The Closer: Liriano's Miner Setback

Notes from a day in baseball:

1. Aching Muscles? Try Not Pitching Against The Tigers. It was the rookie pitching matchup everyone had been talking about: Minnesota's Francisco Liriano vs. Detroit's Zach Miner. OK, hardly anyone had been talking about it; Liriano has been hurt, and few outside of Detroit know who Miner is. Anyway, Liriano got shelled in a 9-3 Tigers win, prompting Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to say: "It's a muscular problem; as the game was going on, he started to feel it. We had him checked out before, and everything was fine, but we'll have him checked out again. It's muscles, not his elbow." Or perhaps it's just the Tigers: Liriano has a 7.63 ERA against Detroit this season, compared to 1.39 against everyone else.

2. Lois, I'm Beginning To Suspect That Kent May Be Superman. Hey, Jeff Kent! Remember him? You could have knocked us off a pickup truck with a wet rag when we found out that Kent was off the DL, and had then hit a home run and had three RBI as the Dodgers won trheir 10th straight, 7-2 over the Rockies. Kent played first base for the first time since last season.

3. Ohh, Dream Weaver. Signalling something — that they are destined to win the NL Central, or perhaps that The Rapture is near — the Cardinals flogged the Reds 13-1 on Monday, as Jeff Weaver got the win to push St. Louis up 4 1/2 games over second-place Cincinnati.

4. Tigers Have Our Permission To Print Playoff Tickets. OK, we're calling it. The Angels beat the White Sox 6-3 on Monday, dropping Chicago 10 games behind the first-place Tigers in the AL Central. When Kelvim Escobar beats you (had been 1-7 in eight starts vs. White Sox), it's time to say no mas, eh?

5. Dodgers-Angels World Series In Jeopardy. Mark Ellis, who had been hitting something like .170, had a home run and a bases-loaded double to lead the Swingin' A's to a 7-4 win over Texas, placing Oakland three games ahead of second-place Los Angeles/Anaheim/Fullerton in the AL West.