- Two thoughts out of Baltimore last night, first the Orioles are clearly not playing like pushovers any longer. Baltimore beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2, last night, completing a three-game sweep for their fourth straight victory. The other story is for those of you who want to figure out why someone other than Albert Pujols is struggling – have you noticed Jose Bautista? Bautista went 0-3 last night and he’s now hitting .194 with three homers, one double, and only nine RBI. Last April, Bautista hit .366 with nine homers and 15 RBI. From July 1 to the end of last season, Bautista hit .278 and combined with this season that number is down to .260.
- Another great ending in Tampa, is there no end to these? Brandon Allen pinch-hit, a two-run, walkoff 9th inning homer to give the Rays a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Yesterday, represented Allen’s first official Rays at-bat since Wednesday Allen drew a bases-loaded pinch-hit walk in the Rays 3-2 win over Los Angeles in his first Tampa Bay plate appearance. So far in two plate appearances, Allen has twice driven in the ultimate winning run. The Rays have won five straight and the Angels have now lost four straight and are now nine games behind the Rangers. In 13 9th innings, the Rays have scored 18 runs, their most prolific inning, they are an impressive 3-7 when trailing at the start of the 9th. The Angels are only 5-5 when entering 7th inning with a lead and have allowed 30 runs after the 7th inning.
- The Orioles aren’t the only team not rolling over for the opposition and the Rays aren’t the only team walking off to victory. Yesterday, the Mets scored two in the bottom of the 9th to overtake the Miami Marlins, 3-2. And Albert Pujols is not the only high profiled acquisition who is struggling with his new team. Yesterday, Heath Bell came on to secure the Marlins win only to walk three to load the bases and then battled Mets pinch-hitter Justin Turner for 12 pitches before on the 13th Bell walked in the tying run. Kirk Nieuwenhuis then hit a two out walkoff single to win the game. Bell is now 2-for-5 in save opportunities and is 0-3 on the season. The Mets swept the three-game set and the Marlins now have a five game losing streak.
- The San Francisco Giants were on their way to their eighth straight defeat at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park but Angel Pagan hit a three-run homer in the top of the 9th to give SF a 6-5 win over the Reds.Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-5, extending his season-opening hitting streak to 19 games, breaking the Giants franchise record. Pagan has now hit in 11 straight games.
- On the subject of the Orioles and Blue Jays, the Red Sox now know what it’s like being the odd team out in the AL East. They won their fourth straight last night over the White Sox Phil Humber (a.k.a. Not Johnny Vander Meer), 10-3. Kevin Youkilis hit his second career grand slam and Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered twice. The Red Sox have scored 34 runs in winning their last four games, all against AL Central teams. The Sox are now 4-5 against the East, 4-3 against the Central, and 0-2 against the West. The less than perfect Humber allowed nine runs and eight hits in five innings. The nine earned runs topped the eight given up by Jim “Catfish” Hunter after his perfect game for Oakland in 1968. Humber’s ERA rose from 0.63 to 4.66. Ah, a rose by any other name.
- The Washington Nationals are very good and the San Diego Padres are more like the Washington Generals, but last night Mark Kotsay pinch-hit a two-run 8th inning double to give the Padres a 2-1 victory. Huston Street increased his trade value by earning the save. The Nats had taken the first two games of the series and were looking for its first sweep in San Diego since les jour du Montreal Expos in July 1994. The Nationals pitchers lead the majors with a 2.20 ERA and a .202 batting average against.
- The Royals are rolling after beating the Cleveland Indians for their second straight win, 4-2. The Tribe is now 7-2 on the road and 2-6 at home and the Cleveland offense has averaged six runs per game on the road compared with 3.5 at home this season.
- On the ever-growing injury front, in case you missed it: the Yankees have lost Michael Pineda for the season with an anterior labral tear (shoulder) that will require surgery. The Boston Red Sox already without Carl Crawford because of his wrist will now be without Carl Crawford for as long as three months because of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left (throwing) elbow. The Red Sox are hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery. In another case of getting injured while injured, Toronto starter Dustin McGowan has experienced shoulder pain while rehabilitating a foot injury and will be shut down for two weeks. Mets starter Mike Pelfrey is “99 percent” certain that he will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery as the result of a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.Orioles left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada appears to be headed for Tommy John surgery as well. Question: When will Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Lewis Yocum become members of the Baseball Hall of Fame?
- The post-Brandon Inge era began in Detroit with a 5-4 loss to the Mariners who completed a three-game sweep of a team that was expected to go wire-to-wire in the AL Central. The Tigers finished their homestand, 1-6. Inge was batting .100 (2-for-20) with one home run and two RBI this season. Inge ends his 12-year Detroit career having played 1408 games, 15th on the all-time Tiger list and the third most since 1975 trailing only Lou Whitaker (2390), and Alan Trammell (2293). Inge is a lifetime .234 hitter, but its his versatility that is such a plus. Inge was a third baseman, catcher, center fielder, left fielder, second baseman, right fielder and DH for Detroit.
“Brandon Inge has done a tremendous job for this team for a long time,” Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said. “For some people, I realize he’s been a very controversial player. The letters I got about him were more conflicted than about any player I’ve ever been associated with.
“But I personally want to thank him for everything he’s done for us. He’s been a true soldier throughout the years. He’s been a Tiger. He will always be a Tiger, not only for what he’s done on the field, but for how he’s represented us off the field.”