If every game had a storybook ending, the Los Angeles Angels would have defeated the New York Mets on Saturday night. It all set up so perfectly. 41-year-old Raul Ibanez, who has established a reputation in recent years as one of baseball's great clutch hitters in the late innings, stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning with the Angels down three runs, the tying runs on base and two outs. The ultimate clutch situation, and to add to the drama Ibanez was sitting on 1,999 career hits.
Naturally, Ibanez delivered a game-tying home run off Jose Valverde, because he always seems to hold up his end of the bargain. Just ask the 2012 Yankees during the postseason.
His 2,000th hit - a game-tying home run in the ninth. The Angels are destined to win that game. Only they didn't. When the dust finally settled in the 13th inning, the Mets were victorious 7-6 on Anthony Recker's solo home run.
Former starter John Lannan picked up his first win as a reliever, though starter Jonathan Niese probably deserved it after throwing seven and one-third innings of three run ball. Meanwhile, a struggling Jered Weaver got off the hook after allowing four runs in six and two-thirds innings. He walked four.
YANKEES SMACK FIVE BIG FLIES: The New York Yankees are making up for lost time after going without a home run in their first five games. On Saturday, the team muscled up for five round trippers in their 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox, including the first two of the season from free agent acquisition Brian McCann.
McCann's first blast came on a first pitch fastball from John Lackey leading off the fourth. The no doubt moonshot reached the second deck in right field at Yankee Stadium and broke a 2-2 tie. Two innings later, McCann connected for another solo homer that provided an important insurance run for New York. Carlos Beltran, who started the scoring with a two-run homer in the first, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson also contributed to the breakout game.
Interesting to note: The Yankees did it with a lineup that featured only one holdover from April 2013. That player being Brett Gardner.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH: The beat rolls on for the Milwaukee Brewers, who topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 at Miller Park to secure their eighth consecutive victory. The Brewers improved upon their major league best record, which now sits at 9-2. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team with eight wins (to go with four losses), so Milwaukee is guaranteed to carry that mark beyond the weekend.
And it's no fluke either. Milwaukee's +25 run differential is also the best in MLB.
All-star center fielder Carlos Gomez got the scoring started on Saturday with a leadoff homer in the first, but it wasn't until Jonathan Lucroy's RBI single in the eighth that they were able to put the game away. Starter Yovani Gallardo, who entered with 12 and two-thirds scoreless innings to begin the season, allowed two runs over six innings but ended up with a no-decision.
According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds were involved in four 1-0 games last season at the Great American Ballpark and won three of those. In five home games this season, there have already been three 1-0 games, and the Reds have lost two of those.
It's likely a temporary power outage with guys like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce sure to break out on any given day. But give credit where it's due on Saturday to Rays starter Alex Cobb. In seven innings, he allowed four hits and struck out five.
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