1. Not Today: The day after the Rangers’ incredible 30-run outing, they were stopped in their tracks by the Mariners. Seattle, who leads the wild card and is one game back of the Angels, beat the Rangers 9-4. Ichiro had three hits and three RBIs, and Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro both homered in the victory. Jeff Weaver improved to 4-0 this month with another solid outing. Besides Brad Wilkerson (4-4, HR), the Rangers couldn’t get too much going offensively. They have the second-worst record in the AL, above only Tampa. The Mariners now have the third-best record in the majors, thanks mainly to a 41-24 mark at home.
2. Welcome Back: In Joel Zumaya’s second appearance since coming off the DL, he cost the Tigers a game. In a game that was scoreless through nine innings, Zumaya allowed three runs in the tenth, giving the Tigers another loss and putting them 2.5 games back in the standings. Both starters pitched brilliantly, with Nate Robertson and Jake Westbrook combining for 16.2 scoreless innings. The Tigers scored one run in the bottom of the tenth but couldn’t mount anything more. Since they had the best record in the majors on July 21, Detroit is 10-22. Now they have only the eighth-best record in the league, and they are five games out of the wild card chase. Unless the Tigers turn it around now, they will be out of the playoffs this season.
3. Padre Power: The San Diego Padres have held on tightly to their wild card lead. After losing the first game in New York, they won the last two, with their offense as the key component. San Diego won 9-8 on Thursday, in a game where two All Star closers both blew saves. Both Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner gave up runs in the ninth, then the Padres won in the tenth off Adrian Gonzalez’s homer. The Mets stole five bases in this one, including Jose Reyes’ 68th, but still lost. The Padres had 15 hits, including five players with multi-hit games. They still trail the nearly unstoppable Diamondbacks by three games, but it doesn’t matter as they have extended their wild card lead to two games. The Mets’ two straight losses have not affected their division lead, as both the Braves and Phillies have gone on losing streaks of their own.
Player of the Day: Mike Piazza, A’s: 4-5, HR, 5 RBIs in a 12-2 win over the Devil Rays. The A’s have won five straight and are one game above .500.