Updated: July 7, 2009, 1:33 PM ET

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Howard Smith/US Presswire

Johnny Cueto had allowed only 14 earned runs in 59 road innings (2.14 ERA) before Monday's debacle.

Johnny Cueto's nightmare inning
The Phillies made a lot of fantasy owners happy Monday, pounding out 21 hits and 22 runs en route to one of the biggest wins in franchise history. Alas, as is so often the case in fantasy baseball on a day-to-day basis, the story is about the pitching. Johnny Cueto had a brutal outing, and it might take fantasy owners a while to deal with the damage of his night, while his opponent, Cole Hamels, a top-10 fantasy pitcher on draft day, proved himself.

Some nights a starting pitcher just doesn't have it. That was clearly the case for Cueto, who watched three months of strong pitching go down the drain, as he allowed nine earned runs before getting pulled in the first inning. Fantasy owners certainly can't be pleased, but now they have to wonder if injury is the underlying reason for the pounding.

Cueto had been dealing with a sore lower back in recent appearances, but he was coming off a win over the Diamondbacks in which he permitted one hit and no runs in six innings, though he walked four. Monday, he became the first Reds pitcher since 1912 to allow nine or more earned runs in less than an inning pitched and only the third starting pitcher since 1900 to follow up a performance of at least three scoreless innings with nine runs allowed in less than an inning. Amazingly, teammate Bronson Arroyo was the last to do it just two months ago. Maybe it's a Reds thing.

Cueto surrendered first-inning home runs to Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs, and later in the inning Hamels delivered a two-run double. By the time manager Dusty Baker rescued Cueto, seven runs crossed the plate, and reliever Danny Herrera allowed two more of Cueto's runs to score after he left the mound. Nine earned runs can ruin a night for fantasy baseball owners. Consider that Cueto entered the week with the fourth-best ERA in the NL, at 2.69. Now he's out of the top 10, at 3.45. However, unless Cueto is injured, fantasy owners need to keep him active for this weekend's start at the Mets, presuming it's just one bad night against the NL's top offense and in a bandbox.

Hamels was the beneficiary of the outpouring of runs. He went seven strong innings, allowing only a Jonny Gomes home run, and could be back on track after allowing seven earned runs in his last outing at Atlanta and being winless in more than a month. Even with the win, which evened his record at 5-5, Hamels has permitted 110 hits in 92 innings, which is way too many for a potential ace. Some pitchers act differently when they get a 10-0 lead in the first inning -- as if it's so common -- so it's possible Hamels won't be as comfortable in future starts when the games are closer, but it was nice to see him pitch effectively.

Previous editions: July 6: Ricky Nolasco is back | July 5: Manny goes deep

News, Notes and Box Score Bits

• There were some terrific pitching performances in the American League. Seattle's Jarrod Washburn continued his surprising season by tossing a one-hit shutout, striking out three and issuing nary a walk, against the Baltimore Orioles. Washburn lowered his ERA to 3.08, and faced only one batter over the minimum, pitching at least seven innings in half his 16 outings this season, a feat he managed only five times all of 2008. Somehow Washburn still remains unowned in 70 percent of ESPN leagues, most likely because he's the AL version of Jason Marquis, who is someone fantasy owners have been burned by with average pitching for too many years.

• Speaking of Marquis, it sure seems like it's time to trust him as well. After being named to the NL All-Star team, Marquis extended his league-leading win total, earning his 11th victory. He tossed eight shutout innings at Coors Field against the Nationals. Marquis hasn't permitted any runs in his past two outings, and at some point even the most pessimistic of fantasy owners will have to take him seriously. Like Washburn, Marquis remains available in nearly 70 percent of ESPN leagues. Personally, I'd go with Washburn if you can only afford one roster spot.

