After 100 years of futility, there was really no reason for the folks in the Wrigley bleachers to celebrate early. That's just inviting disaster, isn't it? Cubs fans have only themselves to blame for this one. Oh, and Ryan Dempster too, we suppose. Chicago, leading by a game in the NL Central and feeling pretty good about a 4-3 lead over the Dodgers heading into the ninth, watched its world crumble on Thursday after Andre Ethier's three-run, pinch-homer gave the Dodgers a 7-4 win.
"Take, for instance, the bleachers out there. Everyone out there is having a good time enjoying the party, and then all of a sudden something like that happens," Ethier said. Alfonso Soriano's three-run homer in the seventh put Chicago ahead 4-2. But the Cubs are now in a first-place tie with Milwaukee — St. Louis is one game out — in the NL Central. And the Dodgers are within 3½ games of the NL West-leading Diamondbacks. Dempster, who had converted 13 straight saves going in, was nonetheless booed when Lou Piniella came out to get him in the ninth. Joe Beimel (4-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief, and Takashi Saito got three outs for his 37th save in 40 chances ... but you can read more about that on his blog. The graphic there above is by Cubbie Blue.
• Andre Ethier Is As Suave As They Come. Bleed Cubbie Blue strikes back at Ethier with this report, which I think is pretty funny. It involves a woman trying to get an autograph for her daughter, and includes the Ethier quotes: "I already have five girlfriends, I don't want another one," and "I'm just a Southwestern kind of guy, I like to rope my women in."
• Just Call Me Angel In the Morning Angel. Like hurricanes in Florida and another President Clinton, a Dodgers-Angels Freeway World Series is a real possibility. Garret Anderson has at least one RBI in 11 straight games, a club record, as he knocked in three to lead the Angels past the Indians 10-3 on Thursday. LA has the biggest division lead in the majors; eight games over the second-place Mariners in the AL West.
• Mighty Casey Does Not Strike Out. Sean Casey and Placido Polanco had run-scoring singles in the ninth to lead the Tigers over the White Sox, 3-2, in Gary Sheffield's return (0-for-3 with two strikeouts) from the disabled list.
• Red Sox 7, Orioles 6. A little Jason Varitek magic moves Red Sox to 6 1/2 games ahead of Yankees in the AL East.