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The Juice: Matt Kemp benched late in Dodgers win; Adam Jones stays red hot for Orioles

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

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Don Mattingly’s interesting week continued on Saturday night. Just days after leaving Andre Ethier out of his lineup in Milwaukee while strongly insinuating that he felt Ethier wasn’t among the hardest worker competitors on the team, he made another strong statement by electing to remove all-star center fielder Matt Kemp during a seventh inning double switch in their game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now, you may be thinking that’s not exactly a big deal. Players get double-switched all of the time. That's true, but it doesn't happen to superstars all that often, and it certainly doesn't happen to superstars late in a one-run game. Mattingly was clearly sending another message, though that was flatly denied in his postgame comments. .

Here's a little more from Beth Harris of the Associated Press:

Mattingly made his second double switch in the seventh, with Kenley Jansen taking the mound and Skip Schumaker replacing Kemp in center field. A clearly frustrated Kemp returned to the dugout shouting, but Mattingly said he didn't take him out because he's struggling.

''It's tough because you don't want to take to switch one of your guys out but it was the only move I felt I had,'' he said.

The win helped Kemp cool down.

''It had been a bad day for me. I didn't do much to help the team,'' he said. ''That's how they feel. Let them do what they want to do.''

To make matters worse for Kemp, both he and Ethier were booed throughout the game by the frustrated Dodger Stadium crowd. Just a rough day at the office, and I'm not sure a win will sooth things nearly as much as was led on here. I guess we'll have to stay tuned.

Home away from home: If Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones could relocate Rogers Centre from north of the border down to Maryland, chances are he’d do it in a heartbeat. The building has become his home away from home, and on Saturday, he continued making himself feel welcome with his third homer in as many games.

Jones' latest was a seventh inning solo shot off R.A. Dickey that extended Baltimore's lead to 6-3. They held on to win 6-5, so it was the difference maker. But wait, there's a little more courtesy of Ian Harrison of the Associated Press:

Jones has eight home runs at Rogers Centre since the start of the 2012 season, the most by any opposing player.

''I just see the ball good here,'' Jones said. ''I don't think it's anything in particular. It's just baseball. Crazy things happen.''

Those last six words sum up this weekend better than anything I could say. Thanks, Adam.

Time for a new plan(tain)?: Joe Maddon continues to stand by Fernando Rodney as his closer, and the 36-year-old reliever continues blowing opportunities. Saturday night's ninth inning meltdown against the New York Yankees makes it five blown saves before Memorial Day. He had two all throughout the 2012 season while converting 48 chances. The last four have been killers, too, as Tampa has gone on to lose all four. The Yankees got the duke this time on Lyle Overbay's solo home run in the 11th.

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Lyle Overbay celebrates his game-winning home run. (USA Today)

MORE SCORES

Red Sox 7, Indians 4: Boston plates four in the eighth to win second straight over Terry Francona.

Giants 6, Rockies 5 (10 inn.): Angel Pagan wins it for the champs in a most unusual manner.

Angels 7, Royals 0: The Angels winning streak grows to seven. They're still five games under .500.

Reds 5, Cubs 2: Successful suicide squeeze opened door in big sixth inning rally.

Twins 3, Tigers 2: Joe Mauer had their lone hit on Friday night, and three big ones on Saturday as Minnesota snaps its 10-game losing streak.

Pirates 5, Brewers 2: Rare win in Milwaukee for the visiting Buccos. They're 9-47 at Miller Park since 2007.

White Sox 2, Marlins 1: Miami tied it in the ninth on Derek Dietrich's home run. Four pitches into the bottom half, Chicago pulled it out on Conor Gillaspie's walkoff single.

Braves 7, Mets 5 (10 inn);Braves 6, Mets 0: Big day for Atlanta as they close out the suspended game victorious and then cruise in the regularly scheduled game behind Mike Minor. They've won eight straight.

Phillies 5, Nationals 3: Jonathan Pettibone became the first Phillies rookie to allow three earned runs or fewer in each of his first seven starts since Charles Hudson in 1983.

Padres 10, Diamondbacks 4: San Diego scored eight unanswered from the fourth inning on to wrap up the road win.

Rangers 5, Mariners 2: Not even Felix Hernandez can stop the bleeding for Seattle. They've lost eight in a row.

''There's pretty much only two things to say about the game. It's embarrassing and it's frustrating. That's pretty much all I have to say.''

Houston Astros starter Lucas Harrell does a good job summing up their 11-5 loss to the Oakland A's and their season in general.

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(USA Today)

These beautiful fireworks at Citi Field were not provided by the New York Mets offense.

• Red Sox catcher David Ross became the second player to go 0 for 5 with five strikeouts in a game this season. Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was the first.

• R.A. Dickey took his sixth loss of the season on Saturday. He lost six decisions all of 2012.

• Angels starter Billy Buckner won his first major league game since Oct. 2, 2009, when he defeated the Chicago Cubs as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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