Morning Juice: Tigers' Clete Thomas big hit turns clunker into $$$

Most weekdays in the a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in the Motor City, where folks paid good money for a real clunker of a ballgame, from a Detroit perspective, until a rally averted a series loss and extended the Tigers' lead in the AL Central.

Game of the Day: Tigers 7, Mariners 6

Take the subway, Jarrod: The M's built a 6-2 lead on the strength of four home runs against Jarrod Washburn(notes), who has done everything in his power to prevent the Tigers from making the playoffs. Did he not realize the point of the deadline deal that delivered him from Seattle? Is he a double agent for the White Sox or Twinkies?

"It hasn't gone the way I wanted so far," said Washburn, who has a 6.04 ERA in four starts.

Does Doyle Alexander have anything left?

The turning worm: The Tigers cut into the lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, keyed by a two-out, two run single by backup catcher Alex Avila(notes). The ninth started ominously for Mariners closer David Aardsma(notes) (the first guy listed in the MLB phonebook, by the way) with the dreaded leadoff walk.

"The first-batter walk, that's always been my enemy," Aardsma said.

Mmm, hmm. You don't say?

Cledro Feliz (Happy Clete): One out later, Miguel Cabrera(notes) blooped a double to right, really putting the screws to Aaaardsmaaa, who came in 28 for 31 in saves. After an intentional walk, Brandon Inge(notes) came through with a tying sacrifice fly to center; Franklin Gutierrez's(notes) throw just missed nailing Carlos Guillen(notes) at the plate.

Thomas (above) battled Aardsma for eight pitches, finishing him off with a liner to right to score Cabrera (right).

The ensuing celebration looked a lot like the one Thomas set off with a game-ending homer against the Orioles earlier this month.

"It was just as good," Thomas said.

The Tigers, who lead the White Sox by 2 1/2 games, improved to 40-20 at home. They go on the road now, where they're 24-36.

"It will have to change, or we won't win anything," manager Jim Leyland said.

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (Washburn allowed four homers in these games too):

Rockies 4, Nationals 1: His four-game home run streak ended, but Carlos Gonzalez(notes) had the key hit after a disputed play in the fifth.

In a scoreless tie, Gonzalez foul-tipped a two-strike pitch by Garrett Mock(notes) into the catcher's mitt, apparently for strike three. But the play was appealed to second base umpire Doug Eddings, who said the ball hit the dirt before being caught, which means it's just a foul ball.

The Nats argued fruitlessly, and after settling back in, Gonzalez blooped the ugliest mother of ducksnorts into short left field for an RBI double and a 1-0 lead.

Poor, poor Nats.

"I don't know how Dougie saw that play out there," Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan(notes) said. "I guess he was eating his carrots today."

But he got it right. In case "Doug Eddings" sounds familiar, he was the home plate ump in the 2005 ALCS when A.J. Pierzynski(notes) "stole first" on a similar-looking play.

If you have the capability via MLB.TV's archive, replay Gonzalez's at-bat from the home and road broadcasts. Nats analyst Rob Dibble is so bloody crackers, it's funny.

Reds 2, Giants 1 (10 inn.): We came here to praise Drew Stubbs(notes) and to bury Willy Taveras(notes). In his second major league game, Stubbs hit his first home run and it won the game. The Reds called him up for Willy Taveras, who went on the DL with a severe OPS deficiency, I mean a strained right quadriceps.

Seriously, Taveras must be the worst player with almost 400 at-bats this season. He had a .238 batting average, which could be lower, a .273 on-base percentage, which reminds me of Ozzie Guillen and Shawon Dunston, and a .284 — .284! — slugging percentage. He did have 25 stolen bases, which aren't worthless, but gosh.

Stubbs showed speed in the minors, too (121 steals in 423 games) with more extra-base power and selectivity than Taveras. He doesn't project into an All-Star, but he should be given a chance to prove he's better than Taveras who, unfortunately, is signed through next season.

Phillies 12, D-backs 3: Don't touch the Phillies without oven mitts.

Braves 3, Mets 2: Who ya' got — Kenshin Kawakami(notes) or Johan Santana(notes)? (Don't say Santana, don't say Santana, don't say Santana). Oh, you said "Santana." Sorry.

Astros 4, Marlins 1: The Fish's streak of 15 straight 10-hit games is ... ovah! Thanks to Magic Wandy Rodriguez(notes), who had allowed 10 runs in his previous start, yikes. Elias reports that the record, in case you play for a team that wants to break it, is 18 straight 10-hit games, by the 1922 St. Louis Browns and Tris Speaker's 1925 Indians.

Cardinals 5, Padres 1: Grand slam ... Albert Pujols(notes)? No. Matt Holliday(notes)? No. Colby Rasmus(notes)? No. Rick Ankiel(notes)? No. Ryan Ludwick(notes)? No. Mark DeRosa(notes)? No. Yadier Molina(notes)? No. Skip Schumaker(notes)? Maybe. Brendan Ryan(notes)? Yes!

Dodgers 7, Cubs 2: Grand slam ... Manny Ramirez(notes)? No. Matt Kemp(notes)? No. Casey Blake(notes)? No. Andre Ethier(notes)? No. Orlando Hudson(notes)? No. Rafael Furcal(notes)? Maybe. Russell Martin(notes)? Yes! (I know you cheated; you looked at the pictures.)

Indians 11, Angels 3: Future's/Justin/so/Masterson/bright/Matt/Igotta/La/wear/Porta/shades.

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 1: Two homers for J.D. Drew(notes), who's healthy for the moment, so enjoy it.

Orioles 8, Rays 7: Grand slam ... Brian Roberts(notes)? Yeah, I'll just give you this one.

Rangers 11, Twins 1: It's the Marlon Byrd(notes) show, starring Marlon Byrd! Homer, a great catch, 'nother homer.

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