The Juice: Matt Wieters delivers in extra innings for Orioles as AL Wild Card race tightens

Mark Townsend

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A frustrating day for the Baltimore Orioles offense was turned around in one big swing. After falling behind the Chicago White Sox 3-2 in the 10th inning, Matt Wieters stepped up and delivered a two-out, two-run single off closer Addison Reed to break the team's 1 for 17 slump (all on Saturday) with runners in scoring position and give the Orioles a dramatic 4-3 victory.

There were also some important moments that led up to that one swing. Henry Urrutia and Nick Markakis would deliver back-to-back one out singles to set the wheels in motion. Pinch-runner Chris Dickerson advanced to third on Markakis' hit, which would prove important one batter later, because after Nate McLouth struck out looking, Markakis was able to swipe second and get both runners in scoring position.

Both of those advancements were the difference, and manager Buck Showalter specifically noted Dickerson going first to third in his postgame comments.

"I thought one of the keys was the read Dickerson made on the ball that Nicky hit,'' Showalter said. ''A lot of guys play that safe and don't trust their instincts and end up at second base.''

I know it’s cliché, but September and October games are often decided by 90 feet here and a strange bounce there. On Saturday, Baltimore made it work in their favor. They also gained ground in the Wild Card race thanks to some help from Seattle. More on that shortly.

Red Sox run up score again: Perhaps motivated by the arrival of college football season — or just really good at hitting the baseball — the Boston Red Sox have been running up the score all week long. With their 13-9 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday, the Red Sox have now scored a total of 54 runs over their last four games. That includes a 20 spot against Detroit on Wednesday, and it averages out to 13.5 runs per game.

Of course it helps when multiple players in your lineup catch fire at the same time. Mike Napoli is one of those players. After hitting a game-tying grand slam in Friday’s win, he connected for two more homers on Saturday. Rookie Xander Bogaerts added his first career home run in the win. And Jonny Gomes finished with three hits and four RBIs. Everybody is pitching in.

Cards reclaim first place: We’re still certain the Pirates will get to 82 wins — they still only need one win — but the bigger concern is their position in the standings. After falling once again to the Cardinals 5-0 on Saturday night, the Pirates fall to one game back in the division after holding a two-game lead as recently as Wednesday. Another concern is Adam Wainwright righting the ship for St. Louis after two rough outings against Cincinnati. He dialed up seven shutout innings to win his 16th.


Reds 4, Dodgers 3 (10 inn.): Despite not a having a single plate appearance to his credit, Billy Hamilton continues making a difference. His tenth inning stolen base — fourth overall — led to Todd Frazier’s walk-off single.

A’s 2, Astros 1: Dan Straily held Houston to two hits over seven scoreless innings. Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie each hit solo homers to provide the offense.

Brewers 5, Cubs 3: Brewers rookie Johnny Hellweg earns his first career victory with six innings of three run ball. He entered Saturday with a 10.97 ERA in 10 innings.

Indians 9, Mets 4: A five-run first inning was all Cleveland needed. Ryan Raburn capped the frame with a three-run double.

Phillies 6, Braves 5: After Atlanta rallied for two runs against Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, Freddy Galvis earned the real save for Philly with a walk-off solo homer.

Royals 4, Tigers 3: Salvador Perez connected for a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth off Justin Verlander. Kansas City’s bullpen made it stand up.

Blue Jays 11, Twins 2: Adam Lind book-ended the win with three-run homers in the first and ninth innings.

Nationals 9, Marlins 2: Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and drove in three runs in support of Tanner Roark, who improved to 5-0.

Padres 2, Rockies 1: MLB's rookie home run leader Jedd Gyorko gives San Diego another one-run win with an eighth inning blast off Matt Belisle. He has 17 on the season.

Angels 8, Rangers 3: Oakland's division lead is safe through the weekend. They now lead Texas by 1 1/2 half.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1: Brandon McCarthy spoiled Matt Cain's return outing by throwing eight inning of one run ball. Cain allowed two runs on six hits in 6 1/3.

Mariners 6, Rays 2: Another bad loss for Tampa shrinks their wild card lead to one game over Cleveland and Baltimore.

''My job was to score at all costs. Everybody knows that's what I'm here for.''

— Billy Hamilton

The Padres have called up the entire US Champion Eastlake, CA little league team to play in September.

• Reliever Jim Miller is the 54th player the Yankees have used this season. The previous club record was 51 in 2005. (Via Tyler Kepner)

• The Rangers announced starting pitcher Matt Harrison will undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

• Joey Votto has reached base in each of his last nine plate appearances.

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