Game of the Day: Yankees 9, Blue Jays 8
Redeemed: Down to his last strike, steroid survivor Jason Giambi completes a five-run comeback with a game-ending, two-run homer on an 0-2 count against B.J. Ryan. Homers into the right-field upper deck at Yankee Stadium (picture George Brett doing it) sure look pretty, don't they? It won't be the same across the street.
Evenstevens: The Bronx is back to .500, and Jorge Posada's back in the lineup. Joe Torre is managing them again and David Cone's going to pitch a perfect game today. OK, maybe the last two items are wishful thinking, but the Yanks look like they might be ready to start the season for real.
D'oh, Canada: The Jays wasted five RBIs from Matt Stairs and Ryan melted for the second straight time protecting a lead.
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Feelin' Rundown (Thursday's other games)
Red Sox 7, Rays 1 — We were all there. We all saw it with our own eyes! Gosh-darn lard-butt, Coco Crisp. I'm tellin' you, he jumped us. Batting gloves off, bat down, no warning. He challenged the Rays! He called us names. Shields was there. OK, but James is out. Who's gonna take his place?
In addition to the main event, apparently Manny and Youkilis (the East Coast Casey Kotchman) got into it on the Red Sox bench. Here is Crisp's account in the AP story: "I was eating next to Youkilis and said 'I don't want to know.' I saw Manny. He was speaking in Spanish." Crisp was eating next to Youkilis. In the dugout? He saw Manny, who was speaking in Spanish — to Youkilis? That's the worst account ever given. Dustin Pedroia added, "We all love each other."
Here's a photo from Boston.com of the incident. OK, that's the worst photo ever taken. Was everyone mentally at the Celtics game?
Cardinals 4-9, Nationals 1-10 (10 inn., second game) — Elijah "Put Up Your" Dukes prevented a sweep with a two-run homer in the 10th of the nightcap. He had a monster effort, going 4-for-6 with four RBI. It's not scientific, but coming into last night, he might have been the worst player in baseball (.148/.295/.185 — one-eighty-five slugging?) with at least 50 at-bats.
Dukes was a big-time prospect with the Rays, and hit a home run in his first two major league games in 2007. He spent the rest of the season in legal trouble. To recap: Dukes' wife filed a restraining order after she alleged a death threat (the famous voicemail that went, "You dead, dawg. I ain't even bulls-------. Your kids, too"). A few weeks later a 17-year-old whose foster parents are relatives of Dukes accused him of impregnating her. Sex was consensual and no charges were filed by police. Well, that makes it OK. Dukes celebrated the pregnancy by throwing a Gatorade bottle at his accuser. What a sweetie. This is the same guy who threw a remote control at his then-wife shortly after the birth of their child. Never cede control of the remote, dawg! It's all good, though, because his mother, Phyllis Dukes, cleared all of it up.
Another strong game from Todd Wellemeyer in the opener. He's 7-1, 2.93. Is he going to make the All-Star team? This is kind of like when gospel superstar Kent Bottenfield came from almost nowhere (he was a middle reliever on the Cubs, in fact, which is just down the street from nowhere) but with the Cards made an All-Star team and won 18 games in '99. That must have been Dave Duncan's handiwork, too.
Cubs 5, Dodgers 4 — They'll be talking about it back home at the pachinko parlors for weeks. Kosuke Fukudome's go-ahead single against Takashi Saito in the ninth leads the Cubs to victory for the 10th time in 11 games. Fukudome also hit a homer, but it was off Billingsley, so it's less interesting to the Japanese press. Kerry Wood adds a tanker truck of drama to the bottom of the ninth — it only seems like he never has a 1-2-3 save — but the Cubs continue to have West Coast success.
Padres 2, Mets 1 — Schoeneweis in the ninth: walk, walk, grounder, intentional walk, hit-by-pitch, game over, thanks for playing.
Braves 7, Marlins 5 — Chipper says the curtain call he received for his 400th career home run was the second in his major league career. The second? "This is a town that's laid back, and it fits my personality," Jones said in the perfect response. But "laid back"? I thought the people at Braves games were made of wax. Jones went 4-for-5 with his first stolen base of the season and is up to .418.
Phillies 5, Reds 0 — Charlie Manuel benches J-Roll because he doesn't run out a grounder, and Rollins takes his punishment without complaint. They were on their way anyway, but I think the Phillies won the NL East today. ... If I had to start a team from scratch and the time came to pick a pitcher, Cole Hamels is the guy. ... Homer Bailey. He was the seventh pick in the 2004 draft. He has solid minor-league numbers. His stuff appears live. I just have a hard time expecting any kind success out of a pitcher named "Homer." Ever heard of a great hitter named "Groundout McGillicuddy"? It's not too late. He could drop it. His given name is David Dewitt Bailey. Dave Bailey. David Bailey. D.D. Bailey. Dewey Bailey — ooh, that really works. Reds fans should encourage him to make the switch. ... Griffey still stuck on 599. C'mon, Kid. While we're young!
Pirates 4, Astros 3 — The Pirates have the best hitting outfield in the NL and they have the best fourth outfielder in the majors this week. Jason Michaels had a pinch-hit grand slam on Monday and, in his next at-bat Thursday, hit a three-run homer Thursday. He is 6-for-13 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in his past six games. The Pirates and Astros are both closing in on .500 in opposing ways.
Rangers 9, Indians 4 — The Tribe gets four in the first. Yay, the Indians win the first! It's like the CBA where you got points for winning a quarter, yay! The Rangers won the other innings, and the game. C.C. Sabathia should change his name to "? ? Sabathia" because, like, his game is questionable right now and stuff.
White Sox 6, Royals 2 — Cuba libre! Jose Contreras has been outstanding, going 4-0 with 1.50 ERA in his past six starts. The Royals continue as the AL's version of the Pirates, only that's really unfair to the Pirates right now to say that.
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Photo of the Day: 'That fish I caught in the Anacostia earlier? About yay big."
Elijah Dukes celebrates rounding the bases without committing so much as a misdemeanor.
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Hamels (Phillies) 9 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K, Win
Stairs (Blue Jays) 3-5, 2 R, HR, 5 RBI
Wellemeyer (Cardinals) 6 IP, 5 H, BB, 5 K, Win
Dukes (Nationals) 4-6, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI
Cristian Guzman (Nationals 4-6, 3 R, RBI
Paul Maholm (Pirates) 8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, K, Win
L.W."C." Jones (Braves) 4-5, HR, .418
Manny (Red Sox) 2-3, HR, 5 RBI
Contreras (White Sox) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K, Win
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Chien-Ming Wang (Yankees) 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
Mike Parisi (Cardinals) 4 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, K,
Ricky Nolasco (Marlins) 5 2/3 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, Loss
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"It was awesome. I can't thank everybody enough." — Griffey on the ovation Phillies fans gave him after a long out.