Big League Stew - MLB

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 on the South Side, where a Tigers ace shook off the jinx of Evening Shade and threw another gem for his first-place squad.

Please note: The role of the main Juice squeezer is being played today by Rob Iracane of Walkoff Walk. We thank him graciously for his efforts.

Game Of The Day

Tigers 2, White Sox 1

Serving Notice: Justin Verlander(notes) is demanding that you pay attention to his fine work. Enough of the Zack Greinkes and the Roy Halladays of the world, people. Justin Verlander is on a streak hot enough to melt your favorite collectible bobbleheads. Big V pitched a six-hit complete game in his first-ever win at U.S. Cellular Field, striking out nine and allowing just one teensy mistake, a solo home run to Jim Thome(notes).

All For Naught: The Pale Hose got their own tidy performance for the night, as John Danks(notes) took the hard-luck loss despite pitching into the eighth inning and allowing but two runs. But Danks just needed to peer into the Tigers dugout at the resting Verlander to realize why his fate was so depressing. Verlander's curveball was simply breaking in almost unnatural ways.

Old Friends: The current White Sox weren't the only South Siders on hand to watch the Tigers take the third victory in four games against Chicago this week. Former White Sox stars Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura were at the ballpark, but not together promoting their retro "Batman and Robin" poster. Clever marketing, 1990s-era White Sox organization! Thomas works as an analyst for Comcast SportsNet while Ventura was promoting good prostate health. Well, not like that.

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (Wednesday's other games):

Phillies 5, Mets 4 (11): This one went to 11. Seriously, it went 11 innings, and it ended at 11 p.m. ET. Also, 11 is the difference between the number of runners the Mets left on base (16) and the runners that the Phils stranded (five). Yes, Cole Hamels(notes) and the Phils' relief corps put 20 gentleMets on base, but only four scored. Chase Utley's(notes) homer in the 11th was not of the walkoff varietal yet thousands of dejected Mets fans started their walk of shame back to their cars immediately after it cleared the fence.

Pirates 3, Braves 2: Jeff Karstens(notes) nearly pitched a perfect game the last time Walkoff Walk did fill-in duty for the Juice. Last night, Karstens did his own fill-in duty, coming into the game in the second inning to replace Charlie Morton(notes) and his balky hamstring. Karstens picked up the W and was serviceable, especially considering he'd already lost two games in the past six days and was sentenced to the 'pen.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1: Two things you can be sure of when Felix Hernandez(notes) and the Mariners visit Camden Yards. One, the team will turn up their nose at Maryland crabs (miss U, Dungeness) and two, King Felix will win. Fella improved to 4-0 lifetime in Baltimore with seven tidy innings and some support from teammate Jose Lopez'(notes) pair of homers.

Red Sox 6, Yankees 5: Kevin Youkilis'(notes) fourth- inning homer off reliever Phil Hughes(notes) proved to be the game-winner but Chien-Ming Wang(notes) took the loss. This game featured 12 extra-base hits including five home runs and yet folks are still whining about the dingers flying out of new Yankee Stadium. It's about time we tore down the Green Monster and extended left field onto I-90, don't you think?

Royals 9, Indians 0: Gil Meche(notes) needs to give his precious right arm a little bit more credit. Fella struck out 11 Indians batters over seven shutout innings despite claiming his prep work was sloppy and erratic, like a bleary-eyed line cook with a hangover:

"I felt absolutely horrible warming up in the bullpen," Meche said. "It's weird. I just went out and tried to attack the (strike) zone and things fell in place."

Just keep going out there and preparing poorly, Gil. It seems to work for you.

Rays 9, Angels 5: Luckily for the sorry Angels bullpen, they didn't have to worry about blowing a save for starter John Lackey(notes) last night. Lackey blew the game all by himself, thankyouverymuch, allowing nine runs and eleven hits in five innings. Willy Aybar(notes) hit a homer and drove in three runs, which proves my long-held hypothesis: Given the chance, Willy Aybar sometimes does well.

Cardinals 13, Marlins 4: I hope the attendees at Land Shark Stadium didn't get up to fetch a Cuban sandwich from the concession stands during this one. The two teams combined to score in every single inning, but the Cardinals did most of the heavy lifting. Rick Ankiel(notes) finished a single shy of the cycle (dang, that elusive single!) and the Cards put the kibosh on their five-game skid.

Astros 2, Cubs 1: Carlos Zambrano(notes) returned from his much-deserved suspension and shut down the weak-hitting Astros lineup over eight solid innings, at one point retiring 14 straight batters. Only problem? The Cubs couldn't do a darn thing against Wandy Rodriguez(notes) and his wicked curve. Geoff Blum(notes) earned the ire of shrimp everywhere as he collected the walkoff win on a bases-loaded single off Angel Guzman(notes). No, Geoff, you're supposed to WALK in the winning run. Criminy.

Rockies 4, Brewers 2: Brad Hawpe(notes) too is not a bit tamed, he too is untranslatable,
he sounds his barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world. Dude homered, doubled and drove in two to lead Jim Tracy and Colorado to their seventh straight win. ROXJUNE IN EFFECT.

Blue Jays at Rangers: Postponed

Reds 4, Nationals 2 (12): Up 2-0, all the Reds needed to get was three more outs but a two-hour rain delay put that task off a bit. Coming back, Coco Cordero blew the save, ruined Aaron Harang's(notes) win and also sent the game into extras. But it's all good because Jonny Gomes(notes) saved the day in the 12th with a pinch-hit RBI double.

"The bottom line is that we won. That's not how we drew it up, that's not how you would have scripted it," manager Dusty Baker said. "We were out here a little later, a little longer than we planned."

Dusty can be very diplomatic. I admire that. Even when he ends up missing his reservations at Central Michel Richard.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 4: The West may belong to the Dodgers, but don't look now because the Giants are just half a game behind the wild card-leading Mets. I told you not to look! Reality TV star Brian Wilson(notes) struck out the side in the ninth for the save.

Twins 6, Athletics 3: The Twins won consecutive road games for the first time since April. These guys need to start bringing their therapeutic pillows and teddy bears on the road with them, folks.

Padres 3, Dodgers 1: Kevin Correia(notes) shut down the high-scoring Dodger offense in a game that saw a combined five base-runners over the final six innings. No wonder Los Angelenos leave these affairs early.

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