Big League Stew - MLB

Nine innings, nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.

1. Just desserts: Success never tasted so good for Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton(notes). After lifting the Rays to a dramatic 3-2 victory over Toronto with a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, returning teammate Evan Longoria(notes) put an innovative twist on an old baseball tradition by presenting him with a face full of... chocolate pudding?

"First time I've ever experienced that," Upton said. "I had my eyes closed thinking it was shaving cream, and I'm like, 'Is that chocolate?' It's pretty cool though, something different."

Taking a look at the picture above ... Uh, yeah, that's something different indeed. What wasn't different, though, was Upton's heroics against Toronto. Of his now four career walk-off hits, three have come at the Toronto Blue Jays' expense.

2. Anything you can do: Over in Phoenix, younger brother Justin Upton(notes) wasn't rewarded with chocolate pudding — or even shaving cream to my knowledge — but that didn't make his eighth-inning solo home run off Colorado's Felipe Paulino(notes) any less important.

Manager Kirk Gibson gave Upton the green light on a 3-0 pitch, and Justin found one to his liking, driving it over the right field wall for an impressive opposite field blast.

"I wasn't trying to do too much," Upton said. "Just make sure it's a strike and don't come out of your shoes, and I was able to get a good pitch to hit."

The home run put Arizona up by one, and closer J.J. Putz(notes) converted his seventh save chance to secure a 4-3 win.

3. One oughta do it: Francisco Liriano(notes) earned the headlines by tossing Minnesota's fifth no-hitter in franchise history, but he needed one big swing from his offense to make it official. That big swing was provided by Jason Kubel(notes), who cracked a solo home run in the fourth to provide the difference in the Twins' history-making 1-0 victory.

Kubel has now hit exactly 20 percent of his 95 career home runs against the White Sox. Though I'm sure Sox fans would have figured that number was closer to 50.

4. Slump busted: Desperate for offense, manager Bruce Bochy juggled his lineup and somehow ended up with Mike Fontenot(notes) batting third. It worked out all right as Fontenot knocked in two with a single in four at-bats. But it still took Aubrey Huff(notes) snapping a personal 0-for-20 stretch with a solo home run off New York's Taylor Buchholz(notes) to get the Giants over the hump. Champs win it 7-6 in 10.

5. Sizing up the competition: Welcome back to the big show, Scott Sizemore(notes). Recalled Monday night, Detroit's former second baseman of the future may have regained that title after singling twice and doubling in the Tigers 4-2 triumph over CC Sabathia(notes) and the Yankees.

6. Bad news for the AL Central: Not only are the Cleveland Indians never going to lose again at Progressive Field, now they're finding ways to carry that unrelenting success with them on the road. Case in point, scoring three late runs off Oakland's Brian Fuentes(notes) and holding on for a 4-1 victory. If you weren't afraid before, be afraid now.

7. Stop the fight: John Lester outdueled Dan Haren(notes) for the second time in eleven days, and the Red Sox improved to 6-0 against the Angels with a 7-3 victory. The season series is scheduled for two more rounds on Wednesday and Thursday, but maybe someone should throw in the towel and allow the Angels to leave town with their pride somewhat intact.

8. Going Little League: Cole Hamels(notes) went the distance and tripled in Philadelphia's 4-1 win over Washington. Not to be outdone, San Diego's Mat Latos(notes) made a little history, becoming the first pitcher to homer in Petco Park. Though Latos himself wouldn't hang around long enough to get the win, the home run would prove to be a difference in the Padres' 6-5 victory over Pittsburgh.

9. Streak turns 29: The Cubs plated three runs in the ninth off Jonathan Broxton(notes) to steal a 4-1 victory, but the answer you're looking for is yes, Andre Ethier(notes) did extend his remarkable hitting streak to 29. His lone hit came on a bloop single just out of the reach of Chicago's Darwin Barney(notes) in the fourth inning. Ethier will look for an even 30 on Wednesday afternoon against Carlos Zambrano(notes).

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