@Rangers 10, Angels 3: No foolin’ — at the exact moment that I flipped over from Mets postgame to the MLB Network, that man was up to bat. Five seconds and one pitch later, he had another HR — his 2nd of the game, 8th in 18 times up over 5 games, and 17th of the year. This is the Rangers’ 33rd game, Hamilton’s 30th.

  • The Angels have 18 more games with Texas, and they may need to win ‘em all to get back in the race. More likely, the ref stops this fight on cuts.
  • Hamilton tied the mark for most HRs in the team’s first 33 games, set by Cy Williams in 1923 and by Frank Howard in 1968. Hondo had a similar barrage, homering in 6 straight games from #28-33 for a total of 10 HRs.
  • Now he’s on pace for 83 HRs. I know, I know — you’re never as good as you look when you’re hitting every other pitch outta the park. Hey, I just do the arithmetic; take it for whatever it’s worth.
  • Heywood Broun once said of a Babe Ruth HR, “It was a pop fly with a brand new gland.” Let’s see, 6.5-second hang time — yeah, that’ll work.
  • Before yesterday, Mike Napoli had 4 triples in over 2,300 career PAs. Now he’s tripled in consecutive games.

Braves 7, @Cardinals 7 (tied in 12th): Speaking of hot sluggers, Carlos Beltran had his third 2-HR game this month, including a game-tying blast in the 8th off Jonny Venters, the first off him this year. But in the 12th, Jason Heyward connected

  • Beltran’s big night — he also tripled and doubled — gave him 12 HRs (tied with Kemp) and 31 RBI, one off Ethier’s pace. His first HR tonight had some distance.
  • Beltran has 314 career HRs but just one 3-HR game.
  • Winning pitcher Livan Hernandez loaded the bases in both of his innings, but wiggled free each time. It’s the first scoreless outing since 2008 of 2+ IP with a 3.0 WHIP.

@Orioles 4, Rays 3: Their first series this year is a first-place showdown, and the home fans went away happy after Nick Johnson hit his first HR in over 2 years. With 2 down in the 7th and the O’s down a run, Johnson worked the count full, then unloaded on Joel Peralta to take the lead.

  • Just up from the minors, Dana Eveland staggered to a quality start (3 runs, 11 baserunners in 6 IP), but the bullpen was stalwart as usual. Darren O’DayPedro Strop and Jim Johnson all tossed a perfect inning. Johnson has 10 saves with none blown, and just 1 run allowed this year.

Astros 1, @Pirates 0: Four hits for each side led to the first no-RBI win in the majors this year; the run scored on a GDP.

  • Winner Bud Norris also got the win in Houston’s previous 1-0 victory, last April.
  • Norris was lifted after 6 superb innings (3 hits, no walks, 8 Ks) and just 94 pitches, and not for a pinch-hitter. Brad Mills has one of the league’s better bullpens (3rd in ERA and WHIP). Wilton Lopez has yet to allow a walk in 19.2 IP, the longest season-starting streak since Mariano Rivera went 20 IP in 2008. Lopez has stranded 8 of 9 inherited runners and has the 5th-best OPS allowed (min. 15 IP). Brett Myers is 9-for-9 in save opps with no runs allowed.
  • Hard-luck loser James McDonald fanned 8 and lasted 8 IP for just the 2nd time in his 54 starts. He has a 2.42 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 45 IP.

@Brewers 8, Cubs 7 (13): Corey Hart won it with a hit in the 13th after Lendy Castillo filled the bags with back-to-back HBPs and a single. But the really heavy lifting came in the 7th and 9th. With Milwaukee up 1-0, David DeJesus hit the first pitch thrown by Kameron Loe for the second pinch-slam of the year. But the Crew snatched the lead right back with their own PH heroics in the home half. Jonathan Lucroy capped a 2-out, 4-run spree by slicing a 3-run pinch-double off Michael Bowden, who had relieved the short-leashed Carlos Marmol (2 outs, then a walk, a double and the hook; oh, fine, he left with an injury, but I would have yanked him).

  • It remained 5-4 into the 9th, so Ron Roenicke called on the most reliable closer left standing. John Axford had converted 49 straight save opps, dating back to 2011. But this is 2012, when closers enter not to heavy metal music but the simple cry of “Dead man walking!” This blown save had everything — an error by Aramis Ramirez, a wild pitch, a tying triple by DeJesus (5 RBI off the bench, plus this catch!), an unusual strikeout/wild pitch for the lead, a stolen base, and a 2-out hit for an insurance run. Chicago took a 2-run lead into the last of the 9th.
  • Uh-oh, Rafael Dolis walked Ramirez with 1 out. That brings up Corey Hart; he’s got power … boom, we’re tied. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be closers.
  • John Axford had the first outing with 3 Ks in less than an inning since last August, also against the Cubs.
  • Milwaukee’s receiving tandem of Lucroy and George Kottaras leads the majors with a .320 BA and over .900 OPS from that position. Kottaras drew 3 walks tonight and has 14 in just 45 PAs, helping build a .523 OBP.
  • Ryan Braun went 0-2 but reached 5 times on the HBP and a new career-high 4 walks.

@A’s 11, Tigers 4: The meat of the order led Oakland to a season high in runs; the #3-6 hitters went 11-18 with 3 HRs, 11 RBI and 8 Runs.

  • Brandon Inge does have a couple of 27-HR seasons in his past, but this is still ridiculous. That makes 4 HRs and 16 RBI in his last 5 games. Of his 18 RBI this year, 16 have come on his 5 HRs — two slams, two 3-run shots and a modest 2-run affair.
  • Josh Reddick (4-4-4-5) has 10 RBI in his last 6 games.

@Marlins 6, Mets 5: New York mounted their usual comeback, getting 3 in the 8th on pinch-hits by The Nieuw Kid and Mike Baxter (6-15, 5 RBI as a PH). But Miami had the last licks, and they used them wisely.

  • Can a grounder grow a brand new gland? The hardest-hit ball I’ve seen this year came low off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton, touched down in the infield, skimmed past the shortstop, split the outfielders and kicked off the wall for a double.
  • The Timmy Pea Catch of the Day: Cat-like quickness.
  • They scored this a triple. Come on.

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