Quick hits: Peavy's debut

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– We’ve seen plenty of stops and starts, but the time has finally come. Jake Peavy is moments away from making his White Sox debut against the Royals.
Too bad the start doesn’t mean anything, as the White Sox have lost
three in a row, unable to take advantage of the Tigers’ recent
struggles. Of course, the White Sox acquired Peavy from the Padres in
exchange for a boatload of prospects at the deadline. While general manager Ken Williams made quite a splash with the trade, this isn’t a rental. The White
Sox owe Peavy $52 million through 2012.

– There’s a distinct possibility
that Chad Billingsley just isn’t very good. Either that, or he is hiding an
injury. Billingsley pitched in relief for the first time this season on
Friday night against the Giants and
the results weren’t very encouraging.
He allowed two runs on four hits, including a home run, while walking
two and failing to strike out a batter. Joe Torre came with the hook
after he loaded the bases. It looks like Billingsley is still on track
to start against the Nationals next Wednesday, but his recent collapse
is nothing short of alarming. He is 3-6 with a 5.49 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and
.302 BAA in 12 appearances (11 starts) since the All-Star break.

– The Athletics recalled a few reinforcements on Saturday, including outfielder Travis Buck, but top-prospect Chris Carter was not one of them.
Nope, it looks like the Athletics will go with Daric Barton at first
base the rest of the way. Carter has surprised by hitting
.337/.435/.576 with 24 HR and 101 RBI for Double-A Midland this season.
Acquired from Arizona in the Dan Haren trade, Carter was ranked as the
No. 6 prospect in the Athletics organization by Baseball America. Don’t
be surprised to see him jump that list after his strong showing in 2009.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.