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This was a welcome role change for the Detroit Tigers — it wasn't their closer on Thursday blowing the game.
In a battle of two first-place teams, the Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on a two-run, walk-off homer by Jhonny Peralta. In the process, they shifted attention from their dysfunctional bullpen to Boston's struggling bullpen. For a night anyway.
Andrew Bailey, who gave up the game-winning homer, won't be closing anymore for Boston. Manager John Farrell didn't wait long to announce he'd be finding a new closer.
'We're going to back him out of there right now and try to get him fixed, so we'll look at some other internal options to close,'' Farrell said. ''His velocity hasn't come back since the DL stint, and although he says he feels fine, the results obviously aren't there.''
If Peralta hadn't played the hero role, we might just be talking about Detroit's bullpen again. Phil Coke gave up the go-ahead run to Boston in the top of the eighth inning. Before the game, Jim Leyland said — no expletives this time — he was ready to turn to Joaquin Benoit instead of Jose Valverde as a closer. Neither pitched Thursday, as Drew Smyly got the win with scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
But these two teams have three more games ahead of them this weekend. Who knows what bullpen carnage we could see by then.
Astros walk off too: Meanwhile, in last place, the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers ended their game Thursday in a walk-off fashion similar to their first-place friends above. Just because it's two last-place teams, that doesn't make a walk-off homer any less exciting.
In this case, slugger Carlos Pena hit a three-run jack in the 10th inning to give his Astros a 7-4 win. This came after Carlos Corporan hit a homer in the eighth to tie it for Houston.
Padres 6, Dodgers 3: The Padres' new acquisition Pedro Ciriaco hits a go-ahead triple and a two-run homer. That Yasiel Puig guy? He homered, but struck out to end the game.
Marlins 2, Giants 1: Marcell Ozuna hits a pitch-hit two-run single in the eighth to give Miami the win.
Cardinals 6, Cubs 1: Lance Lynn gets his 10th win for the Cards.Mets 4, Braves 3: David Wright smashes two homers for the Mets, who take three of five from the Braves.
Rays 8, Yankees 3: David Wright isn't the only star third baseman to hit two homers. Evan Longoria did it too. Matt Moore gets his ninth win for the Rays.
Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Jordan Zimmermann gets his 10th win for the Nats, while Roy Oswalt makes his Colorado debut. He struck out 11 in five innings, but allowed four runs on nine hits too, to take the loss.
Pirates 5, Reds 3: Pedro Alvarez drives in all five runs for the Pirates.
''I smell like a bar. Other than the day I met my wife, this is probably the happiest moment of my life. Definitely the happiest baseball moment.'' — Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler, who was doused with celebratory booze in the clubhouse after his first MLB win.
The daredevil Padres — that's Alexi Amarista (above) and Chris Denorfia — make a couple of sweet catches.
• Carlos Pena has now hit a walk-off homer as a member of five different teams.
• The World Series champs, the Giants, have lost eight straight home games to the worst team in baseball, the Marlins. That dates back to 2010. Of course, the Marlins haven't been the worst that entire time.
• Mike Trout has seven four-hit games in his short career. Four of those have come against the Mariners.
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