This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together for the Fightin'-est, rewriting-est, team uniting-est competition in the replay friendly realm of Major League Baseball. Today's Roll Call starts at Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies are front-runners again in the NL East because the New York Mets can't have nice things — like a seven-run lead.
Game of the Day: Phillies 8, Mets 7 (13 inn.)
J-Roll(er) Coste(r): Jimmy Rollins must feel like Indiana Jones finding the Lost Ark. When you do things like go 5-for-7 with three steals and three RBIs, you not only get people to cheer you, but you give your team a really good chance to win the game. What an amazing discovery! Chris Coste had another great find — the bases loaded and everyone playing in — right before he drove the gamewinner over Carlos Beltran's head.
Right where they wanted 'em: For most teams, building a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning would seem a great way to enable a victory. But for the Mets, using their creaky Pedro and leaky bullpen against a hot team, it only made for more drama. The Mets were one out from winning, but Jayson Werth hit a ducksnort and legendary pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett lined a double to tie the score against Billy Wagner Duaner Sanchez Joe Smith Aaron Heilman Pedro Feliciano Mel Rojas Neil Allen Skip Lockwood Luis Ayala, the latest end-of-the-line for New York's sunken bullpen.
Lucky No. 7: Bad things are coming in sevens for the Mets. The DuhMazins had a seven-game lead with 17 games to play last September, but couldn't hold their liquor then, either.
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Feelin' Rundown (the rest of Tuesday's fun and games):
Mariners 3, Twins 2: The Twinkies got the low-down Republican Convention Blues right now — how else to explain TWO losses to the Mariners, who are not your older brother's Mariners of Edgar, of Unit, and of Griff Jr. They're only six games into their Bataan Death March; so there's plenty of time to get their act together. They could be in first place in 72 hours. It's still morning in Minnesota. No new taxes. Strategerie!
White Sox 8, Orioles 3: Best trades by White Sox GM Ken Williams: 1. Acquired Carlos Quentin from D-backs for minor-leaguer Chris Carter; 2. Acquired Jose Contreras from Yankees for Esteban Loaiza; 3. Acquired John Danks and two guys from the Rangers for Brandon McCarthy and a guy; 4. Acquired Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez from Phillies for Freddy Garcia.
Padres 9, D-backs 2: Brandon Webb denied in his first attempt for a 20th victory, but like Red in "Shawshank Redemption" trying for his parole, he'll get 7-8 more chances to find Andy in Mexico before the movie ends.
Rockies 7, Giants 2: The Rockheads (63-71) are only six games out of first, and they're so close to second they can smell the Dodgers offense stinkin' up the joint. Brian Fuentes goes on the bereavement list, and Manny Corpas will close in his place. Ready, you fantasy vultures? Set, and... too late, probably.
Red Sox 7, Yankees 3: As everyone on the planet (meaning those in U.S.A. who care about baseball) now knows, A-Rod picked a bad night to have a bad night. Hey, Andy Pettitte, you stunk, too. Now it's up to Sidney Ponson, who was last seen fleeing Battery Park in a speedboat on a heading for international waters. ... J.D. Drew goes on the DL, the Red Sox trade for Mark Kotsay.
Blue Jays 6, Rays 2: Halladay was due against the Rays, who had punished him heretofore. But we have better news out of St. Petersburg. They've found the Kursk! No, not THAT St. Petersburg. Longoria expects to take batting practice this week and hopes to be playing by next week. High five!
Cubs 14, Williamsport Pittsburgh 9: Geovany Soto was the Man two or three Mans, driving in seven! Not a pretty game for the Little Bears from the Windy Place, but when you go 100 years or so between championships, you'll play a clunker here or there. This team, when it clunkers, tends to win anyway — this time despite three errors, including another shameful dropped ball by Soriano, Bad Zambrano and Strange Pitching Changes Piniella.
Brewers 12, Cardinals 0: Ben Sheets came in having been owned by the Cardinals, but he took back a few shares of stock in a big wild-card swing game. And by "swing," I don't mean when you start the evening with your wife and end it with someone else's.
Reds 2, Astros 1: Ryan Hanigan hit a questionable homer to the part of Minute Maid that reminds me of a Pepe's Mexican Restaurant/La Quinta Inn. More to the point, it's really hard for umpires to tell whether it's a home run or just off the wall so, rather than making the Astros fix the ballpark so we all know when a homer is a homer, MLB is going to spend millions of dollars and waste everyone's time to install a replay system that siphons a little more of the game's soul. So that's where I stand on replay.
Braves 10, Marlins 9: The opening scene in Demi Moore's "The Seventh Sign," where the little boy by the sea goes, "The Feesh are dead! The Feesh are dead!" is appropriate to screen now that Kevin Gregg, Hanley Ramirez and the rest of the Marlins had a li'l apocalypse in the ninth.
Angels 5, Athletics 1: Torii Hunter, conked in the helmet by a Daric Barton throw, told the Angels trainer he was "in Minnesota" during questioning. Funny, funny man. Raise your hand if you like John Lackey.
Rangers 2, Royals 1: I know people who wagered money on this game. He who gambles lives in shambles.
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Photo of the Day: Brace myself
Jose Reyes tries to hang onto what's left of the Mets lead in the NL East.
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Floyd (White Sox) 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, Win
Johnny Damon (Yankees) 2-4, 2 HR
Damion Easley (Mets) 4-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI
Fernando Tatis ('99 Cardinals) 2-5, HR, 4 RBI
J-Roll (Phils) 5-7, HR, 3 RBI, 3 SB
Soto (Cubs) 3-5, 3 R, HR, 7 RBI
Ben Francisco (Indians) 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Lee (Indians) 7 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, Win (#19)
Derek Lowe (Dodgers) 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K, Loss
Cody Ross (Fish) 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Halladay (Jays) 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7 K, Win
Bronson (Reds) 9 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K, Win
Wandy (Astros) 7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 10 K!
Kevin Millwood (Rangers) 9 IP, 9 H, 2 K, Win
Sheets (Bru) 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K, Win
Lackey (Angels) 9 IP, 9 H, ER, 5 K, Win
Rowland-Smith (M's) 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, Win
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Andy Pettitte (Yankees) 4 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, Loss
Jamie Moyer (Phils) 3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 K
Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
Gregg (Fish) IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, K, Loss, Blown Save, Destroyed Dreams of Children of South Florida
Webb (D-b's) 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, BB, 4 K, Loss
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Words of Mouth
"You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side." — Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.)