AL Tarp Tale: Torii Hunter befriends the Rally Monkey

David Brown
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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's AL roll call starts in the O.C. where the Angels accrued a big dividend on their $90-million off-season add of Torii Hunter, who wants everyone to say hello to his little friend.

Game of the Day

Angels 6, Indians 4

Friendship is rare: Torii Hunter talked a big game after signing, and in spring training, about hanging out with the Rally Monkey. Introducing himself, being his friend, feeding him bananas. Only now, that Hunter himself has produced a big, come-from-behind rally with a chilling ninth-inning grand slam, can he truly become one with the l'il primate.

Set up: Gary Matthews Jr. walked with one out, Vladimir Guerrero singled and Garret Anderson walked ahead of Hunter, who hit a 1-0 slider from Joe Borowski like it was tee ball.

Sting: Hunter's solo homer in the eighth had given Los Angeles a 2-1 lead, but Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez — who has been bothered by a sore ankle — gave up the lead in the top of the ninth, requiring Hunter to stage an encore.

Throw over: The Angels swiped five bases on Victor Martinez and pitchers.


Rundown feelin' (Monday's other games)

Orioles 5, Mariners 4Aubrey Huff went deep in the eighth and the O's moved to 5-1, their best start in a decade, before a "crowd" of 10,774 at Camden Yards. You used to have to leg wrestle grandmothers for tickets to an Orioles game. But "The Wire" apparently replaced baseball as Baltimore's pastime right after Cal retired. Or Boog's meat went bad. Or maybe it has to do with a dislike of the owner. Fans have ideas on how to put more butts in the seats.

White Sox 7, Twins 4Joe Crede is hotter than the sun, but he can't even run for mayor of the South Side of Chicago with Sox fan Richard Daley in charge of the region — which is fine because all Crede knows is good third-basin' and grand slammin', which carried the Pale Hose to an Opening Day win at The Cell.

Yankees 6, Rays 1 — Good news (unless you're a Red Sox fan): Bobby Abreu and Mike Mussina were strong. Bad news (unless you're a Red Sox fan): Jeter left the game with a strained left quad.


Photo of the Day: Adios, Ozzie

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If you had April 7 in the "When will Ozzie Guillen earn his first ejection?" you've won the grand prize.


Fantasy Freaks

Joe Crede (White Sox): 2-4, grand slam, .393 BA

George Sherrill (Orioles): Save No. 4

Torii Hunter (Angels): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, SB

Joe Saunders (Angels): 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2, BB, 5 K, 0.56 ERA


Fantasy Flakes

Joe Borowski (Indians): 1-3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 19.29 ERA

Francisco Rodriguez (Angels): 1-3 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8.10 ERA

Carl Crawford (Rays) 0-4, .148 BA


Big Talker

"Certainly, Torii is capable of just about anything." — Cleveland's Casey Blake on Hunter, a former teammate in Minnesota.