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David Brown

Morning Juice: Twins' 'Little League' defense hands Brewers a win

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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 Milwaukee, which is from the Algonquin for "the good land" but also can mean "the bad defense" if you are the Minnesota Twins.

Game of the Day

Brewers 4, Twins 3

Regression: Protecting a one-run lead with two outs in the eighth, Nick Blackburn(notes) appeared to cruising to victory. Then came a detour (VIDEO).

J.J. Hardy(notes) hit a ducksnort single and Jason Kendall(notes) followed with a long drive off the wall in center. Hardy chugged for home.

That's when the Twins baseball aptitude dropped about 15 years. Brendan Harris(notes) rushed the relay throw to home, and it skipped off the mound and away from catcher Joe Mauer(notes) for an error as Hardy crossed the plate.

Kendall, seeing the ball slip away, dashed for third; Blackburn, who was backing up on the play, let loose with the wildest of ill-advised throws, one that went all of the way into the left-field corner.

"I should've just held onto it," Blackburn said said. "All kinds of things went through my mind right there. It was an annoying play all the way around."

Kendall, if he had the energy, probably could have run around the bases twice. As it was, he just went home for a 4-3 lead, saying, "That's a long run."

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio saw it all from his front-row seat.

"It was like a Little League play," Attanasio said. "The great thing about baseball ... is a play like that, you can't believe it."

Everything you say can and will be used against you, Mr. Owner.

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A pro jock: Braden Looper(notes) had a day. He pitched all right, allowing three earned runs over six innings, not figuring in the decision. He also picked up an RBI single, which obviously made a difference in a one-run victory.

He also took one for the team, as in a line drive off the bat of Denard Span(notes) Carlos Gomez(notes), whose shot through the box deflected off the back of Looper's throwing shoulder and stayed airborne long enough for Prince Fielder(notes) to dive from first base and make the catch.

Batter's out, 1-3 (VIDEO).

The play was cool, but the reactions were even more telling.

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Looper appeared to be fine, to the point that it looked like he was showing the trainer a tattoo after rolling up his sleeve to check the point of impact.

You can tell Span Gomez is a good guy, because he grabs his helmet right after Looper is hit, thinking it was in the head.

Fielder, who did make a nice play, showed the ball and then whipped the ball from his butt to another infielder and walked back to the bag as if nothing had happened — as everyone else on the infield checked to see if Looper was OK. Um, Prince? Possible man down? He showed more empathy to that kid in the Boys and Girls Clubs commercial.

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Feelin' Rundown (these are gonna leave a mark, too):

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Mets 11, Cardinals 0: A literal translation from Spanish of Fernando Nieve's(notes) name is "Fred Snow." Establishing that, and with a nod to Sammy Cahn, I have a song.

Oh, the Mets injuries sure are frightful
But those six shutout innings were delightful
And since they got nobody else to throw
Freddie Snow! Freddie Snow! Freddie Snow!

Man, your fastball really ain't poppin'
But the change-up, at least, is droppin'
Only 20 more starts to go
Freddie Snow! Freddie Snow! Freddie Snow!

When the Mets beat the Cards last night
You ran your record to 3-0
Because you threw the ball in-side
That's how you pitch Albert Puj-ols

Brian Stokes(notes) is ready, Jerry's im-plying
So it's time for our good-bye-ing
If you see Oliver Perez(notes), let us know
Freddie Snow! Freddie Snow! Freddie Snow!

Red Sox 6, Nationals 4: Nick Green(notes) had the best bat work of the night, dodging rogue wood on defense. A close second, Large Papi, who went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, including the 1,000th of his career. After appearing to prep for pasture in the first two months of the season, Ortiz is batting .327 with a 1.122 OPS in June.

Giants 6, Athletics 3: Victory No. 302 for El Unit Grande, and he was backed by former Atlanta general manager Nate Schierholtz(notes), who hit a two-run homer and then traded for Francisco Cabrera before Brian Sabean sent him back.

Pirates 10, Indians 6: The Duke boy was splendid, Adam LaRoche(notes) homered and drove in three and Andrew McCutchen(notes) drove in a pair. McCutchen has a 13-game hitting streak and an OPS of .864, mostly on the strength of a .322 batting average and five triples already.

