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David Brown

Morning Juice: Rockies get off duffs, ferment win over Cards

Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Major League Roll Call — one Juice to rule them all — starts near the Coors brewery tour, where the Rockies mixed just the right amount of water, barley, hops and yeast to trump the recipe brought to town by the visitors from St. Louis. Over at Yankee Stadium, Cliff Lee gives Hank Steinbrenner something to think about until the Yanks make a free-agent run at him in Nov. of 2009.

NL Game of the Day: Rockies 4, Cardinals 3

Rocktober revue: Memories of the 2007 playoffs probably danced through the heads of Coors fans, with the Rox finally resembling their selves of a season ago. The Cards seemingly had this one in the bag, ahead 3-0 behind Adam Wainwright and heading to the 8th with a strong bullpen ready to shut the lid.

Paging Trevor Hoffman: The Rox put a couple of runs on the board against Kyle McClellan and Randy Flores and then, after Albert Pujols lost a foul pop-up in the wind to help let Garrett Atkins off the hook for a walk, Jason Isringhausen gave up a 2-run triple to Chris Iannetta.

Pen men: After an icky game from Jeff Francis, Colorado relievers held the Cards scoreless for 4 innings. Albert bemoaned his misplayed pop on defense and a cruddy game at the plate — he stranded 6 runners.

Lud the Stud: One of the reasons the Cards are in 1st, Eric Ryan Ludwick, hit his 5th homer. He's slugging .701, which is not going to last, but it's certainly reasonable for him to slug .501. which is darned good. After nearly 2,800 minor-league at-bats for multiple organizations, he's sort of Shrek to Skip Schumaker's Donkey.

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AL Game of the Day: Indians 3, Yankees 0

Ace hardware: Lee bettered Chien-Ming Wang in what New York intelligence probably viewed as a tussle between the best pitcher in the league (Wang) and a guy from Cleveland. It was the 1st matchup of 5-0 pitchers, Elias reports, since Oakland's Dave Stewart faced Cleveland's Greg Swindell back in '88.

Gee, Mr. Perfect: Lee has allowed 4 earned runs all season and hasn't walked anyone in 28 innings. A year ago, Lee was working on running himself off the Indians' 40-man roster and maybe into another line of work.

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Feelin' rundown (Wednesday's other NL Games):

Phillies 5, D-backs 4Micah Owings update: 1-3, 2B, .417 BA; 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. ... Ryan Howard is on pace to strike out 231.4 times. Come on, great batting coach genius Charlie Manuel, do something or send him to wherever Scranton is now. Allentown. I hate that song. Well, I hate the music video. Billy Joel jumped the shark just for fun sometimes, and the "Allentown" video is the best example. Anyway, can you imagine how an Uptown Guy guy like Howard — an MVP, a Rookie of the Year, an All-Star Game Home Run Hitting Contest champ, a 10-millionaire, a real Big Lebowski — would handle Allentown, Pa. at this point in his life? No offense to Allentown, but oy. Iron and coke, chromium steel. Howard has worked hard and behaved, but it's got to be getting hard to stay in Philly for a guy who's batting .163 with 50 strikeouts so far. Sadly, sending Howard to Allentown might be apt. The song is about how the city went to pot after WW2, the Big One. Maybe Howard has reached his own post-industrial era. Hopefully, he fixes what's ailing him, no matter if it's up or down. As for the D'backs, they have dropped 4 of 6 (gasp!) against the Mets and Phils, which probably ruins their credibility back East. That will hurt come tournament selection time

Reds 9, Cubs 0Joey Votto goes blotto on the Cubs, hitting 3 of the Reds 7 homers. Lieber means "sooner" in German, as in, "Get Jon Lieber out of there soon, before the Reds hit another homer."

Mets 12, Dodgers 1 — A Brad Penny for my thoughts on this one? His performance was not worth one red cent. Who can make heads or tails of this guy, formerly of the law firm of Pavano, Zito and Milano? See a Penny — don't pick it up — it's not wise. He still should name his first born Lincoln. For innumerable reasons, I want them to bring back Li'l Penny, but if they did so today it would have to be a mini version of Brad and not Anfernee Hardaway. Larry the Cable Guy, Health Inspector (is he the cable guy or is he the health inspector?) would do the voice, of course. Meanwhile for the Metropolitans, well done, my Maine man!

