Player of the week: Grady Sizemore

The Indians’ leadoff man extraordinaire, Sizemore put together a sterling all-around week in helping Cleveland open up its lead in the AL Central. In a seven-game stretch that ended Monday, Sizemore went 9-for-26, hit two home runs (including a grand slam) and had 11 RBIs as the Indians went 6-1 against the A’s and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Sizemore, who will make his second All-Star appearance next week, also scored six runs, drew six walks and added two doubles for the Indians, who were 50-32 after Sizmore’s big week.

BASEBALL STORYLINES

Giants fans got their wish when hometown hero Barry Bonds made up a 119,158-vote deficit over the final days to overtake Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs in the starting outfield for the National League All-Star team. The All-Star Game, set to take place Tuesday at AT&T Park, is Bonds’ 14th selection and12th as a starter, but this one should be special for the 42-year-old slugger — he will play in front of his adoring home crowd. Bonds, who will be the oldest player to start an All-Star Game, was bailed out by the fans’ late rush to the ballot box.

The month of June contained enough memorable moments to last a year, as Justin Verlander, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas and Craig Biggio were among those to make history. Detroit’s Verlander started it off by throwing a no-hitter June 12 in a 4-0 win over Milwaukee and Texas’ Sosa followed by becoming the fifth player in the history to hit 600 home runs when he went yard June 20. Then to cap off the month, Toronto designated hitter Frank Thomas crushed his 500th career homer against Minnesota on June 28, the same day that Houston’s Craig Biggio joined the 3,000-hit club when he went 5-for-6 against Colorado.

Two more managers left their jobs this week — one move was expected, but the other one was quite a shock. With his team misfiring at 20 games below .500, Jerry Narron was fired by the Cincinnati Reds, giving advanced scout Pete Mackanin a chance to turn around the middling franchise. In Seattle, with his team playing far above expectations, Mike Hargrove — possibly in the middle of one of his finest managerial performances of his career — abruptly resigned, leaving the onus on John McLaren to steer the club into the postseason.

— Will Reisman

KEY SERIES

RED SOX AT TIGERS (Today-Sunday): Detroit, boasting the AL’s top batting average at .288 and led by All-Star Magglio Ordonez’s .365 clip, will test the Red Sox’s pitching corps, which has been shorthanded recently because of the loss of Curt Schilling to injury.

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