The Juice: Adrian Beltre hits three homers in romp, Chris Sale shuts down Yankees for sweep

Kevin Kaduk

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Beltre belts three:  Wednesday was the fifth anniversary of the Rangers' historic 30-3 romp over the Orioles, a contest at Camden Yards that set a modern record for runs in a game and arguably serves as the low point in Baltimore's current run of sub-.500 records.

The O's appear to be on their way to exorcising most of those demons, but their fans must have at least suffered some scary flashbacks on Wednesday with the two teams matching up at Rangers Ballpark. Though Texas pulled off the pedal after taking an early nine-run lead, Adrian Beltre did something in the 12-3 victory that no Rangers hitter did during that mega-rout in 2007. The third baseman hit three home runs by the end of the fourth inning, becoming only the fifth player to record a three-homer game in both the regular season and the playoffs. (Beltre did the same deed against the Rays in last year's ALDS. As for that 30-3 game, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez both hit two homers apiece.)

Beltre had two other chances to hit his fourth home run, which would have equaled a major-league record last reached by teammate Josh Hamilton against Baltimore earlier this season. And he made no bones about his intentions during those last two plate appearances.

''I'm trying to hit a home run,'' Beltre told reporters. ''I got a pitch to hit, too, but I couldn't do it.''

That's probably just as well that he didn't get there, though. No need to open old wounds further.

Super Sale: Chicago's Chris Sale added another sterling effort to his growing Cy Young case, striking out 13 and allowing only one run over  7 2/3 innings in a sweep-sealing 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees. Combined with Tampa Bay's 5-3 win over the Royals, the Yankees' lead in the AL East now stands at just three games, the slimmest margin in almost two months.

San Francisco sweeps: The Giants, meanwhile, are admiring their largest lead in the NL West in over a month after sweeping the Dodgers in Southern California. Wednesday's 8-4 victory was keyed by a career night from Joaquin Arias (3 for 4 with a homer and five RBIs) and a typically strong performance from Matt Cain that joined similar starts by Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum. San Francisco is 5-2 since the Melky Cabrera suspension was announced.

Atlanta avoids one: With his team facing a sweep and a potential eight-game deficit in the NL East, Braves pitcher Kris Medlen stepped up with seven shutout innings in a 5-1 win over Washington.

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Quote of the day

"I wasn't going to let him get the loss. He'd done his job."

— Arizona manager Kirk Gibson on removing rookie pitcher Tyler Skaggs after 6 2/3 innings of work. The 21-year-old actually ended up earning a victory in his first career start as the D-Backs beat the Marlins 3-2 in the first game of the first doubleheader in Chase Field history. (They won the nightcap 3-0, too.)

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Photo of the day: Cool threads

The Reds and Phillies both wore great throwback uniforms as part of "Nineties Night" at Citizens Bank Park. Here's Jay Bruce looking good and feeling good after hitting a home run during Cincinnati's 3-2 win.

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Three facts for the water cooler

• Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 15 as the Pirates were swept in San Diego. That brings his NL-leading batting average down to .349, just ahead of Melky Cabrera's .346.

• The Cardinals took a half-game lead in the NL wild-card race over Pittsburgh with a 4-2 win over Houston. Kyle Lohse is 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his last 12 starts.

• Jose Valverde recorded his 100th save in a Tigers uniform in a 3-2 win over Toronto.

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