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Mark Teixeira takes a bow

Mark Teixeira takes a bow

The timing of Mark Teixeira's second three-homer game was excellent. He shook free from an early-season power shortage and supplied the offense with both Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar out of the Braves' starting lineup on Sunday.

"I haven't been very happy with my performance so far this year, especially power-wise," Teixeira, who had 10 homers before Sunday, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come."

The switch-hitting Texieira also homered from both sides of the plate in the game, the 10th time he's done that in his career. He made a curtain call for the home fans after his third home run, the second time in his brief career with Atlanta that he has received that honor.

"I heard in Atlanta they don't give them very often," Teixeira said. "I feel blessed to have been treated like I have by the fans here."

Pettitte runs shutout streak to 19 innings: Andy Pettitte ran his consecutive shutout streak to 19 innings on Sunday.

Pettitte, 8-5 following his win on Sunday, left after the sixth inning due to a rain delay in the middle of the sixth, the New York Daily News reported.

In his last seven starts, Pettitte is 5-0 and won three straight decisions. He last gave up a run on June 7 when he allowed 10 runs in a no-decision.

Rookie not awed by Yankee Stadium in debut: Reds rookie Daryl Thompson was excited about his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium, then proceeded to throw five shutout innings.

"I haven't slept in three days," Thompson told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "I was pumped up. ... I was excited facing that lineup. This morning, I woke up at 4:30, 5:00. I haven't been to sleep since. I had one piece of sausage this morning."

Reds manager Dusty Baker was certainly impressed. "For a young man like that -- out of Double-A, his first start against the Yankees -- to come out with no runs after being in trouble a few times, we'll take that," said Baker.

Soria dominant in pair of weekend saves: Royals closer Joakim Soria posted saves in two of the three games against San Francisco and left an impression on the Giants' hitters in their weekend series.

"Looking at his numbers so far this year, he seems to be pretty much dominating," Giants infielder Rich Aurilia told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When he was taken in the Rule 5 draft, the Padres had some pretty good bullpen arms. They probably felt they could risk not putting him on the roster. It happens in this game all the time. Hindsight is 20-20. The Royals are lucky enough to get the guy here."

Soria has 20 saves this season and 37 since being a Rule 5 pick two seasons ago.

Giambi catches fire on basepaths: Jason Giambi went 3-for-3 and matched his career-high with his second steal of the season on Sunday.

"I might go 40-4 this year," Giambi told the New York Daily News.

Gagne has sights set on return to mound: Eric Gagne threw a simulated game before getting cleared to go on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. Gagne threw 32 pitches and said he didn't experience any problems with his shoulder.

"It was good to see hitters again," Gagne told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was nice to get going. I can't wait for the next step. I was [throwing] about 90 percent. The rest comes when the adrenaline kicks in during games. I was getting the ball up a little bit, but with intensity [of games], the ball goes down."

Edmonds had Cubs at top of his list: Jim Edmonds, a hot hitter recently, likes playing for his former team's biggest rival.

"Believe it or not," Edmonds told the Chicago Tribune, "the Cubs were one of my top choices when I had a chance to be traded. But I knew not in a million years would the Cardinals trade me here."

Hernandez chalks up eighth win of season: Livan Hernandez has been his usual model of consistency this season. He worked seven innings in a 5-3 win over Arizona, his eighth of the year.

"Livo's a gamer. He might not throw a 95-mph fastball, but he's got a great understanding of what he can do, what [the opponent] can do," Arizona manager Bob Melvin told the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his former player. "Who can hurt him, who can't -- He knows how to pitch and to win."

Konerko not getting acclimated to life on the DL: Paul Konerko finds himself restless while on the disabled list for the first time. A strained left oblique muscle has had him out of action since June 17.

"I feel like Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart," Konerko told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday, referring to the torture scene at the end of the movie. "It's a see-saw in your head. Sometimes I'm able to say, 'It happened, no big deal -- it happens to a lot of players; it will be gone before you know it.' Then the next moment you feel worthless. It took me a long time to get to the DL, but I don't ever want to come back -- put it that way."

Saltalamacchia to take over as regular catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia will catch more often with Gerald Laird on the disabled list. Saltalamacchia and Laird had been splitting duties, but with Laird out with a strained hamstring injury, Saltalamacchia will play in front of Max Ramirez, who was recalled from Double-A Frisco.

"Just because I'm the starter now doesn't mean I'm going to be starting for the whole season," Saltalamacchia told The Dallas Morning News. "If I hit 1.000 while Gerald is out, I still think they are going to split our time when he comes back. What I can do right now is show them what I can do every day. I can show them I can be a better me."

Isringhausen effective in working out of jam: Jason Isringhausen, who has 292 career saves, had his third straight scoreless outing on Sunday against the Red Sox in Boston. Isringhausen, who entered the game in the 11th inning, got himself in and out of trouble and eventually struck out back-to-back hitters with the bases loaded to get through the frame.

"It was a good pressure situation," Isringhausen told MLB.com. "I put myself in that pressure situation, but ... I was able to make good pitches when I needed to. I walked a couple guys, but I got behind them, so I'm not going to give in to them."

Undrafted Speier finds success with Rockies: Rockies reliever Ryan Speier has made the unlikely journey from undrafted player to the Majors. A product of Radford University in Virginia, Speier has a 3.09 ERA in 21 games with Colorado this season.

"I think the biggest thing was [that the] coaches that have worked with me, have found a role for me in the game situations that put me in the greatest likelihood to have success," Speier told The Washington Post. "As a reliever my freshman year [at Radford], I was pretty good. And then I tried being a longer relief guy, and finally I tried being a starter my last year. And then I went over to play summer ball and the coach had me relieving again. I didn't have the kind of personality to pace myself [as a starter]. I like to go full speed for a brief amount of time."

Breaking ball helps Shields push streak to 14 innings: Scot Shields has bounced back from a difficult second half in 2007. He traces the turnaround to his decision to keep things simple with his mechanics.

The result has been the best breaking ball of Shields' career "in terms of movement and placement," he told the Los Angeles Times. "The biggest thing the last few games is I've been able to throw it for strikes and get it down in the zone to get swings and misses."

Shields has thrown 14 scoreless innings after going 1 2/3 innings in Sunday's game against the Phillies. For the season, Shields is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 30 games.

No tip of the cap from dominant Duchscherer: Justin Duchscherer pitched into the eighth inning on Sunday, helping the A's to a 7-1 win over the Marlins. He picked up his eighth win of the season and ran his record to 4-0 in June. The fans gave Duchscherer a standing ovation as he left the mound with two outs in the eighth inning.

"I heard the fans a little bit, but I don't want to act like I'm a bigwig," Duchscherer told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I just don't feel like I'm Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan, so I don't feel like I'm in the position to tip my cap or anything."

Duchscherer leads the AL with a 1.99 ERA.

Weeks mends knee, taken off DL: Rickie Weeks was activated from the disabled list on Saturday. Weeks had been out with a sprained left knee but passed a few final tests during a pregame workout.

"The knee feels good," Weeks told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's just a little weak from doing all the work, but there's no pain or anything. I'm good to go."

Votto uses reading to gain an edge: When Joey Votto isn't busy terrorizing Major League pitchers, he's apparently quite a reader. According to his mother, Wendy, Votto spends a lot of time at his home back in Canada reading up on everything from the art of batting to getting stronger to the mental approach to the game.

"I just love this. I want to be as good as I can as a baseball player," Votto told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "It's something I have passion about. If I feel motivated to do something, I do my very best."

-- Red Line Editorial

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