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The Closer: Sunny Days In The Queen City

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Notes from a day of baseball:

1. Clerical Mixup Has Reds In First. Hmmm, wasn't Cincinnati scheduled to suck this season? We know it's early, and there's a three-way tie up there, but the Reds are in first place in the NL Central, bringing back memories of those great teams in the '70s featuring Pete Rose and Joe Morgan and George Fos ... OK, maybe not. But Cincy did collect six home runs in a 9-2 win over the Cubs on Tuesday, including two by Adam Dunn and one each by pitcher Bronson Arroyo, Edwin Encarnacion (a grand slam), Austin Kearns and Ken Griffey Jr., the latter who is just gonna sneak up and pass Ruth after Bonds fails to do so, you watch.

2. Cleveland Rocks, Apparently. Remember 2002, when the Indians jumped to an 11-1 start, only to ultimately crush their fans' hopes and dreams in the end? That was fun. Well, the Tribe is at it again, with their 9-5 win over the Mariners at Jacobs Field on Tuesday giving them a 6-1 record so far. Jhonny Peralta, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez combined to go 8-for-10 with two homers and five RBIs, which we mention because we love the name "Jhonny." It sounds like he should be playing for the Dutch national handball team.

3. Take The D-Train. The Yankees got a pair of three-run home runs — one of them possibly steroid-enhanced, one of them possibly not — to win their ninth straight home opener. It was Derek Jeter's blast in the eighth that brought New York back from a 7-6 deficit a bring smiles to the faces of their fans, if only for a day. Don't get too excited though folks, it was only the Royals. It was Jason "Juice Box" Giambi who got the other homer. Jeter's blast followed a Johnny Damon at-bat in which he struck out on three pitches.


4. CSI: San Francisco. Speaking of Bonds, they have a sign in right field at AT&T Park on which Giants officials keep tabs on how many homers the team deposits into San Francisco Bay; a spot which has usually been Bonds' exclusive domain. But the score on Splash Hits so far this season is: Dead Bodies 1, Barry 0. The Giants were rained out on Tuesday, but police were still busy hauling a dead body out of McCovey Cove (actually on Monday, when the Giants had a day off). We're pretty sure that the corpse also stands a better chance scoring from second base on a single than Bonds does.

5. Meanwhile, in Boston. The finest American League pitcher with a nearly identical last name to that of a medieval Archbishop of Canterbury, Josh Beckett threw a one-hitter over seven innings to lead the Red Stockings to a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays before 35,491 at Fenway Park; the largest crowd ever to see an opener there. It could have been a disaster for the Red Hose and Beckett, though, except for the hapless Shea Hillenbrand, who inadvertently woke a sleeping giant. Beckett threw 36 pitches in the first inning, which included three walks. Hillenbrand batted with the bases loaded and worked a 3-1 count, then began to trot to first after thinking the next pitch was a ball. But the plate umpire had to call him back after calling it a strike. Beckett took exception to Hillenbrand's move and proceeded to induce him to ground into a double play to end the inning. And the game was on.

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