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Big League Stew

The Juice: Renteria’s latest game-winner downs Giants in 13

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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

1. There goes that man again: Every now and then Edgar Renteria will remind us he's still hanging aroud in the big leagues. When he does, it's usually with the game on the line and a quality opponent across the diamond. Such was the case here, as Renteria delivered a game-ending RBI single off San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson in the thirteenth inning to give his Cincinnati Reds a desperately needed 4-3 victory.

Of course it was just last fall that Renteria was playing hero for those Giants, driving home the winning run in Game 6 and claiming the MVP trophy in their World Series victory over the Texas Rangers. This game didn't quite hold that much significance, but it's still a big moment for the 16-year veteran and his current teammates.

"It's always special because they're great guys," Renteria said of the Giants. "No matter who we play right now, we have to concentrate on winning ballgames. We were lucky to win that one."

Some of that luck Renteria referred to occurred one batter prior to his at-bat when relief pitcher Jose Arredondo hit for himself and bounced his first career hit over the head of Pablo Sandoval. That moved Jay Bruce into scoring position and allowed Renteria's single to end it.

2. Two-thirds down, one-third to go: Not that Albert Pujols will need 3,000 hits to reach Hall of Fame status, but the countdown is officially underway after his two-hit night raised his career hit total to 2,000. The milestone hit, a double off Carlos Marmol in the eighth, plated the St. Louis Cardinals final run in their 9-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

3. Unhappy return: Probably not the results Chien-Ming Wang envisioned in his first big league start since July 4, 2009. Of the first five New York Mets he faced, all five reached base and four scored, putting his Washington Nationals in a hole that eventually became an 8-5 loss. {YSP:MORE}

4. Like they need any help: The Philadelphia Phillies added an All-Star in Hunter Pence, but certainly didn't need any extra assistance in their 10-3 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chase Utley finished a double shy of the cycle and knocked in four in the blowout, while Roy Halladay limited Pittsburgh's offense to one single over seven scoreless innings to earn his league-leading 13th victory.

5. Don't change the calendar yet: That's what Rick Porcello says after improving to 5-0 in July in the Detroit Tigers 12-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels. The 22-year-old right-hander — whose name was briefly mentioned and then dismissed in trade rumors on Friday — pitched eight innings of two-run ball, striking out six and not once arguing with his catcher (Alex Avila).

6. Busted streaks: The respective hitting streaks of Dustin Pedroia and Emilio Bonifacio are both history. Pedroia saw his end at 25 with an 0-for-4 performance in Boston's 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Bonafacio also went 0-for-4, ending his streak at 26, in the Florida Marlins 5-0 loss to the Altanta Braves.

7. Stock rising: One available starter moving up wish lists is Jeremy Guthrie. That rise will only continue after the right-hander shut down the New York Yankees for seven innings, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-2 victory. I'm sure this performance will be especially appealing to a team like, say, the Red Sox... perhaps?

8. Stock falling: Polar opposite results for Seattle Mariners left-hander Eric Bedard. Making his first start in a month due to a knee strain, the potential trade target couldn't escape the Tampa Bay Rays eight run second inning, leaving more questions than answers about his health and effectiveness going forward.

Those discouraged by Bedard's outing may instead look at his counterpart in this game, Jeff Niemen, who fanned a career high 11 in six and two-thirds innings and picked the win in Tampa Bay's 8-0 triumph.

9. Butler's binge: After hitting a disappointing six home runs in his first 95 games, Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler has doubled that total in the last eight after hitting a pair in their 12-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.

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