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Big League Stew

The Juice: Dice-K throws second straight gem for Red Sox

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Nine innings, nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.

1. Hooray for Dice-K: Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up just one hit for the second consecutive start, pitching eight dominant innings in the Red Sox's 5-0 win over the Angels on Saturday. Dice-K struck out nine batters, one away from his career-high, and has allowed only two hits in his last 15 innings.

Basically, he's been pitching like a man who was afraid he'd lose his job in the Red Sox starting rotation, though manager Terry Francona said that wasn't going to happen.

"If that's the case I'll go out and threaten him," Francona said with a laugh.

Not a bad idea. Pitching in fear has clearly made a difference for Dice-K.

2. Timmy gets torched: Tim Lincecum was typically awesome in his last start, racking up 10 strikeouts and allowing only one run versus the Rockies. But against the Braves on Saturday, Lincecum didn't have it. He walked a career-high six batters and gave up five runs, resulting in a 5-2 loss to Atlanta. Tim Hudson pitched 8 2/3 innings for the win, as the Giants could only score two runs against him despite getting nine hits.

3. No error means no no-hitter: Brad Penny got his first win with the Tigers, holding the White Sox to one hit over seven innings in a 9-0 Detroit victory. But should that one hit have been scored an error?  {YSP:MORE}

Penny pitched 6 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball before Brett Morel hit a grounder down the third-base line that Brandon Inge backhanded far behind the bag, two or three steps from the outfield grass. He planted and made a throw to first that not sailed wide of Miguel Cabrera and bounced in front of him. Official scorer Ron Kleinfelter ruled the play a hit, drawing boos from the Comerica Park crowd.

Watch the play and judge for yourself

4. The 40-year-old closer: Congratulations, Darren Oliver -- you are old! 40 years and 199 days old, to be exact. That made Oliver the oldest reliever to ever record a save for the Texas Rangers, as he closed out their 3-1 win over the Royals. With Neftali Feliz on the DL with shoulder inflammation, the Rangers are going the closer-by-committee route. Oliver's record may not last long, however, as 41-year-old Arthur Rhodes is also on the Rangers' new closer committee.

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5. A-Rod slams O's: Alex Rodriguez hit a grand slam, one of five home runs the Yankees hit in a 15-3 bombing of the Orioles. The four-bagger was the 22nd of A-Rod's career, moving him into second place on the all-time list behind Lou Gehrig. CC Sabathia happily accepted the generous run support for his first win of the season.

6.  Hey, Howard hit a lefty: The Phillies' pitching staff couldn't throw a third straight shutout versus the Padres, but still got the win in 11 innings, 4-2. Ryan Howard finally broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out, two-run double off lefty Cory Luebke. Ryan Madson got his second straight save, which raises the question of whether Jose Contreras was getting some extra rest or if he might be hurt.

7. Twins thrive, score more than five: Justin Morneau returned to the Twins' lineup after missing five games with the flu. And he brought some runs with him. After not scoring more than five in any of their first 19 games this season, Minnesota broke through big-time in a 10-3 rout of the first-place Indians. Morneau drove in two of the Twins' runs with a 2-for-5 day at the plate.

8. Cairo time: Miguel Cairo's two-run single was the difference in the Reds' 5-3 win over the Cardinals. Cincinnati regained a share of first place in the NL Central with the victory. Also reaching a first-place tie was Albert Pujols, whose seventh home run of the season matched Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun for the NL lead in that category.

9. Stanley has saved them: Spurred by the crumpled carcass of their beloved toolbox Stanley, the Mets won their third game in a row after beating the Diamondbacks, 6-4.  The sacrifice has also inspired Ike Davis, who homered for the third consecutive game, Since smashing their bullpen mascot, Mets relievers have thrown seven scoreless innings.\

Extra frames: Starlin Castro was the star for the Cubs, batting 4-for-5 with three RBIs in their 10-8 win over the Dodgers... Ben Zobrist's three-run homer was the difference as the Rays beat the Blue Jays, 6-4...  Jason Hammel and three relievers held the Marlins to one run in the Rockies' 3-1 win, ending Florida's four-game win streak... Trevor Cahill improved to 3-0 as the A's scored a season-high run total in a 9-1 victory over the Mariners... Pirates fans got an Andrew McCutchen figurine, then watched the real thing score three runs and steal two bases as Pittsburgh beat the Nationals, 7-2.

Dice-K image via AP; A-Rod from Getty

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