Morning Juice: Pinch me! Raburn matches, exceeds Hoff power

David Brown
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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. Roll Call starts in Detroit, home of the assembly line and the Tigers, who have put together a first-place team despite some problems with an expensive model out in right field.

Game of the Day

Tigers 5, Cubs 4

Leyland's choice: Ryan Raburn(notes) or Magglio Ordonez(notes). Who you got? As counterintuitive as it seems to pick Raburn, he helped make his case by hitting a two-run, game-ending home run as a pinch hitter for Ordonez's spot in the lineup, sending the Tigers to their fifth straight victory (VIDEO).

Ordonez was back in the lineup, batting seventh, for the first time since manager Jim Leyland benched him and Ordonez's agent Thursday for an "indefinite" period because of a mega-slump. But with the Tigers leading by a run in the seventh, Leyland removed Ordonez for a pinch runner. Josh Anderson(notes) (how could we conveniently forget Josh Anderson?) promptly got picked off. D'oh!

Brilliant tactician: When Leyland needed a bat in the ninth, he went to Raburn and the Boy with the Career .416 Slugging Percentage (.457 this season), killed a Kevin Gregg(notes) offering to a deep part of the Comerica wilderness. The Tigers went from trailing 4-3 to dancin' in the streets of Motown. They hadn't won a game on a pinch-hit homer since Lou Whitaker did it in 1995. It was like somebody threw an octopus, or bought Chrysler, they were so excited. Raburn, as he touched home, was playfully pummeled by teammates.

"I didn't feel a thing," he said. "I was kind of numb. I've never done that before."

Let's see. Leyland benches Maggs, they win four games. He brings him back, they trail until he takes him out. Maybe, Ordonez should become the most expensive assistant bench coach in the majors. Have a seat next to ol' Lloyd McClendon, No. 30!

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Don't Hassle the Hoff!: What started as a tantalizing pitching matchup between Edwin Jackson(notes) and Carlos Zambrano(notes) unexpectedly hinged on which team had the best performance by a player with nominal ties to a former TV icon.

Ra(y)burn trumps Hoff Power. This time.

The first big goat reliever of the game was Joel Zumaya(notes), whose best pitch is a 99-mph fastball. Zumaya's second-best pitch is probably a 98-mph fastball. Protecting a one-run lead in the eighth with this in mind, Zoo tried what appeared to be his third-best pitch on Micah Hoffpauir(notes), who made a two-run deposit in the homer bank.

"We went from a real low to a real high, to a real low and a real high," Leyland said.

Charles Nelson Reilly is on deck for the Cubs.

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Feelin' Rundown (c'mon, straglers!):

Padres 9, Mariners 7: Celebrate with me.

D-backs 8, Rangers 2: Justin Upton(notes) is the hottest 21-year-old not on "The Hills." He's got a .321 average, 14 homers, 17 doubles, 45 RBIs and you should see who he's dating.

Royals 2, Astros 1: Zack Greinke(notes) picks up his first victory in nearly a month. Miguel Tejada(notes) compared him to Roger Clemens(notes), but then recanted when asked to say it under oath.

Red Sox 11, Nationals 3: Jason Bay(notes) gets four hits and a homer, reminding us of another place Manny isn't needed.

Twins 7, Brewers 3: With Miller Park all dried out, the Twins flooded the Crew with runs. They've had to do some interior remodeling at Miller since last week's heavy rains invaded the ballpark. But there are some reminders of the rising waters.

"It smells like my grandmother's house," Prince Fielder(notes) said. "(But) it doesn't smell as bad as I thought it would."

Cardinals 3, Mets 0: Are the Amazins too feeble to swing a bat right now? Joel Pineiro(notes) induced 22 ground-ball outs, then induced vomiting among Mets fans. Livan did keep Pujols in the ballpark with the bases loaded. He still hit a two-run single, but at least Albert didn't line it through the Arch.

Blue Jays 7, Reds 5: Sometimes you get Brian Tallet's(notes) mustache, sometimes Brian Tallet's mustache gets you. Score one for the 'stache.

Marlins 7, Orioles 6: Luke Scott(notes) appeared to throw out the potential winning run at the plate, but Gregg Zaunn droppedd the ballll and Emilio Bonifacio(notes) scored. Potential turns actual.

Dodgers 5, White Sox 2: It's patently absurd to say L.A. is better without Manny — Juan Pierre(notes) can't outrun VORP forever — but it sure seems they're better off sometimes. VORP, VORP, VORP!

Angels 4, Rockies 3: VORP, VORP, VORP! Sorry. VORP machine got loose again. ... The Angels were helped out on a couple of bunt plays by Ian Stewart(notes). Problem: Ian Stewart plays for the Rockies. The Great Rally Monkey in the Sky works in mysterious ways, doesn't she? EEK, EEK, EEK! Aw, Christmas, now the Rally Monkey's loose!

Giants 4, Athletics 1: Twelve members of the '89 World Series champions attended a pregame reunion. Rickey Henderson, among those who came, declared it the greatest reunion of all time. Bob Geren should have sent him to bat against Timmah! I bet he could have drawn a walk and maybe stolen second base.

Indians 5, Pirates 4: In the '60s, the hippies said to never trust anyone after he or she turned 30. This season, the Tribe says not to trust anyone after the sixth inning, because that's usually when the bullpen comes in. In a way, it's OK that Matt Herges(notes) and Kerry Wood(notes) continue to conspire to give Eric Wedge high blood pressure. At least he has blood pressure.

Phillies 10, Rays 1: Joe Maddon says that considering the Rays played the Phillies several times in spring training and even twice in Philadelphia before the regular season started, his team has "closure" with them regarding any lingering World Series feelings. So that's why they came out so envigorated!

Braves 4, Yankees 0: Tommy Hanson(notes) is so gifted and bored, he's purposely making extra work for himself by walking the ballpark just so he can strike it out. My theory, anyway.