The one in which I admit my man-crush

1. Rangers keep going, with a walkoff

Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-out walkoff single to give the Texas Rangers a comeback 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  • It was the 11th straight win for Texas who rallied from an early 5-1 hole.
  • The Ranger club record is 14 consecutive wins in 1991.
  • It was the 13th career walk-off hit and second of the season for Guerrero.
  • Michael Young, who earlier this month became the franchise leader with 1,757 hits, became the Rangers triples king with 45, breaking a tie with Ruben Sierra.
  • Josh Hamilton had three hits extending his career-best hitting streak to 18 games.
  • Hamilton has gone 36 for 72 (.500) during his hitting streak, raising his batting average from .281 to .345.
  • The Rangers have won seven straight series for the fifth time in franchise history, one short of the club record set in 1977.

2. ChiSox Sweeps

Paul Konerko hit an 8th inning two-run home run to lift the White Sox to their ninth straight victory, 2-0, over the Atlanta Braves. Takashi Saito (1-3) started the 8th giving up a leadoff single to Juan Pierre and then after a sacrifice and a flyout, Konerko lined a fastball into the bleachers.

When the White Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers on June 8, they were 24-33 and 9.5 behind American League Central-leading Minnesota. Since then, the Sox have gone 13-1 and trail the Twins by 2.5 games. In their last 15 games, their rotation is 11-1 with a 2.03 earned run average and 14 quality starts.

The White Sox are 13-2 in interleague play this season.

3. Milwaukee Sweeps

The Brewers hadn’t swept the Twins since 1996, but after winning the first two games by two runs, they cruised yesterday to a 5-0 victory behind Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo (7-3) retired the first 16 batters before Drew Butera broke up the perfect-game bid with a single. Gallardo finished with a five-hitter, notching a career-high 12 strikeouts in his second shutout.

Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder each hit two-run homers off Nick Blackburn (6-5) who, for the fourth time in five starts, didn’t finish the 4th. Blackburn has a 6.10 ERA and is 0-4 with a 12.05 ERA in five starts in June.

The Brewers have won four straight and the Twins fell to 9-12 in June after going 15-8 in April and 16-12 in May.

4. I Heart Pedroia

There’s no point hiding my feelings for Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, I love the guy. It is not because last night he went 5-for-5 (and is really closer to 5 foot 5, than the 5 foot 9 that is listed) with three homers (which gives him 12 on the season) and five RBI and four runs scored in the Sox wild 13-11, 10-inning win. Those are just bonuses to my man-crush.

I love Pedroia because his uniform is always dirty, because he plays the game with the love, effort, and respect that it deserves. He is always in control, always playing hard, always thinking team first. He is a smart player who plays beyond expectations. He is articulate and funny. Okay, enough.

This was his first three-homer game, including Little League, high school, anywhere and it came when the Sox needed it after Jonathan Papelbon once again blew a 9th inning save opportunity, but picked up the vulture win.

Pedroia became only the third Red Sox player in franchise history to have five hits and three home runs in a game. John Valentin went 5-for-5 with three home runs on June 2, 1995 and Fred Lynn went 5-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBI on June 18, 1975.

5. Jays top Cards salvage a game

Vernon Wells hit a pair and Brandon Morrow (5-5) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out eight in eight shutout innings leading the Blue Jays to a 5-0 victory over Adam Wainwright (10-5) and the Cardinals. Adam Lind also homered for the Jays.

It was the first win for Morrow since May 31 but I anticipate more now that he has been paired with Jose Molina behind the plate. After 52 innings together, Morrow in combination with Molina has a 1.89 ERA compared with the 8.81 ERA in 32 innings with John Buck catching. Morrow has lowered his ERA in each of his last six starts, starting at 6.80 on May 21 and ending at 4.50 after this game.

6. Marlins Funny Valentine

Tim Kurkjian, senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, reports that Bobby Valentine will fly to Florida on tonight to meet with Marlins executives, including owner Jeffrey Loria, and discuss the club’s managerial job. The Marlins are expected to offer Valentine a four-year contract.

The Marlins play the Mets in a three-game series in Puerto Rico starting Monday and a source said it seems logical the Marlins will have interim manager Edwin Rodriguez manage the Marlins for the three games in Puerto Rico, then name Valentine the manager.

I think it is a brilliant choice.

7. Suggested reading

Mike Celezic

Nobody is tougher than the big, bad AL East claims the estimable Mike Celizic, the crown jewel of MSNBC.com sports and his column this morning will grab you from the opening graph, “The AL East is the Himalaya mountain range of baseball. It’s not that the range contains all the mountains in the world, just the biggest, baddest, most forbidding and scary ones.”

8. Derek Jeter turns 36 tomorrow

Willis Reed, not Derek Jeter

I can handle Jeter turning 36 tomorrow much better than realizing that Willis Reed is celebrating his 68th birthday today. Nice piece on Jeter on ESPN New York by Ian O’Connor.

Here is a video birthday salute to Jeter:


9. Finally interleague play ends this weekend

The regular baseball season resumes on Monday.

Cubs (Carlos Zambrano) at White Sox (Jake Peavy), 4:05

Nationals (J.D. Martin) at Orioles (Jake Arrieta), 7:05

Phillies (Roy Halladay) at Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch), 7:05

Padres (Clayton Richard) at Marlins (Chris Volstad), 7:10

Diamondbacks (Edwin Jackson) at Rays (Jeff Niemann), 7:10

Indians (Aaron Laffey) at Reds (Aaron Harang), 7:10

Twins (Kevin Slowey) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey), 7:10

Tigers (Andrew Oliver) at Braves (Kris Medlen), 7:35

Astros (Brian Moehler) at Rangers (Colby Lewis), 8:05

Cardinals (Jeff Suppan) at Royals (Zack Greinke), 8:10

Mariners (Ryan Rowland-Smith) at Brewers (David Bush), 8:10

Rockies (Jeff Francis) at Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05

Pirates (Brad Lincoln) at A’s (Ben Sheets), 10:05

Yankees (C.C. Sabathia) at Dodgers (Vicente Padilla), 10:10

Red Sox (Tim Wakefield) at Giants (Jonathan Sanchez), 10:15