This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine for the gnarliest and Californicatingest baseball that big league dudes have to offer. Today's Roll Call starts in sunny Los Angeles, where the Dodgers are stringing together a series of pseudo-miraculous events — from a bobblehead giveaway for a one-out lefty reliever, to an Octogenarian's triumphant return to shortstop, to a quick rebound from a gut-punch ninth-inning comeback — to have themselves a nice little pennant race.
Game of the Day: Dodgers 7, Brewers 5
Joe Beimel Bobblehead Magic:
Andre Ethier Magic: The Dodgers defense/bullpen pulled a semi-Niedenfuer in the ninth, with Ryan Braun's two-out, two-run deep capping a four-run Bru Cru comeback to tie the game. But these ain't the '85 Dodgers, and it's a good thing, because a 3-year-old Andre Ethier never would have been able to swing a 30-ounce bat in order to hit two homers, including a game-ender in the bottom of the ninth.
Give it away now: With the Dodger Dogs up 5-1, James "Buh" Loney made two errors in the top of the ninth to set up Ray Durham's two-run single. Braun then took Chan Ho Park yard (or was it Chan Ho Yard, park?) with homer No. 31. Loney probably tried to dig his way to Korea.
Scar Tissue: Ethier said, "Me and Matt Kemp were out there looking at each other when they tied it up, saying, 'What the heck's going on?' It's a big emotional swing, but you've got to jump right back on it and stay mentally tough in that situation."
Higher Ground: After Kemp led off the ninth with a single against Carlos Vanilla Wafer, Ethier jumped on a 1-2 pitch for his 15th homer, making Loney one relieved fella. "He didn't just pick me up. He picked the whole team up," Loney said. "There were some crazy things in the ninth." The Dodgers thrive on crazy, son. They're tied atop the NL West standings.
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Feelin' Rundown (The rest of Sunday's action):
Cubs 9, Marlins 2: Thanks to an eight-run seventh, the Cubs turn into the Weather Channel commercial that goes, "Severe weather can strike anywhere, anytime." Reynel Pinto plays the part of the car struck immobile by flash flooding. In what had to be an awkward postgame, Pinto stands by his locker to take questions but ignores whatever is asked of him by reporters. They squeezed 19,000 folks into Joe Robbie Dolphin for this one. If you can't draw 20,000 for the Cubs, it's time for some jai alai.
Rockies 7, Nationals 2: Manny Acta suggested his players, who are mired mentally — just as they are physically — in a 10-game losing streak, go enjoy a barbecue or otherwise spend some time with their families. I take it a step further and suggest to go to the barbecue and not come back.
Mets 4, Pirates 0: The sounds of a Santana complege-game shutout win suggest that the Mets have changed their evil ways, baby.
Blue Jays 15, Red Sox 4: Beckett continues to be a disappointment to his fantasy owners. Some wiseguy should ask him about that sometime. "Josh, do you know that 'Moose's Marauders' paid $34 for you and your ERA's 4.34?
Giants 3, Braves 1: Tim Lincecum sometimes looks like a Little Leaguer out there, with his floppy delivery, and he did a Little Leaguer-like move move by pitching exclusively from the stretch from the sixth inning. It didn't work for me against Meyer Material in '87, but Lincecum is much farther along in his development.
Astros 3, D-backs 0: Astros retire Biggio's No. 7, then they retire the Unit's Mullet, "Ol' Blue." Oswalt's performance also could be framed.
Indians 4, Angels 3: Just for fun, and to see how they'll react, the Angels should panic after losing two of three from the Tribe. Speaking of terror, they next go to Tampa Bay, with Tropical Storm Fay looming over the Gulf Coast. They got a dome in St. Pete. It'll hold. Don't see a problem.
Yankees 15, Royals 6: A-Rod hits a score-tying homer in the first that "rattled around like a pinball" among the stone monuments in left field. Hey, Alex. You break it, you buy it, eh? Such a nice boy. Mussina now four victories from 20.
Twins 11, Mariners 8: Only three more home games before John McCain kicks the Twins out of the Humphrey Dome for two weeks. Who will have the better road trip?
Rays 7, Rangers 4: Maddon intentionally walks Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded — Ball 4, Balfour — and then Marlon Byrd strikes out against Dan Wheeler. I love it when a plan comes together, Hannibal!
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Photo of the Day: In case of Kaz Matsui emergency, break glass
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A-Rod (Yankees) 3-3, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI
Jeetah (Yankees) 4-4, 3 R, SB
Mora (O's) 5-6, 2 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI
Luke Scott (O's) 3-6, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Reed Johnson (Cubs) 4-5, R, 3 RBI
Edinson Volquez (Reds) 7 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 4 K, Win
Tim Lincecum (Giants) 7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 10 K, Win
Johan (Mets) 9 IP, 3 H, 7 K, Win
Armando Rios (Jays) 5-6 2 R, 3 RBI
Adam Lind (Jays) 3-6, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI
Roy Oswalt (Astros) 8 IP, 2 H, BB, 10 K, Win
Raul Ibanez (M's) 5-5, R, 3 RBI
Jason Kubel (Twins) 4-5, 4 R, 2 RBI
Javier Vazquez (White Sox) 8 IP, 4 H, 8 K, Win
Ethier (Dodgers) 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Hamels (Phillies) 8 IP, 7 H, ER, 3 K, Win
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Brian Bannister (Royals) 1 IP, 10 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, Loss
Beckett (Red Sox) 2 1/3 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, BB, 2 K, Loss
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Words of Mouth
"What can you do? You can't flip-flop the whole team with another 25 guys." —Gnats manager Manny Acta