August 17, 2011
Nine innings and nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.
1. We can't believe it either: The expression on the face of Indians manager Manny Acta spoke for anyone who watched at least some of Chicago's excruciating, five-hour 8-7 victory in 14 innings Tuesday night, dubbed the "Most AL Central Game of the Year" by Jim Margulus of South Side Sox. What does that mean? Lots of mistakes, missed opportunities and head-scratching moments — the kind of game neither side seemingly wanted to take.
This is the play, in the 10th inning, which draws Acta's ire in the photo. Umpire Wally Bell missed the call — and ejected pitcher Tony Sipp(notes) for arguing — but he missed it only because the Indians botched the execution so horribly that they screened him from having a clear view. Chicago didn't take advantage anyway.
The White Sox hit five triples — the first time in 25 years any team did that — but only two of them scored. They had 22 hits and stranded 16 runners in all, but finally broke through on Juan Pierre's(notes) RBI single. Incidentally, he also hit a home run — his second, giving him one more than Joe Mauer(notes). Weird!
Even though the White Sox surpassed .500 for the first time since mid April, the only team that really came out ahead was the first-place Detroit Tigers, because Chicago and Cleveland burned up their bullpens. It also wasn't a good way for the Indians to begin a stretch of 45 games in 44 days.
2. Playoff preview?!: Lyle Overbay(notes) came out of nowhere, almost literally (he's back in the majors?), to ruin Roy Halladay's(notes) evening. His go-ahead, two-run double in the ninth stunned the crowd on Harry Kalas Night and paved the way for Arizona's 3-2 victory at Philadelphia.
3. Like kissing your opponent: The Red Sox and Rays split a doubleheader at Fenway, with Boston in the opener beating "Complete Game" James Shields(notes) 3-1 behind Jon Lester(notes), and Tampa Bay winning 6-2 in the nightcap. Also in Game 2, the Red Sox turned a triple play — about 24 hours after the Brewers turned one. Copycats. Kind of. This one went around the horn — from Jed Lowrie(notes) to Dustin Pedroia(notes) to Adrian Gonzalez(notes).
4. Bogus Dude: You'd think a three-run lead in the ninth with Carlos Marmol(notes) facing Brian Bogusevic(notes) would be safe for the Cubs. Well, why would you think that? Bogusevic connected loudly for a game-ending grand slam, sending the Houston Astros to a raucous 6-5 victory.
5. Not much of a race: The Rangers collected 17 hits and beat the Angels 7-3 at Anaheim to go up six games in the AL West. Michael Young(notes) drove in three runs and Derek Holland(notes) drove the limo.
6. Have we not met before?: The Braves are getting quite skilled at beating the Giants in their last at-bat, doing so for the second straight night in a 2-1, 11-inning victory. This time, Martin Prado(notes) — the fella with the water droplet aura in the photo — got the big hit.
7. Roll out the barrel on the Dodgers: Look how excited Ryan Braun(notes) (right) and Nyjer Morgan(notes) got after Mark Kotsay(notes) lined a pinch-hit, tie-breaking single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to give Milwaukee a 2-1 win, its 18th in 20 games.
8. For the Birds: The Brewers lead the NL Central by seven games because the Cardinals fell 5-4 in 11 innings at Pittsburgh on a mammoth home run by Garrett Jones(notes) that bounced into the Allegheny River.