The Wrap

1. The Message

The Texas Rangers were leading the Yankees 6-1 after five innings. They had Cliff Lee on the mound and the New Yorkers were minus Mark Teixeira who was home celebrating the birth of a new baby. The Yankees won 7-6 and you have to believe they delivered a message to these potential postseason opponents.

The Rangers were going for a two-game sweep following their defeat of Mariano Rivera on Tuesday night and with their newly acquired ace they had to be feeling cocky. The first thing the Yankees needed to do last night was address the Lee situation and they did it in an odd fashion, they struck out. In fact, they tied their franchise record of 17 strikeouts previously set in 1901 and 1999.

On a typical h & h night in Texas, it was 99 degrees at gametime, Lee struck out 11 with no walks but only lasted 6.1 innings, matching his shortest outing of the season and ending his streak of 10 consecutive starts going at least eight innings. By the time he left he had thrown 107 pitches and given up four runs.

Javy Vasquez had very little in his start for NY giving up six runs and eight hits over 4.1 innings. But Sergio Mitre was perfect in an inning and a third and Kerry Wood (2-4) threw two scoreless innings as the Yankees edged within a run on an 8th inning homer from Marcus Thames.

In the 9th the Rangers went for the win but Derek Jeter tied the game with an RBI single, past a drawn-in infield, off Rangers rookie All-Star closer Neftali Feliz (3-3). Alexi Ogando came on and gave up a single to Thames which drove in the eventual game-winner.

The Rangers had a huge chance to damage Rivera again in the 9th when he gave up a leadoff triple to Elvis Andrus. But Austin Kearns made a shoestring catch against Michael Young, Josh Hamilton chopped an inside pitch back to the mound and Vlad Guerrero grounded to third. And that was the ballgame. Message delivered.

2. The Sweep

The Cardinals dominated the Reds again and completed a three-game sweep over the Reds, 6-1. The message to Brandon Phillips and the rest of

the Reds was clear not to diss this ball club as Colby Rasmus hit his first career grand slam and Adam Wainwright (17-6) gave up only two singles in seven shutout innings.

Cincinnati was leading St. Louis by two games when the series began and hadn’t lost three in a row since the All-Star break and hadn’t been swept at home all season. Yesterday they also had Bronson Arroyo (12-7) who hadn’t given up an earned run in his last two starts on the mound. Arroyo gave up four as the Reds were swept into second place.

3. The Tie

Take a look at the top of the AL Central and there are the Twins (64-50) and the White Sox (64-50) thanks to a John Danks (12-8) and White Sox 6-1 win over the Twins. Danks allowed one run and six hits in 8 innings and all he needed was the two-run homer hit by Carlos Quentin in the 2nd inning.

Joe Mauer went 2-for4 and has 27 hits in his last 50 at-bats and is now up to .327.

4. The Storm

The folks in Tampa-St. Pete know when they see dark clouds in the distance that there will be a major storm heading their way. I wonder if the Rays are sensing that those clouds have a Red Sox logo.

First off the Tigers behind Justin Verlander (13-7) defeated the Rays and Matt Garza (11-7), 3-2. Ryan Raburn hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the 6th inning that proved to be the difference.

Then the Rays looked to the north and saw the clouds coming from Toronto. Clay Buchholz (13-5) took to the mound for eight dominating innings and Bill Hall hit two home runs, and Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew hit one apiece, and Mike Lowell added three hits and Boston bashed the Blue Jays, 10-1.

The Sox trail the Rays now by only 3.5. I would start duct taping the windows in Tampa.

5. The Record

The Arizona Diamondbacks went back-to-back-to-back-to-back in the 4th inning in beating the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-2. Adam LaRoche, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew hit the four consecutive home runs as the Diamondbacks became just the seventh team in history to accomplish the feat.

Dave Bush (5-10) gave up the four straight becoming the first major league pitcher to do it since the Chase Wright of the Yanks did it against the Boston Red Sox on April 22, 2007. Ironically, Wright now pitches for the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Nashville.

6. The Walkoff

Bobby Abreu hit a walkoff 10th inning homer to give the Angels a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.  It was the first game-ending home run for LA since May 29, when the raucous celebration ended Kendry Morales‘ season with a broken leg. This time, nobody was injured and nobody was arrested.

The same can’t be said here…

7. The Arrest

Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez has been charged with third-degree assault after an altercation with his father-in-law at Citi Field. Police said Rodriguez was arrested and was being held at the ballpark after the Mets’ 6-2 loss to Colorado. Rodriguez’s father-in-law was taken to the hospital with a scrape on his face and a bump on his head, according to police.

8. The Revival

The Phillies are far from dead especially after defeating the Dodgers, 2-0 behind the first home win from Roy Oswalt. Oswalt (7-13) allowed five hits, walked two and struck out five in seven shutout innings to pick up his first win in three starts for the Phils.

The Phils are 15-4 since July 22 and are just 2.5 back of the Braves who beat the Astros last night, 8-2, in 10 innings. Billy Wagner (6-2) picked up the vulture win.

9. The West

Pat Burrell did it all for the Giants  in their 5-4 win over the Cubs. Burrell hit a go-ahead 8th inning solo homer, a 6th inning two-run single, and made a perfect relay throw from left field that saved a run. Over his last 15 games, he is batting .356 with 10 of his 16 hits going for extra bases.

Adrian Gonzalez went 4-for-4 with a walk, drove in two runs and scored twice while Miguel Tejada scored three runs for the Padres, who beat the Pirates for the fifth straight time this season, 8-5.

The Giants trail the first-place San Diego Padres by 2.5 games and they meet this weekend in San Francisco.