Morning Juice: Don't underestimate the strength of a Cardinal

This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Roll Call starts in interleague play's DMZ, where the Phillies would have swept the Cardinals if it weren't for those meddling kids. Or some missing fundamentals on the 3-1 putout. Also, Yadier Molina makes like Don Corleone and survives a big hit by Eric Bruntlett.

Game of the Day: Cardinals 7, Phillies 6 (10 inn.)

Attrition please... attrition please: Great Caesar's Salad, the Cardinals are dropping like dominoes. Yadier Molina, my goodness. He's made of rawhide (Chuck Norris' breakfast), so if he goes down, it's because of the ultimate power in the universe. The word is, he has a mild concussion and he'll be able to play the piano again. That Molina managed to keep a grip on the ball defies 13 laws of physics, two Commandments and possibly a copyright.

We work on that in spring training: This one turned for the Birds because it just wasn't Tom Gordon's day to cover first base. That day is Tuesday. On the replay, note the Ted-Lilly-in-the-2007-playoffs/Dave-Brown-in-the-1986-Waycinden-Little-League-Round-Robin-Tournament-esque slamming-of-the-glove by Gordon. Gordon said he couldn't see the throw from Chase Utley (who was charged with an error), hoping it would hit him.

Tomorrow's another... something: The Cards dropped the opener of this series, 20-2, but took the final two games, which shows you that, in baseball, momentum and $1 will get you a Streetwise.

Lift: Brett Myers' ERA is not stopping at any floor ("...housewares, invisible tridents, ladies lingerie..."). Just keeps goin' up.

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Feelin Rundown (Interleague play):

Marlins 9, Rays 3Ricky Nolasco's 132-pitch, near-complete game effort helps prevent a sweep. A hundred-and-thirty-two pitches??? It's not like the World Series was on the line. Not even the Jim Mecir Cup (he played for both teams) was up for grabs — the Rays had clinched it (I actually made up the award) with wins Friday and Saturday. Next weekend, they play for the the Medal of Bobby Witt (also made-up) in Miami. Nolasco says 132 pitches ain't nothin'; he threw 188 for Rialto (Calif.) high school once. A-hundred-and-eighty-eight pitches??? I want his high school coach bound and forced to watch "Rock of Love" for 188 straight hours. At least Nolasco's prep effort got him into the Rialto Hall of Fame.

Nationals 6, Mariners 2 — Introductions are in order: Seattle, Wash., Washington; Washington, Seattle, Wash.; Seattle, Wash., you guys know each other already; Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard; Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine; Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard; Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine; Dr. Howard, Dr. Howard; Dr. Howard, Dr. Howard. And meet the twins, Blblup and Bob.

Cubs 7, Blue Jays 4Ryan Dempster, who's from British Columbia, is of little use to Geovany Soto on his sightseeing excursion in Ontario.

Indians 7, Padres 3 — C.C. owns a 2.21 ERA with 83 strikeouts in his past 11 starts. He's gonna be... OK.

Rangers 8-2, Mets 7-4Pedro looked pretty good in the nightcap. Deck chair on Titanic, or Rescue from Gilligan's Island? Nobody's about to let the dogs out in celebration, but Billy Wagner converted a save, too. Willie Randolph apparently got on the team flight going west. Does it matter that it was as checked luggage?

Red Sox 9, Reds 0 — Revenge for the '75 Series! Jim Burton lives! The Bostons take the rubber game, hitting four home runs without Papi and Manny and we ask: can anyone slay the beast? Jay Bruce's OPS dips below 1.000; a nation grows anxious. I don't care if Homer Bailey saved the lives of every man on that transport or not, he's got to go back to the minors if he's going to give up a homer every other inning.

Pirates 5, Orioles 4 (10 inn.) — No revenge for the '79 Series! Grant Jackson lives! Matt Capps blows his third save in four games, but makes up for it by hanging around long enough for his teammates to salvage the series' final game.

Rockies 5, White Sox 3 — Bases loaded, two outs, Joe Crede at the plate. Here's Brian Fuentes' pitch: Swing and a fly ball to shallow left; Holliday coming in, Quintanilla going out and Holliday juggles it and... whoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa-hoa, he got it.

Tigers 5, Dodgers 4 — Anybody out there like "30 Rock"? I've never heard Clayton Kershaw speak, but I imagine he sounds exactly like Kenneth the page (TV's Jack McBrayer) when talking about his manager changing pitchers after a rain delay: "I wanted to come back out, but Mr. Torre said I was done. I know he had my best interest at heart." With the sweep, the Tigers have pulled within six games of first place in the AL Central, which is not in the Dodgers best interest. In fact, it's not of any interest to them.

Yankees 13, Astros 0 — Houston hasn't been embarrassed like this since "The Swarm." Oswalt needs another Slump Bot session. What will New York do without Wang?

Brewers 4, Twins 2 — When is a timeout not a timeout? Chris Webber. Joe Gibbs. Brendan Harris.

Athletics 5, Giants 3 — The East Bay is the better side of the Bay Area. We don't like the West Bay. The Giants-A's series is a big deal to many out there, and the fans can get pretty charged up, but S.F. brought a plastic knife to a steak dinner — to put a similar phrase less violently — and had no chance.

Royals 8, D-backs 3 — The Royals were a bloop away from sweeping. For all you youngsters out here, and for Pete Rose, this series is why you don't bet on baseball. As Joaquin Andujar once said about the game we all love, it can be summed up in one word: you never know.

Angels 2, Braves 0Casey Kotchman, A.K.A. West Coast Youkilis, hits a two-run dinger to help avert a sweep by those road warriors, the Braves. Even more pivotal, lefty Joe Saunders made the Angels switch to their super-cool all-red jerseys. Contrast? The Halos don't need no stinking contrast. Folks, I have some news. Maybe you heard. Chipper's down to .402. To send your encouragement, write here.

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Photo of the Day: Yahtzee!

Chan-Ho Park (left) watches as catcher Danny Ardoin holds up an item in a scavenger hunt the Dodgers and Tigers had in lieu of a ballgame at Comerica Park on Sunday. The baseball, to most folks surprise, was hidden by umpire Marvin Hudson under Tigers infielder Carlos Guillen.

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Fantasy Freaks

Ryan Howard (Phillies) 2-4, 4 RBI, SB!

Nate Robertson (Tigers) 6 IP, 4 H, 3 K, Win

Ted Lilly (Cubs) 6 IP, H, 5BB, 6 K, Win

Coco Crisp (Red Sox) 2-5, HR, 4 RBI

Josh Beckett (Red Sox) 7 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K, Win

Nolasco (Fish) 8 2/3, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 12 K, Win

David DeJesus (Royals) 3-5, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI

Saunders (Angels) 7 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 K, Win

Ramon Vazquez (Rangers) 3-7, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI

Sabathia (Indians) 8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 10 K, Win

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Fantasy Flakes

Bailey (Reds) 2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, Loss, 8.76 ERA

Micah Owings (D-backs) 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, Loss, 0-2 batting

Myers (Phillies) 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 K

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Big Mouth

"I was hoping Matt would just kick him out of the way." — Rockies closer Brian Fuentes, on the near-collision of Holliday and Quintanilla.

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