•Only in Boston can a career performance by Oakland's Brett Anderson get overlooked by a teammate who is owned in 2 percent of ESPN leagues. Nomar Garciaparra received a standing ovation in his return to Fenway Park. He delivered a pair of singles, one of them scoring a run against John Smoltz. Garciaparra is likely to deliver less fantasy value this season than Smoltz, however. Smoltz again succumbed to one big inning; he gave up four runs in the fourth with a Mark Ellis double plating two of the runs. Smoltz has a 6.60 ERA after three starts, but it is interesting to note eight of the 11 earned runs he has allowed came in two innings.

• Two big bats on contending teams came off the disabled list Monday. The Cubs welcomed back third baseman Aramis Ramirez after recovering from a dislocated shoulder for two months, and the Rangers' lineup was buoyed by Josh Hamilton hitting third. Ramirez went hitless in four at-bats, dropping his season average to .343. Hamilton singled and doubled, raising his average to .248. Both Ramirez and Hamilton are smart buy-low options.

Ricky Romero doesn't appear headed to the All-Star game, but he's one of the hottest pitchers in the game, winning four consecutive starts, including Monday's decision at Yankee Stadium. Romero's 20-inning scoreless streak came to an end, but he now has seven consecutive quality starts. That's quite a feat for the rookie, considering these are strong offenses he's been beating (Yankees, Phillies, Rangers).

•Other starting pitchers: Cueto wasn't the only guy to allow nine runs. Kevin Millwood took a pounding from the Angels, and his ERA went from top 5 in his league to 10th at 3.34. He did not strike out a batter in five innings. ... Jair Jurrjens lost for the seventh time, allowing four runs to the Cubs, but his season ERA remains a strong 2.91. ... Washington's Craig Stammen pitched well at Coors Field, but couldn't outduel Marquis. Stammen has one win in nine starts. ... Armando Galarraga left with a 2-1 lead after seven nice innings, then Joel Zumaya blew the lead. Galarraga has allowed one run in each of his past two starts. ... Matt Cain continues his roll for the Giants, giving up one earned run in 6 1/3 innings. After years of no run support and losing records, he's 10-2.

•Closer follies: Toronto's Jason Frasor picked up his third save, barely, as the Yankees scored two runs in the ninth inning. It's looking like Scott Downs will not return from the DL this week, so Frasor should get more chances. ... Jose Valverde struck out three Pirates to finish off his seventh save. In his previous six outings covering 5 1/3 innings, Valverde had fanned only two hitters total. ... Huston Street needed only six pitches to close out the 1-0 win over the Nationals. Cristian Guzman, Josh Bard and Ronnie Belliard aren't exactly the most patient hitters around. ... Brian Wilson saved his 22nd game, but it wasn't pretty, as he surrendered a pair of runs.


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Player Spotlight
Hitter of the night
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Four Phillies homered and three knocked in four or more runs, but Victorino had the biggest night offensively, combining four hits, four RBIs and five runs scored into one neat and timely package. If Victorino was trying to hock votes for his All-Star game addition, he chose a wise time. Victorino is on pace for 123 runs and 80 RBIs.
Pitcher of the night
Brett Anderson, Athletics
The rookie lefty tossed Oakland's first complete game in nearly one calendar year, striking out nine and allowing only two singles in the 6-0 win. Anderson's outing didn't match recent performance, though. The last time he went six innings in a game was more than a month ago.
Stat of the night: 4-0
We wouldn't recommend Mike Hampton for fantasy baseball too often at this stage of his career, but he sure does own the Pirates. Hampton is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA against Pittsburgh this season, but 1-5 with a 5.77 ERA against all other teams. Hampton has won 10 consecutive starts against the Pirates, dating back to 2000 when he was with the Mets. Good news: The Astros meet Pittsburgh later this season in September.
Notable Transactions

•A day after leaving his Sunday start early with a strained shoulder suffered while batting, Randy Johnson was placed on the 15-day DL. His roster spot was taken, at least for a few days, by infielder Kevin Frandsen. Johnson isn't a young man, so even though the team expects Johnson to resume pitching in 15 days, prepare for a longer absence. Jonathan Sanchez is having an awful season, but could get back into the rotation. This also means the intriguing Ryan Sadowski has a longer leash.

