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 Chicago, on the South Side, where the Royals and White Sox played an agonizing yet exhilarating contest that ended on what seemed like Paul Konerko's first HR since his grand slam in Game 2 of the '05 World Series.
Game of the Day: White Sox 6, Royals 4 (15 inn.)
Protracted: A great and ugly ballgame all at once. The White Sox had some misadventures on the bases, had Bobby Jenks blow a two-run lead in the ninth, and also went from the seventh to the 14th without scoring. The Royals showed some gumption but, ultimately, are the Royals.
Turkey shoot: Konerko came in hitting .198 with a drugged-up hand, but turned on Jimmy Gobble's first pitch and lined it just inside the left-field pole for a two-run game-ender. "It's been hell," said Konerko, whose lack of production — along with that of Jim Thome and Nick Swisher — has put a drag on what otherwise has been a surprisingly good season for the first-place Sox.
Oh, my: It registered at 464 feet, but Thome's two-run homer in the fourth seemed longer, landing above the tiered batting eye in center field. 'Twas prodigious. Thome mostly has swung like an old man of 83, but he has moments that make you stick with him a little longer. Greg Walker, the batting coach, also defended himself from Ozzie Guillen insinuating that maybe Walker would be fired because the Sox can't hit.
High Fidelity: Cuban emigre Alexei Ramirez made four barehanded plays at second base — including an awesome one that kept the score tied in the 14th for the ChiSox- and the Royals' Alex Gordon made an incredible tarp-hugging dive to snare a pop up. Ramirez's K/BB ratio is atrocious in the Juan Uribe sense, and he's got negative 12-percent body fat, but he's got some pop and he makes some great defensive plays.
Lockdown: The bullpens' combined line: 17 2/3 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 11 K. Boone Logan and Octavio Dotel (isn't anyone named "Billy Koch" anymore?) combined for five hitless innings at the end, though Dotel bored a couple of holes through Miguel Olivo and Jose Guillen.
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Feelin' Rundown (Wednesday's other games):
Marlins 6, Braves 4 — Smoltz? Done for the season. Soriano? Shut down for the day. Gene Garber? Turns 61 in November. Manny Acosta? It was up to you and you BLEW IT! Handed a two-run lead in the ninth, Acosta allowed a two-run homer to Mike Rabelo and a solo shot to Hanley Ramirez (his second deep of the day). Bobby Cox, probably in denial due to depression, denied the team's mood is depressed. Chipper: DNP (day off).
Brewers 10, D-backs 1 — The Brue Crue are playing like heavyweight champs, outscoring opponents 40-8 over a six-game winning streak. Corey Hart, who dons his shades in the dark, had a three-run, 206-foot inside-the-park home run. Manny Parra, the Angel Miranda of his day, had his best start of the season. Micah Owings' slump coincides with his team's. The Deebz have dropped 12 of 16; Owings' ERA stands at a season-high 4.50 and his batting average fell to a season-low .266. The Dodgers, possibly, could win the West if Arizona doesn't win more than 87-88 games.
Rockies 2, Dodgers 1 — Then again ... Kudos to Aaron Cook, at 8-3 and 3.16, one of the few Rox performing at or above career marks. Clayton Kershaw, owner of God's curveball, is heading to the bullpen for a while, apparently, to sit and watch. The Dodgers won't need a fifth starter for a while and they want to limit his innings. Well, that's no fun.
Pirates 5, Astros 2 — Thanks to some swift drivin' in the General Lee, the Duke boy evaded Sheriff Rosco, Flash and Deputy Enos (Cabell) again and made it to Uncle Jesse's with the moonshine just in time.
Cardinals at Nationals, ppd. (rain) - Day/night doubleheader today. I'd go. Who's with me?
Reds 2, Phillies 0 — Brett Myers has a nyet-nyet going until the seventh, when the first hit he allows — of course — scores a run. Awesome pitching duel between the Angry One and Edinson Volquez, though Myers had six walks in a Gavin Floydian ballgame for him. Jay Bruce, it appears, did not reach base. Don't expect it to happen again soon. Griffey still at 599. Homers, not pounds.
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1 — At 39, Moose now 41 wins shy of 300, and 298 Ks from 3,000 for his career. He's kind of the Bert Blyleven of this generation, minus the love for flatulence. Big breaking ball. Never won 20 games. Just piled up very good numbers season after season.
Red Sox 5, Rays 1 — We're not in first anymore (sniff) but the bandwagon rolls on. Not having Carlos Pena, who broke his left index finger going "We're No. 1!" will hurt. No, it was an errant pitch by Justin Masterston. We'll be watching you, Jamaica!
Indians 15, Rangers 9 — The scores in this series have been hilarious; 13-9, 12-7, 15-9. What about a humidor at the Ballpark at Arlington, like at Coors? Even Cliff Lee got burned last night. Wait 'til you see Elizardo Ramirez's line in Fantasy Flakes. He'll be digging out of his ERA for weeks.
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Photo of the Day: Take that, Pete Gray
Dodgers baserunner James Loney takes out the right leg — literally — of Rockies infielder Jonathan Herrera. The limb was reattached in the fifth inning by trainer Keith Dugger.
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Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SB
Gabe Kapler (Brewers) 4-5, 2 R, RBI
Corey Hart (Brewers) 2-4, HR, 4 RBI
Aaron Cook (Rockies) 8 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Ed Volquez (Reds) 7 IP, 2 H, 8 K, Win
Brett Myers (Phillies) 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 8 K, Loss
Ben Francisco (Indians) 5-6, 3 R, RBI
Ryan Garko (Indians) 4-5, 2 R, 6 RBI
Ted Lilly (Cubs) 7 1/3, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, Loss
Greg Maddux (Padres) 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 K
Manny Parra (Brewers) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 K, Win
Mike Mussina (Yankees) 6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Zach Duke (Pirates) 7 2/3, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, Win
Josh Beckett (Red Sox) 6 IP, 7 H, ER, 5 K, Win
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Elizardo Ramirez (Rangers) 2 2/3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 2 BB, K, Loss, 30.38 ERA
Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 K, Loss
Alex Gordon (Royals) 0-7, 3 K
B.J. Upton (Rays) 0-4, 3 K, the thumb
Jay Bruce (Reds) 0-4, K
Chase Utley (Phillies) 0-3, 2 K
Jhonny Peralta (Indians) 0-6, K
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"I'm doggone not going to get into a talking contest with him. He's better at it than I am. He practices a lot more than I do." — White Sox batting coach Greg Walker, on the team's chatty manager, Ozzie Guillen.