The Brewers opened play on Sunday tied for the Central Division lead with the Cubs. By the fourth batter of the game they seemed a good bet to remain, at the least, in a deadlock for first place. Richie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun each homered off Phil Dumatrait and the Brewers were off and running on a 10-5 win in Cincinnati. Milwaukee added three more homers in the game and the fireworks paid off in spades when the results from Pittsburgh revealed that the Cubs were losers by the same score. That returned sole possession of the division lead to Milwaukee in advance of their own trip to PNC Park for three games this week. The biggest obstacle to staying there may not come from on-field opposition. With Yom Kippur looming the Brew Crew must wonder if their splendid rookie third baseman is going to play on September 21 and 22 in games that will go a long way toward determining their playoff status. Braun is clearly the Chosen One but will that outrank his membership in the Chosen People?
- We can't know for sure what role Dave Littlefield's long overdue firing had on the Pirates this weekend but the Brewers will probably send a Thank You note to Pirate ownership nonetheless. The overmatched GM was finally sent packing and the Bucs responded by taking two of three games from the Cubs including yesterday's 10-5 win. Steve Trachsel, the according to Hoyle definition of a last-ditch option, lost his second start since rejoining the northsiders and couldn't get past the second inning. Nyjer Morgan drove in two runs for the Bucs, thrilling his parents beyond belief. It would also thrill this guy if he was still updating his blog.
- The Mets looked like a team on the brink of implosion after dropping four straight to the Phillies. They were in need of a spark to save their season from disaster and they found one in Pedro Martinez. He won for the second time this week, pitching better than he did in Cincinnati, and the Amazins have won eight of nine to solidify their hold on the NL East. Pedro struck out four in five shutout innings in the 4-1 win and the Mets maintain their comfortable six-game edge on Philadelphia.
- If Dave Littlefield's firing inspired the Bucs the Rick Ankiel revelations seem to have taken the life out of the Cardinal comeback. The Diamondbacks finished off a three-game sweep with Sunday's 6-5 win and dropped the Cards three games behind the Brewers in the Central. The D-Backs hold the same edge on the Padres after Jose Valverde escaped a bases loaded ninth inning jam for his 45th save of the season.
- The score was fitting for the first football Sunday of the year, 14-7, but time looks like it's run out on the Seattle Mariners and their improbable playoff quest all the same. The losing Tigers may be in the same boat after they couldn't get a good start out of Jeremy Bonderman.
(AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)