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David Brown

Morning Juice: Minus Hoffy, Padres ring Bell when needing save

David Brown
Big League Stew

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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. Today's roll call starts at PETCO Park, where all the Padres require of Heath Bell is that he excel at a job Trevor Hoffman handled for about 550 saves.

Game of the Day: Padres 4, Dodgers 2

Heath Bar Crunch: He came, he saw, he screamed. And he got the save. Heath Bell, the new Trevor Hoffman, struck out the side in his debut as Padres savior. As you can see from the photos, Heath gets excited.

Homeboy Vin Scully, who's so great he must be illegal, told some funny anecdotes about Bell losing weight (we know about the Wii) and how big meanie teammates actually referred to him as "Taco" at one time. It's obvious, but c'mon. I'd go for something more original, like ... "Heath ... Bar."

Fans used to hearing AC/DC's "Hells Bells" upon Hoffman's arrival can now cover their ears for "Blow Me Away" by Breaking Benjamin, which is on the "Halo 2" video game soundtrack if you're jonesing to waste that Best Buy gift certificate (it's not on I-Tunes).

San Diegans made Bell feel comfortable right away.

"It felt like I was running on air when I jogged in because the crowd went nuts," Bell said. "That's probably what Hoffy felt like all the time."

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Carried away: Hoffman became the all-time saves champ with the Pods, but left during the winter because of a spat with a sometimes-dysfunctional front office. He also left behind ninth innings for Bell, a good reliever but one with only two career saves coming into this season.

Make it three. Bell struck out Matt Kemp, walked Casey Blake, then struck out pinch-hitter Doug Mientkiewicz and Raffy Furcal to preserve a victory for Chris Young,

Bell, finally a closer at age 32, seems to have a good attitude about replacing a legend.

"That means 11 straight years of 50 saves and I'll be one behind him," Bell said.

Feelin' Rundown (the rest of Day 2 in baseball):

Athletics 6, Angels 4: The A's have a closer, too. He doesn't throw 100 mph like Brian Wilson (dead) or exhale ferociously like Bell. He doesn't even throw hard enough to break Marcia Brady's nose. Brad Ziegler struck out Vlad with a 72-mph pitch and got Torii Hunter to end the game with a swing-and-miss on a 71-mph offering. Shingo Takatsu lives!

Braves 4, Phillies 0: Too bad Jair rhymes with "Zaire" and not "hair," because I could wright a heck of a tune and subject you all to it. "Aw, gimme me a mound of Jair... oh, that's not going to come out how I want."

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Giants 10, Brewers 6: Much to ‘Duk's chagrin, bad Timmah! comes to pitch in Lincecum's first start, but he's bailed out by those vaunted (?) Giants bats.

There are many reasons to like the Giants and one is that several players have non-traditional names. I'm referring to those multicultural players whose names reflect their varied backgrounds:

—Joe (not Jose) Martinez

—Travis Ishikawa

—Jonathan Sanchez

—Merkin Valdez

Hey, that Martinez (right) could be a doppleganger for a young Stanley Tucci (even more right).

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4: ... How can they expect a Lyon to close for the Tigers? ... Nobody needs to worry, Brandon Lyon says, about the 0-2 Tigers. "We're too good of a ballclub with too good of an attitude for this to happen on a daily basis," Inge said. ... At the behest of the Ontario government, this game was BYOB. In what might be one of his final quotes as manager, Jim Leyland made a funny: "That has no bearing on me. I don’t drink beer, particularly not during the game."

Twins 6, Mariners 5:
Unlikely comeback in the ninth after the Twinkies trailed 5-3 with two outs and nobody on. But weird stuff happens inside the Metrodome and the M's Brandon Morrow let it happen to him. I'm gonna miss that old gas bag stadium. ... With catcher Mike Redmond ailing and Mauer on the DL already, they're down to Tim Laudner and Matt LeCroy behind the plate.

White Sox 4, Royals 2: In a postgame TV interview, Jim Thome said he was kicking himself after he took a hittable pitch from Kyle Farnsworth. That's OK, Jim, it's Kyle Farnsworth. Sure enough, another hittable pitch came and went — over the fence — for a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning. Does the alleged Royals resurgence have to include The Farnz? How about lefty Ron Mahay against Thome, Trey Hillman? Juan Cruz? Or even the Mexicutioner? Ball Star wonders.

Rockies 3, D-backs 0:
Bob Melvin didn't even PLAY Tony Clark a day after he hit two home runs, not that Ubaldo Jimenez let anyone do anything anyway. They opened Chase Field's roof (it was closed during Monday's homerfest) and a great pitching matchup (Dan Haren was almost as good as Baldy Jim) materialized with a billion stars all around. ... Tulo (HR No. 2) surges ahead in the Comeback Player of the Year race.

Astros 3, Cubs 2 (10 inn.): New ‘Stro Jeff Keppinger broke his bat into a million little bitty pieces, but enough wood stayed intact long enough to push the ball through the infield for the game-ending single.

I think this qualifies for a mini "uh oh" for the Cubs: Catcher Geovany Soto left the game after injuring his shoulder trying to make a throw. Cubs.com says he might miss a few days.

Earlier, Hunter Pence hit a home run into what looked like a Furry convention. Really, it was just some goofs (meant with affection) dressed like pumas to honor Lance Berkman, who's the Big Puma.

Marlins 8, Nationals 3: Along the lines of, "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it make a sound?" is, "If you start the season 2-0 and it's against the Nationals, are you really 2-0?"... Emilio Bonifacio; two more hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. ... Josh Johnson; make a move for him if you don't have him already.

Cardinals 9, Pirates 3: Nice job shaking off the Jason Motte Implosion (good band name there!). ... No supper for Ian Snell (12 baserunners, six earned runs in four innings). ... Khalil Greene, in the fifth spot this time: 2-5, 2 RBIs ... Ah Pu! reaches base five times. Thank you, come again.

Red Sox 5, Rays 3: Josh Beckett yesterday reminded me of Beckett in the 2003 NLCS when he just mowed down the Cubs in Game 5 to extend Florida's season. If he's healthy enough to pitch like that all season, the Red Sox will win the East. Read Gordon Edes. He'll tell ya'.

Words of Mouth:

"It felt like we beat the White Sox. I was expecting champagne to be in the air when I got in the clubhouse, but it was only the first one of the season." — Denard Span, Twins outfielder

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