Mariners 4, Red Sox 2: I went down to West Virginia to see old friends over the weekend. I went without my wife and kids, so I had a lot of time to wander around my old hometown, drive some crazy country back roads, do a little hiking in the middle of nowhere and generally get lost in my own head for a little bit. Highly enjoyable, but I gotta say: both the 20 year-old memories stirred by meeting up with friends and being removed from civilization for a day or two was a bit disorienting. Dreamlike, in some ways, really. You know how in “Inception” Leo DiCaprio had that little spinny top thing? Well, I use boring and inefficient Dice-K starts in which he throws 110 pitches in six innings while walking five dudes to let me know when I am out of dream land and back to reality.
Astros 4, Reds 0: Seven innings of one-hit ball for Wandy Rodriguez against a Reds team that seems like it had one foot on the charter to Milwaukee from the time this one got going. I listened to this game on the radio on my way back from West Virginia yesterday. Well, part of it. After spending the better part of two days touring the coal fields, I didn’t have a lot of patience for Reds’ color man Jeff Brantley telling us that pinch hitting was “the hardest job in America.” It was 1-0 at that point, though, so I guess I didn’t miss anything that truly impacted game’s outcome.
Rangers 6, Angels 4: Josh Hamilton continues to be ridiculous and the Rangers take three of four from Anaheim, extending their lead to seven games. Dan Haren is nice, Angels fans, but I really can’t see him being a difference maker right now.
Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2: Buster Posey smacks four hits to extend his hitting streak. He’s at .469/.511/.815 in July and at .371/.407/.579 on the year. This is the man that Brian Sabean said “wasn’t ready” back in April. Sure, dude. Whatever.
Dodgers 1, Mets 0: Clayton Kershaw threw eight shutout innings a day after Joe Torre emptied the bullpen to win Saturday’s 13-inning affair. For the second day in a row Jerry Manuel refuses to use K-Rod in an ultra-tight game. Does he simply not trust his putative relief ace? Does he only care about saves? How do you lose two games like the Mets’ Saturday and Sunday games without once getting your relief ace into the action?
Cardinals 4, Cubs 3: Felipe Lopez homers in the eleventh and Dennys Reyes closes the door in the bottom half of the inning. Why Dennys Reyes and not Ryan Franklin? Because Tony La Russa thought it would be a good idea to use his best relief pitcher in a close game rather than have him sit around and wait for a save situation, Jerry Manuel.
Brewers 8, Nationals 3: The Brewers sweep the Nats thanks to some terrible defense by Washington. Note to Jim Riggleman: Just because a guy has played a little third base in the past doesn’t mean he should play third base now.
Athletics 6, White Sox 4: Dallas Braden gets his first win since his perfecto nearly three months ago. Braden after the game: “I can finally quit answering calls from the Oakland Zoo looking for their monkey. He’s off my back and I’ll be sending him home.” Hmm . . . was it the Vervet or the Squirrel Monkey?
Padres 6, Pirates 3: San Diego sweeps Pittsburgh in what is shaping up to be the Pirates’ worst season in 25 years. Which is saying something given that they’ve been wandering in the desert for a good 22 of those years.
Twins 10, Orioles 4: The Twins cruise despite having a number of regulars out of the starting lineup due to the effects of an unbearably steamy weekend in Baltimore. Jim Thome tied George Brett on the career RBI list. Remember when Thome used to play third base? Yeah, that was pretty hilarious.
Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Jimmy Rollins stole third and then came home on a wild pitch to score what turned out to be the winning run in seventh. If he would have reached on catcher’s interference and made it to second on a balk it would have been the run of the year. The Rockies have lost five in a row on what is turning out to be a nightmare east coast swing.
Marlins 5, Braves 4: The Braves had the bases loaded in the top of the eleventh with one out. Nate McLouth grounded into a double play. He was terrible before his concussion, the Braves won like crazy when he was gone and he’s been terrible since he came back. He adds absolutely nothing to this team. Wes Helms used to be talked about in similar unflattering terms when he played for the Braves but he got the game-winning hit in the bottom half of the inning for Florida. I think I’d rather have him playing centerfield than McLouth right now.
Yankees 12, Royals 6: Yankees in a laugher on the strength of two Curtis Granderson jacks and three RBI from Alex Rodriguez. Or at least it was a laugher until A-Rod got smacked with a ball in the eighth inning. It hit and bruised his left hand pretty good. “I was more fearful of the ball coming toward my face,” A-Rod said after the game. “My beautiful, beautiful face,” he did not add.
Rays 4, Indians 2: Pretty spiffy play by Reid Brignac in the seventh, taking what could have easily been a game-tying hit away from Carlos Santana. I’m not a big fan of extreme defensive shifts like that, but I’ll admit it, they’re pretty satisfying when they result in a play like that.