Cubs 11, Brewers 4: The Cubs wrecked the Brewers like a skiff in a cyclone this week. Jim Edmonds delivered the death blows yesterday, smacking two home runs -- one a salami -- in the first few innings, and Chicago never looked back. Didn't have to, not with Rich Harden dealing like he was (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 9K). The Brewers were less competitive in each succeeding game of this series, their fire and edge from Monday dulling into an ugly, lukewarm frustration by the ninth inning of this game, when Eric Gagne threw behind Edmonds, earning himself an instant ejection. I've said on several occasions that I suspect that Ned Yost is the wrong man to take a maturing team to the next level. There's a lot of baseball still to be played, but this series went a ways in confirming that suspicion. If the Brewers are unable to rebound from this week's whuppin' -- if they take the month of August off to search for their identity -- we'll have our answer in no uncertain terms.
Braves 9, Cardinals 4: It's a sad day when you have no idea who the guy is who just won the game for your team, but that's me and Clint Sammons right now. Sammons went 3-4 with a homer and 3 RBI, and his heroics helped the Braves avoid a sweep. The Cardinals should still be happy about this series, however, and should be even happier that Milwaukee was pummeled by Chicago, dropping them into a tie for second mere days after the Brewers put the hurt on St. Louis.
Angels 12, Yankees 6: Pudge's first game with the Yankees was fairly forgettable. In addition to losing, Girardi pinch-hit Wilson Betemit for him in the ninth inning despite the fact that Pudge has an OBP 100 points higher against righties. OK, it worked, as Betemit singled and scored, but man.
Phillies 8, Nationals 4: That's nine losses in a row for Washington and ten of twelve since the break. John Lannan (5.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R) was mentioned in several trade rumors yesterday afternoon. Maybe that rattled him.
Inidans 9, Tigers 4: On July 21st, I noted that Justin Verlander had turned it around in July. Since then he's thrown 9.2 innings, giving up 13 runs on 14 hits. Grady Sizemore -- the Tribe's only legitimate power threat but somehow leading off -- goes 1-3 with 4 RBI and a homer. The handsome Sal Fasano goes 2-3 with a double and a couple of RBI of his own.
Mariners 8, Rangers 5: The Mariners were up 8-0 after seven and a half innings, but allowed the Rangers to at least make it interesting. R.A. Dickey gets the win, but really, when a knuckleballer wins, aren't we all victorious? Here's a fun game to play when you're looking at box scores while waiting for the game to go final: notice how ESPN.com's box scores lists the player's first initial and full last name? Stare at them a while and see if you can come up with former major leaguers who match them. For example, looking at the Rangers last night, I picked out Chili Davis, Jeff Hamilton, Dale Murphy, and Matt Young. I could only get Javy Lopez and Jody Reed on the Mariners. Yeah, I probably need to get out more or read a book or something.
Marlins 12, Rockies 2: Jeremy Hermida, pleased at not being traded to Pittsburgh as was rumored most of yesterday morning and afternoon, rewards the Marlins for their loyalty by going 3-5 with a double and 2 RBI.
Twins 10, White Sox 6: Play was stopped for a few minutes in the seventh as Twins' fans got rowdy and pelted the field with hats and balls and stuff after Ron Gardenhire was ejected. This is Minnesota? I was led to believe that Minnesota was a land full of polite and respectful Midwesterners. Of lutefisk, Lake Wobegon, and "Minnesota nice." I would have expected Twins fans to demonstrate an icy yet smiling, passive-aggressiveness towards the umpires of this game, not to throw stuff on the field. Doesn't matter, though, because the spectacle Gardenhire set off seems to have worked, with the Twins going on to rack up 7 quick runs right after he got ejected. Note: Ken Griffey, Jr. did not make it to Minneapolis in time to suit up for the Sox for this one, but he somehow strained his hamstring and pulled a groin during his fight out of Cincinnati yesterday afternoon when someone said the word "centerfield."
Oh, and in case you think that the Griffey deal is the only thing happening in Chicago, you need to see this dispatch from the inner sanctum of White Sox HQ.
Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1: Derek Lowe is outdueled by Brandon Webb as the Dodgers fall two behind Arizona. Juan Pierre -- seeing the writing on the wall as it relates to his playing time with Manny coming to town -- goes 2-3. In this, he's kind of like the guy who cleans his desk up when word spreads that the consultants are coming in to "streamline operations" out in the field office. Nice effort and all, but he's not going to be able to do anything to clean up last month's sales figures, and those are what's going to get him fired.