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Morning Juice: Some birds better than others as O's sweep Jays

Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts near Babe Ruth's outhouse in Baltimore, where the Blue Jays were fixing to dump their suffocating eight-game losing streak. But they weren't the best birds in town on this day.

Game of the Day
Orioles 12, Blue Jays 10 (11 inn.)

Doc can't cure it: Roy Halladay(notes), M.D., left after seven innings with an 8-3 lead and visions of a broken losing streak dancing in his head. But the normally reliable Jays pen leaked all over the place, enabling the O's to tie the score with a five-run eighth. The big culprit was Jesse Carlson(notes), but closer Scott Downs(notes) aided and abetted, allowing a two-run single to Adam Jones(notes) and a tying two-run double to Nick Markakis(notes). Jones almost scored the go-ahead run, but was cut down at the plate.

Reimold or reason: Why wait to get to excited about Matt Wieters when the O's already have Nolan Reimold(notes), who hit the game-ending homer?

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Yeah, his name sounds more like that of a managing general partner than an outfielder, but after hitting .394 at Triple-A, Reimold also has hit well so far for the big team. Since being recalled May 14, Reimold has four homers in 13 games, including two in the past two to help spark Birdland. Holy Gary Roenicke!

Flying south: The Jays dropped three games apiece in Boston, Atlanta and Baltimore — scoring a total of 13 runs in the first eight defeats. This time, the offense awoke, and they had Roy on the mound with six outs to go. And they still lost it, making for the worst road trip in Toronto baseball history, pretty much.

Cito sounds like a beaten man:

"This is one we had a chance to win. We were leading. So this is about the worst lost we had on this trip," manager Cito Gaston said. "We're leading, we have Doc on the mound and we had a five-run lead. You're supposed to win those kind of games."

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Feelin' Rundown (the Jays would have dropped all of these games, too):

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Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: Not only do the Cards escape from Wisconsin with a series victory, but catcher Jason LaRue(notes) (right) escapes serious harm as a last-moment and unexpected entrant in the Sausage Race.

Here's VIDEO (check about the 1:25 mark) of LaRue's fancy footwork to avoid a crushing hit by Hot Dog, Polish, Bratwurst and Italian sausages. Note that Chorizo is well out in front, probably energized by the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Mariners 6, Athletics 1: Not to alarm anyone, but Russell Branyan has 11 homers already. He has 23 homers in his past 280 at-bats since the start of '08. That's positively Kevin Maasian. Actually, it's much better. Branyan also has an OPS north of 1.000. He's still striking out like that guy with Tim Lincecum and the meat, but you can go places with an OPS of 1.000. All this at age 33. His career could have been swallowed by all of the strikeouts — he whiffs about once every three plate appearances — but here he is.

Reds 6, Astros 1: It's been one year since we all wildly overreacted to the awesome debut of one Jay Bruce. To celebrate May 27, which is hereby renamed Jay Bruce(notes) Day, he hit two homers to get us all goofy for Bruuuuuuuuuuuuce again.

"I was telling somebody earlier: It's awesome." Bruce said.

Yankees 9, Rangers 2: Six shutout innings lead to the first victory in six weeks for A.J. Burnett(notes), who shouldn't ever have to go that long without a win just considering the Yankees offense. Is it that tough, for $82.5 million? ... Seven homers in his past 11 games and 45 points on the batting average for Mark Teixeira(notes), who's rebounding from his own slow start. I'm more forgiving of him, than Burnett, for some reason. Why is that?

Cubs 5, Pirates 2: Oh, by the way: Reed Johnson(notes) hit a go-ahead home run and made a nice catch in what always will be remembered as the day Carlos Zambrano(notes) threw the umpire out of the game and then beat up the Gatorade machine, which survived and did not press any charges.

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Above, we get one more look at Zambrano's tantrum, with a close-up on Ryan Dempster(notes), who's nervously sitting next to the G machine that Z is trying to kill. He'll get up in a second.
Angels 3, White Sox 1: Jered Weaver(notes) owns the White Sox. It's not Jerry Reinsdorf. Look it up.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 6: Juannywood! Led by an unstoppable force in left field called Juan Pierre(notes) — he's batting .404 — the Dodgers sweep the Rockies and move on to Chicago, where the Gatorade machine awaits.

Indians 12, Rays 7: Sixteen losses in a row in Cleveland for the Rays. Unreal. The Tribe's record for consecutive home victories against one opponent is 27, against the St. Louis Browns (no relation) and the Orioles from 1952-54.

Marlins 6, Phillies 2: Brett Myers(notes) has allowed a league-leading 17 homers this season, but only five have come with at least one man on base. None have led off an inning and only four (if I read this chart correctly) have put the other team ahead. So, that's OK, right?

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Twins 4, Red Sox 2: Meet George Kottaras(notes) (right). Oh, wait, George has to run. He'll be back in a moment. George plays for the Red Sox. Here he comes. Hey, George. Oh, there he goes again. See, George is a catcher and he's continually running to the backstop to retrieve wild pitches. Six, in fact, to tie a modern club record. George, over here! Oh, well. There he goes again. Maybe next time we can meet George.

Mets 7, Nationals 4: The fewer stars the Mets have in the lineup, the higher they move in the standings. Not to whoop a deceased equine, but beating the Nats — even without Delgado, Reyes and Beltran — ain't exactly cause for overjoy. Here's what I'm saying: Take Wright out, too, and don't replace him — just don't play with a third baseman — and Washington probably still goes down.

Tigers 8, Royals 3: Rick Porcello(notes) has a 1.50 ERA over his past five starts. Can he make the All-Star team at age 20? Will the Royals ever get back above .500?

Padres 8, D-backs 5: Winners of 11-of-12 games, the Padres have the major league leader in home runs (Adrian Gonzalez(notes)) and the leader in saves (Heath Bell(notes)). Are they a threat to the Dodgers? My spidey sense says no.

Giants 6, Braves 3: No. 299 for the Big Unit, who probably goes for the big 3-oh-oh against the Nationals at Washington next Wednesday. If I'm the president, I'm going.

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