Big League Stew

The Juice: Jay Bruce halts slump with walkoff for Reds, Hiroki Kuroda is aces for Yankees

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

The Juice is going strong in 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.

The Bruce cuts loose: A lot of Cincinnati Reds players have picked up the slack while Joey Votto has been parked on the disabled list, but one of the most likely candidates — All-Star right fielder Jay Bruce — has not been one of them. Well, until Tuesday night, that is. Despite wielding a .220 batting average in the 24 games of Votto's absence, the powerful lefty mashed a three-run opposite-field  homer off reliever Josh Edgin for a 3-0 walkoff victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.  The blast ended the Reds frustrating night with runners in scoring position (0 for 9 before the homer), stopped Bruce's hitless streak at 0 for 13 and sent the Great American Ballpark crowd into a frenzy. Coupled with Pittsburgh's 11-0 drubbing by Los Angeles and the Reds now lead the NL Central by a season-high six games.

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Seattle walkoff snaps streaks: The Tampa Bay Rays had won seven straight games. Their All-Star closer Fernando Rodney had saved 22 straight games dating back to May 26. Both runs, however, came to an end as Seattle's Eric Thames — who was riding a streak of three straight strikeouts — managed a walkoff RBI single on an 0-2 pitch from Rodney with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at Safeco. The end result: A 3-2 Mariners victory that left Thames poppin' fresh with a mouthful of pie.

Hiroki The Man: No CC Sabathia? No problem. While I thought the Yankees might struggle over a tough stretch in the absence of their ace, they've begun a 10-game stretch against Texas, Boston and Chicago with two straight victories over the Rangers. The latest came courtesy of Hiroki Kuroda, who contributed a two-hit, complete-game shutout in a 3-0 win over Texas at Yankee Stadium. Considering the power of the opposition, there's no arguing Joe Girardi's assessment of "probably our best pitching performance of the year."

Giant win: Speaking of complete games, San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner twirled five hits and one run into a 6-1 win over the Washington Nationals and the second go-the-distance effort of his career. Brandon Belt helped the effort with his bat, turning in three hits and three RBIs.

Early, not often: The Phillies took home a 1-0 win over the Marlins in which a homer from Jimmy Rollins leading off the game served as the night's only offense. It was the first time since 1969 that the Phillies won a 1-0 game with a homer coming from their first batter of the game.

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Quote of the day

"I was just happy to piece it together."

— Chicago manager Robin Ventura, whose team did not manage an extra-base hit but turned seven singles into a 3-2 win over Toronto.

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Photo of the day: Great job, good effort

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(Nick Wass/AP)

Omar Quintanilla didn't come up with this single from Jacoby Ellsbury, but he he looked pretty good while doing it. He also looked good while hitting a third-inning home run off Josh Beckett for the first run of Baltimore's 7-1 win over Boston.

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Three facts for the water cooler

• Behind rookie pitcher Lucas Harrell, the Houston Astros won just their third road game in their last 28 tries — and only their 12th overall this season — with a 10-1 trouncing of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

• Miguel Cabrera became the first player to reach 100 RBIs this season with two in an 8-4 win over the Twins. He's reached that mark in nine straight seasons, including all five in Detroit.

• Zack Greinke had lost eight straight starts dating back to Milwaukee before earning his first win in an Angels uniform after a 9-6 win over Cleveland.

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