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A wild game at Tropicana Field ended with one clutch swing of the bat by Evan Longoria. Trailing 7-6 with a runner on and two outs in the ninth, the Rays third baseman connected for his fifth career walkoff home run (the most in Rays history) off Padres closer Huston Street to extend the home team's winning streak to four.
And we do mean dramatic, because it seemed like Tampa Bay had the game well in hand with a 6-2 lead and Jeremy Hellickson rolling right along into the seventh inning. That all changed, however, when San Diego loaded the bases and then pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman delivered his first homer of the season — a grand slam — to tie it up. The Padres then reloaded the bases against reliever Jamey Wright and grabbed the lead on a walk to Carlos Quentin.
That held until the ninth, right up until Street walked Ben Zobrist with two outs and then Longoria followed with his magic to send Rays fans, and especially manager Joe Maddon, home happy.
'It would have been among the top three worst losses of the year,'' said manager Joe Maddon, who was uncharacteristically perturbed about another blown lead.
''That's not going to happen very often,'' Maddon said. ''We were fortunate Longo was in the right spot, fortunate that Zo gets it as a hitter. You had all this talent coming together at that particular moment. But you can't go to the dance playing like that. When you get leads, you've got to put the other team away. I'm not happy with that. That's inappropriate. That's got to stop.''
I said better mood, not necessarily a good mood. Maybe that will come on Sunday.
Liriano’s dazzling debut: A broken arm suffered during the offseason pushed Francisco Liriano’s Pirates debut back about five weeks, but it was certainly worth the wait as the 29-year-old left-hander struck out nine Mets over five and one-third innings in the Pirates 11-2 victory. Liriano allowed only six hits and one run in the outing, and benefited form an offensive outburst that saw Pittsburgh build up an 8-0 lead against Jonathan Niese.
Taking one for the team: Though Brewers manager Ron Roenicke felt bad, his depleted pitching staff left him with no other option but to ride out Hiram Burgos' rough start in Cincinnati. The unfortunate result was 12 runs allowed (10 earned) on 11 hits in just three innings.
''I don't ever want to do that to somebody again,'' Ronenicke said afterward. ''We're hurting in the bullpen.''
In baseball, sometimes positioning yourself for a better tomorrow is more important than surviving today. This was one of those cases. However, in another unfortunate twist for Milwaukee, Reds starter Mat Latos didn't have it either (six earned in six innings), but the game was already decided with Cincinnati holding on, 13-7.
Cardinals 3, Rockies 0: Colorado will try to avoid being shutout for the weekend on Sunday.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2: Adam Lind’s ninth inning home run bails out Jays after the bullpen blew a 2-0 lead in eighth.
Giants 10, Braves 1: Gregor Blanco delivered a base-clearing double and an RBI triple off the bench to set a new career-high with four runs batted in.
Indians 7, Tigers 6: How's this for weird baseball: Ubaldo Jimenez out dueled Justin Verlander.
Twins 8, Orioles 5: Three hits apiece for Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Angels 3, White Sox 2: Mike Trout homered for fourth time in 10 games.
Phillies 3, Diamondbacks 1: Despite the loss, D-Backs left-hander Matt Reynolds extended his scoreless appearance streak to 22.
A's 4; Mariners 3: Oakland snaps a five-game losing skid with solo homers from Josh Donaldson, Daric Barton and Brandon Moss.
Chicago Cubs' tumblers — Anthony Rizzo (rolling) and Darwin Barney (standing).
''I really don't think he's forgotten how to pitch, forgotten how to throw a cutter or any of that. I always say, when you're old or overweight - and you don't want to be both - and you're struggling, people are always going to be saying, 'Is something wrong? Is something wrong?' It's baseball. Everyone struggles.''
— Yankees manager Joe Girardi on the recent struggles of Andy Pettitte. Those were not at all apparent on Saturday, however, as the veteran left-hander held Kansas City to two runs over seven innings in a 3-2 victory.
• Nelson Cruz has three game-tying home runs in the past week. They have all come in the sixth inning.
• Stephen Strasburg has already allowed eight unearned runs this season. He allowed six unearned runs all of 2012.
• Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez became the first major league player to hit multiple home runs off Yu Darvish in the same game.
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