Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Juice: Braves? Dan Uggla extends hit streak to 33 games

Nine innings and nine items to get you going. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, take a sip of morning Juice.

1. Runs through walls: Dan Uggla apparently missed the memo explaining that long hit streaks often end at 30 games. The Atlanta Braves second baseman extended his streak to 33 on Saturday, ending the suspense early with a first-inning single off Randy Wells.

Uggla is the 23rd player in baseball history to get a hit in at least 33 consecutive games. But the significance of the feat ? and the pressure that comes with it ? isn't fazing him.

"This is fun," Uggla said. "I'm excited to come to the field every day. And I'm excited to compete. Once the game starts you throw it in the back of your head as best you can and leave it there. The game is going to take care of itself."

Uggla later hit a solo home run, his 27th of the season, giving him a 2-for-3 night. Unfortunately, the game didn't take care of itself for the Braves. The Chicago Cubs pounded Derek Lowe and Cristhian Martinez for eight runs in an 8-4 victory over the Braves.

2. Back, back, back... ! Was it fireworks night at the Great American Launching Pad on Saturday? The Cincinnati Reds brought out the heavy artillery, slugging seven ? not six ? homers off of San Diego Padres pitching. Miguel Cairo and Ryan Hanigan each hit two bombs, with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier also chipping in a round-tripper.

Tim Stauffer pitched batting practice, serving up five of the seven homers. When the smoke cleared, the Reds had themselves a 13-1 win. Maybe they need to go back to those sleeveless jerseys to accommodate all that muscle. Gun show!

3. Not done yet: Don't stick the fork in Jorge Posada just yet. Six days after being benched, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave Posada the start at designated hitter. The decision looked pretty brilliant, as Posada hit a grand slam and drove in six runs in the Yankees'�9-2 rout of the Tampa Bay Rays.

4. Rally falls short: A pitching duel between Felix Hernandez and Josh Beckett? Not so much, after Beckett gave up five runs in the first inning. The Boston Red Sox almost got all those runs back with a four-run sixth, but King Felix held up just enough. Jamey Wright and Brandon League backed Hernandez with two scoreless innings of relief (though David Ortiz just missed a game-tying homer), as the Seattle Mariners notched a 5-4 win.

5. Freak mystique: Two games behind in the NL West, the San Francisco Giants needed to make sure they didn't fall further back. Tim Lincecum did his part, racking up 10 strikeouts in seven innings. Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson followed up with two scoreless innings, completing a 3-0 shutout of the Florida Marlins. The Marlins made a shocking move after the game, demoting Logan Morrison to Class AAA New Orleans.

6. Desert rally: The Arizona Diamondbacks keep on rolling, winning their fifth straight game with a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets. Daniel Hudson gave up four runs, but ended up pitching eight innings, thanks largely to Ryan Roberts' game-tying, three-run homer in the fifth. Hudson then took care of himself with a RBI single in the sixth.

7. Trading fives: The Detroit Tigers looked ready to lose a game from their AL Central lead after the Baltimore Orioles jumped on Max Scherzer for an early 5-0 lead. But the Tigers came back with their own five-spot in the sixth inning, and eventually held on to win, 6-5.

8. Not going away: The Cleveland Indians kept pace with the Tigers, thanks to Asdrubal Cabrera's three-run shot in the second inning. That was all the offense needed, as Josh Tomlin allowed only one run in 6 1/3 innings. Four relievers kept the door closed, giving the Tribe�a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. Cabrera's homer was his 20th of the season, making him only the third shortstop in club history to reach that mark.

9. Lil' bit rusty: Pitching for the first time since his six-game suspension, Jered Weaver had his worst game of the season. Weaver gave up eight runs and eight hits ? three of them homers ? in just 4 2/3 innings. Adam Lind's grand slam provided the biggest blow, as the Toronto Blue Jays stomped the Los Angeles Angels, 11-2.

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Bronco Nagurski Cal Ripken Jr Carl Lewis Chris Evert

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