Out of the Box
There have been some strange games played this season, but none could top the one played 25 years ago, Monday. The wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field and a small gathering of 14,952 got to see an amazing contest. The Craziest Game Ever, May 17, 1979: Phillies 23, Cubs 22:
Teams combined for 45 runs, 50 hits, 11 homers.
Score was Phillies 7, Cubs 6 -- after the first inning.
The Cubs rallied from an 11-run deficit to tie, but lost on Mike Schmidt's homer in the 10th inning.
The Daily Rundown
The hottest closer in baseball isn't Mariano Rivera or Eric Gagne. It's the Twins' biggest offseason acquisition, Joe Nathan. Last week, Nathan made four appearances and earned the save in all four, without allowing a single hit. Terry Ryan looks very smart right now with his decision to trade for Nathan, who previously had been a middle reliever with the San Francisco Giants. Joe Nathan through 19 games:
Unscored upon: 18 appearances
No hits allowed: Nine appearances
Two strikeouts or more per IP: Six appearances
Touch 'Em All
Vinny Castilla (10) -- Third career walk-off homer.
Mike Lieberthal (4) -- First homer against Rockies since May 9, 1999.
Matt Holliday (5) -- All five homers in Coors Field.
Charles Johnson (8) -- First homer vs. Phillies since July 1, 2001.
Lew Ford (4) -- First homer since April 22.
Torii Hunter (6) -- Three homers in last three games.
Jacque Jones (7) -- Five of seven homers hit on the road.
Stat of the Night
The biggest deficit overcome by the Rockies in the seventh inning or later to win is seven runs, on July 12, 1996 against the Padres and May 13, 2003 against the Mets. The Rockies overcame 6-0, seventh-inning deficit to win Monday.
Source: Elias Sports Bureau.
Most Important Thing
John Kruk: The Phillies go 7-3 on their road trip.
Harold Reynolds: A third-base coach can't screw up the signs.
Peter Gammons: Injury to Troy Glaus significant for the Angels.
We can only imagine how quickly word spread throughout Centralia, Wash. (pop. 14,742) a few years ago the day that an eighth grader, Lyle Overbay, tossed a marble across the gym, inadvertently shattering a basketball backboard at the local high school
Probably about as quickly as word has spread throughout the town to check out "Baseball Tonight" for the latest on Overbay's sensational hitting tear in his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Centralians are flocking to their televisions every night because Overbay, obtained from the Arizona Diamondbacks last winter in the Richie Sexson trade, is the hottest hitter in the majors. During his current 17-game hitting streak, Overbay is hitting .477 with 14 doubles and 24 RBI. He leads the majors with 21 doubles and, with his ability to hit line drives to all fields, could make a run at being the first player to hit 60 doubles in a season since 1936.
"He has always been so focused,'' said Ron Brown, who has coached basketball at Centralia High for 43 years and gets Overbay's help as a volunteer assistant during the offseason. "He loved to do well in whatever he took on.''
At the University of Nevada, the 27-year-old Overbay became an All-American as a senior and developed what may be one of the sweetest swings in baseball.
"Lyle knows his swing,'' said Nevada baseball coach Gary Powers. "He worked real hard to develop a consistent swing pattern. The barrel of his bat always stays in the hitting zone.''
Overbay and his friends can laugh now about the day that he says changed his life, when he chucked the marble and left behind a pile of smashed glass. He reimbursed the school for a new backboard and continues to repay the debt by being a good friend to everyone in the town. If he keeps this production up, he'll be able to pay for a new gym.
"I always said he was trying to bank in (a shot with the marble),'' Brown said with a laugh as he remembered the moment. "The other coaches said they knew -- he was just trying to show off his arm for baseball.''
Mark Simon is the researcher for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He can be contacted at Mark.A.Simon@espn.com.