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The Baltimore Orioles have been basically untouchable when leading after seven innings over the past couple of seasons, but that all came to a stunning and screeching halt on Saturday. With a 6-4 lead entering the ninth, closer Jim Johnson, whose consecutive save streak ended at 35 on Tuesday, allowed a home run to Kelly Johnson, two walks, a single, before wrapping up his outing on Matt Joyce’s go-ahead, two-run double.
Sidearmer Darren O’Day took over from there and allowed both of Johnson’s inherited runners to score and then one of his own. All in all, it was a six-run rally for the Rays that turned Baltimore‘s lead into a 10-6 defeat, ending their remarkable 109-game winning streak in games they led after the seventh inning in the process.
I suppose they knew it was coming eventually, but one has to believe there were a few shocked people in Baltimore's clubhouse after it got away to that extent. Meanwhile, Evan Longoria and the Rays couldn't have been more thrilled they were the team to finally end the late inning dominance.
''Their track record after seven innings has spoken for itself,'' Longoria said. ''They've been really good late in the game. And Jim Johnson has been as good as they come. To be able to get to him and then tack a couple more on and be able to win a game like that, especially here in this hostile environment, is really big.''
The Rays will hope to make it three really big wins on Sunday as they go for the series sweep.
Another day, another walkoff: The Cleveland Indians are rolling and not even a blown save by closer Chris Perez can stop them. Despite Perez allowing back-to-back, two-out home runs in the ninth inning to Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak, which tied the score at four, Cleveland found a way to win again.
On Friday night, it was Jason Kipnis delivering a walkoff three-run homer in the tenth. On Saturday, it was Kipnis again who got the rally started with a leadoff single. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double, and then after Nick Swisher was walked intentionally to load the bases. This allowed Mark Reynolds to get the winner home with an RBI fielder’s choice. Indians take it 5-4.
Votto rhymes with Lotto: Single-walk-double-walk-single. Powerball: Ninth inning two-run homer. No, we didn't win the big cash prize last night, but Joey Votto's fantasy owners had a nice consolation prize with that statline. Aside from reaching safely in all six plate appearances, Votto scored twice, knocked it two runs, and helped lead the Reds to a 10-0 blanking of Philadelphia.
Cubs 8, Mets 2: This was the 700th between the two teams. Chicago leads the series 352-348
Yankees 7, Blue Jays 2: That Robinson Cano guy? Pretty good.
Angels 12, White Sox 9: While Josh Hamilton recharged his batteries on the bench, the Angels regained their confidence against White Sox pitching.
Braves 3, Dodgers 1: Atlanta does all of their damage in the eighth on back-to-back homers from Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons.
Diamondbacks 1, Marlins 0: After Gerardo Parra led off the game with a home run, everyone else put their bats to bed.
Padres 2, Nationals 1: Jordan Zimmermann pitched well enough to be an eight-game winner. Eric Stults and Huston Street were just a little better.
Red Sox 12, Twins 5: Two taters and six RBIs for David Ortiz.
Brewers 6, Cardinals 4 (10 inn.): Jeff Bianchi wins obscure baseball hero of the day. His two-run single in the tenth won it for the Crew.
Rangers 7, Tigers 2: Healthy statline for Elvis Andrus beginning with five hits.
A's 2, Royals 1: Tommy Milone threw over 50 pitches before recording his fourth out, but still managed to throw six innings and end his personal five-game losing streak.
Cashman on Ben Francisco's roster spot: "Just in terms of your fan comments section, just say I'm holding onto him to piss everybody off."
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) May 18, 2013
Professional wrestling took over baseball this weekend. Here's Mr. Baseball (and WWE Hall of Famer) Bob Uecker along with WWE's Bella Twins at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
• Chris Iannetta walked four times, making him the second Angels players to ever have two four-walk games in the same season. According to Jacob Jaffe, the other was Fred Lynn in 1984.
• ESPN's Katie Sharp tells us the Yankees have won eight straight home games against Toronto. They last did that during the 1979-80 seasons.
• David Ortiz now has 38 multi-homer games with the Red Sox, which puts him one ahead of Ted Williams for the franchise record.