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The Closer: The Day The Bats Stood Still

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Notes from a day in baseball:

1. We Would Have Said Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax, But Whatever .... Greg Maddux and Jason Schmidt went old school on Sunday, with the Dodgers finally beating the Giants in 10, 1-0, on Russell Martin's leadoff homer. It's not often that the names of classic 1960s pitchers are invoked in connection with the current NL West (like, never), but Giants manager Felipe Alou gets a free pass after this one. "It was a classic Dodger-Giant duel," Alou told AP. "It could have been Jack Sanford and Don Drysdale." You know, it's quite possible Alou thinks his team won. Maddux and Schmidt each threw eight shutout innings, the former allowing only two hits. LA has won 15 of its past 16, after a 1-13 start following the All-Star break. As for the Giants, well, those records are sealed.


2. Juiced. Get ready for the Travis Hafner Special at Denny's; he has equaled Don Mattingly's single-season record for grand slams with six. It came during Cleveland's 11-run first inning in a 13-0 win over the Royals.

3. Dream Weaver, Can You Help Me Make It Through The Night?. Sorry to spoil Jered Weaver's high, but we're going to have to say "Livan Hernandez" right now. Weaver became the first pitcher since you-know-who in 1997 to win his first eight decisions, throwing a six-inning three-hitter as the Angels claimed a 5-3 win at Yankee Stadium. Hey, isn't that the same Yankee Stadium where a certain Jeff Weaver once toiled, mostly in vain?

4. Our Sincerest Apologies, Detroit. Well, the Tigers aren't "suddenly slumping" anymore. We're afraid we jinxed them last week when we called the AL Central race in their favor. Sorry. We had vowed never to violate the Prime Directive and meddle in your affairs. The White Sox won 7-3, to take a three-game sweep and come within 5 1/2 games of first-place Detroit.

5. Time For Your BoSox Injection. Hey, another grand slam! Mike Lowell slammed, and then dazzled, to help the Red Sox to an 11-9 win over Baltimore, drawing Boston within one game of the first-place Yankees in the AL East. Lowell, playing third, made a great backhand play to throw out Melvin Mora for the game's final out. Lowell hit a grand slam in the first.

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