The Closer: Say Hey, Willy

Notes from a day in baseball:

1. Shooting Star. As established, we love a good hitting streak, so it is with great pleasure that we present to you this morning: Willy Taveras. Please take a bow, Willy. Taveras ran his hitting streak to 30 games as the Astros toasted the Pirates 13-1 on Sunday, Houston's third straight win. Lance Berkman (5-for-45 going into the weekend) had a three-run homer in the fifth. Taveras has the longest hitting streak in team history, and the way things go around here, it should be over by, oh, Tuesday.

2. Oh Manny Boy, The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling. It's a story as old as baseball itself: Red Sox try to get back into AL East race, meet Mariners, who trot out rookie pitcher Cha Seung Baek in Game 3, Red Sox get swept. Raul Ibanez had a grand slam as Seattle won 6-3, completing the Ms' first three-game sweep of Boston since 1989. Manny Ramirez sat out again, in case you were wondering.

3. The Cain Mutiny. We had the weirdest dream last night. Dinosaurs once again ruled the earth, our house was made of chocolate, and the Giants were in the playoffs. What the ... No. 3 could come true? Rookie Matt Cain went seven strong innings as The City walloped Cincinnati 8-0, drawing them two games behind the Reds for the NL wild card. The Giants have won 11 of 14.

4. OK, Watch The Buehrle .... Mark Buehrle was the winning pitcher — ha, your jaw dropped to the floor just like in the cartoons right then — and A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede hit consecutive home runs as the White Sox trimmed the Twins' wild-card lead to a half-game with a 6-1 win over the Conjoined Cities.

5. All Is Well In Cardinal Land. OK, we'll admit it; not even we were sure who Gary Bennett was until this weekend. (Kidding: We love you, Gary.)