The Closer: Whiff Of Greatness

Notes from a day in baseball:

1. All Hail The Red Lizard. Why were we not informed that Elizardo Ramirez was so studly? All the Reds pitcher did on Thursday was strike out seven straight Astros to lead Cincinnati to an 8-4 win. The strikeout skein hasn't happened for the Reds since John Smiley fanned seven straight Rockies in 1996, as you no doubt recall. Ramirez finished with eight Ks over 6 2/3 innings, and Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 20th homer of the season, the 556th of his career.

2. We Still Wouldn't Buy A New House Or Anything. Dusty Baker recieved a vote of confidence from Cubs general manager Jim Hendry early Thursday, so now the team can chase that NL Central title without distraction (laugh track). Knowing that Dusty will be around for exactly 61 more games did wonders for Todd Walker and Michael Barrett, who hit back-to-back homers in a 5-4 win over the Cardinals. OK, that's it, and we will speak of it no more.

3. It's Tatis Time! First of all, we are very disappointed that Fernando Tatis Online hasn't been updated in quite some time. Perhaps that's because he hasn't started in a major league game since June of 2003 ... but all of that has changed! Fernando Tatis fans can once again hold their heads high, as their hero had two hits, drove in a run and scored twice to lead the Orioles over the Royals 6-4.

4. As The Giants Sink Slowly In The West ... Say goodbye to the Giants, it appears to be over. The same may be said for Alfonso Soriano, as a member of the Nationals, anyway. Soriano homered in his first at-bat to lead Washington over SF 6-5, as the Nationals won their sixth straight. The smart money has Soriano traded by lunch tomorrow. Or maybe brunch.

5. E-Ticket Ride. We were never quite sure how one gets tendonitis in both arms, but Eric Chavez did, apparently. He's better now, as his two-run single in the sixth powered the Athletics over the Blue Jays 5-2.