The Full Count: The A’s get and "F" for effort


1. Losing streak over–not!: It seemed like the A’s recent slide would end as they led the Indians 5-3 going into the ninth inning on Tuesday. But Cleveland rallied for the win, taking a share of the division lead in the process. A two-run double by Travis Hafner tied the score up, then a three-run homer by pinch-hitter Kelly Shoppach won it for the Indians. The A’s have now lost five in a row and are nine games out of the division lead. Cleveland is tied with Detroit again after the Tigers dropped two in a row to the lousy Rangers.

2. The Brewers are Back: The Brewers have returned to the level of play they showed in late April and early May, giving them a huge division lead and the NL’s best record once again. Milwaukee has won 11 of their last 13 to improve to 45-32, with a 7.5 game lead over the Cubs. They routed the Astros 11-5 on Tuesday thanks to a nine-run sixth inning. Rickie Weeks hit a single that scored three runs due to an error, and it was followed by Tony Graffanino’s pinch-hit two-run homer and Johnny Estrada’s grand slam. Given the Brewers’ level of play recently, they own the NL Central unless another contender emerges.

3. The AL’s dark horse: Believe it or not, the Seattle Mariners are legit contenders in the American League. They’ve won six of their last seven and four in a row to move to 41-33, which puts them four games out of a wild card spot. They’ve beaten the Red Sox the first two games of their series, including a wild 8-7 victory yesterday. Richie Sexson hit a key two-run homer which gave the Mariners a lead they wouldn’t give up in the sixth inning. Ichiro pounded out two more hits to raise his average to .362, good for second in the league behind Magglio Ordonez. He’s hitting .411 this month.

Player of the Day: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Braves: 2-4, 2 HR (4), 2 RBIs as the Braves beat the Nats 6-2.

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