The Braves offense didn't need Mark Teixeira right away.
Teixeira, acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers, arrived in Atlanta Tuesday night but did not play. But the Braves' offense sparked anyway, as Atlanta routed the Astros, 12-4, and hit four home runs. The offensive star was Kelly Johnson, who had four hits, including two homers.
"There was a buzz in here," Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the club acquiring Teixeira. "And you could feel it out there, too. It's just exciting."
Johnson had five RBIs on the night, including a three-run homer. Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur also homered for the Braves.
"We joked around tonight that the 6, 7, 8 spots did all right tonight," said Johnson, expecting that Teixeira will force him, McCann, and Francoeur to move in the batting order.
Willis happy to still be a Marlin: While there was a late flurry of activity on the trade market, Dontrelle Willis remained with the Marlins. Both Willis and the club were happy with that result.
"I really didn't put that much thought into me leaving, so I guess [I was confident]," Willis told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"I wasn't concerned about that. I've been here every year [after the deadline], so nothing's different. It's not a big adjustment for me. I still have the same parking spot. I love it here."
Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest actively sought to make a deal but did not find anything available to his liking. He would not comment if Willis was part of his trade talks.
"The one thing is Dontrelle is a special player -- highly successful, highly marketable and very important to this franchise," Beinfest said.
Matthews breaks through: Gary Matthews smacked two home runs among four extra-base hits to lead the Angels to an 8-0 win over the Mariners Tuesday night. The homers were Matthews' first since June 17th.
"I think the last one we were playing Interleague against the Dodgers," Matthews told the Los Angeles Times.
Matthews also added two doubles. His big game came after coaches told him to be more selective at the plate.
"I have had some tough luck lately," Matthews told the Los Angeles Times. "Sometimes it happens. It's part of the game. You deal with it and sooner or later it all balances out."
Said manager Mike Scioscia: "I think his timing is here. I think he was caught in the middle a little bit before, and he's really putting some good swings on it now and it's good to see."
Gagne gives BoSox end-of-game options: The Boston Red Sox may have one of the best bullpens in the Majors now after acquiring reliever Eric Gagne from the Texas Rangers Tuesday.
The Sox sent left-handed pitcher Kason Gabbard and Minor League outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre to the Rangers in exchange for Gagne, who waived his no-trade clause. Gagne will be used primarily as the setup man but will get some save opportunities when the Sox rest closer Jonathan Papelbon.
"We're excited. We feel like we have a really good club. We were looking for ways to strengthen it, and I think the bullpen is already a strength of the club," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein told MLB.com. "Acquiring a pitcher the caliber of Eric Gagne only makes us stronger. It helps gives us what we hope will be a truly dominant bullpen for the remainder of the year.
"Eric is obviously one of the most decorated closers in recent memory. He'll be joining this club primarily in the setup capacity, pitching with Hideki Okajima in front of Jonathan Papelbon and taking save opportunities here and there when Jonathan is not available. To have him agree to waive his no-trade and come here in that role means a lot to this organization."
Gagne was 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA with the Rangers, recording 16 saves as well. The Red Sox attempted to sign Gagne this past offseason.
Ensberg happy to be returning home: Morgan Ensberg, who owns a home in the San Diego area, was ecstatic with the news of his trade from Houston to the Padres.
"I think it was absolutely the best scenario," he told the Houston Chronicle. "This season was very turbulent. It was difficult. I wish I had done better, but once everything kind of went down you feel down and then you have this blessing. It really is a blessing from God. I'm certain of it."
The Astros traded Ensberg for a player to be named or cash considerations.
"I'm shocked," said Ensberg, who hit .232 (52-for-224) with eight home runs and 31 RBIs this year for Houston. "My wife (Christi) and I are so happy we get a chance to get back there. I really was just speechless when (general manager) Tim (Purpura) told me I was going out there."
Castillo buoys Mets' infield, lineup: Looking to secure the second base position, the New York Mets acquired Luis Castillo from the Minnesota Twins Monday for Double-A catcher Drew Butera and Class A outfielder Dustin Martin.
"By adding Castillo to our club, we felt like were able to improve our second-base situation," general manager Omar Minaya told Newsday. "We were able to address an area that was very important to us."
Castillo has won three Gold Gloves, giving the Mets yet another outstanding defensive player in the infield to go along with shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright.
"He turns the double play excellent and it's important to have someone to the right of [Carlos] Delgado to cover ground," Minaya said. "He's one of the better second basemen in the game."
Castillo will hit second for the Mets behind Reyes. With the Twins, he was hitting .304 with a .356 on-base percentage in 85 games. With Castillo in the lineup, the first three hitters in the Mets' lineup are switch-hitters.
Molina adds strength to Bombers: Since being acquired from the Angels on July 21, catcher Jose Molina has already earned two starts, including a 2-for-4 performance with a double in his debut with the New York Yankees.
While any offense will be appreciated from Molina, the main reason the Yankees wanted him was for his experience he brings behind the plate.
"I'm more comfortable," Torre told MLB.com about having Molina to back up starting catcher Jorge Posada. "The fact that Jose has been a regular catcher on a team is great. Just watching his first game the other day, he knows what to do."
Molina showed off his defensive skills Sunday, throwing out Orioles outfielder Corey Patterson at second base on a stolen base attempt.
Manny back to being Manny: After finding his groove at the plate, Boston Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez was named the American League Player of the Week. This is the 15th time Ramirez has garnered the honor, more than any other active American League player.
Ramirez hit .393 with four doubles, three home runs and drove in 10 runs. One of his home runs was a massive 481-foot shot at Jacob's Field in Cleveland, the third-longest homer in the 14-year history of the field.
"I think he knew he was uncomfortable," Sox manager Terry Francona told MLB.com about Ramirez's first-half struggles. "He was worried about where his hands were, things like that. He still has the ability to get hits, even when he's not comfortable. When he gets comfortable, he has a chance to be Manny."
Before the All-Star break, Ramirez hit .284 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs. Since the break, Ramirez has been red hot, hitting .388 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 18 games entering Tuesday night.
More at-bats means more success for Blum: Used mostly as a pinch-hitter during the first half of the season, San Diego Padres infielder Geoff Blum struggled at the plate. But the switch-hitter has received plenty of playing time lately and he has responded well at the plate.
"Since the break, he's been outstanding," manager Bud Black told MLB.com. "He's given our offense a little bit of a lift when he's been in there. It's tough to sit as much as he's sat over the course of the season and then come in and find his stroke and contribute. But he's a pro, and he knows what it's all about. He's been great."
Entering Tuesday night, Blum has made nine of his 26 starts in the past two weeks. Since June 24, he is hitting .357 (15-for-42) with two doubles and six walks.
"Repetition is going to lead to some success," Blum said. "Early in the season my at-bats were few and far between, but now I'm getting them on a regular basis and it's working out. I always appreciate the playing time. It's a little unexpected, but I'm going to take advantage of the time I've been given and go from there."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.