Cardinals 8, Reds 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Or, Footsticuffsmanship, if you watched Johnny Cueto kicking people in the donnybrook. Look, I know that, depending on who ends up winning the division, either Reds fans or Cards fans are going to point to this series as some sort of turning point or inspiration or whatever, but the fact is that they’re all kind of embarrassing themselves at this point. Phillips started it, but Yadier Molina’s short fuse ignited it and then Cueto’s crap was unreal. Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa are supposed to be two of the game’s more respected managers. If they’re worthy of the praise and press they get, they’ll beat their teams upside the head today and this afternoon’s game will go off without all of the baloney we saw last night.
Braves 4, Astros 2: The Superman exists — and he’s Brooks Conrad. OK, that’s putting it a bit strongly. Dude’s just had a couple of gigantic pinch-hit home runs this year, this one a two-run job that brought the Braves back from down 2-1 in the ninth. Troy Glaus added another for insurance. On the bad side, Chipper Jones left the game with what looked like a bad knee injury, though as of now they’re calling it a sprain. Jason Heyward sat out with “a sore knee.” It also happened to be the day after he turned 21, so there’s a distinct possibility that flulike symptoms could have waylaid him as well.
Twins 12, White Sox 6: Minnesota takes sole possession of first place in the central. Five homers for Minnesota, including one from Joe Mauer who has been torrid in August. He ain’t the MVP this year, but he’s stepping up when the Twins need him to do so, and that’s what they’re paying the man to do.
Rangers 4, Yankees 3: Not a lot of managers would put their ace closer into a tie game in extra innings on the road. Joe Girardi did. And you know what? I don’t care if the Rangers ended up scoring off him to win the game. It was — and usually is — the right freakin’ choice. Put your best damn guy in there when the game could be lost and do your best not to lose it.
Girardi and Rivera got beat last night, but that’s going to happen such a low percentage of the time I’d do it again whenever the situation presents itself. Screw the save statistic.
Marlins 8, Nationals 2: The return of Strasburg does not go well (4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER). Rust? Adrenaline? Some residual shoulder wonkiness? The fact that, for the first time, he faced a team who has seen his jazz before? I vote for a little bit of each of those things.
Mets 1, Rockies 0: If you had “Mike Pelfrey will outduel Ubaldo Jimenez” in the pool, please proceed to the cashier’s cage and collect your winnings. Both starters were pretty fabulous, actually, but the Mets managed to string a walk, a double and a sacrifice off Jimenez in the seventh.
Dodgers 15, Phillies 9: Kyle Kendrick got beat around for three and a third innings and then he graciously allowed the bullpen to get beat around for five and two-thirds. Andre Ethier reached base six times and scored four times. Ross Gload had two two-run homers for the Phillies. Domonic Brown hit his first major league bomb. Just a hell of a lot going on in this game. Most of it bad for Philly, though.
Orioles 14, Indians 8: This is the American League version of the Phillies-Dodgers games, except done with suckier teams. Showalter’s O’s are now 7-1.
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5: Mike Lowell homered in the eighth to break a 5-5 tie and Jed Lowrie hit an RBI double for insurance. In other news, with Lowell and Lowrie leading the charge it must be 2008.
Rays 8, Tigers 0: Things we know: (1) Jeremy Hellickson is a stud (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7K); (2) The Detroit Tigers are deader than vaudeville.
Cubs 8, Giants 6: Who was that man wearing the number 55 Giants jersey and what has he done with Tim Lincecum? Because I know damn well that the real Tim Lincecum wouldn’t give up six runs on eight hits in four innings to a team like the Cubs. That just doesn’t happen.
Padres 4, Pirates 1: Ryan Ludwick hit two homers, one of which was his 100th home run. And you know what? He didn’t need a ridiculous propaganda piece in a national newspaper to make a note of it.
Mariners 2, Athletics 0: King Felix struck out 13 and shutout the A’s over eight innings. He basically had to, a Brett Anderson was pretty sharp himself (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7K).
Angels 3, Royals 1: Dan Haren gets his first win since the trade that sent him to Anaheim. Peter Bourjos drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze. Those are always fun. Scioscia has a lot of confidence in the rookie, I presume.