The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"Good luck asking me questions because I don't remember much of anything except a 1-2 slider that Janish popped up. I can't think of anything else that happened, really."
-- Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa after St. Louis somehow overcame five home runs from Cincinnati to win on Sunday.
Diamondbacks 10, Nationals 8
The whole "getting into pitching jams and tip-toeing across the high wire" act was going to backfire eventually, and it did late in Washington's streak-breaking loss in Arizona on Sunday. But, as Chico wrote much more eloquently than we're wont to get into here in a paragraph, the Nats were great and horrible in waves. The question is which waves were higher, and on this day, the ones that sank Washington's ship were distinctly higher than the ones that were good to surf on. Wait, maybe those waves coincide. Ummm, let's just forget this whole nautical metaphor and move on, shall we?
Braves 4, Phillies 2
Just when it looked like the NL East was breaking into stratas, Atlanta goes and takes two of three in Philadelphia and jumbles everything up. Add to that New York's surging streak at home, and the division is back up for grabs. That comes largely thanks to the Braves' starting pitching, with Kenshin Kawakami delivering the good on Sunday with a five-hit, two run outing across six innings. That's a good start for the Japanese import, who might be getting back on track, much to the chagrin of the rest of the division.
Cardinals 8, Reds 7
Yes, as Tony LaRussa mentioned above, this one was a bit bizarre. Ryan Franklin got a win in extra innings after the game was pushed there because a ridiculously strong-hitting pitcher -- Micah Owings -- drilled a pinch hit homer of his own with two outs in the ninth. If there was any doubt about the full theatrics of the game, just consider this: It lasted 4:23. For any game that isn't in the World Series or contested between the Red Sox and Yankees, that's a ridiculous marathon, particularly considering the fact that it only included one extra inning. We'd say the good people of Cincinnati got their money's worth.
Mets 8, Pirates 4
Speaking of the Mets, they're really, truly rolling now. Playing the Pirates -- whose performance took on a disctinctly recent retro (05-07) vintage over the past week -- didn't hurt either. That made a winner out of Livan Hernandez, who needed 31 pitches to get out of the first inning and significantly fewer in each frame after that. Add in David Wright, who's hitting hitting .356 over his last 12 games, and the Pirates hardly had a chance.
Cubs 4, Brewers 2
Carlos Marmol almost blew another lead, but he couldn't quite pull it off. Instead, Alfonso Soriano's 10th homer of the season -- yes, 10th -- was the big blast in Chicago's win, which got Sean Marshall back on track at the expense of Jeff Suppan, who labored through 120 pitches in just six innings. And for a change, Ryan Braun didn't even have a back-breaking homer left in his pink bat, not that you'd notice from his gaudy .345 average.
Astros 12, Padres 5
Break up the Astros! Without Lance Berkman, Houston still scored an even dozen runs, led by four RBI apiece from Miguel Tejada and Carlos Lee. Add in four hits for Pudge Rodriguez, and you get a season-high 16 base knocks for Houston and a first sweep of the season. That fact that it came against the previously high-flying Padres was also significant. Perhaps San Diego is coming back down to Earth? Or is Houston actually a lot better than everyone's giving them credit for?
Rockies 3, Marlins 2
Aaron Cook is still a really good pitcher. He made that statement on Sunday, shutting down the Marlins to stop Colorado's slide with a narrow victory. His six strong innings and a home run from the motivated, in-season "I'm still a top prospect" project that is Troy Tulowitzki proved enough on Sunday, with only a tweaked Tulowitzki left quad providing any significant reason for concern for Colorado. Two scoreless innings from the bullpen kept Florida close, but the explosive offense it showed during the season's opening weeks seems to have vanished with all the temperate weather in Florida, just in time for the soggy, humid summer (ask Amy Shipley or Chico, the next time he makes the trip).
Giants 7, Dodgers 5
It took 13 innings, but San Francisco eventually won the rubber match over their fiercest rivals down the coast. That made a winner of reliever Brian Wilson, despite reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum giving up four runs and six hits in six innings, the first time in his past four starts he hasn't finished with a victory. Of course, the bigger story will be that the Dodgers lost for the third time in four games since the departure of Manny Ramirez, though there was one bit of reassuring Ramirez-connected news: His roster replacement, Xavier Paul, earned his first major league hit in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter.
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