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 Cleveland (hello, Cleveland!) where the Red Sox kept on rockin' and rollin' to their 11th straight victory.
Game of the Day:
Red Sox 3, Indians 1
Smmmmmokin': They left behind the Yankees drama at Fenway, but the road-trippin' Red Sox kept meeting their own standards, thanks to solid pitching and another Manny-lite performance by Jason Bay. Don’t touch, point at, or even look at the Red Sox right now. They are that hot. They can't be played.
Bet on the Bay: All it took was Bay turning around a 99-mph fastball from Kerry Wood for a three-run homer in the ninth. Earlier in the BoSox's streak, Bay connected for another big homer against another closer, Mariano Rivera. I was at a wedding in Providence, R.I. last summer right after the Red Sox traded Manny and got Bay, and the bartender was not convinced about the quality of player Boston received in return. "No, Bay isn’t the same kind of offensive force as Manny, but he’s going to fit in very well on that roster," I recall telling the barkeep. "Look at him like you would Mike Lowell, in his prime, but in left field." Not all that many Red Sox fans seemed to miss Manny at the time of the trade. Good luck finding any who do these days.
Milk Carton Cliff: Was that Cliff Lee spotted on a mound pitching well in Cleveland? It was, but he was more or less matched by Knuckles Wakefield. The only runs in the game came against the closers.
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Feelin' Rundown (Monday's other concerts):
Phillies 13, Nationals 11: Why hit one grand slam when you can knock out two at twice the price? Ryan Howard's was trumped by Raul Ibanez's, whose slam against Joel Hanrahan put the Phillies up for good in the eighth. Ryan Madson, the only Phillies pitcher to not allow a homer this season, got the save with Brad Lidge nursing a sore knee. With their one road victory for the month successfully tucked away (serriously, why press it?), the Nats got back to the business of horrifying defeats. Hanrahan seriously might have to find something else to do this summer.
Mets 7, Marlins 1: John Maine remembered he could pitch, allowing just one hit over six. It only seems like the first quality start for a non-Santana pitcher this season, but it's really the second in three games, with Mike Pelfrey doing the other. The big blow was a first-inning grand slam by Omir Santos, the Mets backup catcher. A big deal, of course, is being made about how "only" 15 homers have been hit in 10 games at Citi Field, compared with 26 in six games at new damn Yankee. The Mets new place is still on pace for about 120, which is a pretty healthy number, too. As their losing streak reaches seven, the Fish can't claim a Pennsylvania complex anymore.
Tigers 4, Yankees 2: Nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings; a reminder of how good Justin Verlander could be, or can be. It's funny, but every time V-lander pitches and Larry Lage, Detroit's No. 1 AP guy, writes the game, he's certain to put in this paragraph: Verlander became the first pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter, start a World Series game, be a Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in his first two full seasons. That really is something, and worth repeating. So, he does.
Astros 4, Reds 1: Great pitchers duel between Roy Oswalt and, yes, Johnny Cueto, is soiled by Francisco Cordero in the ninth. Should we turn the key to start the Cueto Bandwagon again? ... Hunter Pence, after a sophomore slump, is having a junior jam so far!
Brewers 10, Pirates 5: No save for Trevor Hoffman because of the margin, but a 1-2-3 ninth and Miller Park gets its first taste of Hells Bells!
Rangers 6, Orioles 4: The Strangers relied on Matt Harrison to keep them in the game after a rocky start (they're braver than I am) but he did just that, giving the offense enough time to score its usual six.
D-backs 7, Cubs 2: Sweet game from Dan Haren, who's 2-3 with a 1.54 ERA after a 10-strikeout, three-hitter. Not to take anything away from Haren but, the Cubs had Reed Johnson batting cleanup, Micah Hoffpauir batting fifth and Geovany Soto (who's hurting and hitting .119) batting sixth. It's not Murderer's Row, it's not even Harmless Vandalism Row.
Royals 7, Blue Jays 1: A six-walker for Brian Bannister, who allowed one hit over seven and said he benefited from the rain: "The ball was slipping out of my hand the whole night. I really struggled getting a consistent release with it. At the same time, it was putting a real crazy spin on the ball. I throw my fastball without seams and it was literally slipping the whole night."
Rockies 12, Padres 7: Only one homer and one triple among the 31 combined hits, so it's not like they forgot to put the balls in the humidor. Still, the extra altitude didn't help Chris Young, whose head might have been between Saturn's rings, he's so tall. ... Five, count 'em, five stolen bases for Dexter Fowler, my ridiculed preseason pick for NL Rookie of the Year. The Padres had eight steals among them.
Mariners at White Sox, ppd. (rain): Let's play two today!
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Words of Mouth
"Everybody was pretty excited to hear the music. The first one, I understand, everybody's allowed a mulligan." — Trevor Hoffman, on why his intro music was played in a non-save situation.