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Big League Stew

The Juice: Rafael Furcal clinches overtime victory for Cards, A’s record sweet 16 in Toronto

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Comic Cards: That's Rafael Furcal doing his best David Freese wins Game 6 impression and for good reason. The St. Louis shortstop's two-out RBI single gave the Cardinals a 3-2 win in 12 innings over the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night at Busch Stadium. The knock allowed pitcher Joe Kelly to score from second, where he had been inserted as a pinch runner for Lance Berkman.

Kelly also handled Berkman's quote of the night duties after the game. What a guy!

"Berkman calls me a baby giraffe. I'm fast, but I'm just coming out of the womb," he told reporters.

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse allowed two runs over seven innings, giving St. Louis its 20th consecutive start. Hanley Ramirez made an impact in his first night in a Dodgers uniform, going 2 for 4 with a triple in his first at-bat, a walk and a RBI single that tied the game in the sixth inning.

Rampaging Reds: Alas, the Cards' win in St. Louis only allowed them to keep pace six games behind Cincinnati as the Reds won their seventh straight game with a 5-3 victory in Houston. Drew Stubbs was again the hero, hitting a two-run, two-out double in the ninth that gave Cincinnati a lead. (He hit a two-run homer in the ninth one night earlier.)

Reds manager Dusty Baker contends his streaking team isn't playing that well, but it could be a lot worse. As cited by ESPN's Buster Olney, the Astros have gone 2-22 over their last 24 games and have a -73 run differential in that time. They're 2-19 in July.

The O stands for offense?: Well, that'll help your run differential. Oakland landed a 16-o win over Toronto at Rogers Centre despite wielding the most unproductive offense in the American League. The blowout was good enough for the A's seventh straight victory and the fifth 16-0 shutout in franchise history. Catcher Jeff Mathis was forced to pitch for the Jays in the ninth inning and gave up two runs, completely destroying everyone's hopes for a Raiders-Argonauts joke in this space.

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Quote of the day

''I didn't really show it but inside I was going through some emotional times, but it was very special these last few days. Definitely emotional inside."

— Ichiro, who will now really leave Seattle after New York took home a series win with a 5-2 victory at Safeco Field

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Photo of the day: 'X' marks the hug

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(AP)

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Three facts for the water cooler

• The Phillies hadn't recorded a three-game sweep all season before Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriguez opened the door by allowing three runs, giving Philadelphia a 7-6 victory in 10 innings on Wednesday. The Fightins' are 8-4 since returning from the All-Star break.

• Ryan Roberts joined the Rays for a 10-1 victory over the Orioles and manned third base. He's the ninth Ray to man the position — the most by an AL team since Detroit in 2007 — though Tampa Bay is hoping that number won't climb any higher. Evan Longoria is scheduled to start his rehab assignment in Triple-A Durham on Thursday.

• Detroit's Max Scherzer has won four straight starts after a 5-3 triumph over Cleveland. He's struck out 35 batters over 32 innings in that time frame.

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