This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Roll Call starts in the Windy City, an appropriate place for the Braves, who really huff and puff on the road. Thanks to a couple of key hits — including Jim Edmonds' second homer with his new team — the Cubs won their 11th in a row at Wrigley Field, where they improved to 29-8, their best home start since 1907. The Braves? They've only dropped 21 straight one-run games on the road, matching the longest streak in major league history. It's a long march back to Atlanta for Bobby Cox.
Game of the Day: Cubs 3, Braves 2 (11 inn.)
One pitch, one ow: Cox limps all of the way on his artificial knees to the mound to change pitchers, goes to the trouble of pointing with his probably arthritic finger toward the bullpen so that left-hander Jeff Ridgway might know to come in to face Edmonds, stands there waiting and sweating in severe discomfort and 90-degree heat for several moments while Ridgway trots in from right field — like Cox has all day — hands the pitcher the ball, tells him to "go get 'em," waddles all the way back to the dugout which seems a mile away, praying he'll make it without a Rascal, does — good for you Bob — descends the steps in agony to the bench, sits down, asks where "Leo is," realizes that Mazzone's not there anymore and hasn't been for a while, hears the crowd get loud, can't see a damn thing in these sunglasses, freaks out from the noise, looks up and sees all of his players coming off the field, asks "What the $#%@ happened?" and comes to find out that Ridgway's FIRST PITCH hits pinch hitter Reed Johnson — Where'd he come from? — in the leg with the bases loaded to force in the winning run. Gee. Zuss.
Hey, hey!: Great call on Jim Edmonds' score-tying home run in the ninth. It was a turn-back-the-clock day at Wrigley, so Cubs talker Len Kasper did a Jack Brickhouse impression, and WGN added some old-school graphics and vintage camera movements to make it party like it was 1969 and 1948 and any other year they had good footage from. Whee!
B&W: WGN also broadcast the first two innings in black-and-white and with only a few camera angles, a move that didn't initially please at least one colleague of the 'Duk's.
Colleague: "I appreciate anybody thinking outside the box, but this is just stupid. Do it for an inning or two, maybe. There's a reason I don't have throwback days where I ride a horse and buggy to work, and it's not just because I don't have a horse or buggy."
'Duk: "It's actually just for the first two innings, so you're in luck."
Colleague: "Oh. Then I'm OK with this. I will now mow my lawn and come back to the wonderful world of color TV."
Chipper: Are you ready? It's not wonderful. 1-5, .414 BA.
* * *
Feelin' Rundown (Thursday's other games):
Mets 4, D-backs 0
Mets 4, D-backs 2
Mets 4, D-backs 4
D-backs 5, Mets 4 (10 inn.) — Willy Bagner has blown three straight save opportunities, personally wrecking the great Mets comeback experts (OK, I) predicted. Now let's play "What Does He Really Mean?" starring Johan Santana: "I felt good. I've been doing my job. I was hitting the corners and using all my pitches," said Santana, who tossed three-hit ball for seven innings. "But at the end, the bottom line is, we didn't win. When you're on the bench, there's not much you can do about it." Translation: My teammates are a bunch of chumps.
Giants 10, Rockies 7 — Ray Durham has 2,000 career hits, is batting .302 this season, is 36 years old (already?) and is not sure whether he'll be back next season. "My girl is 14 years old and it's like I barely know her," Durham told the S.F. Chronicle. "My son turns 10 tomorrow. They're heavily involved in sports. I haven't seen one of my son's baseball games, not one. He's been playing since tee ball. Thinking of that, that hurts me. I'll weigh all the options this offseason, sit down and decide what direction I could go in."
Reds 6, Cardinals 2 — Death Wish Bronson tosses six shutout innings, hits a home run and leaves because of forearm cramping. Very Zambrano-like. It's just a coincidence that Dusty has managed both, right?
Phillies 3, Marlins 0 — After his big meeting with Michael Corleone early in the morning, Jamie "I had Jell-O today" Moyer pitches two-hit ball over eight and improved to 9-0 against the Fish for his career. Moyer was overheard telling Ryan Howard, "We're bigger than U.S. Steel."
Tigers 2, White Sox 1 — The Tigers have made themselves a part of the race. Sometimes, the ChiSox bats go sleepytime. Night-night, you wittle cutiepies!
Royals 6, Rangers 5 — Mike Aviles hit a homer and is batting .321 after five-plus years — he's on his third season in Triple-A - in the minors. Taking advantage of a chance to win a job in the majors. It's tough, being blocked by all of those great Royals shortstops of the past couple seasons. Freddie Patek, U.L. Washington. Oh, wait, the '70s were 30 years ago. ... Milton Bradley had the day off and reportedly steered clear of the press box. Way to go, Milt! That's my guy right there. (That's my teammate. That's my quarterback.)
Red Sox 9, Orioles 2 — Mike Lowell makes stunning revelation about J.D. Drew and David Ortiz. "He's really filled a big gap for us," Lowell said of Drew. "And he's kind of been David — big home runs, big hits." So, J.D. Drew is David Ortiz. I always knew it! Wait until the commissioner's office hears about this
Indians 12, Twins 2 — Despite most of their roster lying on their backs in the infirmary, the Indians mash 18 hits against the Twinkeez, and now they think they're in the AL Cenrtal race, roo.
Yankees 4, Athletics 1 — Pettitte's ERA was almost extra-large after his previous effort (10 earned allowed against the Royals, which is almost impossible) but he still can get into his regular pants after pitching five-hit ball. Big nod to Hideki Matsui for the grand slam.
* * *
Photo of the Day: Oh, will you give me that?
Melvin Mora rushes to save an Oriole chick who strayed from the dugout nest. Complicating the matter are two Red Sox fans — Vin Diesel (left) and actor Philip Moon, the guy who played Woo in "The Big Lebowski" — who want to take the birdie home.
* * *
Peavy (Padres) 6 IP, 3 H, 4 K, Win
Ben Francisco (Indians) 4-5, R, 3 RBI
Moyer (Phillies) 8 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K, Win
Pettitte (Yankees) 8 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Cristian Guzman (Nationals) 3-5, R, 3 RBI
Ryan Doumit (Pirates) 2-3, HR, 3 RBI, .365 BA
Kenny Rogers (Tigers) 8 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, K
Mark Buehrle (White Sox) 8 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 6 K
Johan (Mets) 7 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 10 K
Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) 2-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI
* * *
Brian Moehler (Astros) 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, K, Loss
Greg Reynolds (Rockies) 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, BB, Loss
Levon Hernandez (Twins) 3 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, K, Loss
Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers) 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, Loss
* * *
Words of Mouth
"These are still baby steps, but we've taken straight three baby steps. We have to start playing well enough to get people talking about us again." — Tigers manager Jim Leyland.