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David Brown

Morning Juice: Bottom-feeding Royals sweep first-place Tigers

David Brown
Big League Stew

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This and almost every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium, where the AL Central was flipped on its head for three days.

Game of the Day: Royals 7, Tigers 4

Good game ... good game ... good game ... : The division leaders threw Rick Porcello(notes), Justin Verlander(notes) and Jarrod Washburn(notes) at the Royals, who could only counter with Bruce Chen(notes), Robinson Tejeda(notes) and Lenny DiNardo(notes) (who collectively sound like the set-up of a Carnac joke. In fact, didn't Lenny DiNardo do his stand-up routine on the "Tonight Show" back in '87?).

Whine cellar: Yet, when archaeologists dig up the fossils of this series in 3,000 years, they will find, curiously, that it was the Royals doin' the sweepin'. The last-place Royals, who are sprinting to avoid losing 100 games, but have won four in a row (also beating the Angels) against teams in first. These things happen in baseball, but it's particularly annoying, and a little troubling, if you're trying to close out a division title.

"Anybody who starts believing on how good they are is crazy, 'cause the baseball gods will bite you," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, whose club had just swept the Rays in St. Petersburg a series before.

While I don't want to believe in a baseball god who bites, I wonder if this means the Tigers are going to let the Twins and White Sox bite their ankles until the very end of the regular season.

Chances are: The ad wizards over at coolstandings.com compute the Tigers still have an 85.6 percent chance of winning the Central, with the Twins (5 1/2 back) only having a 9.3 percent chance of overtaking them. The White Sox (six out) have a 5.2 percent chance of repeating. Math says everything's going to be OK for Motown.

Among the other division leaders, the Yankees are sitting at 99.3 percent, the Angels at 78.9, the Phillies at 92.4, the Cards at 99.8 and the Dodgers at 82.2.

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Washout: If the Tigers do hold the fort for their first division title in 22 seasons (they won the wild card when they went to the World Series in '06) maybe it's because they actually got something out of Washburn, who has one victory and a 6.64 ERA in seven starts since coming from Seattle in a trade.

This performance — three runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings — was one of the better Tigers outings for Washburn, who's pitching on a sore knee. Against KC, he and the other pitchers were hurt by the offense hitting into five double plays.

But one win? That's only one more than the White Sox's big add, Jake Peavy(notes), and he hasn't even pitched.

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Feelin' Rundown (doctors say these games have a 50/50 chance of living, but there's only a 10 percent chance of that):

Blue Jays 3, Twins 2: "It's a game we needed to win, and we didn't do it. That's why we're a .500 team" — Justin Morneau(notes).

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Rockies 5, Reds 1: Like the fur on Giambino's upper lip, the Rockies' wild card lead keeps growing.

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Angels 3, Mariners 0: Check out the pressure John Lackey(notes) (right) finds himself under. He's going to break this little girl's heart if he doesn't get the sweep. Which reminds me...

Kreese: "Sweep the leg, Johnny!"

Johnny: "But Sensei, he'll die."

Nationals 8, Phillies 7: Bad road trip ends with a loss despite a five-run ninth inning. Cholly Manuel ain't happy.

"We've been getting outplayed by second division teams," Manuel said. "We don't put nobody away."

Not quite Bobby Knight blowing his peak, but C.M. is clearly sick and tired of losing to Purdue. If you're not going to recover, Greg Graham Dobbs! ...

Marlins 13, Mets 4: The Fish are five games back of the Phillies and have six games against them down the stretch. Stranger things have happened, but not much stranger.

Braves 9, Astros 7: It's the kind of game, if you're Roy Oswalt(notes), that makes you want to go home to Mississippi, start up your bulldozer and clear some land for a steakhouse.

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