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 at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, where the defending AL champions just said, "Here. You do it," to Evan Longoria(notes), who replied, "I am here to serve."
Game of the Day: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 (13 inn.)
Longo like candy: It was a nothing-then-all performance for Longoria, who struck out four times against BoSox pitching, but also had the game-ending home run against Takashi Saito(notes) in the 13th after tying the score with a solo shot in the eighth.
"We've seen him at his best," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We seem to bring out a lot in him."
Four strikeouts are four strikeouts, but you have to wonder when Red Sox pitchers will go Pujols and just pitch around Longoria. He has seven homers and 24 RBIs in 11 games against them this season. Twenty-four RBIs? They ain’t learned their lesson yet.
The Rays squandered opportunities in the eighth, ninth and 10th, though some bad luck killed the first opportunity because a wild throw by pitcher Daniel Bard(notes) rolled under an equipment bag in the Rays' bullpen. Pick up your room!
AL Beast: The first-place Yankees won, keeping the Rays 5 1/2 games behind, but Tampa Bay and Boston got a wee little bit scrunched together in the race. The Rays, who advanced to the World Series a season ago by beating the Red Sox find themselves in a similar position if they want to repeat.
The Red Sox, who Thursday start a colossal four-game series at the Yankees, wasted a strong performance by Jon Lester(notes). But, they can keep the Rays at bay a little by winning today's Tampa Bay finale. It's one of them mathematical two-for-one deals.
* * *
Feelin' Rundown (one game = one sentence):
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: Doctor Halladay was obviously drained from the trade deadline.
Nationals 6, Marlins 4: Dunn filets the Fish with two-run homer in six-run eighth.
Rockies 8, Phillies 3: Atkins loves to diet on the cheesesteak.
Cubs 6, Reds 3: Harry Caray would have loved to pronounce Gorzelanny.
Braves 9, Padres 2: Dropping the first game of this series had to be embarrassing for the Braves, so they got their heads out of their HEY HEY! and dawminated.