 12-20, 2 HR, 4 2B, 15 RBI.
White Sox 4, A's 3: Rich Harden didn't have it today, and with the kinds of lineups the A's run out there anymore, their starting pitcher needs to have it.
Cubs 7, Cardinals 1: Between dropping two of three to the Cubs and the Brewers grabbing Sabathia, the Cardinals' somewhat surprising run this season may soon be coming to an end.
Angels 7, Blue Jays 1: While they have a few less wins than Tampa Bay and get a fraction of the press the Red Sox get, I still have the Angels as the team most likely to win the AL this year. Their lead -- five games -- is the biggest in baseball, and after a rocky start, Jon Garland is coming around, giving them four starters that match up pretty decently with the four that Tampa Bay, Boston, and Chicago can trot out. Obviously they need some offensive help, but unlike the other AL contenders, they have some breathing room to experiment and figure things out during the dog days.
Dodgers 5, Giants 3: For all of the high-profile signings of the past few years, and no matter how the Furcals, Jones, and Garciaparras of the world come back from their various injuries and ailments, this Dodger team is going to rise or fall based on the play of Kemp, Ethier, Martin, and Loney. Yesterday they delivered, going 7-16 and driving in all five of the Dodgers' runs.
Rays 9, Royals 2: Terry Francona named two Rays to the All-Star team (Kazmir and Navarro), but noted "You know, at some point, if [Rays'] fans want them to be on the team, they're going have to step up and vote. That's the way it goes." Good luck. Despite the best record in baseball and despite coming off a potentially season-defining whuppin' of the Red Sox, the Rays drew an average of just over 22,000 for the last three games against the Royals, which is around a half-full house. Oftentimes teams don't see a success-driven attendance bump until the year after the success, but one would think that if there was any potential for Rays fever around Tampa Bay, folks would have started catching it by now.
Yankees 5, Red Sox 4: A-Rod ties Mickey Mantle on the career home run list. I've known exactly how many home runs Rodriguez had for some time now, and I've long known how many home runs The Mick had in his career. The brain works in funny ways, though, and mine hadn't really ever put those two converging numbers together at once until Rodriguez hooked that ball around the left field pole in the second inning and ESPN flashed it on the screen. For a few moments I sat there thinking "Wow. Mickey Mantle. This Rodriguez fellow might be pretty good." And of course I know better. If an obsessive like me can take a guy like Rodriguez for granted like that once in a while, imagine how many casual fans out there are missing the fact that one of the best players in the history of the game is in his prime and on our televisions on something like a weekly basis.