This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Roll Call starts in the Queen City, where Jay Bruce made Cincinnati's most anticipated debut since WKRP switched to a rock-'n'-roll format.
Game of the Day: Reds 9, Pirates 6
The Boss: After wrapping their hands 'round his velvet ribs and strapping their hands 'cross his engines, the crowd at Great American Ball Park cooed "Bruuuuuuuuuce!" and then yelled, "Baby we were born to ruuunnnn." Like the E Street Band leader, Reds superstar-in-waiting Jay Bruce ran and played great, going 3-for-3 — including a double with two walks, two runs scored, two RBI, a stolen base and a pie in the face (what a value meal!) in his major league debut.
Louisville slugger: The 2007 Minor League Player of the Year also had dominated this season at Triple-A, batting .364 with 10 homers. He also won the Kentucky Derby by nearly 5 lengths with Kent Desormeaux aboard and successfully negotiated a truce in the Gaza Strip. The Reds weren't getting any better without him, so they gave in to temptation and hope to see better days with Bruce. The Reds still stink, only a little less.
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AL Game of the Day: Orioles 10, Yankees 9 (11 inn.)
Power '96: Nine dingers, six of 'em back-to-back. Home runs are down all over the majors but at Oriole Park the balls were flying over the fence as in the time of Brady Anderson. Kevin Millar hit a pair. Just like Earl Weaver wills it.
Alice Sweet: The Yankees took Brian Burres deep four times, but Orioles came back from 4-0, 8-4 and 9-8 — in the 11th. Johnny Damon had the only three-run homer, but at least the O's didn't have any fleas getting picked off the bases.
He's melting, mel-ting!: Joe Girardi complained that it was raining too hard in the ninth inning but the umps told him to go away. Blue called for the tarp seconds later and play was delayed 67 minutes.
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Feelin' rundown (Tuesday's other games):
Brewers 3, Braves 2 — The Brue Crue won, but they're still a mess. Gagne's on the DL, Turnbow is regressing in Triple-A, I-94 westbound at the Marquette Interchange still isn't fixed, and Bill Hall has a split Earl Anthony in his prime couldn't knock down. Hall came in .158/.222/.323 against right-handed pitching and — are you ready? — .409/.490/.705 against lefties. Ned Yost hung with him for 145 plate appearances, but announced a platoon and Hall got pissed. Hall later got a bloop single and scored the winning run, which is so baseball. The Braves have a split, too. They cannot win away from Chief Nokahoma's tipi. It's supposed to be harder to win on the road; all but seven MLB teams have better home records this season. But what is it with the Braves, 6-17 away from Georgia? They don't know where the dead spots are on the floor? Quarterback can't communicate the signals because of crowd noise? Can't find a Krystal burger? Well, I got news. White Castle will disrupt your digestive tract just the same, so get some Slyders and then go hit some sliders and even that road record. Chipper Jones: 2-4; .418. Coming up next on the SuperStation after Braves baseball, the odds are against Gene Hackman and Anne Archer in Peter Hyams' ... "Narrow Margin."
Cubs 3, Dodgers 1 — Pick one. It's either Sean "Mary Katherine" Gallagher — Superstar! or Sean "Sledge-o-Matic!" Gallagher. And this from Jim Edmonds, who is 3-for-24 with the Cubs so far and might lose his job: "The worst thing that can happen to me is they send me back to my family." Oh, puh-LEEZ! Like they chain you to the radiator between at-bats. Over on the Hollywood side, successful arthroscopic knee surgery for Andruw Jones (insert "free liposuction" joke ... HERE).
Mets 5, Marlins 3 — Dr. Santana, Dr. Johan Santana, please report to the O.R. to stop the bleeding. This Gary Carter-as-manager stuff is getting out of hand; dressing up in his '86 Mets uniform and walking to the mound to talk to Santana in the sixth inning was just plain bad manners.
Astros 8, Cardinals 2 — After nine straight no-decisions to start the season, Shawn Chacon (2-0) has a decision streak going. Hunter Pence goes 5-for-5 (he's got 21 RBI in 23 games this month), and Albert goes 4-for-4. Pujols is 12-for-24 with four homers and seven RBI this year against Houston — all of which will be assessed to Brad Lidge.
Giants 6, D-backs 3 — A pitcher's record usually is his most deceiving stat. Not so for Tim Lincecum, who is 7-1 or slightly better than the rest of the Giants staff, which is 14-30. The D-B's are in a funk right now — not a righteous George Clinton funk, but an icky baseball one. Upton Girl, he's been swingin' in a hitless world. Oh-for-26 with 17 strikeouts. Zoinkees, that's Ryan Howardesque.
Phillies 7, Rockies 4 — The Phillies scored all of their runs in the first two innings and then put the game on autopilot. They might have even used five or six guys on defense in the seventh inning. No one's sure; we all got up for a beer. In fact, this final score is pretty much a guess.
Mariners 4, Red Sox 3 — An international vigil has begun for Daisuke, who left the game because of shoulder fatigue. Tune to ESPN-K for full coverage, which includes the miniaturization of Dr. Thomas Gill and analyst Bill "Spaceman" Lee, who both will be injected into Matsuzaka's rotator cuff.
Indians 8, White Sox 2 — The Tribe pulls off a triple steal which, if you think about it, can only be pulled off if the other team screws something up. Konerko was playing first base like he got seven or eight cortisone shots, including one to the brain stem.
Twins 4, Royals 3 (12 inn.) — Nine bad ones in a row for the Royals, who go to the effort of tying the score in the ninth — against Joe Nathan, no less — on Mark Teahen's inside-the-park three-run homer. Now there's something that sounds like it can only happen at Kauffman Stadium. "We don't really rate the toughness of each loss, but it's not an easy one," Teahen said.
Angels 3, Tigers 2 — Nineteen runs scored three games ago, then a combined two over the past two for the Tigers. Ervin Santana was putting the ball over the plate, but no Detroiters swung well. Santana threw 20 first-pitch strikes and never had a 2-0 count. "I don't count, but that's very impressive," Santana said.
Athletics 3, Blue Jays 1 — The Big Hurt turned 40 yesterday (so did Jeff Bagwell — weird) and had a double before tweaking his sore knee. After helping the Jays in no way whatsoever, Frank is batting .319, on-basing .417 and slugging .516 for the A's. Here's a prediction: Cutting Thomas will cost Toronto a playoff spot. That's yet another reason why they call him the Big Hurt.
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Photo of the Day: Tragedy at Home Plate
Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba frantically searches for umpire Mike Estabrook after he disappears under Phillies slugger Ryan Howard on Tuesday night. Officials reluctantly called off the pursuit after a 90-minute delay. Estabrook was 32.
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Johnny Damon (Yankees) 4-5, HR, 3 RBI, SB
Kevin Millar (Orioles) 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Josh Hamilton (Rangers) 2-5, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI
Hunter Pence (Astros) 5-5, 2 RBI
Albert Pujols (Cardinals) 4-4, HR
Ervin Santana (Angels) 9 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 7 K, Win
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Mark Buehrle (White Sox) 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, K, Loss
Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) 4 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, K, Loss
Brian Burres (Orioles) 3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 4 HR
Ian Snell (Pirates) 5 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 7 BB!, 6 K, Loss
Braden Looper (Cardinals) 4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, K, Loss
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"It's so much the same as the minors. They've just got bigger stands, more fans and better uniforms." — Jay Bruce, on the major league experience.