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Yardwork: Boston & Tampa Play Forever, and it Was MC Hammer Night in Oakland

Dustin Pedroia smacked a single with two outs in the top of the 16th to finally break the seal of a scoreless time in a marathon game that lasted an unmanageable (as Michael Kay would say) 5 hours and 44 minutes. The fierce duel between Jeff Niemann and Josh Beckett very well might have been the showdown of the season. A combined 15 pitchers were used in this one. I’m guessing if Tony La Russa were involved, that number would have been doubled when you factor in position players and fans. Alfredo Aceves pitched three shutout innings and hasn’t allowed a run over his last 10 1-3 innings, making it all the more interesting that the Yankees decided to let him walk away when they are sending horrific relievers like Sergio Mitre to the hill on a regular basis. The fact that Kyle Farnsworth escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the ninth might be the biggest stunner of all. Fun fact, but not really fun at all: It was the longest 1-0 game in the major leagues since the Brewers at Angels on June 8, 2004, went 17 innings, according to STATS LLC.

Braves 9, Nats 8 — First of all, I found it hilarious that the Braves mowed “10,000″ into the outfield grass. Still not as surprising as when, in a fit of rage, Mets manager Dallas Green mowed “Eat Shit” into the outfield at Shea, but amusing nonetheless. The only real way to honor such absurdity is for a dude to storm the field in a wedding dress. Although the incident actually took place during Washington’s 5-2 victory on Saturday, its inclusion was necessary. As for yesterday’s game, Jar-Jar Jurrjens (5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER), is already back to earth. That didn’t take long, but it sure was fun while it lasted. Thankfully, Freddie Freebird was there to save the day in the bottom of the ninth, delivering the first walkoff hit of his young career.

It was also MC Hammer night in Oakland yesterday. Sure, the A’s beat the Angels 9-1 behind seven delightful shutout innings from Gio Gonzalez, but of most importance here is the bobblehead. Often times, bobbleheads look pretty bad. For example, the Manny Ramirez bobblehead that looked more like Kid Rock. This one, however, perfectly captures 1980s Hammer. In celebration of the man, here’s a touching ballad he reportedly penned in memory of a lost slice of Road Beef back when he was a batboy for the A’s.

Pirates 7, Astros 5, 11 innings — The Buccos have won 7 of 10 but their moment in first place unfortunately occurred over the weekend, so we were unable to celebrate the moment as a group. Perhaps such a moment will come again. The Reds visit PNC Park for a three game set starting tonight which would almost lead me to say we’ll see what they Pirates are really made of, but Dontrelle Willis is going for the Reds.

Rangers 3, Mariners 1 — The Rangers have ripped off 11 straight wins, with the latest coming thanks to another great start from Matt Harrison (7.2, 5 H, 1 ER).

Yanks 7, Blue Jays 2 — Phil Hughes had one of the more stunning lines of the day (6 IP, 2 ER) for two reasons: The Toronto bats have been devouring everything lately, and also because he had previously been topping out at 76 mph. Brett Gardner has been on fire since the All-Star break. Yesterday was his second straight three-hit game to go along with two stolen bases and three runs scored.

Reds 3, Cards 1 — Either Lance Berkman was the only one who showed up offensively for the Cards, or Homer Bailey pitched awesomely, going 7 1-3 innings and giving up just three hits. Your choice.

Twins 4, Royals 3 — Jim Thome launched the 596th home run of his career. He’s a handful of Thome-bombs away from becoming the eighth player to hit 600 home runs. Has anyone noticed the season Melky Cabrera is having? These are good numbers. I guess no one cares because he plays for the Kansas City Royals. Fair enough. Minnesota has won 7 of their last 10. The AL Central is once again hearing footsteps.

Giants 4, Padres 3, 11 innings — Chris Stewart drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze in the 11th inning. These kind of plays tend to work out for the defending champs and tend to work against the team sitting 14 games out of first place.

O’s 8, Indians 3 — The Baltimore Orioles won a baseball game. In fact, the win makes two straight and means no clips from The Wire. We all lose here, except for the O’s, who now sit just 16 victories shy of .500.

Brewers 4, Rockies 3 — There have been complaints that the Brewers are only in here when they lose. Well guess what, they won! And they reside in first place. Smoke on that, Pittsburgh.

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