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Ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates have the second best record in baseball (34-20) after pulling off another 1-0 win Thursday, going into the extra innings to knock off the usually potent Detroit Tigers. The win makes four times in the last 11 games that the Pirates have won 1-0 — it's one of those improbable feats that reminds you of last year's Baltimore Orioles and their close-game magic.
In this case, Russell Martin was the hero, launching a game-winning base hit into deep left field. The bases were loaded and three runs might have scored in different circumstances, but the Pirates only needed one to walk away with the win.
''You've got to believe you can do it,'' Martin said. ''If you think you're going to fail then you're probably going to fail. It's all a matter of having a positive attitude and believing in yourself. Our whole team is like that right now.''
The Pirates have won 16 of their last 20 games, and their 19 wins in May are the most in a single month for Pittsburgh since 1992. The only team with a better record right now is division rival St. Louis Cardinals, whose 35-17 mark leads the NL Central and baseball as a whole.
The Mets take fourth in a row from Yankees: Wait, which team was in first place and which would be in last if not for the Marlins? The Mets and Yankees finished off a bit of role-reversal on Thursday, their Subway Series proving that some odd stuff can happen in interleague play.
The Mets topped the Yankees 3-1, making four wins in four days for the Mets against their crosstown foes. Dillon Gee struck out a career-high 12, looking like an ace in 7 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. A two-run Marlon Byrd home run in the second gave the Mets all the offense they'd need.
Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 5: Rookie Justin Grimm gives the Rangers another strong outing for his fifth victory, which ends Texas' first three-game losing streak of the season.
Cubs 8, White Sox 3: Travis Wood has himself a day: He earns his fifth win on the mound, giving up two runs and striking out six while knocking a grand slam and getting two hits at the plate. Go 'head, Travis.
Mariners 7, Padres 1: Nick Franklin, called up this week for the Mariners, hits the first two homers of his career. That was enough for Felix Hernandez, who K'd six and gave up only three hits.
Giants 5, A's 2: After losing three in a row to Oakland, the Giants use a four-run sixth inning to get the win.
Indians 7, Reds 1: Scott Kazmir gets the third win of his comeback season, thus making a case for Trevor Bauer to write a rap song about him. The Tribe scored all seven of its runs in the fourth inning.
Braves 11, Blue Jays 3: Would you believe it was 3-3 going into the bottom of the sixth? Then the Braves unloaded eight runs in the next three innings of R.A. Dickey & Co.
Rays 5, Marlins 2: The Rays win their fifth straight, the Marlins lose their ninth in a row. Alex Colome, making his MLB debut, gets the win, striking out seven and giving up five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Twins 8, Brewers 6: Four home runs power the Twins past Kyle Lohse and the Brew Crew.
Astros 7, Rockies 5: The Astros committed three errors in the third inning, but scored six runs in the sixth, so it all worked out.
Royals 4, Cardinals 2 (in rain delay): At the time The Juice published, this game was still in rain delay, more than four hours of rain delay, in fact. The Royals had scored three runs in the ninth to spoil the debut of Cards rookie Michael Wacha, who was masterful, working seven innings and giving up only two hits. He started the game by retiring 13 straight batters. Rain halted things in the top of the ninth, but it sounded like the game would continue in the wee hours of the morning.
“It’s no more complacency,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “It’s time to turn it on. Sometimes a little adversity like this can break teams apart. We’re going to stick together. As a team we’re going to figure it out.”
That, from the Washington Post after the Nats 2-0 loss to the Orioles, which put the "World Series or Bust" Nats at 27-27 with one-third of the season finished.
Lou Ferrigno — of bodybuilding and "Hulk" fame — throws out a hulking first pitch before the Boston Red Sox-Philadelphia Phillies game.
• Jacoby Ellsbury's five stolen bases are the most in a single game since 2009 when Carl Crawford swiped six for Tampa Bay.
• Since Tuesday Mets pitchers have notched 34 strikeouts without walking a batter, the most in a three-game span since 1900. Next highest total is 26.
• Manny Machado hit his 25th double on Thursday, that's more doubles than B.J. Upton has hits this season (23). Machado's double total is one fewer than the total number of hits for Adam Dunn and Ike Davis.
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