Some fun facts about your Tampa Bay Rays: Their Class AA affiliate is the Montgomery Biscuits ... Jeff Niemann, who won his major league debut on Sunday by throwing six innings of one-run ball, is already known by Rays fans as The Knight Who Says Ni ... with Niemann moving up to the bigs, the Rays optioned pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu to Class AAA Durham. Baseball's gain is rap music's loss ... one of the blogs dedicated to the team is named Rays Anatomy ... they're only a game out of first!
B.J. Upton's three-run homer during a six-run fifth, and the aforementioned Niemann ("Ni! Ni!") led the Rays to a 6-2 win over the still-in-first-place Orioles. Carl Crawford had a two-run single before Upton's homer (on a 3-2 pitch with two out). So are you ready for three wild scrambles in the American League, where no team has a better record than 8-5, and only the Tigers are more than 2 1/2 games out of first in their respective division races?
• He'll Do In A Pinch. I think we can all agree that it's a glorious day when Carlos Zambrano (career batting average .215, with 12 homers) is called on to pinch hit. Zambrano didn't disappoint in the 10th with two on; muscling a grounder to short that should have gone for an inning-ending double play. But Chase Utley threw away the relay to first, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Final: Chicago 6, Philadelphia 5. The End. Now go to sleep, children.
• Welcome Back, Kapler. Gabe Kapler, who at this time last season was managing the Class A Greenville Drive, had a homer and two doubles to lead the Brewers over the Mets 9-7. Trivia: The Greenville Drive's home field is located across the street from the childhood home of Shoeless Joe Jackson.
• Tigers Not Yet Ready To Stop Sucking. Joe Crede and Paul Konerko each hit grand slams as the White Sox slipped by the Tigers 11-0. Konerko's came in the third off Kenny Rogers and Crede's, his second this season, came in the fifth against Zach Miner. So, Chicago in first in the AL Central, and Detroit at 2-10.