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David Brown

Morning Juice: Dodgers' Matt Kemp wins game playing on stilts

David Brown
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 at Dodger Stadium, where the spirit of Kirk Gibson fed the will of Matt Kemp(notes) in leading L.A. to a victory that evoked memories of Dennis Eckersley's famous collapse in Game 1 of the '88 World Series. ... Nah, it did no such thing. Just trying to sell it.

Game of the Day:

Dodgers 5, Athletics 4 (10 inn.)

Big Kempin': Matt Kemp was not actually wearing stilts when the winning run was scored. He did grow 2 1/2 feet, however, after hitting a two-out single to score Orlando Hudson(notes) with the winning run, capping L.A.'s comeback.

"We never lose confidence," Kemp said. "We always feel like we're in the game, especially with this offense. And it showed again tonight. We’ve got a lot of fight."

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Bada bing!: Jose Canseco Jason Giambi's(notes) Mustache lined a three-run homer against Ramon Troncoso(notes), and Bobby Crosby(notes) added a solo shot to give the A's a 4-2 lead in the eighth. But these Dodgers, instilled with the fighting spirit of Jackie Robinson, or at least David Robinson, roared back against the kinda-sorta reliable A's pen.

Captain Hook: Kemp's hit gave manager Joe Torre his 2,194th career victory, tying Sparky Anderson for fifth on the all-time list.

"It's a pretty good neighborhood," Torre said. Sparky's a friend. I've had respect for Sparky Anderson from the first moment I met him, and even before that when I watched him manage in the early days as a 37-year-old kid."

Feelin' Rundown (the Earth keeps spinning):

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 3 (10 innings): Ryan Madson(notes) walked in the tying run with two outs (two strikes, even) in the ninth before all heck broke loose in the 10th. Here's the money quote from Scott Rolen(notes), who provided the go-ahead hit:

"I was just trying to have a good at-bat," Rolen said. "I felt like I was seeing the ball well."

Most people don't know this, but there's a button on all major leaguers that, if you push it, those words come out.

These interleague chums played last year, if you recall all of the reminiscing about the '93 World Series. Well, here they are again, and they'll see each other some more in about 10 days. Pretty soon, the Jays will be moving into the NL East. It's a conspiracy of schedulers!

Reds 7, Braves 2: Well, the one "NL-only game" got played, despite conditions that better fit Michael Phelps than, say, Ken Phelps. I don't mean there were bongs everywhere. I mean Great American was under a great amount of water most of the night.

The grounds crew even tried to kill one of its own by dragging a woman inside the tarp as they tried to pull it off the field. They saw her going under and just kept on dragging. She lived.

Laynce Nix(notes), swimming the anchor leg, drove in three. Daniel Ray Herrera(notes) picked up his first major league victory with three scoreless innings — one for each of his names.

Yankees 5, Nationals 3: Anderson Hernandez(notes) -- hereby known as Andy Hernandy -- took CC Sabathia(notes) deep in the fifth inning for his second career homer, a three-run job, to give Shairon Martis(notes) and the Gnats a lead. But Martis can't pitch every inning and after he left it to the bullpen, well, the Yankees set things straight.

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White Sox at Cubs, ppd. (rain): Moments after we learned Sammy Sosa tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003, another report surfaced that former White Sox slugger Greg Luzinski tested positive for Cheetos in 1983. Two tragedies, one town.

Cardinals 11, Tigers 2: Jim Leyland, thinking it was the '06 World Series, intentionally walked Albert Pujols(notes) in each of his first two at-bats. Not only necessary, but effective. Not really.

Tigers pitchers also felt the '06 Series bug and started making random errors on routine plays, even ones they weren't involved in. Seriously, it looked like Verlander had gotten rid of the yips, but performances like this one make me wonder.

The Cardinals STILL haven't replaced the light bulbs Albert busted in the Big Mac sign with that home run in May. Cheapskates.

Rangers 6, Astros 1: Leadoff man Ian Kinsler(notes) homers in each of his first two at-bats. Coolness.

Pudge-Rod ties Carlton Fisk's major league record for games caught, 2,226. You know what this record means? Squat. Because... that's... what... catchers... do. They squat.

Brewers 7, Indians 5: Another fine contribution by the Tribe's bullpen to Eric Wedge's pension plan.

Rays 12, Rockies 4: So, these New Rockies can be tamed. The Rays hit five homers and had 11 extra-base hits — B.J. Upton(notes), Ben Zobrist(notes) and Gabe Kapler(notes) each missed the cycle by one component — in ending Colorado's 11-game winning streak.

Now that's how you abuse Coors Field.

The Rox didn't go home empty handed: the Rays brought Jason Hammel's(notes) AL championship ring.

Mets 6, Orioles 4: The O's can't make E's like that and expect to get W's.

Cameras caught golden boy David Wright(notes) giving Mike Pelfrey(notes) the business in the dugout. It looked like positive reinforcement, mostly, and perhaps it will make happy those who say Wright needs to "show leadership," a part of sports that often defies definition.

"I think I've seen of all the guys where I feel comfortable enough going to them and giving them the words of encouragement," Wright said. "Whether they listen or not is up to them."

Red Sox 8, Marlins 2: They're pushing 9-3 Tim Wakefield(notes) for the All-Star team and even though I'd like to see it on principle, he's got a 4.39 ERA. It's going to have to come down between now and selection time.

Chris Coghlan(notes) had two hits and drove in both Fish runs.

"My first at-bat he threw me a fastball for strike one. Then he threw me a knuckleball: it went left, it went right and down," Coghlan said. "I usually watch a lot of tape. I watched about four guys and said, 'This is pointless.' All I could do is see the speed he throws it.

"I said to myself 'Wait for the high ones.' "

Did you know that Wakefield is two from tying Roger Clemens(notes) for most starts (382) in Red Sox history? In history!

Papi has four homers in his past nine games.

Twins 8, Pirates 2: Every time we have interleague play, someone complains, about some series, "Why the heck are these teams playing each other?"

Well, put me down for this one. What do they have in common? Potential contraction? Bert Blyleven?

Royals 5, D-backs 0: A complete-game shutout for Gil Meche(notes), who needed 132 pitches to get there. With Meche's injury history, not to mention his recent back problems, Trey Hillman went to give him the hook after eight innings and 110 pitches.

Meche persuaded Hillman to let him stay.

"If I was really tired or if I felt my arm was getting heavy after 110, I would have taken myself out," Meche said. "It is my career, too. By going out there, I've got to make sure I'm good enough to throw. That's why I made the decision. I told him, ‘Look I feel fine. Let me go out there and get it.' So he let me do it."

Meche says he wasn't tired and I believe that he believes that, but the 22-pitch ninth tells me otherwise.

Hillman's not going to be around long enough to worry about any potential consequences, so why not, right? Be Meche's pal and let him have the shutout.

Mariners 5, Padres 0: King Felix worthy of the crown right now: After two-hitting the Padres, he's 3-0 with an 0.72 ERA over his past five starts. San Diego has dropped 12 interleague games in a row. Just pretend it's the Cubs!

Angels 8, Giants 1: The Angels called up Sean O'Sullivan(notes) for his big-league debut, he won and they sent him back to the minors, all in one swoop. Thanks for the help, boyo. Pablo Sandoval(notes) did not hit two homers as he did Monday, but he did go for 2-for-4 and is now batting .335.

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