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.
Switchblade: Switch-hitting legend Mickey Mantle never did it. Neither did Eddie Murray. But slugger Kendrys Morales joined an exclusive club Monday night, becoming the third batter in major-league history hit a home run from the left and right side of the plate in the same inning, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 15-8 victory at Texas. Carlos Baerga did it with the Indians in 1993 and Mark Bellhorn — remember his iconoclastic facial hair? — did it for the Cubs in 2002. That's it. That's the list. Morales' feat came in a nine-run sixth inning for the Angels, who trail the Rangers by five games in the loss column in the AL West. Morales also became the 25th player in AL history to hit two homers in the same inning, regardless of plate side, which doesn't sound quite as elite.
Here's Morales' take via the Associated Press:
''I'm very excited since it's not an easy thing to do,'' said Morales, a Cuban native who spoke through an interpreter. ''They were good pitches, perhaps mistakes they made. I felt comfortable, and I was able to connect.''
Trading hugs: Strange sights in dugouts across the land Monday night: Players leaving ballgames and hugging their teammates in the dugout, apparently on their way to a new city because of a trade. But to where? The Chicago Cubs made two trades, sending outfielder Reed Johnson and left-hander Paul Maholm to the Braves for pitching prospects that include Arodys Vizcaino, who was considered untouchable over the winter until he underwent Tommy John surgery. Johnson, Maholm and catcher Geovany Soto — who was sent to the Rangers in a separate deal — could all be seen hugging their good-byes in the middle of the Cubs' 14-4 thumping of the Pirates at Wrigley.
Snider to Pirates: Meanwhile in Seattle, before the Mariners could finish off the Blue Jays 4-1, Toronto was busy sending Travis Snider to the Pirates for pitcher Brad Lincoln. Snider gives the Pirates a potentially big bat in the outfield, which they've needed, but he's still prone to strikeouts and hasn't yet established himself as a steady major leaguer in parts of five seasons. Lincoln was establishing himself as a great set-up man for the Pirates, and he'll be missed, but his future in Toronto probably will be as a starting pitcher. In a separate deal, the Jays also sent outfielder Eric Thames to the Mariners for reliever Steve Delabar.
Out of his League: Also in Seattle, the Mariners sent reliever Brandon League to the Dodgers for outfield prospect Leon Landry and right-hander Logan Bawcom, whose agents really should park Loganbaw.com in case he turns into something good. To celebrate League changing leagues, the Dodgers fell 7-2 to Arizona after new D-backs infielder Chris Johnson made his debut by hitting a grand slam and making a nice play at third base.
Late in the evening: The A's stayed hot and lucky, winning 4-3 in 15 innings against the Rays on a sacrifice fly by Jemile Weeks (who had been 0 for 7) in a game taking 5 hours, 9 minutes to finish. Oakland batters struck out a combined 15 times, including 11 against David Price. But no matter: The A's are 19-4 in July with one game to go. They also have 12 walkoff victories (by 11 different players) this season to lead the world. Nine of these wins in their final at-bat have come in the past 17 home games.
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Quote of the Day:
"I made the catch, and I think the fans appreciated it more once they saw the replay. Just for them to clap and go as loud as they did for that amount of time — that was pretty special"
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Photo of the Day: Give me a hug, Meat.
Travis Snider begins his quest for pennant race meat with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• In an 8-2 victory for the Braves against the Marlins, Miami left-hander Mark Buehrle walked four batters for the second consecutive start. It's only the second time in his career he's been that wild for two outings in a row.
• Clay Buchholz has a 2.43 ERA over his past eight starts after tossing eight strong innings in Boston's 7-3 victory against the Tigers.