1. Home Run Derby: Vlad Guerrero hadn’t homered in a month before Thursday’s game despite winning the Home Run Derby. He finally regained his power stroke in a big way as the Angels beat the A’s. Guerrero relived his Derby victory by bashing two out, driving in four runs in the process. He now has 16 homers, which puts him on a pace for 25. That would be his worst full-season total of his career. At least the All Star has 87 RBIs, good for fourth in the AL, and a .326 average. The Angels have now won 6 of their last 8, giving them a 3.5 game lead over Seattle.
2. The Slugging Continues: The Braves and Yankees, the league’s two hottest offenses, continued to be powerful on Thursday. However, both were let down by their pitching staffs. The Braves scored 11 runs in a 14-inning contest against the Astros, giving them double-digit runs for four straight games. But Rafael Soriano allowed a grand slam in the eighth inning that tied the game, and the Astros won off pitcher Jason Jennings’ RBI single. Despite out-hitting the Astros 22-11, the Braves found themselves losing, and dropping another game behind the victorious Mets and Phillies in the process. The Yankees, on the other hand, got crushed 13-9 by the White Sox mainly due to an awful start by Roger Clemens. Clemens allowed eight runs in the second inning, his shortest outing since 2000. The Yankees scored eight runs of their own in the second off Jon Garland, which marked the first time in major league history two teams have scored 8+ runs in the second. The rest of the game went the White Sox’s way, and the Yanks dropped to eight back behind Boston. They are competitive in the Wild Card race though, at three back behind Cleveland.
3. Cy Young Favorites: In the American League, Dan Haren is right now the obvious choice for the Cy Young award. He leads the league in ERA by a mile, with 2.44, and is tied with many with 13 wins. In the National League, the selection is more difficult. Chris Young has a 1.82 ERA, but is on the DL right now. So, Jake Peavy, with his 2.30 ERA and league-leading 154 strikeouts, is the front-runner. Peavy shut down the Diamondbacks on Thursday, pitching seven shutout innings and striking out 10. The Padres won 11-0 behind Peavy as recently acquired Morgan Ensberg hit two homers.
Player of the Day: Jermaine Dye, White Sox: 4-5, 2 HRs (21), 4 RBIs in a 13-9 win over New York.