The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday (and now on Saturdays) for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
Andy is dandy: Andy Pettitte felt he was a little too "uptight" while taking the loss in his return start last Sunday afternoon. On Friday night, the 39-year-old left-hander looked nothing of the sort, allowing the Cincinnati Reds only four hits and striking out nine over eight scoreless innings in the Yankees 4-0 victory.
It was the first time Pettitte had tossed eight scoreless innings since July 8, 2008, and the victory attached to this marvelous outing was his first since July 8, 2010. Love that symmetry.
''I felt like I could do this, and now it's just like I feel like the mind's getting back there,'' a beaming Pettitte said after his 241st win. ''I'm just hoping and praying the body holds up.''
I'm sure Yankees fans are doing the same, all the while wondering what might have been had Pettitte returned in 2011.
Just another save: Or at least that's how Jonathan Papelbon played it off after his scoreless ninth preserved a 6-4 victory for Cole Hamels and Phillies over his former employer, the Boston Red Sox.
His real motivation? Simple.
'I want to go out there and try to preserve all the wins I can for my starters,'' Papelbon said. ''I think for me I take a little extra pride in that. That's basically kind of what it boiled down to for me.''
Papelbon earned saves 219 over his six seasons in Boston. His twelve this season lead the National League.
Niese cries uncle: Well, actually, Mets skipper Terry Collins waved the white flag for Jonathan Niese after the left-hander surrendered four of the Blue Jays five home runs en route to New York's ugly 14-5 loss.
J.P. Arencibia did the bulk of the damage against Niese, connecting on a three-run blast in the first and a solo shot in the third. He later added a two-run single to give him a career-high six RBIs. Rajai Davis also hit a pair of homers, while Brazilian outfielder Yan Gomes rounded out Toronto's barrage with the first round-tripper of his career.
Kid K's grand finale: We knew Kerry Wood knew how to make an entrance after striking out 20 Houston Astros in only his fifth major league start back on May 6, 1998. Fourteen years later, Wood answered the call one last time and showed us he could make an equally thrilling exit, striking out Dayan Viciedo on three pitches to record the 1,582nd and final strikeout of his career.
Viciedo was the only batter Wood faced in the Cubs 3-2 loss to the crosstown rival White Sox. After getting his man, Wood walked slowly off the mound to a rousing standing ovation and was soon greeted by his son Justin, whom he promptly hoisted in the air for an emotional embrace at the top step of the Cubs dugout.
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Quote of the Day: ''Carlos has been there for me. I heard all the stories, but what is past is past. I met him in spring training and all I know is a good teammate and a good guy.'' — Marlins closer Heath Bell after picking up the save for Carlos Zambrano in Miami's 3-2 win over the Indians. Prior to Friday's save, Bell had blown his first two opportunities in relief of Big Z.
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Photo of the Day: Headlocks are the new helmet slaps.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon grabs a headlock on teammate A.J. Ellis after Ellis' ninth inning bases loaded walk clinched a 6-5 win over the Cardinals. It almost makes you wonder how Gordon handles losses. Perhaps he breaks out the slightly more uncomfortable abdominal stretch or even the crossface chicken wing under those circumstances.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• The Orioles improved to 6-2 in extra inning games with a 2-1 victory over the Nationals. All six of those wins have come on the road.
• With their 7-2 win over the Padres, the Los Angeles Angels improved their interleague record to 63-28 since 2007. That's tops in baseball. Meanwhile, the Padres still hold the second worst overall interleague record at 103-137.
• The Texas Rangers became the first team in major league history to open their schedule with 14 different opponents in their first 14 series. Or maybe we should call them victims, as the Rangers cruised past Houston, 4-1.
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