Game of the Day: Reds 9, Marlins 4
Pixie dust: A little more than 9,000 at-bats after his first career homer in 1989, Griffey connected on a 3-1 pitch from ex-basketball player Mark Hendrickson for his 600th career dinger. "I don't think I touched any of the bases. I sort of floated around," said Griffey, who was joined by his 14-year-old son, Trey, in the dugout.
Nine-tenths: Once the ball hit the grandstand 413 feet away, fans wrestled for it until a middle-aged man named "Joe" wearing a giveaway Sergio Mitre jersey came away with the souvenir. Before Griffey could even ask for the ball, or for visitation rights, "Joe" said he had plans for it. Is that so, Grifter of Griff Jr.? Well, wait until Justin Kimball testifies in court how you ripped the ball from his hands and ran away like a sissy and then lied to Marlins president David Samson about catching it on the fly. Allegedly.
BakoBakoBako: Paul Bako picked a great day for his first career multi-homer game. Yeah, nobody cares, dude. "That's fine with me man. I was really happy to be here and see it, and I'm proud to be his teammate and to get to enjoy it," Bako said.
The greats: Only five other guys have hit at least 600 homers and two of them — Henry Aaron (755) and Willie Mays (660) — phoned Griffey recently. Barry Bonds would have called, but he feared a trace. "My father hit 152 home runs, and that's who I wanted to be like," Griffey said of his dad. If that doesn't choke you up a little, you need to quit baseball and start a jai alai fantasy team. As a bonus, here's 600 great words on Junior.
Pirates 5, D-backs 3 — Nothing's going right for 'Zona right now. Randy Johnson's mullet caught fire, AZ's D made three E's, Mark Reynolds lost a home run to Umpire Standing Farther Away Reversal Anyway Syndrome and the Dimes have dropped 10 of 14. Nothing will get your goat like part-time ballplayer, full-time red ass Doug Mientkiewicz, who says the Pirates are just a hard-workin' club trying to put itself on the map. Shut up, Doug. He probably tortured the poor baseball that was the last out of the 2004 World Series.
Giants 3, Nationals 2 — Any time Matt Cain leaves a game having walked one, it gives hope he's figuring something out. With the four-game sweep — get outta town! — S.F. moves within five games of first place in the NL West. Next, on "Ridiculous, but True."
White Sox 7, Twins 5 — Celebrating the hiring of a coach for the Bulls, Nick Swisher makes like Eddie Murray and goes deep from both sides of the plate. Swisher, who's batting .387 in his past eight games, credited batting coach Greg Walker, and that he "started wearing Toby Hall's pants." Paul Konerko, wearing his own pants, had a go-ahead homer in the seventh.
Then, in the ninth, the Sox had one of those classic-memorable-moments-in-a-season-where-you-win-the-division-title-kind-of-moments (TM)TM. With runners at the corners, no outs, and hitting robot Joe Mauer at the plate, Bobby Jenks snares a comebacker, quickly looks Carlos Gomez back to third as he whirls toward second, and starts an immaculate 1-6-3 double play. Jenks probably loses a technical point for looking a runner back to third who wasn't the tying run, but he gains three points for style. It was kung fu baseball at its finest. Justin Morneau grounded out for the final out, celebrating the Bears waiving of running back Cedric Benson, and the Sox had their first four-game sweep of the Twinkies since 1979.
Royals 3, Yankees 2 — Jose Guillen does some things you wouldn't like — he's been with nine different teams since 1999 for a reason or 20 — but his series at Yankee Stadium (9-for-16, 4 HR, 10 RBIs) reminds you why a team might think him worth $36 million over three seasons.
Indians 8, Tigers 2 — Hysterically historical performance by Dontrelle "Wild 'n' Crazy Guy" Willis: STATS reports he is the third pitcher since 1956 to allow eight earned runs and three or fewer hits. To keep Cliff Lee viable to pitch after a 57-minute rain delay, manager Eric Wedge said the Indians "we were able to keep him moving and keep him warm." I hope they did it Benny Hill style.
Mariners 3, Blue Jays 2 (10 inn.) — The Mariners, mired in a little difficulty, fired batting coach Jeff Pentland before the game and replaced him with Lee Elia, who's still hoping the '83 Cubs get BLEEPIN' hotter than BLEEP just to stuff it up the 3,000 BLEEPIN' people who show up every BLEEPIN' day. Because if they're the real Chicago BLEEPIN' fans, they can kiss my BLEEPIN' BLEEP, right downtown, and print it!
Rays 13, Angels 4 — No issues whatsoever a day after Dioner Navarro and Matt Garza tussle in the dugout. Navarro goes 4-for-4 with a homer, one of three consecutive hit against Mr. Untouchable, Joe Saunders. Longoria was this good. And that good.
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Photo of the Day: They are who we thought they were!
"You don't wanna know how the weather is up here, Doug, because after I'm done showing you how the weather is, they won't be able to fit your first name on the back of your jersey. That's how the weather is up here."
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Mike Mussina (Yankees) 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 K
Cain (Giants) 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Swisher (White Sox) 2-2, 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 RBI
Longoria (Rays) 3-4, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Navarro (Rays) 4-5, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI
Paul Bako (Reds) 2-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI
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Willis (Tigers) 1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, Loss. 10.32 ERA
Saunders (Angels) 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, Loss
Mark Hendrickson (Marlins) 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, Loss
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"It didn't bother me at all. If it would have, he'd probably be on a stretcher and I'd probably be out of the game." — Randy Johnson, on Mientkiewicz stepping out of the box just as the left-hander started his windup.
- Paul Bako