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Morning Juice: Teammates finally beat up Burrell for long slump

Big League Stew

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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 in sunny St. Petersburg, under the cover of dome, where Pat Burrell(notes) has been hiding all season. Until, maybe, now.

Game of the Day

Rays 3, Blue Jays 1 (11 inn.)

Roll out the barrel: Stuck in a 4-for-34 slump that's actually lasted a lot longer than that, Burrell connected against Brandon League(notes) for a game-deciding two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th, sending the handful of Rays friends and family in attendance (15,244) home happy.

Burrell should have been one of the best free-agent signings of the off-season. The Rays seemed to need offense, so why not sign a slugger nicknamed "Pat the Bat"? The Rays have scored plenty of runs but no thanks to Burrell, who has been banged up and bad so far. Even factoring the blast against the Jays, Burrell is batting .222 with four homers, 25 RBIs and a .322 slugging percentage.

Not a whole lot of bang for 16-million bucks.

"We got a long way to go, and I haven't been performing. It's that simple," said Burrell, who missed 29 games in May and June with a neck strain. "As you go along in the season, you try to build on things. I'm hoping this is one of those times."

The defending AL champions needed a pick-me-up after a strong debut by a Jays pitcher with a tough slider and tougher last name.

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Mustard on that Polish: OK, we had a couple of thoughtful commenters chime in with pronunciations — different ones, of course — for rookie Marc Rzepczynski's(notes) last name.

The game announcers called him: Zep-chinski. Commenter deathharbour wins! Way to go, death.

Ah, Polska. Which reminds me of a joke. What does a Polish husband give his bride on their wedding day that's long and hard? A last name!

As for Zep's performance, the 23-year-old left-hander was great. Struck out the first guy he saw, showed a sharp breaking ball and the Rays really did little with him over his six innings — a run, two hits, four walks and seven Ks.

Doc Halladay watch: He's still a Jay, not that it makes total sense according to Y! Sports' own Gordon Edes.

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (all these games are easier to pronounce):

Reds 4, Phillies 3: Obviously, the Reds learned the lesson of what it's like to trail by a touchdown and a field goal before your team even gets a second possession. Avoiding such a start makes those fourth quarters ninth innings much more manageable.

After homering twice, Brandon Phillips'(notes) bunt put Joey Votto(notes) in position to be knocked in by Ramon Hernandez(notes).

Dusty Baker said something curious, though.

"Before he went up, I said, 'Man, I know you hit two homers, but I need you to bunt him over,' " Baker told Phillips. "He said, 'No problem.' "

Don't these guys use signs? Good thing the Phillies didn't hear!

White Sox 10, Indians 6: Pau-lie, Pau-lie, Pau-lie. One for each homer. And seven "Konerkos" for each RBI.

Giants 3, Marlins 0: Slow clap for Barry Zito(notes), who finally had a great moment for the Giants. He didn't get the complete game, but let's not expect too much for $126 million.

"I've got four years left on this deal after this," Zito said of his seven-year contract. "I want more than anything to let my potential come through, and show and let myself know, more importantly than others, that I'm still capable of throwing up effective outings."

Four more years. Hoo boy.

Orioles 12, Mariners 4: Luke Scott(notes), you will go to the Dagobah System and drive in seven, then report back. Most of the O's damage wasn't done against ex-O Erik Bedard(notes), who was on a pitch limit and pulled after four impressive-looking innings.

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Pirates 6, Astros 3: Jack Wilson(notes), America's shortstop, has hit 10 of his 60 career homers at Minute Maid Park. His eyes light up whenever he sees them Crawfish Boxes.

"You just play to the elements," Wilson says.

Is this a pic of the world's biggest hip bump?

Rangers 8, Angels 5: Two outs into the fifth, John Lackey(notes) hadn't allowed a run, but Michael Young(notes) beat out an infield single to keep the inning going. Two batters later, Andruw Jones(notes) hit a three-run homer and by the time the Rangers were done, they had scored six and knocked Lackey out. Cruel, cruel game.

Dodgers 8, Mets 0: Manny gets tossed in the fifth after arguing balls and strikes. To his credit, I suppose, he didn't leave the clubhouse and head off into the New York night immediately afterward. He stayed to answer postgame questions. What's he up to?

Red Sox 5, Athletics 2: Josh Beckett's(notes) ERA at the end of April was 7.22. Now, it's 3.62. That means, by early September, it should be down to 0.02 if he keeps this pace.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 0: Ryan Ludwick(notes) gives Adam Wainwright(notes) all he needs with a three-run homer in the first inning. Wainwright came within two outs of his first career shutout, which he promises will come someday.

The Brewers complained — boy, did they complain — that umpire Bill Hohn's Mustache gave Wainwright much more of the plate than it did to Yovani Gallardo(notes). Coaches Dale Sveum, Willie Randolph, Bernie Brewer and Italian Sausage were ejected for various arguments.

Mark DeRosa(notes) goes on the disabled list, after all, because of Answer Man a strained left wrist.

Tigers 8, Royals 5: Bruce Chen's(notes) career summed up in two consecutive plate appearances: He avoids Miguel Cabrera(notes) with an intentional walk, then gives up a three-run homer on a high change-up to Marcus Thames(notes).

D-backs 4, Padres 3: Arizona ensures itself of a series win at home for the first time since A.J. Hinch took over for Bob Melvin in May. A lesson to all you young GMs out there about the value, or lack thereof, in firing your manager.

Yankees 10, Twins 2: CC might miss the Metrodome once Target Field is ready. He's 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA inside the Gas Bag over his past seven starts.

Braves 2, Cubs 1: Zambrano pitches well as he fills in for Ryan Dempster's Big Toe on short notice, but the Braves pitchers were even better.

Rockies 5, Nationals 4: The Gnats make three errors, plus other key goofs, and Rockies left-hander Alan Embree(notes) doesn't even throw a pitch (he picked a guy off) in picking up the victory. That's Nationals baseball.

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