Another stirring extra-inning win was the result of Todd Helton's triumphant return (2 for 5, two doubles). Today the Rockies took another step backward as Jeff Francis just didn't have it. Helton did hit his first home run since coming off the disabled list. Ryan Shealyreturns to AAA with no clearer idea of his future except he will play in the majors somewhere, someday. I think desperate Rockies fans would do well to remember that this team's recent hot streak was just that, a hot streak. It's nice that J.D. Closser is playing more and Aaron Miles is playing less but the team still isn't very good. Having Shawn Chacon or a healthy Jason Jennings wouldn't change that fact. If Helton and the young guys feel like getting in sync for the first time all year, that might help a bit.
Meanwhile in the far-off climes of the pennant races the White Sox took two of three from the Yankees and Oakland won two from Anaheim. Sometimes people make too much of these second-half "showdown" series -- after all, there is a lot of season left to play -- but for a national audience (and in the A's case a local audience, too) just showing up to see what's going on now the two winning teams provided a pretty good showcase. Chicago continues to win close games with dazzling pitching and an offense that scores just barely enough runs to win. Oakland, after getting blown out on a great Vlad Guerrero performance in the first game, came back to win a pair against the vaunted Angel bullpen. Jason Kendall scored a walk-off winner today when Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez bumbled an exchange from the catcher.
Also, the Cubs finally broke their 8-game losing streak. I was just being honest a week ago when I said they were done; I didn't meant to jinx them or anything. It's becoming increasingly clear to me that after the A's win a World Series sometime in the next couple of years (which they will) the Cubs need to drive a Tribune truck full of a non-sequential hundred-dollar bills into Billy Beane's driveway and beg for his services. For Ron Santo's sake if no one else's.