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The Closer: Rarified Air

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Notes from a day in baseball:

1. Was Hurdle Rocky Mountain High? As much as we dislike sleeveless jerseys, especially black ones, we'll still point out that Colorado beat San Diego on Tuesday 3-2. But we have question. Why was Todd Helton — who has all the speed of of Mr. French from Family Affair — not lifted for a pinch runner after walking with one out in the 11th? He ended up scoring, after some hairy moments when he could have been thrown out at second, and again at home. Clint Hurdle, you got some splainin' to do ...


2. Oh Randy, Well You Came And You Gave Without Taking ... But I Sent You Away, Oh Randy ... As you remember from last week's episode, Randy Johnson felt wan and achy during a five-inning, 87-pitch stint against the Royals, which the Yankees eventually won 9-3. On Tuesday he only went 3 1/3 innings, gagging a four-run lead in a 10-5 loss to the Blue Jays. Troy Glaus went 3-for-4 with two homers, three RBIs and three runs scored for Toronto.

3. Talk Like A Pirate Day. Albert Pujols is a specimen, arrived on this planet in a small rocket ship after his own world exploded to bits. But the Pirates, they can deal with it. The Cardinals' Pujols hit his 10th home run — matching Mark McGwire's team record for the month of April — but Pittsburgh countered with homers by Jason Bay and Jeromy Burnitz to run off with a 12-4 victory. It was only the 11th time in 32 games that the Pirates have beaten the Cards in Pittsburgh.

4. Tough Crowd. OK, we promise that after today we're going to shut up about the Mets for a while. They started 10-2, the best record in franchise history, even though depleted by injuries. But was that enough to put the Shea Faithful into a good mood? Apparently not. New York starter Victor Zambrano was booed mercilessly on Tuesday, lasting five innings and surrendering seven earned runs in Atlanta's 7-1 win.

5. Where's A Power Outage When You Need One?. The Kiss-Cam will be used responsibly, or the Kiss-Cam will not be used at all. That's the announcement we'd like to see at Minute Maid Park, where someone decided it would be fun to show former President George Bush smooching with his wife Barbara on the big screen, where kids could see it and everything. Fortunately there was plenty of action on the field to serve as distraction, with the Astros collecting 17 hits in a 13-12 win over the Brewers (Adam Everett 3-for-4 with 4 RBI).

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