Royals 7, @Twins 2 — Justin Maxwell left a team that went 11-29 in games he played this year and lent an instant hand to the hottest club around, with a hit, a walk, a run and a ribby. Two sac flies and three RBI groundouts punctuated K.C.’s 9th straight win, matching their best since 1994. This streak and that one both began on July 23, with a labor-management cloud hanging over baseball.
Who’s up for a Bucs-Rays World Series? I foresee great entertainment for real baseball fans, and weak ratings to frustrate the network — a win-win!
@Pirates 2, Cardinals 1 (1st game, 11 inn.) — After two Bucs got free passes, Alex Presley singled to win it, pushing the Pirates atop the NL Central with the nightcap pending. Presley’s hit came on a full count and glanced off the glove of rookie southpaw Kevin Siegrist, who’d allowed just 4 hits and a run in his first 14 innings and might have escaped with a DP had he let it go through. It was Pittsburgh’s 6th game-ending hit, each by a different player, and gave them the majors’ best record at 63-42.
Rays 2, @Red Sox 1 — In a game rescheduled by rain, 8th-inning showers stalled David Price’s bid for the first 5-win July in Tampa history, and twice his relief nearly blew the lead. But Fernando Rodney escaped his self-imposed jam by striking out Mike Napoli, and the Rays nipped back into 1st place by a half-game.
With division and wild card rival Tampa Bay coming into town for a 3 game set, the Yankees were in dire need of a dominate performance from their $182 million dollar staff ace. New York entered play on Friday just 2.5 games behind Baltimore in the chase for the 2nd Wild Card and with the newly re-acquired Alfonso Soriano en tow, the deficit was looking a little more manageable. Unfortunately for New York CC Sabathia may no longer be the ace he once was. Heck, right now he isn’t even the ace of his own staff. That designation belongs to Hiroki Kuroda and his shiny 2.51 ERA.
After Friday night’s shellacking , CC Sabathia now has an ERA of 4.65. That mark stands as the highest of his career. It’s worse than the 4.38 ERA he posted as a rookie in 2001 when hitters were pummeling pitchers into submission night after night. And his ERA isn’t the only problem. The big lug is allowing more hits and homers than at any point in his career and more disturbingly, his fastball velocity is sitting 2 mph below his career norm.
Four 1-0 games in one day?!? There was one other day this year with two such games. Last June 13 had three, as did 2010-09-11, 2009-07-01, 2004-09-19 and 2004-06-08. There were six in three days starting 2005-08-12. But if I’m not mistaken, the last day with four 1-0 games was 2001-09-02. (You’ll have to poke around to find which one of those was most memorable.)
Only the early precincts were tallied when Game Notes put the issue to bed.
Rays 10, @Yankees 6 — Rain ruined the rampaging Rays’ second head-to-head crack at 1st place on Thursday, but the indirect route proved just as rewarding. A 6-run eruption off CC Sabathia, plus Boston’s meek loss in Charm City, left them alone at the top for the first time since last June, riding the long crest of a 20-3 wave (2.33 ERA).
Caleb Gindl‘s heroics for Milwaukee in Sunday’s 13-inning 1-0 win over Miami inspired this post. For those who may not be aware, Gindl’s homer was the deciding run in the hometown Brewers walk-off win. It was also the first home run of Gindl’s career.
Gindl is a rookie this season and I have no idea how many home runs he may hit in his career. But, if he never hits another one he will join the group of players featured in this post. They are all retired players with two things in common: they hit exactly one home run in their careers; and it was a walk-off shot.
After the jump, a look at those players who had just one long fly, but made it count big time.
@Nationals 9, Pirates 7 — The Nats blew a 7-3 lead in the top of the 9th, putting a 7th straight loss in play. But Bryce Harper saved the day, blasting his first walk-off homer for their first game-ending hit of the year. Kurt Suzuki got the inning to Harper with a 1-out single. They’d grown the lead from 1 to 4 with an 8th-inning rough-up of Vin Mazzaro.