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David Brown

Morning Juice: Oldest profession OK, just don't be a Cubs fan

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 Roll Call starts in Chicago, specifically on the South Side, which seemed to make all the difference to the White Sox. After getting swept the previous weekend up north at Wrigley Field, they went tit for the Cubs tat in returning the favor. Fans, coaches and players alike get a little riled up for Cubs-Sox confrontations, as evidenced by the message on this t-shirt that 'Duk snapped a grainy photo of last night. It's nearly identical to one worn by former ChiSox reliever Cliff Politte under his uniform.

Game of the Day: White Sox 5, Cubs 1

Best served cold: The first-place Sox swept the first-place Cubs for the first time in nine years for many reasons, prominent among them the 0-for-13 put up by Aramis Ramirez. He hit four homers in the Wrigley series.

Better dead: Tension is the main additive in any Cubs-Sox series. Players want to win like they do any other games, but the last thing a Sox player wants to be accused of is not putting forth his best effort — and a winning one, dammit — against the Cubs. It's almost traitorous, like siding with the Reds in '56. Mark Buehrle knows. "I'm done with this series. I'm kind of glad it's over," Buehrle said. "It's so stressful playing these guys and everything that comes with it. I can't wait for tomorrow to come in here ... kind of relax and get back to normal."

Better than Santa's Village: Imagine if they met in the World Series. Chicago would be up for grabs, just like in '57.

Camera battery: Lou Piniella turned into Loopy Nella for the first time all season, getting tossed in the second inning for arguing the denied appeal of a check swing. Piniella had a beef, TV replays showed, but by wandering on the field like a cranky old man, he was begging to be heaved. On his way into the clubhouse, Piniella slugged the unmanned camera mounted near the dugout fence. Don't do that to Wall-E, man. Piniella was not around to comment after the game, but his shove spoke just fine for him.

Homely: The ChiSox are 27-11 at home and the Cubs are 16-23 on the road — bad, but also not all that different from other prominent contenders, such as the White Sox, Red Sox and Brewers (all 19-24) and the Diamondbacks (17-26). Only five teams have winning road records.

Award time: By sweeping at Wrigley, the Cubs took the Thad Bosley Sash of Freedom, but the Sox took back the coveted Greg Hibbard Jug.

Fight night: The AP reports several fights at Sunday night's game. We're wondering if any of them will pop up on YouTube and rip through the baseball blogosphere, as the one after the jump did on Sunday afternoon. Reportedly taken at Saturday's game and brought to the bloodthirsty masses by Busted Coverage, the collective footstomping is one of the rare times you'll see Cubs fans helping Sox fans. (Though it's worth asking if the guy in the Ramirez jersey who comes out of nowhere even knew what he was fighting about.)

(Warning: Violenz!)

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Feelin' Rundown (the rest of Sunday's games):

Cardinals 9, Royals 6Jason LaRue hits a triple and a home run and drives in four to win the Backup Catcher Sunday Pool. KC turned back into the Royals for the last two games of interleague play, but still took the season series, 4-2, and with it the Dane Iorg I-70 Commemorative Plate from the Bradford Exchange.

Mets 3, Yankees 1 — Mets win the season series and take home the Stanley Jefferson Triboro Bridge Token Cuff Links as the best third-place team in New York City.

Reds 9, Indians 5 — Mark Shapiro's phone is plugged in and charging. If the Tribe continues to slide this week, he'll soon be ready to take your call. When he does, make him a nice offer for Paul Byrd or C.C. Sabathia — just don't pretend you're Adam Dunn. Bronson was much better, helping Cincy take the season series 5-1 and — needless to say — the Ol' Eddie Taubensee Bucket.

Marlins 4, Diamondbacks 3 — Haren gets harrier and Jorge Cantu says, "Can, too!" OK, here's some analysis on the now-.500 D-backs.: 'Zona on May 20 was 28-16, its high-water mark of the season, when it started a three-game series at Miami. The Fish swept 'em, and the Deebs ain't been the same since. They've averaged 3.2 runs this month, so if Pena and Lyon falter, there's no margin for error. Yesterday, they faltered. ... Months ago, it was pointed out on Morning Juice that Scott Olsen might be fantasy worthy. This one guy mocked me in the comments (I know, that narrows it down). Well, I mock you back, sir! Olsen's not great; 4-4, 3.47 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 4.9 K/9. But his K/BB ratio was terrific in June: 26-9. Less than a hit per inning. Only four homers in 37 IP. The kid's coming on. Mock! Mock, mock, mock!

