Notes from a day in baseball:
• Get Out Of My Way, All Of You! This Is No Place For Loafers. Unofficially, we officially change Daisuke Matsuzaka's nickname from the worn and uncool "Dice-K" to the decidedly more pleasant "Mr. Sparkle." Can you see we are serious? The Red Sox have the best record in baseball — sorry, Bernie Brewer — and have taken an 8 1/2 game lead in the AL East, their largest in 12 seasons. Matsuzaka (5-2) threw a complete-game six-hitter, allowing one earned run, walking none and fanning five as Boston beat Detroit 7-1. Matsuzaka has given up just two runs over his past 16 innings. Julio Lugo had a triple and three RBI. So remember, Dice-K is now known as Mr. Sparkle. Join me or die. Can you do any less?
• Your Rampaging Washington Nationals. And the Nationals no longer have the worst record in baseball (guess who does?), after Jason Bergmann went medieval on the Braves for a 2-1 victory. Bergmann had a no-hitter through seven and settled for his first major league win as a starter, an eight-inning two-hitter. Bergmann (1-3) struck out 10 and walked one. The Nationals have won four straight. Atlanta's John Smoltz, who turns 40 on Tuesday, pitched well before he dislocated his right pinky finger tagging Austin Kearns in the bottom of the seventh. And you know how painful that can be.
• Walk This Way. Cubs reliever Michael Wuertz walked three straight with two outs in the ninth, forcing home the winning run in New York's 5-4 win. Carlos Delgado (batting average: .209) drew the game-ending walk on a 3-2 pitch.
• You Complete Me. At some point someone is going to come across the document in which Greg Maddux sold his soul to the devil, and we'll all have a good laugh. Until then, just enjoy. Maddux threw a five-hit complete game — he's been pitching in the majors since 1986! — as the Padres beat the Reds 7-1. It was his 109th career complete game.
• What now, Orioles? The wheels are falling off in Baltimore earlier than scheduled, as outfielder Jay Payton and infielder Melvin Mora almost came to blows as they left the field following a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays. AP: "Payton, who grounded out to end the game, apparently was upset with Mora for distracting him as Mora took third base on defensive indifference with two out in the ninth. Payton took a called strike on the pitch, leaving him trailing 1-2 in the count to Jeremy Accardo." The confrontation came one day after Baltimore gave up six runs in the ninth and lost 6-5 in Boston on Sunday. Troy Glaus' tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth won it for Toronto.
And in case you needed a little Mr. Sparkle morning pickmeup ...