The Closer: It's A Joe, Out Of Control

Notes from a day in baseball ...

1. Witness The Power Of This Fully Armed And Operational Joe Mauer! The Twins are closing in fast, prompting Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox to seek reinforcements. Joe Mauer hit a three-run homer to lead Minnesota to a 7-4 victory over Chicago; the Twins pulled to within two games of the second-place White Sox in the AL Central and have won 32 of their past 40. Meanwhile, the White Sox seem to be in contention to get Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano.

2. We Need A D.O., Baby! We've never been able to quite figure out why there are so many Red Sox fans in Oakland. At any rate, it seemed as if at least half of the 33,370 at the Coliseum on Monday were pulling for Boston, making David Ortiz feel right at home. Ortiz hit his 34th home run — tops in the majors — and Josh Beckett became baseball's first 13-game winner as the Red Sox prevailed 7-3.

3. Grrrrr! It's not often that you're going to see "Colorado Rockies" and "pitching masterpiece" in the same paragraph, so enjoy. Jeff Francis threw two-hit shutout as the Rockies beat the Cardinals 7-0.

4. A-Rod Strikes Back. Is Alex Rodriguez trying to tell us something? Like, he's ready to move back to Texas? Rodriguez, about as popular to New Yorkers as West Nile lately, had two hits and scored a run in the Yankees' 6-2 win over the Rangers. And, look ma, no errors!

5. LA, You've Been Punk'd! Could the Dodgers really be winless in extra inning games this season? In San Diego, where the people have nothing but time, they are dancing in the streets following the Padres' 7-6 win over the Dodgers.