Game of the day: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels, 10:05 p.m. The Angels — 2 ½ games back of Texas in the American League West — had a day off Thursday as they gear up for a final run at the Rangers. Los Angeles starts the closing stretch — which features 19 games in the season’s last 20 days — by welcoming the American League East-leading Yankees to town for a weekend series. Los Angeles ace Jered Weaver tries to turn it around after allowing at least six runs in three of his last five starts. Of course, even with those struggles, Weaver holds a 2.49 ERA for the season. Coming off two straight losses to Baltimore, the Yankees send out veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon, who has not won since July 30.
Other game to watch: Cleveland at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m. Both these squads need wins in a hurry if they’re going to put any pressure on Detroit in the American League Central race. White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle hopes to bounce back from an ugly start last time out in which he surrendered seven runs in less than four innings to the front-running Tigers. On the other hand, Cleveland right-hander Jeanmar Gomez wants to keep rolling after winning his last two starts.
Games you should have seen:
Philadelphia 7, Milwaukee 2: After Brewers starter Chris Narveson retired the first two batters in the top of the sixth, the Phillies exploded for six runs on seven hits to take command of the game. Hunter Pence’s two-run triple brought home the go-ahead run. Cole Hamels tossed a complete game, allowing just four hits — including a pair of solo home runs — to earn his 14th win of the season.
Chicago White Sox 8, Cleveland 1: Brent Morel and Paul Konerko each hit home runs in a seven-run seventh as the White Sox blasted the Indians. With the game tied 1-1, Morel launched a three-run shot — his second of the game — off Indians reliever Frank Herrmann. Later in the inning, Konerko sent a Josh Judy pitch out of the park for his 10th career grand slam.
Star of the night: Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero finally figured out the Red Sox, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 7-4 win Thursday night. He came into the game with an 8.08 ERA in 11 career starts against Boston. A pair of home runs gave Toronto an early lead and Romero held the Red Sox scoreless into the seventh en route to his seventh win in nine starts overall.
Stat you should know: 15 Years since Chipper Jones last batted second in the Braves’ lineup before Manager Fredi Gonzalez put him in that spot for both games of a doubleheader against the Mets. In the opening game, Jones — who has regularly hit third in Atlanta’s batting order for most of his career — finished 2 for 5 with a double and his 16th home run of the season before he went 1 for 4 with two RBI in the nightcap. The Braves won both games.
Chatter: “When I was in elementary school, I got monkey a lot. I looked so much like a monkey. My ears were big. I had big lips. I was a monkey to all the girls, so it was a huge confidence booster when I was in fifth grade.” — Giants rookie Brandon Belt — who has been dubbed “Baby Giraffe” by team broadcaster Duane Kuiper— on his previous experience with animal nicknames. Belt, a .215 hitter in 48 games this season, now stands 6-foot-5 with a long enough neck that the new nickname stuck when Kuiper first used it back in May to describe the way Belt chased a particular fly ball. A local zoo even named a newborn giraffe “Brandon” in his honor.