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The Juice: Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s grand slam downs Yankees; Cardinals win on passed ball

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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The New York Yankees have shown their resiliency time and time again in the face of injuries this season. On Friday night, it was on full display once more just hours after learning outfielder Brett Gardner was likely lost for the regular season.

[Photos: MLB playoff elimination tracker]

Trailing by four runs in the first inning after a rough start by Hiroki Kuroda, New York battled back to draw even with the Boston Red Sox in the middle innings. Unfortunately, though, with one big swing of the bat, all of their hard work was washed away. In the bottom of the seventh, Jarrod Saltalamacchia connected for a tiebreaking grand slam off Preston Claiborne, which proved to be the difference in Boston's 8-4 victory.

When you think of one big swing from Boston's lineup, Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't the first name you expect to hear. He's perhaps the ninth or 10th. But as David Ortiz explains, that's the way this Boston team has been winning all season.

From the Associated Press:

''That's what is making this season fun,'' Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said. ''You're not talking about a team that depends on one guy. I know that everybody has to be careful with myself, but there are plenty of guys."

Though he didn't get a save, closer Koji Uehara had a 1-2-3 ninth and has retired 37 straight batters, four away from tying Bobby Jenks' record for a reliever. With the win, its 15th in 19 games, Boston lowered its magic number in the American League East to seven. As for the Yankees, they're now two games back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card. They were also passed by the Cleveland Indians. Their road to the postseason remains uphill in all directions.

Cards back on top: It wasn't their prettiest effort, but the St. Louis Cardinals have never been about style points. They capitalized on two big mistakes by the Seattle Mariners to win 2-1 in 10 innings and move back into first place in the NL Central. A dropped popup by Seattle infielder Nick Franklin opened the door for their first run in the eighth, with Jon Jay knocking in Pete Kozma two batters later to tie the score at 1-all.

In the tenth, the Cardinals mounted a two-out rally from scratch after Kozma singled and Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay both walked. Again, they benefited from a Seattle miscue as rookie catcher Mike Zunino failed to handle a poorly located fastball from left-hander Oliver Perez. Kozma raced down the line to score the winning run on a passed ball, and with the Pittsburgh Pirates falling to the Cubs, the Cardinals were officially back on top in the division.

Indians 3, White Sox 1: Cleveland manager Terry Francona used eight different pitchers as Cleveland won its 10th straight over the White Sox.

Nationals 6, Phillies 1: Stephen Strasburg was a late scratch with forearm tightness. Ross Ohlendorf picked up the slack throwing five innings of one-run ball for Davey Johnson's club.

Cubs 5, Pirates 4: Pittsburgh hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the fourth, but still couldn’t overcome the mighty Cubs.

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 3: Major league leader Chris Davis joined the 50-home run club.

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit two solo homers for Miami, but it was Lucas Duda’s three-run shot that turned the game in New York's favor.

Padres 4, Braves 3: The Braves led 3-0 in the seventh inning, but their middle relievers couldn't bridge the gap to Craig Kimbrel.

Tigers 6, Royals 3: Right-hander Justin Verlander picked up his first win since in seven starts since Aug. 6. Torii Hunter and Prince Fielder knocked in three runs apiece.

A's 9, Rangers 8: Oakland barely survived a wild west battle, but extended its division lead to 4 1/2 games over Texas.

Brewers 5, Reds 1: Kyle Lohse retired 23 straight at one point.

Rays 3, Twins 0: Tampa Bay holds its ground in the wild card race behind rookie starter Chris Archer.

Astros 9, Angels 7: A grand slam by Matt Dominguez capped Houston's six-run fifth.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 5: Colorado used a five-run seventh inning to pull away.

Giants 4, Dodgers 2: Because the D-backs lost, the Dodgers magic number was reduced to four, even though the Giants got to Clayton Kershaw.

''It seems like the whole year has been tinkering. I feel like the last three starts, I've found what I really need to be working on and focusing on.''

— Justin Verlander

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(USA Today)

Juan Perez makes a great catch for San Francisco. Brian Wilson signals touchdown.

• The Pirates have lost 11 straight games on Friday the 13th. That's tied for the longest such streak in MLB history. (Via ESPN Stats & Info)

• Justin Upton snapped his 18 game streak without an RBI. He's never had a longer RBI drought in his MLB career.

• Brian McCann joined Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench as the only catchers in MLB history with at least six straight 20-home run seasons.

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