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The Juice: Pirates win ninth straight on 14th inning single; Red Sox get lucky with walk-off error

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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The only two 50-win teams in baseball won in dramatic fashion Sunday — though the specifics of those dramas were quite different.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, 51-30, the top team in the National League, withstood both a two-hour rain delay and 14 innings to run their winning streak to nine games. The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, the top team in the American League, improved to 50-34 on a walk-off error by the opposing Toronto Blue Jays.

Pirates edge Brewers: In the 14th inning it was Russell Martin who once again was the hero for the Pirates. He singled home Gaby Sanchez and those no-longer-hapless Pirates celebrated another walk-off victory.

''It's fun right now,'' said Martin, who played a key role in an extra-inning victory he did not start for the second straight Sunday. ''Obviously, winning is fun, but just being on a team with a bunch of guys who play with their hearts out there and enjoy the game, it's definitely been a pleasure.''

The game lasted six and a half hours between the rain delay and extra innings. The Bucs are off Monday, then go for 10 in a row in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Red Sox get a gift from the Blue Jays: Of all the walk-off wins you could have, this has to be the oddest to celebrate — The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-4 on Sunday, but they did so when Toronto's Josh Thole couldn't handle Shane Victorino's grounder to first. The good ol' walk-off error.

Good fortune is part of the composition of a winner — sometimes you make the great plays, sometimes you luck out. You need both to have a successful season, which is what the Red Sox, who only won 69 games a year ago, have put together thus far, getting win No. 50 before July 1.

''We've been consistent,'' manager John Farrell said. ''I think it speaks of overall depth of the team. It's certainly not a milestone by any means. We've got a long way to go.''

MORE SCORES

Orioles 4, Yankees 2: Orioles sweep the Yankees. Chris Davis hits his 31st homer. Manny Machado gets three hits, including a homer and a(nother) double.

Marlins 6, Padres 2: The Marlins win the game on a walk-off grand slam from Jeff Mathis— an exciting cap to a month in which they went 15-10.

Braves 6, Diamondbacks 2: Braves get homers from Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann to complete sweep of the D-backs.

Rays 3, Tigers 1: Jeremy Hellickson gets the win and Jose Lobaton notches three hits and two RBIs for the Rays. Miguel Cabrera hits the ball really far for Tigers. In other news: the two teams didn't fight, but definitely got beef.

Indians 4, White Sox 0: Justin Masterson? Naw, how about Justin Shutoutson? He pitches his best-in-baseball third shutout of the season. On second thought, Justin Masterson is just fine.

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(USA Today)

Dodgers 6, Phillies 1: Yasiel Puig goes 4-for-5 at the plate, finishes a homer away from the cycle. It's his first four-hit game.

Royals 9, Twins 8: David Lough — just like Yasiel Puig — gets four hits for the Royals. But Lough knocks in three runs too. Take that, Puig.

Angels 3, Astros 1: The Angels win their sixth straight. Josh Hamilton breaks a 1-1 tie in the eighth with an RBI double, and eventually scores on an error.

Rangers 3, Reds 2: Yu Darvish outduels Mat Latos in a matchup of two guys whose first names look like typos.

A's 7, Cardinals 5: The A's take two of the three from the Cards behind big days from Jed Lowrie (two hits, a homer and three RBIs) and Josh Donaldson (two hits, including a homer).

Cubs 7, Mariners 6: The Cubs get a scare from the Mariners, who score three in the eighth, but ultimately feel short.

Giants 5, Rockies 2: Giants find relief from a six-game losing streak as Madison Bumgarner pitches seven strong innings and Hunter Pence adds a two-run homer.

Nationals 13, Mets 2: The Nats rough up rookie Zack Wheeler. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth have big days offensively for Washington.

''There's no doubt that I think there's a comfort level that you can see starting to form. 'We talked a while about it, but Josh is important to us and it's good to see him swinging the bat better this trip.''

— Angels manager Mike Scioscia about Sunday's win,
which included a Josh Hamilton go-ahead double.

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(USA Today)

Collision! Engel Beltre of the Rangers meets Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco at home plate in jarring fashion. Beltre was safe, but had to be helped off the field.

• Chris Davis' 31st homer broke the Orioles franchise record for most homers before the All-Star break, which was set in 1996 by Brady Anderson.

• Zack Wheeler sells tickets. The Mets' Citi Field had 33,366 fans on Sunday, its second biggest crowd of the season after opening day.

• Before beating the Reds, Yu Darvish (8-3) hadn't earned a victory since May 16 — the longest drought of his career.

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