August 02, 2011
Nine innings and nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.
But enter Carlos Ruiz(notes) and John Mayberry(notes) to spoil Chacin's and the Rockies' night. Down to their last out against closer Huston Street(notes), the Philadelphia Phillies got a double from Ruiz and a pinch-hit home run from Mayberry to send the game into extra innings. A leadoff home run by Shane Victorino(notes) in the 10th then gave the Phils their final 4-3 margin as they won their 69th game of the season, the highest total in baseball.
"We played them pitch for pitch and we were a pitch away from winning and we end up getting beat in the game by two pitches," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.
The Phillies' narrow escape act was a heck of a way to lead off a 10-game road swing out West against some recent playoff foes. They'll hit San Francisco and Los Angeles before all is said and done.
2. Suffocating snakes: The Giants' lead in the NL West is getting tighter. The defending World Series champs were held in check by Ian Kennedy(notes) and a 5-2 loss to the Diamondbacks has whittled their cushion to just one game. Kennedy has won 13 games, tied with Roy Halladay(notes) and Clayton Kershaw(notes) for tops in the NL. The Giants, meanwhile, have dropped four straight.
3. Momentum in Milwaukee: A 6-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals gave the Brewers their seventh straight victory over a NL Central opponent and moved their home record at Miller Park to 40-14. Ladies and gentleman, that is how you take control of a division; they're 3 1/2 games up on the Cards with 11 games remaining between the two teams.
4. Don't look now ...: ... but Pittsburgh is back to just one game above .500 after two homers from new addition Derrek Lee(notes) couldn't help topple the Cubs in the first game of a four-game set. The 5-3 loss dropped the Pirates to 54-53. Lose Tuesday night and they'll be at the even water mark for the first time since June 22.
5. Dunn dominated: The matchups between CC Sabathia(notes) and Adam Dunn(notes) went just as you thought they might. With Paul Konerko's(notes) knee injury forcing him onto the field and into the lineup against a lefty, Dunn went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. That total included a particularly embarrassing effort — three straight unconvincing swings — to end the eighth inning and Chicago's last good chance in a 3-2 loss to the Yankees. The game padded both Dunn's league-leading strikeout totals (137) and Sabathia's MLB-best win count (16).
6. Bouncing 'round the room: That's what the Red Sox get for putting Daniel Bard's(notes) 26 1/3 inning scoreless streak in the game notes. The reliever saw his dominant streak snapped by a tw0-run homer by Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) during a 9-6 Indians win. Cabrera's homer, his second of the game, was originally ruled a single off the right-field wall but later overturned by a replay review.
7. Reason to believe: For all the trouble that Dodgers fans have witnessed this season, there's always Clayton Kershaw. A 6-2 complete-game victory over the Padres on Monday gave the young All-Star a win in his fifth straight start.
8. Who are these guys? Maybe the Astros should have cleaned house sooner. Despite a lineup depleted by weekend trades and the demotions of Brett Wallace(notes) and Chris Johnson(notes), Houston earned a 4-3 extra-innings victory thanks to household names like Jose Altuve(notes), Jimmy Paredes(notes) and J.D. Martinez(notes).
9. When superlatives are not enough: You might be wondering why we saved Mike Stanton's(notes) 10th-inning grand slam during the Marlins' 7-3 win over the Mets for last. Well, it's because we couldn't end this post any better than with Mike Pelfrey's(notes) description of Florida's 21-year-old masher/machine/monster.
"I think Major League Baseball might want to find a way to get him out of the game, because he's going to hurt somebody."
Stanton has 25 home runs this season.