Nine innings, nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.
1. Book that trip to Phoenix: Jair Jurrjens'(notes) breakout season reached yet another peak in the Atlanta Braves 4-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The 25-year-old right-hander went the distance for his first career shutout, allowed only one hit (and one walk), struck out eight, and became the National League's first 11-game winner. That should cement his place on the National League All-Star roster, wouldn't you say Fredi Gonzalez?
"That was a pretty good performance that maybe will get some people's attention," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, adding Jurrjens deserves to "at least be on the team."
Assuming Bruce Bochy doesn't select the entire San Francisco Giants staff, I'd say there's a spot open for Jurrjens. In fact, I see no reason why his name can't be written into the starting lineup. Schedule permitting, of course.
2. Have a birthday, Nellie: Celebrating birthday No. 31, Nelson Cruz(notes) tied a career high six RBIs in the Rangers 15-5 laugher over Jack McKeon's Florida Marlins. And he did it in style, first teeing off on Anibal Sanchez(notes) for a three-run homer in the third, and then he applied the icing on the cake with a bases-clearing triple in the eighth.
3. Keeping the seat warm: Eduardo Nunez(notes) is no Derek Jeter(notes), but for one night it was impossible to tell the difference. In the Yankees 5-1 victory over the Mets, the young shortstop erupted for a career high four hits, drove in one, and even one-upped his counterpart Jose Reyes(notes) with a terrific throw from short center field. Of course Nunez will step aside when Jeter resumes his chase for 3,000 hits early next week, but at least he'll do so with his confidence on the rise.
4. Quade's Quandry: With his bullpen taxed to the limit, Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade attempted to ride Randy Wells(notes) through a rough seventh inning. It didn't work. Alexei Ramirez's(notes) two-run home run was followed quickly by Juan Pierre's(notes) second game-winning hit in 24 hours — a two-run triple — as the Chicago White Sox rallied to upend the Cubs, 6-4.
5. Make yourself at home: It didn't take Mark Ellis(notes) long to endear himself to Colorado Rockies fans. One day after being acquired to fill their need at second base, Ellis delivered three hits, including his second home run of the season, and drove in three in Colorado's 9-0 whitewashing of the Kansas City Royals.
"A beautiful night, a sellout crowd and we won, 9-0. A perfect night," said Ellis, who was acquired from Oakland on Thursday.
Something tells me he's not going to miss the Overstock.com Coliseum.
6. Beat that, Dad!: It's not often the son of a Hall of Famer can brag about accomplishing something his father never did. That's the case for Tony Gwynn Jr.(notes), who can tell the old man he reached base six times (three hits, three walks) in the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 win over the Angels. Aaron Miles(notes) also had a big night collecting four hits and walking once, which begs an obvious question: How did the Dodgers only score five runs?
7. Houston, we have a meltdown: Bud Norris(notes) breezed through the Boston Red Sox for six strong innings. That seventh inning proved to be a doozy. Norris and a pair of relievers would surrender six runs in the frame, keyed by Dustin Pedroia's(notes) two-run single and Adrian Gonzalez's(notes) two-run double, as the Red Sox turned a 5-1 deficit into a 7-5 triumph over the Houston Astros.
8. You might have a point: On Thursday Ryan Howard(notes) wisely told us the most important thing in baseball is scoring more runs than your opponent. He backed that up with visual evidence in the Phillies 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, singling in the tying and winning runs in the ninth.
9. Blankety blank: Jason Vargas(notes) tossed a complete game shutout — his third since June 3 — in the Seattle Mariners 5-0 victory over the Padres. That marked the 13th time San Diego has been blanked this season, which is the most by any team prior to the All-Star break since the 2004 Montreal Expos.