Carl Pavano(notes) seems injured again, but he's not complaining yet.

Tigers 5, Cubs 3: The small bears from the windy place went 1-for-15 (1-for-15!) with runners in scoring position and have stranded 31 runners in the past three games.

Oh, there's a lot of opportunities. If you know when to take them, you know?
There's a lot of opportunities. If there aren't, you can make them. Make or break them.

Time for a meeting, Lou? Nope, he said, invoking a statement from Ozzie Guillen, who opined, "Good teams win ballgames, bad teams have meetings."

Blue Jays 8, Reds 2: You might say Bronson's ERA has a death wish at the former Skydome on June 24. A year to the day Arroyo allowed 10 earned runs with three homers in one-plus inning at Rogers Centre, everything went blooey in the first inning again . Dusty. Skip him next time! Scott Richmond(notes) is OK with June 24 at Rogers.

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Yankees 8, Braves 4: Carpetbaggers! Joe Girardi got thrown out arguing a call, and Francisco Cervelli(notes) got the Yankees on the board after 14 scoreless innings with a home run in the fifth. He then inexplicably started to paint the clubhouse ceiling.

Alex Rodriguez(notes) followed with a two-run single and the damn Yankees were on their way, just like Sherman in '64 when he got hot down there.

Even Mariano Rivera(notes) got into the act, grabbing a bat and flying out against Manny Acota in the eighth. Hey, he made contact. It was his second career plate appearance, first since 2006, when he struck out.

Hi, Mr. President!

Rays 7, Phillies 1: Before a recessed crowd of less than 20,000 for the second straight World Series rematch at the Trop, the Rays got their act together, thanks mostly to Matt Garza(notes) and — hey! — Pat Burrell(notes). Pat Go Splat hit his first homer since April 13, though some of the delay had to do with a DL stint.

This was a 2-1 game heading into the bottom of the eighth, but then incremental amounts of heck broke loose.

Marlins 5, Orioles 2: Ricky Nolasco(notes) has been rolling since returning from a minor-league demotion, and Dan Meyer(notes) did the job in his first save opportunity. Apparently, Matt Lindstrom(notes) isn't allowed to throw for at least four weeks because of a sprained elbow. I am at least two or three credits short of my online medical degree, but I can tell you, that's not good.

The Orioles are 1-10 at Land Shark Stadium, and even though most of those losses came before it was so named, it's still horrendous. Does anyone like Land Shark beer, or is it horrendous like the stadium?

Royals 4, Astros 3 (11 inn.): KC scored single runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th, with two of the runs coming on home runs by two different Royals catchers. Well, I thought it was interesting.

White Sox 10, Dodgers 7: The White Sox entered with a .217 batting average at home compared to .280 on the road, and U.S. Cellular is a good hitters park, at least for home runs. That just ain't natural. So, maybe this six-homer feast begins a major correction.

Let's get this on the Stew record: Jimmy Gobble(notes) is just awful. The worst pitcher in the league. That's not hyperbole. That's fact-based opinion. No, it's opinion-based fact. Like Fox News. Gobble's ERA and WHIP are so big, they won't fit on this page.

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Angels 11, Rockies 3: The Angels snapped the Rockies winning streak Tuesday night, but was seemed emphatic, like they didn't believe they had won the night before.

Just noticed something: Vladimir Guerrero(notes) cut off his dreads. And he hit a home run for the first time in 28 games. Coincidence? Of course it's a coincidence, but we're going to pretend it's not for 3 1/2 months.

Rangers 2, D-backs 1: Dan Haren(notes) has a 104-14 strikeout-walk ratio, an 0.81 WHIP and a 2.25 ERA. Somehow, these jokers give him a record of 6-5.

Mariners 4, Padres 3: Franklin Gutierrez(notes) hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth, his fourth deep in five games against San Diego this season.

That prompted him to say: "I think we need to play these guys more."

Well, they have one more game today, and he better be hoping they don't use his quote against him. Then again, it's the Padres. What are they going to do? Score some runs?

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