Morning Juice: K-Rod puts Thigpen on notice with Save No. 57

David Brown
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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together to rave about all those saves. Today's Roll Call starts at the home of the new AL West champions, the Angels, whose closer is warming up in earnest after spending the better part of the evening enjoying a big lead. Francisco Rodriguez still has some unfinished business.

Game of the Day: Angels 7, Mariners 4

Here, Thiggy, Thiggy: A day after the Angels clinched their fourth division title in five seasons, they built a 7-0 lead on the M's, and Rodriguez figured he would have chance to tie Bobby Thigpen's save record some other time. If this season has taught us anything, it's that the Mariners don't fold for anybody. They came back, and Rodriguez came out of the pen.

Sweet 16: K-Rod came into the game and immediately induced Ichiro into grounding into a double play. After singles from Jeremy Reed and Adrian Beltre, the Angels' closer then got Raul Ibanez out, cinching save No. 57. Other than setting up for the playoffs, the last bit of drama for the Angels this season will come if and when Rodriguez surpasses Thigpen's 57 saves, a record that has stood for 18 years. He has 16 games in which to do it.

Trader Frank: Rodriguez came up in 2002, becoming the youngest pitcher to win a World Series game on the way to the Angels championship. "I'll tell you, I would trade the record for the ring," Rodriguez said. "Obviously, my next step is to try to break the record, and after that, win the championship,"

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Feelin Rundown (the rest of Thursday's slate):

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: Lou Piniella and Kerry Wood briefly discussed walking Ah Pu with two outs and runners on first and second in the ninth, but instead gave him a chance to beat them. What would YOU have done?

If you want to WALK Pujols, load the bases and take your chances with .583-slugging Ryan Ludwick, turn to Page 2.

If you want to PITCH to Pujols and face the only player in major league history with 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first eight seasons, turn to Page 3.

The Cubs went to page 3 and after Pujols popped out to center, Wood said "it was fun when it was over."

Phillies 6, Brewers 3: Get a little closer. Don't be shy. The Phils move within three games of the Mets (NL East) and Brewers (Wild Card). Ryan Howard hits his daily homer and Jamie Moyer improves to 6-3 in 15 career starts on three days rest. He's also unbeaten this season on days he forgets to take his rheumatizz medicine.

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Astros 6, Pirates 0: Behind Roy "Hershiser '88" Oswalt, the Astros are coming on like a ... here's the part where a less sensitive writer would make the comparison to a hurricane. But not here. Nuh-uh. Not gonna do it. Those are real people with real homes in harm's way. Stew thoughts are with ya, folks.

Royals 3, Twins 2 (10 inn.): No sweep for you, and now the Twins again embark for their favorite place — the road. For 10 games, finishing with four at Tampa Bay. Is someone out to get them?

Blue Jays 6, White Sox 4: Gavin Floyd and Shawn Marcum put up zeros until two outs in the top of the eighth when — that's right — Willie Upshaw connects for a six-run homer. Truthfully, Jays phenom Travis Snider started the rally with a leadoff double and it was Niagara Falls (Canadian side) from there. That Snider boy can swing. He good! ... If the playoffs started tomorrow, and somehow the Blue Jays were in them, I would not bet against them. I wouldn't bet on them, either. Why? Because betting on baseball is dumb. Signed, Pete Rose. Also, if the playoffs started tomorrow and the White Sox were in them, they should recuse themselves.

Braves 8, Rockies 4: Rocktober, schmocktober.

Orioles 6, Indians 3: Nobody is talking about the crossover comeback of 37-year-old Jim Miller, who once threw for 422 in a game for the Bears — the Bears — but now is closing ballgames for the Orioles. Bo really didn't know diddley.

Rangers 6, Athletics 1: Jack Cust achieves record-holder status. He has 176 strikeouts, which tops by one Jose Canseco's former team record, set in 1986. "Obviously it's something I do," Cust says.

Padres 11, Giants 3: Tres Gonzalez home runs. Dos by Adrian, uno by brother Edgar. If only they had 16 or 17 more Gonzali, we'd be talking NL West champs. Actually, 10 might do it.

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Photo of the Day: Stayin' alive, stayin' alive

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Hank Aaron chuckles after someone asks him if there's one thing he likes about Barry Bonds.

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Fantasy Freaks

Francisco Liriano (Twins) 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6K

Oswalt (Astros) 9 IP, 3 H, 4 K, Win (32 consecutive scoreless IP)

Marcum (Jays) 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K, Win

B.J. Ryan (Jays) IP, 3 K, Save

Adrian (Pods) 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI

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Fantasy Flakes

Ben Sheets (Brewers) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, Loss

Matt Cain (Giants) 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, BB, 3 K, Loss

Grady Sizemore (Indians) 0-4, BB

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Words of Mouth

"I still think mine went farther. Tell him that, too." — Edgar Gonzalez, comparing the length of his home run with those of his brother Adrian Gonzalez.