•The Cubs made more moves than merely activating Aramis Ramirez from the DL. Outfielder Reed Johnson and pitcher Angel Guzman also returned to the team. Plucky outfielder Sam Fuld and pitcher Kevin Hart were demoted to Triple-A Iowa, and David Patton was placed on the DL. Fuld should get another chance with the Cubs at some point.

•Former Cubbie Ryan Freel was deemed expendable as Jeff Baker was acquired last week, and now he's a member of the Kansas City Royals after being dealt for a player to be named later. Freel hasn't helped fantasy owners since 2006, when he finished up a three-year period with 110 stolen bases. The Royals haven't shared their thoughts on how the brittle Freel will be used, but as always he could be a cheap source of speed for AL-only owners.

They Said It
Gregg (New York, NY): Can David Price be trusted this week versus Toronto?

AJ Mass: I wouldn't trust him. I just don't think he's ready to be a starter at the major league level yet. I don't like the idea of moving him to the pen, or we'll have a Joba/Morrow situation that could have long-term disastrous results. However, Price is still a year away from being fantasy-worthy.
-- Full chat transcript
Frank (Land O' Lakes): What are your thoughts on Ricky Romero, Toronto's pitcher? Is he this good? Especially (after his performance) against the Yankees (Monday)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft: Yes he is. Frankly I am not at all surprised by Romero's outing today. Underrated prospect whose success is entirely tied to his command, and everything I've seen of him this season says he's as sharp as ever in that department.
-- Full chat transcript
Tuesday's fantasy chat schedule:
AJ Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Jason Grey, 3 p.m. ET
On The Farm

•While the Phillies major leaguers feasted on Cincinnati pitching, the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs faced demoted Nationals right-hander Shairon Martis, and they were only able to pick up one run in six innings. Martis made 15 starts for the Nationals and had a misleading 5-3 record, with a 5.25 ERA and more walks than strikeouts. He should be back in Washington soon. Same with fiery outfielder Elijah Dukes, who has a homer and three hits in seven at-bats after his demotion. I'll take Dukes for fantasy value.

•Down at Double-A Reading, also in the Phillies organization, Raul Ibanez played five innings in his first rehab game, going 0-for-2 and drawing a walk. Ibanez is expected to play left field for Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, and could return to the Phillies by the weekend. Then again, if the team is going to score 22 runs again, Ibanez will be given plenty of time to convalesce.

•Remember Tim Stauffer, the right-hander for the Padres who teased fantasy owners with occasional good pitching in 2005? Stauffer made 17 starts for the Padres from 2005-07, compiling a 6.37 ERA overall, and the 27-year-old remains in the organization. He tossed eight innings of two-hit ball Monday for Triple-A Portland against Colorado Springs, and has a 2.35 ERA in four starts there. Stauffer missed all of 2008 after shoulder surgery. The Padres will likely call on him later this season, and like any pitcher at Petco Park, he'll be of interest in some leagues.

Looking Ahead

Erik Bedard is scheduled to come off the disabled list and face the Orioles, his former team. Bedard, one of the bigger starting pitchers said to be on the trading block, faces a struggling Jeremy Guthrie, whose season ERA hasn't been below five since May.

•In the hotly contested AL East race, team aces CC Sabathia and Josh Beckett will face the Athletics and Twins, respectively. Sabathia and Beckett combined to allow 11 earned runs in their last outings, and it's safe to say many a fantasy owner wasn't pleased.

•Those who own John Lackey of the Angels and Atlanta's Javier Vazquez will likely leave their horses active at all times, but note the struggles these right-handers have had against the Rangers and Cubs, respectively. Lackey has a 5.79 ERA against Texas in 28 starts. Vazquez has been pilloried by Ramirez and Derrek Lee, and has a 4.83 ERA in 17 starts against Chicago.