Morning Juice: Phillies' Werth bops gut-busting homer in 13th

This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in Philly, where they have the Brotherly Love and the kind of love where your teammate gives you a friendly right cross to the belly after you hit a game-ending, winning streak-sustaining home run.

Game of the Day

Phillies 4, Cubs 1 (13 inn.)

Werth the wait: All the Phillies needed was a single to extend their winning streak to 10, but Jayson Werth(notes) delivered with some extra mustard, driving a pitch from Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija(notes) deep into the left-field bleachers for a three-run game-ender at Citizens Bank Park (VIDEO).

Just a matter of time, starting pitcher Joe Blanton(notes) said.

"Everybody is just anticipating, waiting for it to happen, because we have some big bats in our lineup," said Blanton, who allowed one run over seven innings in another strong start.

Werth was rewarded (try saying that 10 times fast) with the now-typical home-plate pummeling. Shane Victorino(notes) (No. 8) made sure to get in the first shot. If Werth jumps any higher, I don't know, could be a DL situation.

On the strength of their longest winning streak in 19 seasons, the defending world bleeping champions lead the NL East by 6 1/2 games. Werth, a first-time All-Star earlier this month, has been a huge reason for the success.

Werth winning: His first few seasons in the majors, Werth kind of grazed around big-league outfields. A talented first-round pick, a descendant of baseball lineage (he's a Schofield!), Werth belonged in the majors — but doing what?

Since coming to Philadelphia, Werth has transformed himself from vagabond, to platoon starter, to indispensable guy capable of hitting anywhere in the lineup. He doesn't have the impact of Ryan Howard(notes), Chase Utley(notes) or Cole Hamels(notes), but it would be a lot harder for the Phillies to win without him.


"I still don't think we're clicking on all cylinders just yet," Werth said. "We're a second-half club and down the stretch is when we play our best. We just need to keep setting the table for September. I think you'll see our best baseball in September and October."

Werthless: The Cubs, who have dropped both games in Philly after feasting on the Nationals, got a great start from enigmatic Rich Harden(notes), but did almost nothing to support him. Lou Piniella was subtle, as usual, in the postgame talk.

"We're challenged offensively," Piniella said. "You don't score runs, you don't win no matter how good you pitch. I'll tell you what, we might need a couple of hitters at the [trade] deadline."

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (werth reading, too):

Rays 3, White Sox 2: A couple of playoff-caliber games so far in this series. The Rays have played as well as anybody since May 1 and the White Sox are reaching a higher gear, too. They were three outs away from taking this one, but Bobby Jenks(notes) had absolutely nothing in the ninth inning.

All the Rays seem to do is have late-inning comebacks.

"It's stressful, man," Jason Bartlett(notes) says.

The Rays erased one of the best pitching performances from the Sox this season by — I'm not hallucinating — Clayton Richard(notes). We hereby have to reverse the reversing of his name (calling him "Richard Clayton") until further notice.

Nationals 4, Mets 0: The second complete game and the first career shutout for John Lannan(notes) and Yoko. Both feats have come this season against Buffalo, I mean the Mets. If everything holds, Lannan will throw a no-hitter sometime during the Sept. 18-20 series in New York.

David Wright(notes) almost did something, but Nyjer Morgan(notes) took it away with this catch (VIDEO). The Mets have been shut out five times in their past 13 games. That might work in CONCACAF but not in the 'hood. ... Oliver Perez(notes) walked his usual six.

Six games into his new job, Jim Riggleman is on the board with a victory. That calls for this:

Twins 3, Athletics 2 (10 inn.): On the decisive RBI triple, Michael Cuddyer(notes) was called "safe" by umpire Mike Muchlinski. It wasn't always so agreeable between those two.

Angels 8, Royals 5 (Game 1)
Angels 10, Royals 2 (Game 2): Seven hits total for Erick Aybar(notes). ... The Royals started Sidney Ponson(notes) and Bruce Chen(notes) (who wasn't terrible) but managed to tie a team record for most pitchers (nine) in a doubleheader.

Brewers 2, Pirates 0: Cooler heads prevail after Monday night's bench-clearing non-brawl. Felipe Lopez(notes) is already hurt, so call Ray Durham(notes) back.

Tigers 9, Mariners 7: Magglio's hair hit a grand slam and Detroit built an 8-1 lead in the second, then whittled it down so far the Tigers almost made Jim Leyland take up smoking. Franklin Gutierrez(notes) is OK — just sore, the manager says — after doing this (VIDEO).

Dodgers 12, Reds 2: Manny is OK (X-rays negative) after getting hit on the left hand by Homer Bailey(notes). Bailey, who threw fastballs about 110 percent of the time, was called "Johnny One Note" by Homeboy Vin Scully. That calls for this:

Indians 2, Blue Jays 1: This was even more crushing than the White Sox game. The Jays had a shutout going with one out in the ninth until Victor Martinez(notes) lined a two-run double against Scott Downs(notes). Bad luck for Brett Cecil(notes), some good luck for Cliff Lee(notes), for once.

D-backs 6, Rockies 5: It's probably too late for fantasy freaks because, A) Somebody already picked him up or, B) He'll stop hitting today, but Miguel Montero(notes) is the hot thing right now in Arizona catching. An .828 OPS.

Watch this back-jarring catch (VIDEO) by Mark Reynolds(notes). He's the new Jeter!

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2: Josh Beckett(notes) outpitched by Tommy Hunter(notes). Red Sox fall out of first. Weep for them! Oh, it'll be OK.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: Alone in first place again, naturally, for the first time this late in a season since they won the division in 2006. Roy Halladay(notes) has nothing on Sergio Mitre(notes).

Braves 8, Giants 1: Joaquin-of-All-Trades Martin Prado(notes) has kind of a Tony Phillips thing going on, minus the occasionally psychotic behavior. As far I know. I don't trail him home from the ballpark. Well, now you have me worried. If you see anything, call Bobby Cox.

Astros 11, Cardinals 6: Magic Wandy Rodriguez(notes) is my favorite Astros lefty since Joe Sambito. Boy, the NL Central is really shaping up into a ... garbage-y shape. It's anyone's division. Except for the Pirates — and they're only 8 1/2 out, those sorry sacks of wheat.

Good news for the Cards: Two homers for Mark DeRosa(notes), who still has time to be traded, again, to a contender (just kidding). (But secretly half-serious.)

Marlins 4, Padres 2: The Friars have been outscored 28-12 on their six-game homestand. Could Triple-A Portland do better? I say, find out.

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