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Morning Juice: Dodgers welcome back Eric Milton to win column

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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 in Denver, historically not the friendliest place for pitchers, but it was a setting that must have seemed beautiful to Dodgers left-hander Eric Milton(notes).

Game of the Day: Dodgers 7, Rockies 1

Elbow macaroni: Eric Milton spent more time in the trainer's room and doctors offices than on the pitcher's mound the past three seasons while fighting elbow pain that led to "Tommy John" reconstructive elbow surgery in 2007.

That's what made his effort Tuesday night, in which he picked up his first victory since August 2006, feel so special.

Milton allowed one run over five innings and, backed by Casey Blake's(notes) three RBIs, won for the first-place Dodgers.

"It was a long time coming," Milton said. "I always had confidence. I just told myself, 'This is where I belonged, in the big leagues,' and I was going to do everything I could to get back here. Hopefully, I can stick around."

Milton missed all of the 2008 season recovering from surgery and signed with the Dodgers in February to resurrect a formerly promising career. He was pitching great for Triple-A Albuquerque and the Dodgers had a vacancy, so they gave him a shot.

"It's got to mean a lot to him," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "This kid worked very hard to get back here."

Hard to believe Milton pitched a no-hitter 10 years ago (here's the box) and was an All-Star in 2001. He had a solid year for the Phillies in '04 and signed a big free-agent deal with the Reds. In Cincinnati, he encountered ERA and arm problems.

Unless he had it removed in the past few years, Milton, 33, also has a neat tattoo of a Yankees logo on his left shoulder. After he was traded to the Twins (in the Chuckles Knoblauch deal) he got a Twinkie tat to compensate. Could L.A. ink be coming?

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Feelin' Rundown (these games have no distinguishing marks or scars):

Rangers 7, Yankees 3: Rain delayed the start of the game for nearly 2 1/2 hours, so you east-coasters probably went to bed before this one ended. Boy, did you miss a helluva finish. Nah, just kidding, nothing big happened. Go back to sleep. Nah, I'm just kidding, you need to wake the heck up.

Chris Davis(notes) busts out of a 1-for-30 slump with a pair of homers, and Jaba goes four innings because he ran up his pitch count. No, not kidding. Done with the kidding around. Nah, I'm just kidding around. We're never done with the kidding around, 'round here!

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Phillies 5, Marlins 3: Blanton keeps his chin up — way, way up — and strikes out 11, despite entering with a 7.11 ERA and the heaviest patch of hair hanging from any lower jaw in the major leagues.

Twins 5, Red Sox 2: Justin Morneau(notes) is the New Papi! He hit a three-run homer for the Twinkies, who've gone deep in nine straight. ... Old Papi dropped to sixth in the order, which isn't exactly like banishment to the Forbidden Zone, but he hadn't hit lower than fourth in five years. ... Jon Lester(notes), why have you forsaken 2009?

D-backs 6, Padres 5: No, Arizona says, the Padres will not go 140-22 this season. The bullpen tried to fritter it away for Max Scherzer(notes), but the Deebz denied the Padres their 11th straight victory.

Indians 5, Rays 1: Carl Pavano(notes) now is the best pitcher in baseball with a 5.50 ERA. If it keeps sinking, I'm going to have to actually start comparing him to others and not just assuming. Just so we keep track, the Rays have dropped 15 straight in Cleveland. They still have two more games left in this series! Pull out now!

Cardinals 8, Brewers 1: Adam Wainwright(notes) strikes out nine, hits a home run, then says he never felt comfortable out there. Heaven help the NL Central when he does find a groove. ... Four homers for the Cardinals, none for AhPu. ... In the you've-got-to-be-kidding-me dept., Yovani Gallardo(notes) and Dave Bush(notes) collided while shagging flies during batting practice. Gallardo scraped his arm and was bleeding, but that was the worst of it for either guy.

White Sox 4, Angels 2: Bartolo Cologne: Splash some on today! Because you're keeping track, we had three — count 'em — three homers by the Nix boys last night. Two by Jayson of the Whyte Sox and one by Laynce of the Ryds.

Mets 6, Nationals 1: Livan tosses 85 pitches in the bullpen to warm up, another 127 to beat the Gnats and says he probably had 20 more left in the tank. My Cuban, Jerry! Along the way, he prevented Ryan Zimmerman(notes) from reaching base after a streak of 43 games in a row — three games short of Rusty Staub's club record with the Expos from 1969-70.

Royals 8, Tigers 1: Greinke has allowed seven earned runs in 75 innings this season, making for an 0.84 ERA. What would these people (right) do if Greinke came out and said, no, you're supposed to spell Zack with an "h"? They'd be skrewed. ... Sing-a-long with Mitch Maier(notes) drove in three runs off the bench after Coco Crisp(notes) leaves with a bad shoulder.

Reds 6, Astros 4: Why did Roy Oswalt(notes) do what pitchers often do when they field comebackers — try to make the play with his bare hand? Of course, he loses the feeling in his middle and index fingers, then loses the lead against a team against which he came in 23-1. The 'Stros' bullpen loses the game from there, thanks to a two-run homer from Joey Votto(notes), who's balancing his inner ear and inner chi like no other in the majors.

Orioles 7, Blue Jays 2: Only 10,130 showed up on an icky night at Camden Yards, the smallest gathering in Oriole Park history. I can remember when people used to do mixed martial arts, before it had a name, to get a ticket to an Orioles games. ... Not even the return of Ricky Romero(notes) could pull the Jays out of their slide, which has reached eight.

Cubs 6, Pirates 1 (6 inn. — rain): Even without a working Gatorade dispenser in the dugout, the Cubs broke an eight-game losing streak.

Athletics 4, Mariners 3: Andrew Bailey(notes) saves the lives of every man on that transport a victory for Dallas Braden(notes).

Giants 4, Braves 0: He's been pitching OK, but this was Timmy's first victory in four starts since beating the Cubs on May 5. And it does count, because Chipper was back in the lineup.

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