Braves 5, Padres 2 — Chipper: 2-4, .429. New Braves extra Greg Norton drove in the go-ahead run with a pinch hit. Norton is not an uncommon player; the minor leagues probably have 50 guys who can do what he does (career: .253/.337/.427). But I doubt many of them are as nice of a person, and hopefully that is a component as to why he's been around for 12 seasons.

Marlins 6, Brewers 2Dave Bush historically has very good strikeout/walk ratios, which often are an indicator of future success. There's always tomorrow, Dave.

Pirates 3, Giants 1 — Two men enter PNC Park winless, one man leaves winless. Hairy Barry Zito was the unlucky soul, though witnesses swear he pitched better. He's now 11-20 in 40 career NL starts. Phil Dumatrait said he would never forget the feeling of his first major league victory, no matter if it came against Barry Zito, Barry Gibb or Barry Zuckerkorn. The Giants might be in the market for Zuckerkorn and Gibb, so maybe he'll get a crack at them, too.

Astros 4, Nationals 3Ryan Zimmerman's one-man gang — 3-for-4, 2 homers, 3 RBIs — not enough to overcome 8 walks by gNats pitchers, another big night by Lance Berkman (2-for-3, HR) and the thrilling legs of Kaz Matsui (2 steals).

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Photo of the Day: "Guy, no recess until you tell me who put the tack on my chair."

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Ichiro Suzuki, looking more American than anyone else in the room, listens with teammate Arthur Rhodes and manager John McLaren (old guy on the left) to grade schoolers complain about the Mariners inept offense.

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Feelin Rundown (Wednesday's other AL games)

Athletics 6, Orioles 5 (10 inn.) — Following an 0-for-17 stretch (which followed an 0-for-18 earlier this season), Mark Ellis goes yard against Lance Cormier to help sweep the O's. "It feels good to contribute. It was a pretty bad slump," Ellis said.

Tigers 10, Red Sox 9 — A great comeback spoiled by another. The Tigers, in addition to playing like crap most of the season, also have been unlucky. Maybe this begins a stretch which can combine lucky and good and net some more wins. I bet all of my Ervin Santana rookie cards that it never happens to the extent that they'll need it. One thing in their favor: the AL Central sure got stinky in a hurry. How hilarious would it be if the Twinkies won it?

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2 — Shawn Marcum, jeepers. The Jays have some great-looking pitchers, but Lloyd Moseby, Willie Upshaw and Ernie Whitt can't come out of retirement and make the offense go, and that probably will keep them far from the postseason.

Royals 9, Angels 4Zack Greinke admits that umpire Tim McClelland gives him nightmares. That's the most adorable thing ever said by a ballplayer. ... The Royals reached their season high in runs for the third time, though it seems unnatural that they got to 9 even once.

Twins 13, White Sox 1Carlos Gomez became the first Twins player to hit for the cycle since Kirby Puckett in 1986 and said: "Kirby Puckett, I saw the video of the player. He is an All-Star and I can't explain it to you. That's unbelievable." OK, that's the most adorable thing ever said by a ballplayer.

Rangers 2, Mariners 0Erik Bedard was sharp but Vicente Padilla had an even finer edge to him. Maybe the edge was he was facing the M's offensive offense.

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Fantasy Freaks

Joey Votto (Reds) 3-4, 3 HR, 4 RBI

Vicente Padilla (Rangers) 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K, Win, 3.02 ERA

Cliff Lee (Indians) 7 IP, 6 H, 7 K, 0.81 ERA

Placido Polanco (Tigers) 5-6, 2 R, 3 RBI

Carlos Gomez (Twins) 4-6 (cycle), HR, 3 RBI

Shawn Marcum (Blue Jays) 8 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 9 K, Win

Ryan Zimmerman (Nats) 3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Livan Hernandez (Twins) 9 IP, ER, BB, 3 K, Win

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Fantasy Flakes

Brad Penny (Dodgers) 4 2/3 IP, 10 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, Loss

Dave Bush (Brewers) 6 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.98 ERA, Loss

Jered Weaver (Angels) 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, BB, K, Loss

Mark Buehrle (White Sox) 5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, Loss

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Big Talker

"It just happened so fast." — Cubs pitcher Jon Lieber, who allowed 4 home runs to the Reds in the 2nd inning

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