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Big League Stew

The Juice: Stephen Strasburg homers to cool off Orioles, Aroldis Chapman closes out Yanks

Big League Stew

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Into the Strastosphere: After ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg connected for his first major-league home run Sunday, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said third base coach Bo Porter came to him with a suggestion:

''I didn't expect Stras to hit a breaking ball,'' Johnson said. ''He doesn't usually see breaking balls. Bo Porter came in after and said we found a left fielder.''

Strasburg, having shown he's capable of going deep during batting practice, seemed shocked by his solo shot against Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen that prompted a curtain call. But he was happy to help the Nationals cool off the hottest team in the AL with a 9-3 victory that snapped a five-game winning streak for Baltimore.

Strasburg, who came in with five hits in 40-career at-bats, was almost embarrassed about his trip around the bases and subsequent climb up the dugout steps.

''I'm not big for going out there and showboating,'' Strasburg said. ''It was great, but I know my place. I'm not a real hitter out there so I'm not going to go out there and act like I do it all the time.''

Strasburg was limited to five innings on the mound because of a sore biceps, but he says he's OK there.

[Related: Stephen Strasburg has bad experience with ointment]

Aroldis relief man to be rewarded: The Cincinnati Reds might be ready to anoint left-hander Aroldis Chapman as their closer after he finished off the New York Yankees in a 5-2 victory in the Bronx. Chapman's ERA remains at 0.00 after he pitched for the fourth time in five days, reaching 99 mph on the stadium's radar gun, and set down the Yankees with a hitless ninth inning. Manager Dusty Baker won't commit yet to removing Sean Marshall from ninth-inning duty, and Chapman says he can't tell the difference between the eighth and ninth in terms of feeling pressure — he doesn't feel any in either inning.

Son of a ... !: Scott Van Slyke, a son of Andy Van Slyke, connected on a 3-0 count for a go-ahead, pinch-hit, three-run homer to help push the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-5 victory against the Cardinals. The Dodgers swept the three-game series (the only non-interleague affair over the weekend) and improved to 28-13 despite sustaining massive amounts of injuries.

[Related: Dodgers' roster dotted with sons of six former major leaguer players]

Quote of the Day: ''That's what he is, a groundball machine." — Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, after right-hander Tim Hudson got 14 ground ball outs over 7 2/3 innings in a 2-0 victory against the Rays.

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Photo of the Day: Lucroy gets lucreamed.

View photo

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(AP)


Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers gets creamed in the face after he homered and hit a grand slam to highlight a 16-4 onslaught against the Twins. Lucroy had three hits and drove in seven runs on the day, the highlight of which for Minnesota was the scoreless inning pitched by backup catcher Drew Butera.

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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:

• Max Scherzer struck out 15 — the most in 40 years for a Detroit Tigers pitcher — in a 4-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. More strikeouts than anyone in a Tigers uniform — Justin Verlander, Jack Morris, whomever — since Mickey Lolich had 15 in 1972. Lolich has the club record of 16.

• The Miami Marlins improved to 14-5 in May, best record in the league, after beating the Cleveland Indians 5-3. Josh Johnson allowed a run and five hits over seven innings for the Fish.

[Jeff Passan's 10 Degrees: Examining dubious starts in MLB]

• After going 2 for 4, Boston Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez is 9 for 16 in his career against Cliff Lee. The Red Sox beat the Phillies 5-1 at Citizens Bank Park, getting 7 2/3 effective innings from Josh Beckett. Lee is 0-2 in six starts.

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