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David Brown

Morning Juice: Rockies' Giambi matters again after key pinch hit

David Brown
Big League Stew

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This and almost every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts on a Rocky Mountain high, because the major leagues' most talked-about mustache is back in the pennant race.

Game of the Day: Rockies 5, Mets 2

Giambino, urra!: A day after contributing a bases-loaded walk in his Rox debut, Jason Giambi(notes) marked his territory with a pinch-hit, tie-breaking, two-run single in the eighth inning. He lined a pitch from Brian Stokes(notes) just over the outstretched glove of a leaping Anderson Hernandez(notes) (Andy Hernandy) sending Coors Field another mile into the air.

Giambi's hit would have been the entire talk of Blake Street, except for closer Huston Street(notes) coming down with a tight right biceps. Mannaggia! (Darn!)

Take it easy, Street: The Big Tipper, who is 33 of 34 in save opportunities, says he hasn't experienced a feeling in his arm like the one he's having now since high school. At first, he thought the pain was due to inactivity and didn't want to see Franklin Morales(notes) go the final two innings for the save.

"I didn't like the decision, but it was the right call," Street said. "This late in the season you can't afford to mess up and be down two or three weeks when it might be only four or five days to a week if we just be smart about it and shut it down."

He's right. It's no time to be sentimental, Street.

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Buona sera: Giambi appeared ready for the scrap heap after a few tumultuous, injury riddled seasons at the end of his career. His time as a starter is over, but being a part-time player on a contender has its upside.

"I'm thankful that the Rockies came calling and gave me this opportunity," Giambi said. "Like I said, there are no small roles in a chance to win a pennant."

Cy now: Also deserving of a pat on the rumpus, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez(notes), who might be pitching better than anyone else in the NL right now.

"You're looking at a future Cy Young winner," Giambi said. "If he can get his whole game together: overpowering fastball, great stuff, great mound presence."

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Feelin' Rundown (they'll be coming down the mountains when they come):

White Sox 4, Twins 2: Call the pope, maybe, in Rome and ask his miracle task force to look into whether the White Sox winning their last game in the Metrodome qualifies for beatification.

Down 2-0 to the Twins and down to the last strike twice, Gordon Beckham(notes) and Paul Konerko(notes) each hit a solo homer to tie the score. Then, it really got ugly for Joe Nathan(notes), who had to be taken out. The Twins slipped another game behind the Tigers. Nathan blew his fifth save this season.

"I'm not a machine," Nathan said, doing his best Pujols.

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The White Sox went 3-16 inside the Hump Dome since the summer of '07; It seemed worse than that because the Twins would sit them down in a dentist chair and ask them if they felt safe while Nick Punto(notes) drilled. The torture chamber will be closing for good soon.

After his team's rare victory, Konerko ambled into the visitor's clubhouse and screamed, "We own this place!"

He laughs only to hide the tears.

"How crazy this thing is," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We figure out how to win in this place, and now we can't come here no more."

Target Field in 2010, baby. Will the Target Lady be there?

Giants 4, Phillies 0: Like his brother in chains, John Smoltz(notes), he's been freed by the burden of pitching for Red Sox Nation. Brad Penny(notes) and his 97-mph fastball have returned to the Motherland NL to dominate.

Rays 8, Red Sox 5: Josh Beckett(notes) (right) is Mr. Stinkypants right now.

D-backs 4, Dodgers 1: I can't wait to draft Max Scherzer(notes) next year and I'm not even in a league.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4: Knowing they would be typecast if they beat the Jays 5-2 for a third consecutive time, the Rangers mix it up a little to move within 3 1/2 games of first place in the AL West. But will it be as close as they get? Michael Young(notes) is out at least two weeks because of his hamstring and now Josh Hamilton(notes) has a sore lower back. Pete O'Brien's OK, but it's not 1986, so who cares in this context?

Marlins 8, Braves 7: The Fighting Fish pull one out on Wes Helms'(notes) ninth-inning homer after Hanley Ramirez(notes) and Dan Uggla(notes) exchanged unpleasantries in front of everybody in the clubhouse before the game.

"You so Uggla," Ramirez was reported as saying. See, it's all a misunderestimation.

No, we can't all just get along. But it doesn't matter as long as we win.

Yankees 10, Orioles 2: After his club won for the 10th straight time against the Orioles, Johnny Damon(notes) said: "This is how a team is made. Top to bottom and on our bench we have a solid team. We have depth that not too many other teams have."

Well, no duh, Mr. $430-million off-season.

Reds 5, Pirates 3: Only the worst parts of the Bible accurately foretell the echelon of losing to which the Pirates descend. After being swept over four games in Cincinnati for the first time since 1975, the Bucs are three defeats away from securing their record 17th straight sub-.500 season. And manager John Russell, whose team has dropped 11 in a row on the road but is 35-29 at home, has lost his mind.

"We'll be all right," Russell said. "We play good at home. Turn the page."

"We'll be all right"? The man's daft! Daft, I tell you!

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Cardinals 10, Brewers 3: Let's put on the Carpenters in honor of Chris Carpenter's(notes) 10th straight victorious decision.

Tigers 4, Indians 2: He can handle the Indians and the pennant race, but 20-year-old Rick Porcello(notes) ignores the 1,000-pound elephant in the room when he calls his mother.

"I can't talk about baseball with my mom," he said. "She's way too emotional and gets too excited."

Cubs 2, Astros 0: When the county medical examiner does the postmortem on the Cubs season, he will find that it wasn't Ted Lilly's(notes) fault they're a corpse.

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Mariners 3, Angels 0: With King Felix (right) making faces like this one, the Angels and their new Scott Kazmir(notes) had no chance.

Padres 7, Nationals 0: If the Padres have figured anything out as far as 2010 goes, it's that Kevin Correia(notes) appears to make a fine fifth starter. He'll probably go opening day.

Athletics 10, Royals 4: A telling quote from Brian Bannister(notes), who got pounded again and says:

"I went out there and didn't have much at all today. I've been battling this for a month now and it's extreme fatigue and just soreness in the back and my shoulder. It's not sharp pain so I don't think it's anything serious."

Yeah, he needs to be shut down if he's feeling extreme fatigue. He's going to hurt himself. Rather, the Royals are going to hurt him. Bannister abuse!

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