Mon Jun 27 08:33am EDT
Nine innings, nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.
1. Pewaukee Push: Was this the weekend when the Milwaukee Brewers made their big move in the NL Central? Time will tell, but a sweep-sealing 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday put winning pitcher Chris Narveson(notes) (right) and the Crew in command of a division race that has been neck and neck for most of the year.
Combined with the St. Louis Cardinals getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays, the domination at Miller Park gave the Brewers a three-game lead in the Central and some more hope that they can win the team's first division title since 1982.
Hey, no kidding, Prince. The once-hot Twins have now lost five straight games and fielded a lineup on Sunday that featured 22 combined homers, just one more than Fielder's season total.
2. They can't win if they can't score (but San Francisco can): The bad news for the San Francisco Giants was that they managed to score only eight runs all weekend. The good was their pitchers only allowed a total of five, sending the team to a sweep over the Cleveland Indians, their dance partners in the 1954 World Series. Madison Bumgarner(notes) provided the pitching punctuation for the series, striking out 11 batters in seven innings during Sunday's 3-1 win.
3. A daring escape: The Detroit Tigers are proud owners of a one-game lead in the AL Central, but the way they did it couldn't have been any more last-minute. Jim Leyland's crew scored seven runs with two outs in the eighth inning, good for an 8-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
4. Nobody's fault but mine: Primed for a momentum-granting sweep over the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates instead created their own "dislike" button, committing four errors in a 4-2 defeat at a packed PNC Park.
"If this was a neighborhood golf match, we probably could have used about six mulligans today," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
5. Triple digits: With a Roy Halladay(notes)-keyed 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics, the Philadelphia Phillies are on pace to become the first NL team to reach 100 wins since the 2005 Cardinals.
6. Daydream believer: Does Luke Hochevar(notes) have the opposite of whatever Josh Hamilton(notes) has? After a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, the Kansas City Royals pitcher Hochevar is 9-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 day starts over the past two seasons. No, that's not very impressive, but compare it to a 2-11 mark with a 5.28 ERA in 21 appearances at night.
7. Seat warmer: The final totals for the Nats' John McLaren era: A 2-1 record and a series win over the Chicago White Sox after Danny Espinosa's(notes) two-run homer in the seventh lifted the team to a 2-1 triumph on the South Side.
8. Hey, over here!: The excellent season of the Tampa Bay Rays may be flying under the radar, but opponents like the Houston Astros bullpen can't afford the luxury of forgetting about the AL East's third-place team. Seven runs over the final two frames gave the Rays a 14-10 win and a series sweep as they moved to 10 games over .500.
9. Only human after all: Atlanta Braves reliever Jonny Venters(notes) proved himself mortal after all, giving up all four runs in a 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. The outing more than doubled his ERA on the season from 0.56 to 1.29.