Tigers 4, Rockies 3 — After starting the season negative 4-14, D-Troit is finally over .500. I believe more in the Tooth Fairy than I do the Tigers, but it could be destiny: Brandon Inge goes on the DL after a pillow attacks him, and this Dane Sardinha character (.263 career OBP in the minors) comes up with his first major-league hit, a go-ahead triple in the sixth.

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Blue Jays 1, Braves 0A.J. Burnett goes into the Stuff Hall of Fame for sure. Not the Stuff Magazine Hall of Fame, which would include exhibits such as this. Even considering Burnett's outstanding performance, anyone who tells you that baseball always "comes down to who has the better pitching" has never met the Toronto Blue Jays. Ignoramus, Jays. Jays, Ignoramus. The Jays have better pitching than most teams — at given moments, they have the best starting of anyone — but they need one of those red bats with the fat wiffle barrels to hit. Or, to put it another way, they need more power, captain! Chipper: DNP (quad). .394.

Rays 4, Pirates 3We're on pace to win 98 games and, as skipper Joe Maddon points out, "It's been an anonymous first half ... there's no one guy having a killer season, which makes it more appealing to me that we're at this juncture, knowing somebody's going to turn into a beast in the second half." My monies are on Carlos Pena and Longoria. I also see ... shake it, magic 8-ball... I also see Rocco Baldelli, still recovering from his battle against a midichlorian disorder, hitting a huge pinch-hit home run against the Red Sox in September.

Nationals 3, Orioles 2 (12 inn.) — Ronnie Belliard makes like Bill and Ted and pulls a fast one on the Brim Reaper in front of the biggest crowd in D.C. history (right after the line to go up into the Washington Monument).

Astros 3, Red Sox 2 — Boston's pitchers went 0-for-25 with 18 strikeouts during interleague play, prompting Hank Steinbrenner to say, "Eh, it's not so bad that pitchers have to hit sometimes."

Giants 11, Athletics 1Rich Aurilia (five RBIs) is one of those guys who makes you go, "He's still playing?" at least twice a year. The A's take the season series but the Giants get two of three in Oakland to win the prestigious Certificate of Stan Javier.

Angels 1, Dodgers 0John Lackey's ERA no longer visible to the human eye (which is why I can't type it here). Three shutouts in the series, two by the Dodgers, who take home the Tommy John. One of the Dodgers shutouts was an eight-inning no-hitter by Angels pitchers Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo (what a beach that guy is).

Twins 5, Brewers 0Kevin Slowey. A beast? He's got a 30-3 K/BB ratio this month, which is a helluva lot better than yours or mine. Or yours, anyway. The Twins did this to Ben Sheets, too, a contender to start the All-Star Game (sorry to offend you, Society of Edinson Volquez, jeez).

Mariners 9, Padres 2 — A 5-for-5 for Ichiro and a sweep for the M's — just so we all know the pecking order at the bottom.

Rangers 5, Phillies 1 — The Phillies are making that beep-beep-beep sound a garbage truck makes when it backs up in an alley.

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Photo of the Day: You guys, get out of the way! I was gonna somersault into home!

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Teammates rush to prevent Washington Nationals infielder Ronnie Belliard, who moonlights part-time as a superhero, from taking flight after his game-ending home run Sunday. Belliard, whose super alter-ego reportedly is "La Decepcion Del Vuelo" ("The Flying Disappointment") nearly blew his cover three years ago after being photographed by Sports Illustrated levitating against the White Sox during the pennant race.

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Fantasy Freaks

Burnett (Jays) 7 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 11 K, Win

Oliver Perez (Mets) 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 8 K, Win

Haren (D-backs) 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 K

Andy Sonnanstine (Rays) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 4 K, Win

LaRue (Cards) 2-4, HR, 4 RBI

Mark Grudzielanek (Royals) 4-5, 3 R, RBI

Slowey (Twins) 9 IP, 3 H, 8 K, Win

Aurilia (Giants) 3-5, HR, 5 RBI

Jonathan Sanchez (Giants) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win

Ichiro (M's) 5-5, 2 R

Lackey (Angels) 8 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 9 K, Win

Buehrle (White Sox) 7 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K, Win

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Fantasy Flakes

George Sherrill (O's) 2/3 IP, H, 2 ER, BB, K, Blown save, loss

Brian Bannister (Royals) 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, K, Loss

Joe Blanton (A's) 4 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, BB, 3 K, Loss

Derrek Kee (Cubs) 0-3, BB, 3 K

A-Rod (Yankees) 0-4, K

Carl Crawford (Rays) 0-5, 3 K

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Words of Mouth

"They’re not really a National League team when they come here. They use a DH. So they’re American League teams, and we just thumped ‘em. How about that?" — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on his team's success at home in interleague play.
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