The Full Count: Padding the records


1. 759 and 133: Two recently set major league records were furthered in Wednesday’s Braves-Giants game. Bobby Cox, who set the major league record for most ejections with 132 on Tuesday, got tossed again while arguing a balk call on Tim Hudson. Also, ejected in separate incidents were first baseman Ryan Klesko and manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants, both for arguing balls and strikes. There was plenty of other excitement in this one besides the ejections. Barry Bonds hit homerun #759 into the stands in right-center, remarkably close to Hank Aaron’s image along the outfield wall. The crowd at Turner Field reacted mainly with boos, though a few (including me) were applauding with respect if not admiration. As far as the actual game went, the Braves won 6-3, thanks to Hudson’s excellent pitching and a sixth-inning rally. Hudson went eight innings with three runs allowed and two questionable balk calls. He is undefeated since the All Star break, and at 14-5, is among the contenders for the NL Cy Young award. The Braves won took control of this one when they scored four runs in the sixth, as they took advantage of Russ Ortiz’s inability to throw strikes. With the win they improved to 64-56 and moved passed the Phillies into second place in the NL East.

2. Here Come the Cards: Once in last place, the St. Louis Cardinals are now inching closer to the Brewers and Cubs in the NL Central. With four wins in a row (and seven wins their last ten games), the Cards are now just 3.5 game behind the Brewers for the division lead. Their pitching staff, which has taken a beating the majority of the season, is actually the reason for their recent success. Joel Pineiro, acquired from the Red Sox earlier this month, won his second start in a row on Wednesday. Pineiro pitched seven strong innings as St. Louis topped Milwaukee 8-3. Albert Pujols hit his 25th homerun and Scott Rolen went 4-5 to power the offense. Though the Cardinals still have a losing record (57-60), if they continue this success they will be viewed as a serious contender in the NL Central.

3. Nine-run ninth: The Mets scored 5 runs in the first, 5 runs in the ninth, and nothing in between. Their win over the Pirates on Thursday still wasn’t easy. Despite leading 10-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, this game was a close call for New York. The Pirates piled on 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth off Aaron Sele, including a Jason Bay two-run double. The Mets held on for the win when Billy Wagner came in for his 28th save. New York’s ninth inning was fueled by a throwing error by Pirates pitcher Shawn Chacon. After the error they scored four runs off of five straight hits. The win was the third in a row for the Mets, who kept a 3.5 game lead in the division.

Player of the Day: Russell Martin, Dodgers: 2-4, 2 HR (14), 3 RBI in a 6-3 win over Houston.

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