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David Brown

Morning Juice: Rare Juan Pierre homer (!) keeps Dodgers rolling

David Brown
Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the rarest of occurrences in major league baseball. No, not a Cubs championship. Today's Roll Call starts in the Steel City, where noted slugger Juan Pierre hit his first home run in more than 1,000 at-bats to help the Los Angeles Dodgers win for the 13th time in 15 games (the surge is working!). No, the ball didn't go into the Allegheny River. It's not a potato chip with the image of Juan Pierre on it. It's just a home run.

Game of the Day: Dodgers 8, Pirates 2

Brute force: Pierre had gone nearly two years between homers, but he was in the starting lineup for a third straight game because Andre Ethier was attending the birth of his first child (sorry, ladies). The sun is gonna come out tomorrow and, sooner or later, Pierre was going to go deep again. Enter Marino Salas and exit baseball. Teammates in the dugout pretended like nothing happened, but here is video proof of Pierre's 13th homer in 5,132 career games.

Best in the West: The Dodger Dogs had dropped eight straight and fell 4 1/2 games behind the D-backs on Aug. 29, but since have done a super-secret, double-inverted, power-reversal and lead by the same margin with 13 games to go. What turned it around? Was it the team shaking off the unpleasant Jeff Kent-Vin Scully rumble? Actually, that's a terrible reason. But let's go with it until something better comes along.

The Man-e-ffect: More likely, it was the stabilizing presence of Manny Ramirez. Your WHAT hurts? That's right. Just by being there, ManRam gave the Dodgers credibility and confidence. And a third "C." Comedy? More like clout. Last night, ManRam had three more hits, increasing his average to .395 with 43 RBIs in 42 games since coming over in a three-way deal. You watch: the Dodgers will be the chic underdog pick come playoff time.

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Feelin' Rundown (the rest of Monday in the majors):

D-backs 3, Giants 1: "I always put a lot of pressure on myself whether it's baseball or fishing," Adam Dunn says after clubbing a go-ahead homer in the eighth. Isn't that the worst possible way to fish? I thought it was about you and no one else around on a calm morning in a boat on the water. To Dunn, it's Freddy Corleone on Lake Tahoe and Michael's coming over and Michael's pissed.

Cubs 6, Astros 1: Hurricane Ike was beyond their control, but the Astros went to Milwaukee with the wrong attitude, from Drayton to Coop to Loretta, and it prevented them from having any chance at beating two dominating pitching performances. One hit in two days! They coulda been a contender. They coulda been somebody. Let's blame them for Ned Yost getting fired too, while we're at it.

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Yankees 4, White Sox 2: To relieve Mark Buehrle in a tie ballgame at Yankee Stadium, Ozzie Guillen went to relievers who I swear are named Error Wassermann and Horsebleep Ramirez. Predict what happened next. If you said something like, "the Yankees untied it," you are correct, sir/ma'am.

Red Sox 13, Rays 5: They're in bed together (those aren't pillows!), tied for first place though the Red Sox leave a foot on the floor, '50s-style, because the Rays are a game ahead in the loss column. Six home runs for the Sawx, four against Scott Kazmir, who said, "I just didn't feel like that was me out there." Really. So, there's some scoundrel out there pretending to be Scott Kazmir? Seize him!

Indians 3, Twins 1: Scott Lewis has a left-handed Tim Lincecum thing going on with the hair. ... The Twins are certain they packed a sense of urgency for their road trip. They're having a little trouble locating it right now. Just give 'em a second. Wait. Redmond has it. Nope. Those are bats. We'll get back to you.

Nationals 7, Mets 2: He doesn't scream much, instead guilting you with the "disappointed parent" approach. Underneath, he just wants you to do your best. But he's also angry. You're a very mad man, Jerry Manuel! Very, very mad!

Padres 11, Rockies 5: Hmm, should I pitch to Adrian Gonzalez or Kevin Kouzmanoff. Kouzmanoff or Gonzalez. Gonzalez or Kouzmanoff. OK, I'll pitch to Gonzalez. ... Dammit!

Royals 3, Mariners 0: Carlos Silva pitched what passes for well these days — two earned over 5 1/3 innings — but fell to 4-15. That's $3 million for each win so far this season. Makes you want to write your congresspersonman/lady.

Rangers 11, Tigers 8: Dontrelle Willis is back in the majors, and he looks a lot like the guy who left with a 10.32 ERA. Still, he's only 26. He's only just begun. To live.

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Photo of the Day: Poster child

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The new Jermaine Dye Fathead is expected to hit stores in time for Christmas

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Fantasy Freaks

Ted Lilly (Cubs) 7 IP, H, BB, 9 K, Win

Pierre (Dodgers) 3-5, 3 R, HR!!!

Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers) 7 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 K, Win

S. Lewis (Indians) 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K, Win

John Lannan (Nats) 7 IP, H, ER, 3 BB, 7 K, Win

David Ortiz (Red Sox) 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI

Kyle Davies (Royals) 8 IP, 4 H, 8 K, Win

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

Troy Tulowitzki (Rox) 2-4, HR, $ RBI

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Fantasy Flakes

David Wright (Mets) 0-4, 2 K

Scott Kazmir (or WAS it?) 3 IP, 6 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, Loss

Matt Holliday (Rox) 0-5, K

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Words of Mouth

"All I was thinking was, no way it could happen again." — Geovany Soto, on Ted Lilly tossing a no-hitter into the seventh inning a day after Carlos Zambrano's no-no.
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