Tim Wakefield might want to consider throwing four wide ones the next time Frank Thomas lumbers to the plate. The Big Hurt had gone deep three times in one game before last night's game - September 15, 1996 with all three coming against the knuckleballer - and repeated the trick in last night's 8-1 Blue Jays win. Only the first two came off Wakefield this time, number three was off Kyle Snyder, and the prodigious night pushed Thomas into a tie with Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews into 18th place on the career home run list. The Sox can't feel great about their lead over the Yankees right now but probably feel even worse about the way that Wakefield has been throwing of late. He missed a start with back problems and has been shelled in his subsequent outings leaving them a bit short on reliable starting for the rest of the month and beyond. It's all enough to send Sox fans to the bottom of a bottle for relief.
- Baseball's a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball and you hit the ball. The Mets are making baseball harder than it should be right now. They committed four errors, got a terrible start from Brian Lawrence and got shut out after the fourth inning in a 12-4 loss to the Nationals. That means their lead is down to two and a half games and the pressure is really starting to show in Flushing.
- The Phillies aren't exactly having an easy time playing the role of dogged pursuers. They led the Cardinals 11-0 after six innings in St. Louis last night but thanks to their horrid bullpen needed to hold on for dear life. They finally eked out a 13-11 victory after Francisco Rosario struck out Russell Branyan with two on in the bottom of the ninth. That pitching is going to make the last push to the summitt difficult but oh those marvelous bats! Ryan Howard hit two homers, Aaron Rowand had a pair of his own and stealth MVP candidate Jimmy Rollins poled his 28th of the season.
- While the Phillies were doing their best to blow a lead the Cubs were furiously coming back to beat the Reds and stay in front of the Brewers. Mark DeRosa's fifth hit of the night scored the pinch-runner Sam Fuld and made the Cubs 7-6 winners. The win could technically be recalled as the Reds played it under protest after Lou Piniella made what they called an illegal double switch. Belichickian drama aside, the Cubs have won six of seven in their attempt to close out Milwaukee.
- The Cassel family isn't used to the spotlight. Barbara Cassel won an Emmy at the untelevised technical portion of the awards for her work as an art director and elder son Matt has backed up Matt Leinart and Tom Brady at USC and, currently, with the Patriots. But younger brother Jack finally put the family's name in lights by beating the Pirates 3-0, his first win in the bigs, and drawing the Friars within a game of the Diamondbacks out West.
(AP PHOTO/Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)