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 on Magic Mountain, deep inside the Orange County Rainforest, where swings the Most Valuable Primate in the majors — the Rally Monkey.
Game of the Day: Angels 9, Mariners 8
Call it a comeback: The M's zoomed ahead 8-1 in the sixth and seemed on their way to sweep in the Magic Kingdom. The Angels appeared to need not one Rally Monkey, but an entire battalion of simians, perhaps featuring Dr. Zaius, Cheetah, Koko and Bubbles, if they wanted to get back above .500.
The Halos started pecking away, with Torii Hunter's(notes) home run getting them within 8-5, but they were still down two runs in the ninth against a closer who had been perfect so far in save situations.
David Aardsma(notes) then started walking the ballpark, including Juan Rivera(notes), whose base on balls tied the score with two outs. Aardsma's second hit allowed, to Kendry Morales(notes), brought in the winning run.
The Monkey and the Angels went bananas. Aardsma, who had been dealing a scoreless streak of 14 1/3 innings, wanted to go climb a tree but instead talked to reporters.
"I knew from the first pitch I threw," Aardsma said, unwittingly starting a poem. "I gave it everything I had, but I couldn't put enough pitches in the strike zone. And by the time I did, I hadn't earned any close calls. I can live with hits — but the walks? I didn't give us a chance."
History in the Monkey: It was the Angels biggest comeback victory since July 15, 1996 when Marcel Lachemann managed them. Marcel? Hmm. Marcel the Monkey from "Friends"? Hmm. Rally Monkey? Hmm.
Astros 2, Pirates 1: Mike Hampton(notes) won for the eighth straight time against the Pirates, and is 12-3 against them for his career since 1994. Terrific and amazing, until you consider... how can Hampton not be 12-3 against the Pirates? (Putting on my sarcasm cap now). Boy, hard to believe the Pirates, no matter who they've put in the lineup these past 15 years, can't find anybody to beat Mike Hampton.
Dodgers 8, Cubs 2: Cubs fans, they get all dressed up in their bear suits and Mark Prior(notes) jerseys, and the Lincoln Park Trixies squeeze into their short-shorts, all ready for a Sunday night ballgame at Wrigley — and there aren't many prettier sights than Wrigley when the sun is setting — and the mean ol' Dodgers just spoil everything instantly with a five-run first inning.
Indians 5, Yankees 4: It's OK, from a cosmic standpoint, that Pavano didn't pick up the victory against the Yankees. It's not like they were the reason he was so hurt and so bad for them all those years. But he pitched well again and his ERA continues to plummet. Pavano had a humorous quote about Mark Teixeira(notes), who homered against him:
"He's been hot his whole career, not just now."
Just as soon as the Yankees got right, Nick Swisher(notes) went back in the tank. He's hitting .229 after running the five boroughs in April. ... Grady Sizemore(notes) goes on the DL, which mean Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) becomes the best player on the active roster. Huzzah, Drooby!
Mets 3, Marlins 2: The Mets continue to play pretty well as their roster wastes away to nothing. Guys are out sick (Beltran) or are sick and pitch anyway (John Maine(notes)). Some have groins (Pagan), or they're otherwise injured (Reyes, Delgado, Church). Pretty soon, Sheff will be out with shingles and David Wright(notes) will have the diphtheria. ... Answer Man Chris Volstad pitches well against the Mets with little to show for it.
Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 2: Francona tried Dustin Pedroia(notes) in the leadoff spot, and he took to it nicely. ... Kevin Youkilis(notes), with that pool cue batting grip of his, is hitting .366 after knocking a pair of homers. It's in the way that you use it, I guess. ... Jon Lester(notes) (12 strikeouts) seems to be coming around, though he's really been inconsistent from the start of the season. He's got five good starts and six bad ones. ... Ricky Romero(notes) ain't the same Ricky Romero from earlier in the season, pre-DL.
Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Did somebody remember to bring the balloons for Jamie Moyer's(notes) 250th career victory party? ... Ryan Zimmerman(notes) in a 10-for-54 slump since May 16, dropping his batting average from .366 to .319.
Tigers 3, Orioles 0: Aubrey Huff(notes) paid some nice compliments to Edwin Jackson(notes), saying he's matured and his stuff has been refined since the two played for the Devil Rays. But then, realizing he was out of whack, Huff said some nasty things about Detroit as a city and re-achieved personal harmony. (He didn't really say anything bad about Detroit.) ... Matt Wieters(notes) so far: 2-for-11 with a double, triple and three strikeouts. ... Luke Scott(notes) did not hit a home run, and it's the first time in five days anybody could say that.
Brewers 5, Reds 2: Have you ever noticed how fast the first-place Brewers jerk their uniform tops out of their pants as part of their postgame victory celebration? They're begging for rug burns on their butts or, worse, self-wedgies. ... Ooh, some pseudo-smack talk from Brandon Phillips(notes), of the be-swept Redlegs:
"I feel like we're a better team than the Brewers. But today, they executed better than we did. They did the little things. We didn't do the little things the last two games. That's why they won the game."
White Sox 7, Royals 4: Somebody, kind of, sort of, finally got to Zack Greinke(notes) — for three earned runs and eight hits. ... Scott Podsednik(notes) seems to be resurrecting his career with the White Sox. He seems to be in the middle of run-scoring rallies all the time. And yet, his OPS was at a career-low level heading into Sunday. So is he or isn't he?
Padres 5, Rockies 2: Fifteen of Adrian Gonzalez's(notes) 20 homers have come away from PETCO. ... Todd Tichenor umped first base in this game. Not only did nobody get thrown out of the game, but he also refused to call anybody out at first. Made for real chaos. Totally kidding.
Twins 3, Rays 2: Denard Span(notes) made another great catch in right field. He's definitely in the mold of Torii Hunter when it comes to plays like this (VIDEO). ... This grab (VIDEO) made by pitcher Jose Mijares(notes) was even better, considering Carlos Pena(notes) hit it off the catwalk — off the catwalk, yeah — and nobody else was near it.
Giants 5, Cardinals 2: Bullpen to the rescue for the Giants, who are 25-24, somehow, with that offense.
Athletics 5, Rangers 4: Andrew Bailey(notes) (4-0) picks up another victory in relief for the A's, who are required to send someone to the All-Star Game. It's either Bailey or Adam Kennedy(notes), who's hitting .390 after homering twice, including the go-ahead blast against Frank Francisco(notes) in the ninth. They picked up Kennedy at a thrift store, I think.
Braves 9, D-backs 3: Chipper Jones(notes): run producer, pitching coach. After Kris Medlen(notes) walked his first Deeback, Jones came over from third base and told him he needed to get ahead of hitters. Medlen didn't walk another batter. And Chipper hit a homer and drove in four. ... And on the seventh day, Justin Upton(notes) rested. Or is it the first day? Either way, he had the day off.