AL East, all tied at the top

1. One and Done

I really can't see this but I'm told there is a 57 here. There are 57 games left in the regular season for the Rays and Yanks.

Jeremy Hellickson was brought up by the Tampa Bay Rays to give their entire rotation one day of extra rest and won in his major league debut as Tampa Bay beat Minnesota 4-2 to snap the Twins’ eight-game winning streak.

The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game and became just the sixth pitcher to start a game for Tampa this season. He was optioned back immediately following the game. Hellickson (1-0) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings, helping the Rays win for the ninth time in the last 10 games. He struck out six and walked two.

2. Fit to be tied

Tampa Bay moved into a first-place tie in the AL East with the New York Yankees, who lost 8-6 to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees held a 2-1 lead going to the 5th but Travis Snider of the Blue Jays opened the inning with a double off the Yankees starter A.J. Burnett (9-9). This apparently looked appealing so Fred Lewis, Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells, and Aaron Hill also doubled. Then for good measure, Snider doubled again off Sergio Mitre.

The double surge matched the Washington Senators, who had six against the Boston Red Sox in the 8th inning on June 9, 1934, and the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2002, against the Yankees. The major league record for doubles in an inning is held by the Boston Braves, who had seven in the 1st inning on Aug. 25, 1936, against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Yankees had been alone in first since June 20 and had not lost consecutive games since June 29-30.

3. Why they play nine

These cubs are cute and fun. The ones that play baseball are neither.

Through three innings, Brewers @ Cubs, 0-0

Final score, Brewers 18, Cubs 1

Prince Fielder drove in five runs and had five of Milwaukee’s season-high 26 hits and Yovani Gallardo tied a season-high with 12 strikeouts as the Brewers destroyed the Chicago Cubs, 18-1.  The Brewers became the fourth NL team with four games of 17 or more runs in a single season in the live-ball era (since 1920).

Ryan Braun also had five hits for Milwaukee, which snapped a five-game losing streak. Casey McGehee had a three-run homer and Fielder had a three-run double. The Brewers  sent 10 batters to the plate in the 4th and the 5th innings and were 12-29 with runners in scoring position. The 29 at-bats with RISP is tied for the second-most in a single game since 1974.

The Cubs tied a franchise record for hits allowed, matching Sept. 2, 1957, when they lost to the Milwaukee Braves. The Cubs have lost six straight and are a season-low 14 games under .500 (46-60).

Before the game, the Brewers agreed to a $26.5 million, three-year contract extension through 2013 with Corey Hart.

4. Completely

The last time Trevor Cahill tossed the Athletics’ third straight complete game and his first in the big leagues, as Rajai Davis hit a two-run homer and Oakland beat Kansas City 3-0 to end the Royals’ three-game winning streak.

Cahill (11-4) followed Dallas Braden who beat the Chicago White Sox on Saturday to start the A’s run of complete games, and Gio Gonzalez lost on Sunday. It’s the first time Oakland has had three in a row since Sept. 8-10, 2000, when Gil Heredia, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito accomplished the feat.

5. No Knock on Wood

The Reds rookie left-hander Travis Wood pitched seven innings of two-hit shutout ball to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-0. The victory moved the Reds back into first place in the NL Central, one-half game ahead of St. Louis, which lost to Houston 9-4 who won their sixth straight to spoil Jake Westbrook‘s St. Louis debut. Albert Pujols homered for the third straight game

6. Painful game to watch

John Lackey threw 5.1 innings and gave up six runs on seven hits and five walks.

Fausto Carmona threw seven solid innings, Shelley Duncan had a career-high four hits and the Indians held on to beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-5. Adrian Beltre hit two homers and drove in five runs in a losing cause for Boston.

However, the Indians brilliant young catcher Carlos Santana was taken off the field on a stretcher with his left leg in an air cast after blocking home for an out in the 7th inning. Santana is expected back in Cleveland for an MRI exam today.

The Sox saw another player leave the game because of injury as first baseman Kevin Youkilis left the game with a jammed right thumb. Youkilis will also have an MRI this morning. In addition, centerfielder Mike Cameron was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday after it was found that the lower abdominal muscle tear he suffered in spring training has become larger. Cameron may be done for the season.

The Red Sox are now 14-14 against the Indians, Orioles, Royals, and Mariners.

7. Mannywood and Dodgers are both almost done

Chase Headley had four hits, including a three-run homer, Will Venable homered and drove in four runs, and the Padres beat Los Angeles, 10-5. Los Angeles now has a six-game losing streak and is nine games back in the division with 56 games remaining, including six with San Diego.

Meanwhile, as Manny Ramirez is on the DL with a right calf issue, the banner indicating his left-field section as Mannywood is gone. The banner has been replaced with signs sold to John Hancock and 790 KABC. The Dodgers only wish that Manny B Manny could disappear as easily.

Manny is on the waiver wire for whomever might like him.

8. FYI – How trades can be made after the trade deadline

9. They will be playing in Milwaukee this October

No, not the Brewers, I still have some semblance of sanity.

Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America which will feature Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and fellow Farm Aid board members Neil Young and Dave Matthews (and numerous artists still to be announced) will take place at Miller Park on October 2nd and be the first Farm Aid concert to be held at a Major League Baseball stadium.

It has been my pleasure to write for Farm Aid numerous times and it is an organization that I am proud to be affiliated with. For 25 years Farm Aid has worked to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America and support family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $37 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

Tickets for Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America will go on sale Saturday, August 14, at 9 a.m. CDT and are available at the Brewers box office, by phone at (414) 902-4000 or online at www.tickets.com.