While one New York team was watching their future Hall of Famer slough off to a MRI, the other one was welcoming back their jheri-curled master of the mound. Pedro was back in Cincinnati yesterday and he may be just what the doctor ordered for an Amazin bunch that's looking for a last push over the top. His numbers were average - five innings, three runs, 76 pitches - but it was the context that mattered. Coming off a wild seven-game stretch that saw the Mets play sweepee and sweeper, the team needed an anchor to help them weather the storms of September. That's exactly what Pedro gave them yesterday. Greg Prince at Faith and Fear in Flushing calls yesterday's 10-4 win the true Opening Day of the 2007 season and it's hard to argue with that. The Mets, subjects of much conjecture all season, look right with Pedro on the mound and feel right when you're never more than four days away from another Martinez appearance on the mound.
- Greg Maddux and Pedro will share time in Cooperstown one day and they share space on yesterday's big board of baseball winners. Maddux won for the first time in Arizona and extended his walkless streak to 49 and a third in a 10-2 win that pushed the Friars into sole possession of first place. The offense backed him up with five home runs and the Diamondbacks continued their spiral with a tenth loss in 15 games. It could get worse - Padre ace Jake Peavy wants to start on short rest Wednesday as San Diego tries to put Arizona's lights out once and for all.
- If they do knock out the D-Backs they will still have to worry about the Dodgers. Esteban Loaiza won his first start in Blue and L.A. stayed in striking distance, four back, of the Padres with an 11-3 win against the Cubs. Carlos Zambrano took the loss for Chicago, his fifth straight, and gave up eight runs for the first time in more than two years. Big Z got booed off the mound by the Wrigley faithful and struck back following the game. "You know, I thought these were the greatest fans in baseball. But they showed me today that they just care about them, and that's not fair, because when you're struggling, you want to feel the support of the fans."
- The feisty Northside rooters can reserve some of their vitriol, though, because the Brewers aren't proving themselves capable of reversing their slump. They blew a league-high 15th game that they led by three runs in a 9-7 loss to the Astros. The 'Stros, playing out the string under interim manager Cecil Cooper, rebounded from a 7-4 deficit against Derrick Turnbow and Greg Aquino to leave the Brewers a game and a half behind the Cubbies.
- Roger Federer has only lost 21 times since 2004 with eight of those losses coming against Rafael Nadal. Johan Santana has lost 11 times this season with five of them coming against the Indians. Sometimes you just run into someone you can't beat. Yesterday's 5-0 defeat was the most recent lowlight for Santana. The good news is that the Twins don't face the Tribe again this season. The bad news is that those five losses have contributed mightily to Minnesota's hopeless playoff chase.
(AFP/Thomas E. Witte)