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The Closer: When Shoes Attack

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Notes from a day in baseball:

1. If Only His Valet Hadn't Also Been Injured. The Tigers were looking at the wrong end of a four-game sweep possibility on Thursday when help suddenly arrived ... possibly from above. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera injured himself while getting dressed for the game — we thought things like that only happened to the Cubs — and it was just the edge Detroit needed to claim a 7-6 win. The Tigers scored two in the ninth off of replacement closer Kyle Farnsworth to end a four-game losing streak. Official word from the Yankees: Rivera was putting on his spikes before the game when his back tightened. "He had one shoe on, and when he went to put the left shoe on, something spasmed,'' reported Yankees manager Joe Torre, who is also missing Gary Sheffield (wrist) and Derek Jeter (hand), in two non-clothing related injuries.


2. Go, Ball, Get Outta Here! Jose Castillo had a heck of a series — 9-for-13 with five home runs, two doubles and 14 RBI — as the Pirates ... wait a minute, correction. Castillo had four home runs. The one that didn't count was an apparent game-winner against the Brewers in the ninth on Thursday, which the umpires at first ruled gone, but then changed their minds. So they deposited Castillo on second with the score tied 3-3, and Ryan Doumit then hit a game-winning single to complete a four-game sweep. "I'm banging Castillo on his head and celebrating and the next thing I know, they're doing it to me,'' Doumit said.

3. LA Confidential. In the NL West's long and often fruitless quest for respect, the Dodgers are doing their part. Even Derek Lowe is winning. Lowe threw six shutout innings, and Matt Kemp and J.D. Drew each had three-run home runs as Los Angeles beat the Phillies 7-2. It was the Dodgers' 19th win in their past 24 games, and seventh straight at home.

4. On Second Thought, Let's Not Go To Camden Yards. It Is A Silly Place. Oh boy, OrIoles lose again, this time to the Devil Rays. Carl Crawford's two-run triple highlighted Tampa Bay's 8-6 win, dropping the Os 7 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East (Tampa's 10 1/2 back).

5. The Boof, And Nothing But The Boof. Rest assured that any game in which Boof Bonser does anything at all will be mentioned in this feature, and that includes him failing to be injured while getting dressed. The Athletics' Barry Zito had a spirited duel with the Twins' rookie, which Zito eventually won, 4-0. But we have not heard the last of the Boof.

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