Closing Time: 'Francisco! That's fun to say! Francisco ...'

Tonight, the 1.8 percent-owned Ben Francisco did all he possibly could to revive my Friends & Family team. He was like a TV doctor defibrillating some long-dead patient after everyone else has left the room. (Yesterday, that role was played by Carlos Delgado).

For Francisco's efforts, I'm grateful. Still dead, obviously, but grateful.

After Tuesday's two-homer performance, Francisco is batting .288 with 14 HR and 50 RBIs in 368 at bats. He's in that group of severely under-owned outfielders making a strong case to be drafted in public leagues next season. Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Adam Lind, Andre Ethier and Lastings Milledge are in there, too. Francisco is hitting third for the suddenly productive Indians, so he's someone you may want to test-drive in September.

Warning: Tonight's bullets are few, but they're potent...

Colorado placed Brian Fuentes on the bereavement list, and Manuel Corpas will close in his absence. According to the Rockies' website, there's no precise timetable for Fuentes' return. This is not the way we expected Corpas to reclaim the job, and he's not likely to have it for long.

When asked about Brandon Morrow's return to the majors, Seattle manager Jim Riggleman reportedly said, "It looks like it'll be that New York series." That would mean Morrow will get a start at home against the Yankees in early September, then presumably make a few more appearances to close out the month. The Mariners have ten games against Kansas City and Oakland in Week 25. Those are the AL's least-productive lineups. Morrow had 10 Ks in 4.2 innings in his last Triple-A start.

Kevin Gregg blew his eighth save of the season, allowing four runs to Atlanta in the ninth. The loss wasn't entirely on him, however:

The Marlins could have won, but shortstop Hanley Ramirez failed to get the ball out of his glove on what would have been a game-ending double play. Instead, the tying run scored. Yunel Escobar ended it moments later with an RBI single to complete the comeback.

Gregg won't lose his closing duties over this, so don't get Arthur Rhodes/Joe Nelson fever.

Jon Rauch has now allowed earned runs in his last five appearances. If you're speculating on saves, look elsewhere.

Wandy Rodriguez and Bronson Arroyo were both terrific on Tuesday. Wandy struck out 10 Reds and walked only one, while Bronson got the complete game win. Ryan Hanigan hit a home run that would definitely be reviewed if this were Thursday. Video here.

Tip of the cap to Dusty Baker, by the way. Tonight's complete game was the first by any Cincinnati pitcher this season.

Two small but significant notes from the Rays-Jays recap:

Rays rookie All-Star 3B Evan Longoria (right wrist) will resume hitting this week and hopes to return around Sept. 1 … Tampa Bay closer Troy Percival (right knee) had his first bullpen session since getting hurt.

Percival is eligible to return on August 30.

Mark Kotsay joins the Red Sox, as JD Drew (herniated disk) heads to the DL.

Elijah Dukes was activated from the disabled list, and Austin Kearns limped onto it.

The first save opportunity of the post-Guardado era in Texas went to ... no one. Frank Francisco remained safely in the bullpen while Kevin Millwood finished off nine-hit, two-K win.


Photo via Getty Images

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