Phillies 8, Marlins 7: First place. Homers from Howard, Ibanez and Victorino and a go-ahead single from Placido Polanco in the eighth put the Phillies in the catbird seat for the first time since May 30th.
Pirates 5, Braves 0: The Pirates have allowed more runs than any team in baseball this year, yet the Braves have scored just one run in eighteen innings this series. No offense to the Pirates intended, but if you get your ass handed to you by the Pirates pitching staff the way the Braves have these past two games, you don’t deserve to sniff the playoffs, let alone contend for them.
Orioles 6, Yankees 2: And while it’s nowhere near as bad getting beat by the resurgent Orioles, Yankees fans have to be feeling much the same as Braves fans this week. Jake Arrieta (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER) stifles the Bombers as CC Sabathia is denied his 20th win as the Orioles take another from New York.
Rays 14, Red Sox 5: Five homers for the Rays, who break their losing streak and pull to within one and a half of the Yankees. The bad Dice-K showed up and nibbled. David Price did his usual “walk a lot of guys and pitch relatively inefficiently yet still get the win” thing.
Tigers 9, White Sox 1: The winning streak ends, and how. Freddy Garcia — who has been a Tiger killer lately — had to leave the game early with a bad back. Someone should have told him that when you go out tiger hunting — in case of accidents — you should always bring your mum.
Twins 10, Royals 3: That’s the thing about the Twins: no matter how much the Sox have surged, Minnesota has surged right along with them and have always seemed to take advantage of Chicago’s missteps. Delmon Young and J.J. Hardy combined to drive in seven.
Rockies 4, Reds 3: A three-run bomb from Carlos Gonzalez helps the Rockies win their fifth straight. I had previously all but handed the MVP to Joey Votto, but Gonzalez has thrust himself into the conversation with his — and his team’s — white-hot run of late.
Padres 2, Dodgers 1: But the Rockies are going to have to catch the Padres for that to happen, I think, and that’s hard when Mat Latos pitches like this (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 10K). The Dodgers, by the way, are snoozing their way towards the end of the season. Nice career and everything, Joe Torre, and we’ll see you in Cooperstown soon, but you need to go.
Giants 6, Diamondbacks 3: Tim Lincecum helps the Giants keep pace, mowing down 11 batters while giving up three runs through six and two-thirds. Homers from Huff, Sanchez and Burrell.
Brewers 4, Cardinals 2: Trevor Hoffman gets his 600th save. Great for Hoffman, who has definitely seen some bad times this season. Oh, and home plate umpire Bob Davidson ejected a fan in this one, which is something you don’t see every day. I’d be inclined to rip Davidson because he’s almost always wrong about everything, but word buzzing around the Internets last night was that the fan who was ejected was being abusive to Yadier Molina all night and was probably drunk. It’s a shame that the ump had to take care of his good-for-nothin’ ass instead of an usher or other ballpark personnel.
Astros 7, Cubs 3: Carlos Silva’s return didn’t go too swimmingly (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER). Nelson Figueroa gets the win. Why don’t I remember him coming to Houston, though? I mean, I know I saw him in Mets camp down in Port St. Lucie, and I remember the Phillies picking him up briefly, but the Astros? In some ways it’s been a very long season.
Blue Jays 8, Rangers 5: Two homers for Vernon Wells, as the Jays take it to the reeling Rangers. The way all the other first place teams are playing lately, I should probably just call a Twins-Phillies World Series right now.
Mets 4, Nationals 1: Mets starter Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth in his major league debut. It’s been eight hours since this game ended and I’ve already heard too many “Gee!” puns. Next person who does it is gonna get fined.
Indians 6, Angels 1: The Angels look so lifelike lying in that box. Still, when I go, I’d prefer to be cremated, because ceremonies like this are so awkward. Oh well. Let’s go to the widow’s house. I hear there will be cold cuts and casseroles.
Mariners 7, Athletics 5: Compared to how they’ve been going, a seven run night for Seattle is equivalent to [tapping calculator keys while wearing green eye-shade . . .] 125 runs.