The Pirates make a fun story, but the NL Central is the Brew Crew's to lose. Milwaukee was 60--49 with six straight wins through Sunday and sat two games up with the division's most explosive lineup (118 HRs). Now, sewing up playoff home field advantage is key. The Crew's just 21--35 away from Miller Park.
Once feared lost for the year, Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia bashed eight HRs and slugged .723 with 46 July hits, the most by any Bostonian in that month since Bobby Doerr's 52 in 1939. Just as impressive: After 45 K's in the first three months he whiffed only six times in July.
Baseball's best-hitting tandem of late? That would be the A's Hideki Matsui (24 for 47, .511 since July 19) and shortstop Cliff Pennington (20 hits in 45 at bats). And they're doing it the Billy Beane Way: The pair's combined 2011 salary is a runway-model-thin $4.67 million.
The Friends with Benefits scene stealer benefited from warmups on Tony Hawk's skate ramp before the X Games. He nailed his last three tricks (a 720 and two 540s) on a winning run and edged three-time defending champ Pierre-Luc Gagnon for his first Vert gold since '07.