Braves 7, Mets 1: Correlation is not the same thing as causation, but it's worth noting that the Braves are 5-2 since unloading Francoeur. The Mets are now seventeen games back of the Nats in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. Maybe that makes them a longshot, but I like their chances of winning that race way more than I like them winning the N.L. East.
Phillies 5, Marlins 0: While the Braves trend upwards and the Mets trend down, the Phillies simply don't plan on losing, it seems. J.A. Happ shuts the Marlins down for seven and four others combine to handle the remaining two innings, as the Phils sweep the Marlins. They lead the East by 6.5 games, and no one else in that division looks as though they have a higher gear.
Angels 1, Athletics 0: It was like Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, but only if Jack Morris was lifted after nine and John Smoltz was lifted after eight. And if Dan Gladden was a Venezuelan right fielder with minimal range who homered instead of doubled. And if the game really didn't mean all that much. Hope you didn't blink during this one, though. It was 2 hours, 17 minutes for a 10 inning game.
Giants 4, Pirates 3: The Giants finally find some post-break offense. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to finally win a game. Matt Cain was strong (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). Heavy hearts in the San Francisco dugout, as earlier in the day Giants' part owner Sue Burns died of complications from cancer. According to reports of her death, she was diagnosed with the disease July 10. Christ, why do we care about most of the stupid crap we care about in this world when any single one of us can go from zero to cancer to the sweet hereafter in nine freakin' days?
Dodgers 4, Astros 3: Big surprise as the Dodgers' seventh hitter goes 3-3, scores four runs and hits the game-winning dinger. Oh, wait. It was Matt Kemp, so I suppose the only surprising thing about it is that he's still hitting seventh. Whatevers, Joe.
Rockies 6, Padres 1: It's Jason Marquis' world; the rest of us are just, quite unexpectedly, living in it. The Major League leader in wins -- I repeat, Jason Marquis, the Major Leagues' leader in victories -- not only pitches eight strong innings, but he doubles and drives in two runs as well.
Cardinals 2, Diamondbacks 1: Joel Piniero is apparently living in Jason Marquis' world too, contributing on the hill and at the plate (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER; 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI).
Rays 4, Royals 3: Roman Colon walked in the winning run after getting ahead of the hitter 0-2 which, like so many other things in Kansas City these days, had to be kind of depressing. Luke Hochevar pitched well. When asked about it, he sounded like he was sending Colon a message: "I got to two strikes a lot and I tried to put them away." "Unlike that no-good sonofabitch Colon," Hochevar thought but did not add. And this may mean nothing, but Joe Posnanski's Facebook status last night said "Something big coming?" I suppose it could mean that a Skyline Chili is opening up in Kansas City, but with Joe that would have inspired an exclamation point. No, if I had to guess, I'd say he heard someone telling someone that someone was getting fired. Or something.
Yankees 2, Tigers 1: Nice weekend for the Yankees as they sweep Detroit, but this one is especially nice as Joba Chamberlain looked good for the first time in a while. Can't say that the Tigers looked bad, though. Leyland pretty much said it all: "If you told me that we'd hold those guys to nine runs in three games in this ballpark, I'd say we'd have won two out of three for sure, maybe even sweep. We just didn't get any hits. Period."
Orioles 10, White Sox 2: Jeremy Guthrie (8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) and Greg Zaun (3-4, HR, 4 RBI) had nice days to salvage one from the Chisox. In other news, I like to say "Chisox." Chisox, Chisox, Chisox.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1: Halladay was his usual ridiculous self (CG, 6 H, 1 ER, 7K, 0 BB). He's still not going anywhere, despite what the writers of all the game stories say in the seven paragraphs that precede any discussion of the actual game action, but yes, he was impressive. The Sox' lead over the Yankees is now down to one game.
Cubs 11, Nationals 3: Julian Tavarez had another bad outing and was designated for assignment after the game. Chico Harlan has a detailed story about it all, and it's actually kind of sad. Tavarez lives in a hotel room near the stadium in Washington and keeps no friends in D.C. He gets to the park early. He does nothing else but play, go home, sleep, and then come to the park again. He says that baseball is everything to him. You hear about a guy like that and hope that he can stick around a while. When he doesn't, you probably have to worry about him even more than you did when he was on the team.
Mariners 5, Indians 3: If there were any doubts -- and I suppose there could have been a few -- as to whether Ichiro was a Hall of Famer based solely on his U.S. output, they're being put to rest this season. He went 3-4 yesterday, raising his average to .363, which suggests a Tony Gwynn-decline, not a Roberto Alomar one. As for the Indians, I'm running out of smack to talk. There was a "the bright side of the 2009 Indians" kind of article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday, and it focused on Sizemore, Choo, Martinez and Cabrera. Those dudes combined to go 0-15.
Reds 5, Brewers 3: It's curious that the Brewers have now lost four straight Yovani Gallardo starts. I mean, usually you're better off with your ace on the mound. Lots of complaining about the umps in this one from the Milwaukee side of things. "[Dale Sveum] felt that this guy's strike zone was a little erratic," manager Ken Macha said, adding that "the strike zone got a little wide in the eighth and ninth innings." Well yeah. Umps got flights to catch after Sunday games just like anyone else. What does Sveum expect?
Rangers 5, Twins 3: Ian Kinsler starts the game with a leadoff homer and ends it with a walkoff. Pretty neat! Not so neat that he did it off of a knuckleballer, of course -- Karma's gonna kick him in the jewels for that somehow -- but I suppose he's riding pretty high today, anyway.