Game of the Day: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 (14 inn.)
Closer needs a closer: The Rays survived, and even thrived, in a playoff-like series at Fenway. After Troy Percival left a mess in the bottom of the 14th, Jason Hammel cleaned it up by pitching out of a bases-loaded jam with only one run crossing home. He got the save, along with a much-anticipated shaving cream pie during his postgame interview.
Monster mash: Carlos Pena clubbed a three-run deep against Mike Timlin in the top of the 14th to finally put the Rays ahead after 11 consecutive scoreless innings for Tampa-St. Pete. Both teams combined to strand 29 baserunners. Jason Bay came up snake eyes every time, leaving seven runners on base.
Staying power: Rocco Baldelli, the Rocket from Woonsocket (R.I.), entered the game as a pinch-hitter and stayed long enough to go 1-for-4 with a run scored, coming home ahead of Pena.
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Feelin' Rundown (a trip around the big leagues):
Angels 4, Yankees 2: Torii Hunter slipped on swim goggles, like ones he's used in several like-celebrations with the Twins, and went for a champagne swim in the soaked Angels clubhouse. Look at Torii, "I'm Michael Phelps," Hunter said. With that, the Halos celebrated their fourth division crown in five seasons. K-Rod now one save from tying ThiggyPens.
Mariners 8, Rangers 7: This actually was the clincher for the Angels, who watched from their clubhouse on hi-def (wish I had hi-def). Itchy-rho needs 10 hits to tie Wee Willie Keeler's record of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons to start a career.
Dodgers 7, Padres 2: Manny being really damn good. Dodgers taking 3.5 game lead.
Braves 9, Rockies 5: Instead of James Parr, I want to call the Braves rookie right-hander "Jamie Parr." Classic. Two homers for Kelly Johnson, who we can just call "Kelly Johnson." Rockies. Nap time. Bye-bye.Cubs 4, Cardinals 3: Ted Lilly meets Yadier Molina at the plate. Molina thinks it's for tea, but it's not. Molina wins the moment — he hangs onto the ball — but the Cubs hang on in the end to win the big picture.
Brewers 4, Reds 3: CC was on the hook for a loss (gasp!) and the Brewers were on the hook for a sweep, but they're slippery fishies and they somehow wriggled free after Mike Cameron hit a go-ahead single in the eighth. Now the Crue makes like Laverne and Shirley and flees Milwaukee for a hilarious adventure against Phillies and Cubs, AKA Lenny and Squiggy.
Astros 7, Pirates 4: The Stroze have won 13 of 14. Fantabulous. Where was this in July?
Twins 7, Royals 1: The Twinkies might as well have asked Bemidji State's baseball team what it was doing this week instead of playing the Royals.
White Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: Seeing as the competition is mopping the floor with the junior varsity, the White Sox really needed to stop the Canadian National freight train. Even with Sugar Roy Doc Halladay going, the Jays winning streak ends at 10 — or, in Canadian, a decilitre. ... It's that time of year: The Jays are thinking about pitching Roy, Burnett and Jesse Litsch on short rest against the Red Sox.
Mets 13, Nationals 10: It's anniversary time for the Mets, not that they're going to toast. Some people "remember Paris." Others remember letting go of a seven-game lead with 17 to go. Or, maybe they forget. The Mets seem to have forgotten. Credit Jerry.
Marlins 7, Phillies 3: The Phillies were chasers a season ago and it worked out. They're chasing this time, too, but don't seem to be going anywhere. Like the hamster in the wheel. My first pet hamster, Hammy (1979-1981) was cute going 1,000 mph in his wheel. Shane Victorino, not as cute.
Athletics 5, Tigers 2: Leyland's putting out the cigarette for good after this season, right? He's not going out for another pack. He's just going out and never coming back.
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Photo of the Day: Visiting day goes badly for Yadier
"All of these years together and this is how you treat me? I hate you, ball!"
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Bronson (Reds) 7 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 3 K
Raul Ibanez (M's) 4-5, R, 3 RBI
Kelly Shoppach (Indians) 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Lewis (Indians) 8 IP, 3 H, 3 K, Win
Andy Sonnanstine (Rays) 7 IP, 4 H, 7 K
Kelly Johnson (Braves) 2-5, 2 HR
Cristian Guzman (Nats) 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI
David Wright (Mets) 4-4, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI
Miguel Tejada (Astros) 2-3, HR, 4 RBI
Kevin Slowey (Twins) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 2 K, Win
Mark Buehrle (White Sox) 7 1/3 IP, 7 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K, Win
Lilly (Cubs) 8 IP, 5 H, ER, 5 K, Win
Manny (Dodgers) 2-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI
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Kevin Millwood (Rangers) 5 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, Loss
Halladay (Jays) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, BB, 8 K, Loss
Jason Bay (Red Sox) 0-7, 3 K
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Words of Mouth
"When he hits the ball in the air, it doesn't come down." — Joe Torre, on Ramirez