The long game: The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals like playing baseball so much, they both decided to spend 6 hours, 7 minutes Sunday together at Busch Stadium until their mothers called them in for supper. After each team scored a run in the 17th, Pedro Alvarez cracked a go-ahead home run against Barret Browning in the 19th, and Andrew McCutchen added a two-run single for the final margin in a 6-3 victory. Alvarez had been 0 for 5 before his game-changing at-bat. Cards beat reporter Jenifer Langosch, by gosh, offers additional tidbits on the longest game of the major league season, including:
• The teams combined to use five pitchers in their respecting starting rotations.
• St. Louis pitcher Joe Kelly threw 87 pitches over 5 2/3 innings of relief.
• Adam Wainwright and James McDonald pinch hit, with McDonald singling and scoring a run in the 17th.
• Matt Holliday and David Freese combined to go 0 for 15.
• Carlos Beltran had three stolen bases from the 14th inning on.
Ichi-whoa!: It's often been said that Ichiro Suzuki could hit more home runs if he wanted to — he just didn't want to. And so, after he cracked two homers against Josh Beckett of the Red Sox, Ichiro tried so hard to hit a third that he strained his neck. You see? He was right all along to resist the home run urge! Regardless, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1, giving Boston its eighth loss in 12 games. Hiroki Kuroda continued to reduce his ERA, pitching eight innings of four-hit ball.
Zack attacked : The Zack Greinke trade has gone as well as everything else has lately for the Angels. The Rays pummeled him for six runs in an 8-3 win, and outscored the Angels 37-14 to sweep a four-game series at Anaheim. Greinke has a 6.19 ERA in five starts for Los Angeles, which fell to 62-60 and nine games out in the AL West, and 4 1/2 behind Baltimore in the wild card hunt. The Rays, conversely, have won eight of 10 and have the third-best record in the AL. Matt Moore has a 2.79 ERA over his past 14 starts.
Baltimore shock: Where do the Orioles get these guys? Nate McLouth keyed a big rally with a go-ahead, two-run triple, helping Baltimore beat the Tigers 7-5. Detroit opened a 5-0 lead in the first inning, but it was long-gone by the fourth. Doug Fister couldn't hold it after coming in with a 1.97 ERA in his previous eight starts. The Tigers also could not take much advantage of the White Sox getting swept at Kansas City, so they're still two games back in the loss column in the AL Central.
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Quote of the Day:
''Is there stink on the field? It was an ugly win, but a win's a win. We've got to tighten up the defense. That's one thing we pride ourselves in. We've just got to keep working. It's a matter of concentration. We've got to go back to total concentration.'' — Reds manager Dusty Baker, whose team beat the Cubs 5-4, and went 5-2 on its homestand, but also has made 10 errors in that span.
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Photo of the Day: I can't hold this pose for much longer.
Jason Heyward of the Braves lost two balls in the sun in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers, even though he obviously came prepared for the glare in terms of eye wear. Perhaps he should go get himself some cheap sunglasses instead.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• Jarrod Parker went eight innings and Ryan Cook finished Oakland's 11th shutout of the season, a 7-0 victory against the Indians.
• The Astros didn't change their stars right away in the debut of interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, falling 8-1 to the Diamondbacks.
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