1. Make it a dozen: The Red Sox just keep on winning, and even a series against the NL’s best team didn’t produce an Interleague loss. The Sox completed a sweep of the Mets on Thursday in a heavily anticipated Glavine vs. Shilling matchup. Each pitcher held the opposing team scoreless through five innings, but they ended up allowing two earned runs each. Shilling pitched seven innings to earn the victory, his only mistake a two-run shot allowed to Carlos Beltran in the 6th inning. Coco Crisp used a bunt single, a steal, and a sacrifice fly to score and break the 2-2 tie in the 7th. David Ortiz hit his 23rd homer to seal the deal, and Jon Papelbon collected his 24th save. The Red Sox are now up by a season-high 4 games in the AL East, while the Mets still hold an 11-game lead in the NL East.
2. It’s over: The Pirates losing streak finally ended last night despite facing the best pitcher one of the AL’s best teams. The Bucs defeated the White Sox 7-6, and Jose Contreras had his worst outing of the year but was spared of the loss. Contreras allowed 6 runs in five innings, but his undeafeated streak still stands at 16 games. That’s because Jim Thome tied up the game at 6-6 in the eighth with a pinch-hit homerun, his AL-leading 25th on the year. For the Pirates, Freddy Sanchez went 4-5 and hit a game-winning walk-off homer in the ninth. His batting average increased to an NL-leading .363. This game means little more than an ended streak for the Pirates however. They are still 17.5 games back of the Cardinals in their division.
3. Streaking Seattle: One of the many AL teams taking advantage of a weakened National League is the Seattle Mariners, whose 10-2 record in Interleague play has left them only two games back in the AL West. They currently have a 5-game winning streak going after completing a sweep of the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks. Yesterday they won 3-2 after a strong start by Gil Meche, who is 3-0 in his last five starts and has dropped his ERA over a point. JJ Putz picked up his 14th save for Seattle, and he has only blown one save all season. Raul Ibanez is having one of the quietest yet effective seasons of any player, and last night he hit his 17th homer and 63rd RBI. Even Adrian Beltre has raised his average from under .200 to .262 over the past month or so.
4. They like their homers in Cincy: After hitting four homers against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, the Reds were at it again on Thursday. They hit three homeruns, one each by Ken Griffey Jr., Felipe Lopez, and Adam Dunn. Griffey’s shot marked his fourth game in a row going yard, while Dunn’s blast gave him 25 on the year. Dunn also hit a double in the eighth inning that drove in the game-winning run. The win for Cincinnati left them just one game back of the Cardinals, and it appears they are for real. Bronson Arroyo, who left after seven innings and received a no-decision, allowed two runs to keep his ERA at an NL-leading 2.58. The Royals, meanwhile, once again have the majors’ worst record after their loss and the Pirates’ win.
5. Bringing juice to the Golden Baseball League: Jose Canseco is back in a professional uniform, as he agreed to a contract with the San Diego Surf Dawgs. Canseco will play DH and even pitch for the team, which plays in the independent Golden Baseball League. He will make the league maximum salary, which is just $2,500 per month. We’re waiting to see if a steroid scandal will soon rock this independent league.