1. Double Trouble: After going 1-8 in a one-and-half week stretch and falling to the bottom of the division, the Yankees cranked out a much-needed sweep of the Texas Rangers. On Thursday, they won both games of a doubleheader, based on the strength of their pitching, believe it or not. In game 1, Andy Pettitte pitched six strong innings and the bullpen held him up in a 4-3 win. In the second contest, Mike Mussina came off the DL with an excellent 5-inning, one-run effort. After a period in which it looked like the Yankees’ pitchers couldn’t stop a Double A offense, now they’re at full strength again with the return of Mussina and Chien Ming-Wang. More good news for them is that they play the Rangers again next week.
2. Cleveland Comeback: The best team in the league is currently the Cleveland Indians, and lately they’ve refused to lose. The Indians have a 10-1 record in their past 11 games, and on Thursday they completed a sweep of the Blue Jays. Toronto had captured a four-run lead early as Troy Glaus hit his fifth homer, but Cleveland stormed back thanks to Victor Martinez and others. Martinez went 4-4 with two RBIs, and Grady Sizemore hit a game-winning double for a 6-5 victory. The Indians still only have a 2 game lead, because Detroit has been hot lately as well.
3. Criticize him now: The most widely panned signing of the offseason was the $10 million-a-year contract the Royals gave to Gil Meche. But so far this year, he’s been worth it. Meche is 3-1 on the league’s worst team, and has an excellent 2.23 ERA. His pitching was good enough to lead the Royals past the first-place Angels as they became the last team in the AL to reach the 10-win mark. Meche pitched 7 innings and allowed just 2 runs, which came on a first-inning homer to the untouchable Vladimir Guerrero. The Royals’ 5-2 victory gave them a 2-2 tie in the four-game series. Meche now ranks first in the AL in innings pitched and third in ERA.
Player of the Day: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox: 2-5, 2 HR (5) including the game-winner, 3 RBIs in an 8-7 win over Seattle.
Stat of the Day: Since his first start of the season, Daisuke Matsuzaka has allowed 22 runs in 31 innings, good for a 6.38 ERA. He got torched for 7 runs against the Mariners on Thursday.