The Closer: Ryan's Hope

Notes from a day in baseball:

1. Star 54 Where Are You? We like AP's lead, so here it is: "The Florida Marlins followed up their no-hitter with a 17-hitter." Ha. The big story for us of course is Ryan Howard, who is closing in on the single-season non-steroid home run record — unless, of course, he's using steroids — slugging his 54th on Thursday in the Phillies' 14-8 win over the Long-Nosed Game Fish. The Phillies are 2 1/2 games behind San Diego for the wild card lead. Florida is 3 1/2 back.

2. Mmmmm, Cake ... It could be the new catch phrase of the millennium, or perhaps not. On the Tigers' once mighty, and now emaciated, lead in the AL Central, manager Jim Leyland said on Thursday: "I'll panic when my kid flunks math.'' Not exactly "Let them eat cake," but it could catch on. Justin Verlander got the win as Detroit topped Minnesota 7-2, upping their lead to five games over the second-place Twins.

3. Great Scott. We shall now mention the phrases "Scott Spiezio," "Jeff Weaver" and "Cardinals win" in the same sentence, perhaps a first in the recorded history of the human species.

4. Indian Summer. Cliff Lee went six innings to get the win, and Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez each homered off of Mark Buehrle as Cleveland beat the White Sox 9-1.

5. Shake Your Booty. He sounds like the character's name in every movie role John Candy ever had, but in fact Chris Duffy plays for the Pirates ... and homered twice in Pittsburgh's 7-5 win over the Cubs.