The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
Pure Metstasy: Jordany Valdespin did not get cheated on his first major-league hit. After going 0 for 6 in scattered duty earlier in the season, Valdespin returned to the majors and killed a splitter by Jonathan Papelbon for a go-ahead, three-run home run in the ninth inning Monday night, sending the New York Mets to a 5-2 victory at Philadelphia. The look of joy on Valdespin's face as he circled the bases pumping his fist was pretty cool — unless you root for the Phillies, of course. They wasted a nice bounce-back performance by Roy Halladay, who was coming off his worst start ever. The Mets didn't get away unscathed, though, losing catcher Josh Thole after he hurt his head on a play at the plate with Ty Wigginton. He was being treated for concussion symptoms.
No double dipping!: The ghost of Johnny Vander Meer can rest easy for another night. Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels took it easy on the Minnesota Twins this time, allowing three hits over six innings in an 8-3 victory at Target Field. In his previous start, Weaver had thrown the 10th no-hitter in Angels history, and was trying — they all try — to become the first pitcher to throw a consecutive no-no since Vander Meer famously did it for the Reds in 1938. Weaver seemed gassed after throwing 121 pitches in his previous start, but it was the Twins lineup — so being gassed isn't the end of the world.
''To have it happen once is pretty special,'' Weaver said. ''But to do it twice in a row, I don't see it happening ever again.''
Dotel checks out: So that's what life is like for the Detroit Tigers without closer Jose Valverde. Manager Jim Leyland chose to give him the night off after he made three consecutive appearances, instead turning to Octavio Dotel to protect a two-run lead in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners. Dotel didn't protect so well, as the M's pushed across three runs to win 3-2. John Jaso hit a sacrifice fly to score Munenori Kawasaki with the winning run after Jesus Montero tied the score with an RBI double. Dotel threw only four of 16 pitches for strikes. Leyland also decided not to use setup man Joaquin Benoit, and it looked like he wouldn't need to after Doug Fister returned to the rotation and tossed eight shutout innings. Mariners starter Blake Beavan was hit on the right elbow by a line drive, but he's hopeful to make his next start.
Five, count 'em, five homers:
Rafael Furcal started things with his 30th career leadoff home run and the St. Louis Cardinals bludgeoned Arizona 9-6. Though they are the franchise of Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals hitting five home runs in a game still seems odd. I'll always associate them more with Vince Coleman and Willie McGee. Look out for the tarp, Vince! Not that wins should matter for pitchers, but since everyone else will tell you that Lance Lynn improved to 6-0, we might as well mention it. He also pitched five scoreless innings, though even that's misleading because his command was off in walking four.
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Quote of the Day: "The Indians could have used a mop to finish this sweep." — Associated Press writer Tom Withers, with an all-time great lead to describe first-place Cleveland's pair of victories against the White Sox.
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Photo of the Day: Splinters. Splendid.
Not even a pro like Ian Kinsler has a chance with half a bat. That's OK, though, because the Rangers had plenty of wood to spare, and they didn't spare it on the Baltimore Orioles in a 14-3 thumping. Kinsler went 2 for 6 with a run scored.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• Bryan LaHair hit his eighth homer, and has reached base in 25 straight games for the Chicago Cubs, who beat the Braves 5-1.
• Carlos Zambrano lowered his ERA to 1.98 by pitching a three-hitter for the Miami Marlins in a 4-0 victory against the Astros.
• Angel Pagan's hitting streak is over at 20 games after the Giants fell to Ted Lilly and crew at Dodger Stadium 9-1.