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The Closer: Champagne For Everyone!

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Notes from a day in baseball:

1. That Cinches It. If we're building a team in the majors, we're bringing in Eric Chavez, and damn the statistics. The oft-injured third baseman has this champagne celebration thing dow; he's made the playoffs five times in his eight years in the majors. The latest alcohol bath (that we're aware of) occurred Tuesday, as Oakland beat Seattle 12-3, clinching the AL West for the elephant men (the Angels also lost, 5-2 to Texas). Nick Swisher and Milton Bradley had home runs. It's the 14th AL West title in franchise history, and must come as a disturbing blow to the folks over at Ken Macha Is A Moron And I Hate Him. Sorry, fellas, but there's always the playoffs.

2. Central Suspense. The Twins and Tigers are trading blows like Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, Detroit maintaining its one-game lead in the Al Central with a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Minnesota stopped the Royals 3-2, as Johan Santana earned his 19th win.

3. Taste The Rockies. The Dodgers climbed into first place in the NL wild-card race with an 11-4 win over the Rockies (as the Phillies were losing 4-3 to the Nationals), and, get this, Grady Little made a pretty smart pitching move. He left Greg Maddux in for only 76 pitches against Colorado, meaning that he could go against the Giants on Saturday or Sunday if needed. Yeah, we're as surprised as you.

4. Alou? Is Anyone There? No sooner had the Giants topped the Diamondbacks 4-2 on Tuesday than manager Felipe Alou announced that Barry Bonds "would play sparingly" the rest of the season, since the Giants are out of playoff contention. What was he doing before?

5. The Year Of Living Dangerously. There's nothing like momentum going into the playoffs, as any Mets fan can tell you. They lost again last night and have Pedro Martinez pitching for his supper this evening.


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