David Brown

Morning Juice: Gabe Kapler returns for more Travolta jokes

David Brown
Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's NL roll call starts at Shea, or was it Brooklyn, where an old dude is welcomed back and teaches the young punks from New York a little something called Brewerball.

Game of the Day

Brewers 9, Mets 7

Sweat hog: In case anyone doesn't remember "Welcome Back, Kotter" it's the TV show that starred Gabe Kaplan and launched John Travolta to "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease" and, later, "Battlefield Earth." In case anyone doesn't remember Gabe Kapler, he's a former 57th-round pick of the Tigers who carved a 10-year major league career as a part-timer before, apparently, retiring in 2007 to become a manager in the Red Sox organization. Well, he said "up ya' nose with a rubbah hose" to that life.

Surreal and spectacular: Kapler on Sunday hit a home run (his fourth of the year) with two doubles to help power the Brewers to their 2nd win in 3 games at Shea. A career .272 hitter, Kapler is batting .423 with 11 RBIs and a .962 slugging percentage. He made the opening-day roster with Mike Cameron sitting out a suspension for testing positive for banned stimulants. “I wouldn’t try to label it — surreal, spectacular. I’m just playing baseball, enjoying being at the ballpark, enjoying being in the clubhouse, enjoying winning games, enjoying being with my teammates,” Kapler said.

He's not done, either: Eric Gagne had his second save in as many games after opening the season with 2 BS's in his first 3 appearances.

Not-so-Amazins': The Mets, minus Jose Reyes and his strained hammy for a 2nd straight game, had 14 hits and 8 walks, but also hit into 5 double plays. Oliver Perez was rocked. David Wright has 100 career home runs already. They ought to make a wax statue of that guy. (Oh.)

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Rundown feelin' (Sunday's other games)

Cubs 6, Phillies 5 (10 inn.) — Call Carlos Zambrano "the Disruptor." As a pinch-hitter, he hustled to first on Chase Utley's game-deciding throwing error, Philly's 15th of the season. Utley just missed tying the score in the bottom of the 10th, so expect him to be disciplined by the court underneath the site of the Vet (oh, don't let them tell you it's gone).

Padres 1, Dodgers 0Greg Maddux tops Chad Billingsley for career win No. 349, but it's a little deceiving because both guys only went 5 innings. Trevor Hoffman picked up the save; his ERA is now below 10.00.

Nationals 5, Braves 4Tom Glavine sprains his left ankle and matches the shortest start of his 22-season career — no outs. “I don’t recall Tommy coming out of a game for anything,” manager Bobby Cox said, sounding a little like Ronald Reagan during Iran-Contra.

Pirates 9, Reds 1 — Bucs sweep after being swept by Cubs earlier. It's almost like when the Hollywood producer finds the horse head in his bed: Johnny Cueto — 6 IP, 5 H, 5 ER. No! No! Noooooooo!

Giants 7, Cardinals 4Tim Lincecum struck out 11 in 6 IP, but how about rookie John Bowker? Two games, two home runs. Could be the new Mike Ivie.

Rockies 13, D-backs 5Clint Barmes (what is this, 2005?) leads 3-homer, 15-hit barrage. Rox bust Snakes' 8-game winning streak and 5-game winning streak against Colorado — which had been outscored, 38-10, by 'Zona coming in.

Astros 5, Marlins 1Wandy Rodriguez does not exist away from the Juice Box. Blake Bad Hop started for Florida. Oh, that's Badenhop. How much of a baseball name is that? Might as well call him Blake Sacrificebunt.

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Photo of the Day: He looks a little like Shawn Green when he makes his "Sliding Face"

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The Dodgers' Blake DeWitt can't locate the missing contact lens of Padres infielder Adrian Gonzalez (legs) in the ninth inning of San Diego's 1-0 win.

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Fantasy Freaks

Clint Barmes (Rockies) 3-6, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI

Matt Holliday (Rockies) 3-5, HR , 2 R, 3 RBI, SB

Garrett Atkins (Rockies) 3-6, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI

Corey Hart (Brewers) 4-5, R, RBI

Brian Schneider (Mets) 3-5, 3 RBI

Jayson Werth (Phillies) 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB

Jason Bay (Pirates) 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI

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Fantasy Flakes

Jeff Suppan (Brewers) 4 IP, 9 H 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Joel Pineiro (Cardinals) 3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 ER

Russell Martin (Dodgers) 0-4, .146 BA

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Big Talker

“I’m not so sure when he wakes up in the morning if it’s not all been a dream. He’s just done so well. It’s been unbelievable what he’s been able to do.” — Brewers manager Ned Yost on Kapler.
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