August 31, 2011
Nine innings and nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.
1. Fifth time is the charm: After four losses against the rival Boston Red Sox to start his season, New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia(notes) finally notched a win Monday night by the score of 5-2. The Yankees moved within a game of the AL East division lead as Sabathia became the first pitcher to allow 10 hits and strike out 10 batters in the same game since ... John Lackey(notes), coincidentally the opposing pitcher on Tuesday.
Lackey made news in the game by intentionally plunking Francisco Cervelli(notes) on the arm in retribution for Cervelli's too-enthusiastic celebration of his fifth inning home run over the Green Monster. The benches cleared but no shoves or punches were exchanged, just menacing glares and perhaps some casual nods of familiarity.
2. Almost purr-fect: Detroit Tigers starter Doug Fister(notes) retired the first 18 batters he faced but was supported with just one run by his offense in the first nine innings. Luckily for him, Fister ended up allowing just one run himself and an unlikely hero, utility man Ramon Santiago(notes), clobbered a walk-off home run in extras to lead his team to a 2-1 win and halt the Tigers' losing streak at two.
3. Still alive in the Cleve: The Tigers could not extend their lead over the Chicago White Sox, who beat the Twins — or the third-place Cleveland Indians, who benefited from power and patience to beat the Oakland A's 6-2. The power came from Carlos Santana(notes) and Jack Hannahan(notes), who both hit two-run home runs in the sixth inning. The patience came from Jim Thome(notes), who collected his 999th and 1000th walks as an Indian to extend his franchise record.
4. One big Halladay: Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay(notes) did it all against the Cincinnati Reds. Not only did the big man from Arvada, Colo., throw seven shutout innings in the 9-0 win, he also drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double off Bronson Arroyo(notes). Ryan Howard(notes) proved his might with two home runs and his 100th RBI on the season. One more tater tot and he'll have 30, a perfectly arbitrary round number.
5. Three-day weekend: The Atlanta Braves hadn't played a baseball game since Friday night, before Hurricane Irene blew up the East Coast and postponed two of their games against the New York Mets. Guess the layoff didn't help much.
They mustered little against Livan Hernandez(notes) (above) and the Washington Nationals won 9-2, backing Jair Jurrjens(notes) with four homers. Jurrjens has only one win since the All-Star break, a completely arbitrary endpoint.
6. Let it ride: Ryan Adams(notes) lofted the game-winning single above a drawn-in outfield in the bottom of the tenth, giving the Baltimore Orioles a 6-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, their seventh in nine games. Otherwise, it was a rather sloppy game with 14 walks issued, two errors committed, two saves blown and a wild pitch unfurled.
7. Too little, too late?: With a mere 27 games remaining on the 2011 schedule, the St. Louis Cardinals fruitlessly might be playing catch-up with the Milwaukee Brewers. Despite a solid 2-1 win over the NL Central leaders on Tuesday behind the pitching stylings of Edwin Jackson(notes), the Cards are still 9 1/2 games behind in the division race.
8. Texas, Hold 'Em: The Tampa Bay Rays could barely manage to push the baseball out of the infield on offense, so when Josh Hamilton(notes) smashed a colossal 449-foot solo homer in the sixth, it was all the run support teammate Scott Feldman(notes) needed. Feldman and four Texas Rangers relievers combined to shut out the Rays 2-0. This was merely a spot start for Feldman, but with his ability to cool down bats in 102-degree Arlington heat, it might not be his last start.
9. Hey, he can win in New York!: Florida Marlins pitcher Javier Vazquez(notes) pitched a gem to beat the Mets as the 6-0 win proved to be not only his first win in over a month but the equalizer in his career record. He's now a tidy 160-160 — even Steven — on the back of his baseball card and has joined the exclusive "2,500 strikeout club." Not so fast, Don Drysdale (2,486).