Morning Juice: Whaddya know? A series win for the Nats

This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's NL roll call starts in our nation's capital, where Washington's John Lannan held a pitch-in and played mound games against the Cubs, who imagined they could hit him, but are feeling a bit down after dropping 2 of 3 against the Nationals.

Game of the Day: Nationals 2, Cubs 0

Stand by him: Lannan tossed 7 shutout innings in his 11th career start — 189 behind the Cubs' Ted Lilly — and lowered his ERA to 2.64. However, his manager wasn't all that impressed. "I've seen him better, but he showed me a lot today by being able to make pitches when he had to," Manny Acta said, giving a lesson in baseball French for, "the Cubs let him off the hook."

Come together: The Nats hadn't won a series in their new park until the Cubs came to town. Well, unless you count that one-game "series" against the Braves that opened new Nationals Park.

Starting over: With Grady Sizemore's consecutive-games streak now over at 382, Ryan Zimmerman (200) finds himself 2,432 starts away from toppling Cal Ripken Jr. Only one day off by Jeff Francoeur (first on the list with 350 straight) and 15-plus seasons to go, RyZi!

Whatever gets you through: Catcher Wil Nieves has been behind the plate during Lannan's 19-inning scoreless streak.


Feelin' Rundown (Sunday's other games):

Cardinals 5, Astros 1 — They had their second baseball "fight" in as many days, with both benches clearing and no punches being thrown. Boy, bunch of tough-guy bad dudes on these rosters. Troy Glaus was very polite in waiting for the Jays' Scott Rolen to return from an injury before he, too, started to hit.

Mets 6, Braves 3Carlos Delgado stayed in the dugout for a curtain call after a 7th-inning homer. He said it was because the homer, his second of the game, was no big deal and not because Mets fans booed him earlier when lineups were introduced. Ruling from the court: Delgado has plausible denial. Case dismissed ... Also on the docket: John Smoltz's shoulder hurts. Continuance granted. Next case.

Pirates 5, Phillies 1 — It doesn't get any bigger in this state. Only when Pitt plays Penn State in football, the Steelers face the Eagles on Sundays, the Penguins play the Flyers, St. Joe's vs. Villanova in the Palestra, the 76ers battle the Fish, or Pat's takes on Geno's in steaks (with the winner going up against Primanti Bros.). Only those rivalries, and 12 or 13 dozen others, are bigger than Phils/Bucs.

Marlins 3, Brewers 2 (10 inn.) — Before you go pointing fingers, Eric Gagne had nothing to do with Florida winning. He pitched a scoreless 9th. It was all Seth McClung's fault. Get him!

Reds 10, Giants 1 — Barry Zit0-6. The Giants got a great "start" out of reliever Pat Misch, who went 6 innings after Zito gagged his way through the first 3.

D-backs 2, Padres 1 — This frequently is the result for the Pads, who have scored 2 runs or fewer 14 times. At 6-0, Brandon Webb looks like he's on the way to one of those, "start the All-Star Game, win the Cy Young" kind of seasons.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 2 (10 inn.) — Team Chavez Ravine has won 3 in a row, and it took Joe Torre 24 different lineups in 25 games to make it happen. The Rockies were 10-15 a season ago, too, and they ended up in the World Series. So there's that.


Photo of the Day: Does this bug you? I'm not touching you.

Astros hurler Brandon Backe annoys the stuffing out of Albert Pujols just by standing behind him.


Fantasy Freak

Edison Volquez (Reds) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 10 K, Win

Barely edges teammate Brandon Phillips, along with Carlos Delgado and Nate McLouth, who all had 2-homer days.


Fantasy Flake

Zito (Giants) 3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, K, Loss

His numbers should be getting better since going to the NL — and his first season in SF was a little better than his final in Oakland — but he's all backward right now, probably trying to earn $126 million every time he throws a ball.


Big Talker

"If he throws a curve, I probably look like Bugs Bunny out there." — Florida's Wes Helms, who hit a fastball for a solo home run against Milwaukee's Seth McClung to give the Marlins a 3-2 win.

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