You and me and your friend: Philly sweeps the Crew to force a tie in the NL Wild Card standings, so it was up to Big Z and the Cubs to stop the charging Astros from trying to make it a three-way affair. Success! So why does Ryan Braun feel so dirty? It might have to do with the Cubs winning in front of 23,441 of their own (mostly) fans on Braun's home field. "They're probably drinking champagne and having a beer shower in our locker room right now, while we sulk about what happened here," Braun said.
Summer of '72: When we previously saw Big Z, he was shaking off the team's sign to have MRI. In his first start in 12 days because of a sore arm, Zambrano faced one over the minimum for his first career no-no and the first one for the Cubs in 36 years. Thrown by whom, Carlos? "Milt Pappas," Zambrano told WGN-TV. "Every time I go to the Cubs Convention, he tells me, 'You will be the next one, you will be the next one.' I appreciate the confidence he showed in me."
Hurricane Psych: Ike not only battered the Republic of Texas, forcing the Astros (finally) to high-tail it for higher ground but also, Astros manager Cecil Cooper said, it got into his players heads. "It was a long travel day and Hurricane Ike," Cooper said. "That's what I put it on. That and having two days off. I'm not saying [Zambrano] wasn’t good."
Phillies cream Cheese: Brett Myers has won a lot of people their fantasy leagues with this second half of his. Sixty-five of his 95 pitches were strikes, and the Brewers were jumping at most of them. The Crew has dropped 11 of 14 and are heading to Wrigley Field for three games.
The Z List: Things for which Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano was better known than his pitching before Sunday night's no hitter: 1. Boxing with teammate Michael Barrett during a game in the dugout 2. Frequently losing control of his emotions and concentration on the mound and after at-bats at the plate. 3. Repeatedly becoming dehydrated and cramping from not drinking enough water. "I'm a pitcher, not a doctor," Z says in his defense. 4. Physically hurting himself by texting and e-mailing his brother in Venezuela too much 5. Fleeing the MRI tube with extreme prejudice
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Feelin' Rundown (no hurricanes, no no-no's, no problem):
White Sox 4, Tigers 2 (Game 1); White Sox 11, Tigers 7 (Game 2): Umpteen rainouts later (one of which, "Guaranteed Rainout Night," was planned for Friday) the WSox manage a doubleheader sweep. Last team to hit a grand slam wins, so DeWayne Wise answered Marcus Thames tying slam with one of his own in the nightcap.
Orioles 7, Twins 3: There's a theory that there are only a finite number of runs to be scored in the baseball universe. If it's true, the Twinkies went overboard by scoring 24 on Saturday. Should have saved some for Sunday.
Braves 7, Mets 4: Hello, our name is Mets Bullpen and we're squandering-lead-a-holics. Hello, Mets!Reds 2, D-backs 1 (10 inn.): Highlight of the weekend: Micah Owings hitting the go-ahead double to beat his old team on Saturday. The Dodgers lead the D-backs by 4 1/2 games with less than two weeks to go. Seems like enough, but the NL West is like Michael or Jason or Freddy. Just when you think it's over, the sucker comes back from the dead for one more lunge. Keep vigilant, Morning Juicers!
Rockies 1, Dodgers 0 (10 inn.): A 1-0 game at Coors Field, even in the Humidor Age, is expressly forbidden in the Bible. If your local river starts running blood red and it's not the same old pollution, or if you hear rumors of wars breaking out, just put on "Rapture" by Anita Baker and wait for instructions from Bud Selig.
Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Not even figuring the standings metrically will help the Jays now. Had they swept, they'd only be 1.4 litres out of a playoff spot. ... Rays and Red Socks ready to rumble again. The next victory for Boston in St. Petersburg will be its first this year. Check out this bulletin-board material from Jason Bay: "We kind of owe them a little bit." Whoa, them's fightin' words!
Yankees 8, Rays 4: David Price makes his major league debut and it's a mixed bag, like the Rays 3-6 road trip. He strikes out four in 5 1/3 innings of relief, but gives up a historic-ish home run to Derek Jeetah, who tied Lou Gehrig for most career hits at Yankee Stadium. If somehow Jeter draws the collar in the final seven home games, Gehrig can again consider himself the luckiest man, man, man, on the face of the Earth, Earth, Earth. ... Carl Pavano leaves the game with a pulled boo. ... Hey, Longoria's back!
Angels 4, Mariners 3: Over the weekend K-Rod passed Bobby Thigpen, Ervin Santana reached 200 strikeouts and Adrian Beltre played his last game of the season. He's due for surgery on his left wrist and left shoulder next week, so someone will need to help him open his ketchup bottles for a while. Unless he's a squeezer. The Mariners are 34 1/2 games, or 6,482 kilograms, out of first place.
Giants 8, Padres 6 (10 inn.): Zito spared his 17th loss. Soon, we all will be spared Zito until next spring, not counting his modeling.
Pirates 7, Cardinals 2: Yeeeargh! The Buccos make the Cardinals walk the plank in a sweep. You'd think, being birds, they would just fly away. Bad managing.
Royals 13, Indians 3: Dropping three of four makes Project .500 a lot tougher for the Tribe.
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Photo of the Day: Kiss my ash, maple
"I know it was you, Bat. You broke my heart."
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A-Rod (Yankees) 2-4, HR, 4 RBI
Ryan Shealy (Royals) 3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI
David Wright (Mets) 4-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Nick Markakis (O's) 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Oscar Salazar (O's) 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Rad Liz (O's) 8 IP, 5 H, BB, 4 K, Win
Jon Lester (Red Sox) 8 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K, Win
Shane Victorino (Phils) 5-7, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
Brett Myers (Phils) 9 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 4 K, Win
Javy Vazquez (White Sox) 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K, Win
Greg Maddux (Dodgers) 7 IP, 2 H, 3 K
Aaron Cook (Rockies) 8 IP, 8 H, 2 K
Z (Cubs) 9 IP, BB, 10 K, Win
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Edwin Jackson (Rays) 2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, BB, K, Loss
Luis Ayala (Mets) 0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, Blown Save
Nick Blackburn (Twins) 4 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 K, Loss
Jeff Suppan (Brew) 3 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, K, Loss
Gambler (Tigers) 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Zito (Giants) 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, K
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Words of Mouth
"We drooped some and when you droop, bad things happen." — Cards manager Tony La Russa