GoTD: White Sox 6, Rays 5 (10 inn.)
Box-office flop: With the score tied at 5 in the 10th, Pierzynski ill-advisedly strayed from second base on a grounder and got caught in a rundown. He was tagged out after making contact — literally, A.J. made it — with Rays infielder Willy Aybar by sticking out an arm. "As soon as A.J. tripped, he yelled 'Obstruction!' " infielder Jason Bartlett said. Umpire Doug Eddings agreed that Aybar had gotten in the way and he awarded Pierzynski third base, which set up the Sox to score and avert a sweep. A.J.'s like the kid who calls "time-out" all the time during a fight and then gets in a late shot to your ribs. Here is the Zapruder.
Have we not met before?: Eddings was the umpire who allowed A.J. first base on the phantom dropped third strike against the Angels in the '05 playoffs that helped start the Sox on a season-closing eight-game winning streak. Joe Maddon was in the dugout for that one, too, as Mike Scioscia's bench coach. What goes around keeps going around. Here's Tampa's reaction.
Ray of sunshine: Rocco Baldelli, who some doubted would ever play again because of muscular fatigue, hit his second homer in three days.
The hustler: Pierzynski put himself in scoring position by tagging up on Carlos Quentin's fly ball to center that B.J. Upton casually flipped back to the infield. Upton said he had broken his lollygaggin' habit. He's still working on it, apparently. As for Pierzynski, is this the face of a thief, or just a hard-workin' boy tryin' to get one for the team? You be the judge!
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Feelin' Rundown (Sunday's other reactions to the action):
Astros 6, Mets 4 (10 inn): It's no ' 86 NLCS with Mike Scott and Billy Hatcher, but the 'Stros are giving the Mets fits. Brad Ausmus and Darin Erstad, two guys of whom you think, "I'll bet their slugging percentages are lower than their on-base percentages — bah, that's impossible!" each hit a home run in the 10th against Pedro Feliciano. Checking the stats, Ausmus came in slugging .288 and on-basing .307. Incredible. Erstad slugs higher, even if it doesn't seem like it. Oh, and the Astros want to wish Feliciano a merry Christmas, from the bottom of their hearts.
Phillies 5, Dodgers 2 (11 inn.): Pedro Feliz = Peter Happy, especially after a score-tying single with two outs in the ninth, and a game-ending deep in extras. Los Angeles Dodgers + Manny Ramirez = 11-11.
Cubs 6, Nationals 1: Rich Harden has reached double digits in Ks five times in eight starts with the Cubs, after almost never doing so in his career with the A's. Maybe it's because the NL hitters don't have a book yet, but maybe it's because the guy is incredibly talented and just hitting his stride. This Hendry deal reminds me of when he ripped off the Pirates for Aramis Ramirez. ... A home run in four straight games for my favorite Cub, Mark DeRosa, and a pinch-hit job for Kosuke, who needed it.
Brewers 4, Pirates 3 (12 inn.): Is there time to put a CC bobblehead in the kiln before the end of the season? What's the turnaround time on something like that? I ask, because the Cru has sold out each and every home game, 21 in a row, since trading for the large left-hander, and maybe an ode is owed. Maybe a bobble of him holding of MGD, or him and Squiggy. These suggestions are free, Brewers.
Marlins 5, D-backs 2: Stephen Drew hits the 38th home run to reach the pool, prompting attendee John McCain to mutter under his breath, "How many pools do you own, senator? Punk kids, I'll show 'em. I invented Viet Nam. Bastiges."Cardinals 6, Braves 3: Eight hits and as many RBIs for Phat Albert in the series. He hit .523 against the Braves this year, prompting Bobby Cox to say he has no idea how to pitch Pujols, prompting me to say no shiitake mushrooms, you don't. I've been tinkering with a new nickname for him, and right now it's Pujols-Pujols Golly, after Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former Secretary-General of the U.N. It's turrible, but that doesn't ever stop me.
Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5 (11 inn.): The Boston Herald called Josh Beckett "numbfounded" which is pretty dang clever. The lack of feeling in his fingers is due to right elbow inflammation. Da noive. I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but that's not a good thing.
Yankees 8, Orioles 7: "Obviously, we can look forward to what's in front of us," Yogi Berra Joe Girardi says. He's referring to the Red Sox, who are coming to the Stadium for a Khan-last-stab-at-Kirk series. Full ESPN coverage starts immediately.
Angels 5, Twins 3: Happy 50th save, K-Rod! ... The umps reversed a Jason Kubel home run call, and didn't need no HDTVs or fancy replay equipment to do it. I do need an HDTV, however, so if you've got any free giveaways coming up, there might be an Answer Man in your future. (Nudge, nudge!)
Rockies 4, Reds 3 (12 inn.): They had more mistakes in this ballgame than Ed Wood made in one of his movies. One passed ball, three wild pitches, six errors, 17 bases on balls, 27 runners left on base, lots of turtle flubs and geese-a-laying eggs. All you ballplayers are stupid! Stupid! This doesn't even count Johnny Cueto getting hurt. Now, I'm gonna write me a country song. It's called "Jay Bruce Had A Bad Day" and it's to the tune of "Bonanza." This is for Lurleen. ... All right, no song, but there is the highlight of Our Man J just dropping this fly ball. Ugh. He also went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He also might have killed some bunnies, we're still checking.
Giants 7, Padres 4: AP reports that the Giants have won seven of their past eight series, if that lights your candle. Five RBI for Bengie Molina, who's not a bad cleanup hitter for someone who ought to be hitting, oh, eighth.
Royals 7, Tigers 3: "It seemed like months since we'd had a four-run lead," Trey Hillman said, not exaggerating much. AP reports the Royals have lost 10,000 seats in Kauffman Stadium because of ongoing renovation. Can they also renovate Frank White and put him at second base?
Mariners 8, Athletics 4: Jack Hannahan hits a homer in the first. Then he hits a homer in the third. You almost expect Jack Hannahan to keep hitting home runs every other inning, but he doesn't. Deep Thoughts...by Jack Hannahan: The home plate umpire was a fella named Delfin Colon — which is painful if left untreated.
Indians 4, Rangers 3: The Indians are giving away too many ping-pong balls for the draft lottery with this unnecessary late-season surge. Obama won't acknowledge the surge is even working. I will acknowledge the Sarge, Gary Matthews, if it helps.
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Photo of the Day: Sand in your crouch
An embarrassed Matt Treanor tells his wife, volleyball Olympian gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, that he didn't recognize her with so many clothes on.
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Carlos Beltran (NineMets) 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Robinson Cano (Yanks) 4-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
Mike Cameron (Broo) 5-5, HR, 2 RBI, SB
Bobby Jenks (White Sox) 2 IP, 2 H, BB, Win
Harden (Cub) 7 IP, 2 H, ER, 11 K, Win
Jose Arredondo (Angels) IP, 2 K, Win (6-1)
Hannahan (A's) 2-4, 2 HR
Ricky Nolasco (Fish) 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K, Win
Feliz (Phil-iz) 2-3, HR, 4 RBI
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Daniel Cabrera (O's) 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB
Gambler (Tigers) 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, Loss
Bruce (Reds) See above
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Words of Mouth
"We had a balk, a wild pitch, a homer, errant throws, walk-off home run. We played for the cycle." — Rockies manager Clint Hurdle.