The Juice: Ryan Vogelsong and Giants dominate Cards, Jeremy Guthrie earns first Royals win

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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V is for Victory ... and Vogelsong: He's probably not getting as much national attention as he was during his incredible breakout 2011 season, but San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong is actually putting together a better season in 2012. The 35-year-old right-hander's latest triumph came via a 15-0 thrashing of the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday with Vogelsong contributing seven innings of three-hit ball at Busch Stadium. It was good enough for Vogelsong's league-leading 19th quality start and moved his record to 10-5 with a NL-leading 2.27 ERA. Vogelsong was 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA a year ago.

As for the offense, the Giants' bats got their work done with Marco Scutaro contributing a ninth-inning grand slam and seven RBIs, which was San Francisco's highest total since Jeff Kent plated seven runs back in 2001. It was the worst shutout loss for a defending World Series champion since the 1926 Pirates lost a game 16-0.

Guthrie shuts down White Sox:  More than a few reporters tweeted that a frustrated Chicago White Sox fan screamed "That's Jeremy Guthrie!" at the end of a 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The implication, of course, being that the White Sox lineup — even without Paul Konerko and Alex Rios — should have lit up the right-hander for at least double digits on the scoreboard. Guthrie, however, was unstoppable in his first win for the Royals, allowing only five hits over eight scoreless innings for his first win since wearing a Colorado Rockies uniform on May 31. Guthrie's performance left Sox fans so baffled that broadcaster Hawk Harrelson did not say a word for the entire bottom half of the ninth inning (pitched by Greg Holland), leaving all his duties to partner Steve Stone.

Opportunity lost: It's impossible to feel that time isn't slipping away for the Boston Red Sox. Despite being tabbed as a team capable of a second-half surge, the Red Sox finished their longest homestand of the season with a 10-9 loss to Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers. The defeat — lowlighted by Josh Beckett allowing eight earned runs in five innings of work — sent the Red Sox off with a 4-6 record on the homestand and with a 55-57 record overall. They're 10 games off the pace in the AL East and they'll be just as far behind the AL wild-card race if they're not careful as they stand 5 1/2 games behind the trio of teams (Oakland, Detroit, Baltimore) currently tied for that spot.

Home, sweet home: The Pirates moved their best-in-baseball home record to 35-17 with a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Neil Walker hit a homer and recorded a career-high five RBIs while Kevin Correia put his hurt feelings aside to earn a victory in a spot start designed to give the starters a breather during a stretch of 20 games in 20 days.

One to remember: Gio Gonzalez picked a pretty nice time to record his first career complete game and home run. Both were key in Washington's 4-3 win over Houston, which moved the Nationals to 68 wins, the highest total in baseball.

There is another: Cleveland's 11-game losing skid may have come to an end with a 6-2 win over Minnesota on Wednesday, but the Chicago Cubs seem happy to step in and run with an extended losing streak. A 2-0 shutout loss in San Diego moved the Cubs' losing streak to eight games — a span that has seen the team outscored 40-16 while hitting only .169. It's hard not to think the Cubs can match a previous 12-game losing streak this season with Cincinnati coming to Wrigley for a four-game set this weekend and Chicago featuring a Triple-A lineup. (Relief in form of the Houston Astros arrives next Monday.)

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Quote of the day

''I feel like every time he goes to home plate he's going to hit a home run."

— Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes on teammate Giancarlo Stanton, who hit two home runs in his second game back from knee surgery. The homers contributed to a 13-0 Miami victory over the Mets, a game which also saw Reyes extend his hitting streak to 26 games.

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Photo of the day: How low can you go?

No, that's not Matt Kemp dodging invisible Matrix-style bullets. The Dodgers slugger was just getting out of the way of a pitch from a Rockies reliever during Los Angeles' 6-4 win over Colorado.

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Three facts for the water cooler

The Cubs didn't win a single game in California this season, going 0 for 10 against the Dodgers, Giants and Padres.

The Braves moved their season record against the Phillies to 9-3 with a 12-6 win.

Derek Jeter scored two runs in New York's 12-8 win over Detroit, giving him 1,832 for his career and moving him past Frank Robinson for 14th place on the all-time list.

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