The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday (and now on Saturdays) for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
Ups and Downs: Los Angeles Angels reliever Scott Downs allowed only one earned run in the first half of the season (covering 32 appearances) and entered play with a 0.30 ERA. Unfortunately for Downs, sometimes what goes down in baseball must come up, and that's exactly what his ERA did at Yankee Stadium, as the Bronx Bombers touched him up for four earned runs in the eighth inning.
Mark Teixeira highlighted the rally with a game-tying three-run home run into the seats in left. After retiring the next two hitters, Downs walked Nick Swisher and was given the hook. Kevin Jepsen then allowed another walk and a Russell Martin RBI single to give the Yankees their first lead since 2-1 and the difference-making run in their 6-5 victory. In the process, it bumped Downs' ERA all the way up to 1.47.
West coast lefties: There was no change at the top of the National League West standings thanks to standout performances from southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. In Los Angeles, Kershaw walked the tight rope but allowed only one run over six innings in the Dodgers 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres. Further up the coast, Bumgarner was nearly untouchable, holding the Houston Astros to two hits over seven innings as the Giants prevailed 5-1. Los Angeles still leads the division by one-half game.
Third time's a charm?: Though he did make history for starting three consecutive games in the same season, Zack Greinke remained winless over the stretch after allowing five earned runs over five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fortunately for Greinke, his teammates got him off the hook in each of the last two starts, and ultimately pulled out wins in both. Ryan Braun (4-for-4, two home runs) and Cody Ransom (go-ahead grand slam) were his best friends on Friday night as Milwaukee earned a 10-7 victory.
Larry the Met killer: Of course the Larry we're referencing is none other than Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones, who connected for his 49th career home run against New York Mets pitching in the Braves 7-5 win. Jones' solo shot in the sixth served as an important insurance run. David Ross — filling in while Brian McCann is on paternity leave — delivered the game's biggest hit, a three-run homer in the third to put Atlanta up for good.
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Quote of the Day:
''I couldn't have dreamed it up any better.''
'I wore Tulo's cleats, and his batting gloves, I used DJ LeMahieu's bats and Jordan Pacheco's gloves.''
Colorado Rockies rookie Josh Rutledge talks about his major league debut on Friday night. Rutledge was recalled from Double-A Tulsa earlier in the day, and when he arrived to Denver's airport, his luggage (which included his essentially baseball equipment) was missing. This prompted him to borrow the above mentioned items (and possibly Jason Giambi's golden thong) from his teammates.
But those inconveniences certainly didn't knock Rutledge off his stride. He finished the game 2-for-2 with a walk, sacrifice fly and two RBIs, and proved to be the key offensive cog in the Rockies 6-2 victory over Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies.
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Photo of the Day: They're better at booing
A Kansas City Royals fan tries to catch a first inning home run off the bat of Adam Dunn. His attempt was unsuccessful, and so were the Royals best attempts to steal a win from the Chicago White Sox as they ultimately fell 9-8 in 14 innings.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• Alfonso Soriano had the 30th multi-homer game of his big league career in the Cubs 8-1 blowout win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also added a pair of doubles, making him the first Cub in the Live Ball Era to hit two homers and two doubles in the same game. And the five runs he knocked in equaled a career high.
• Todd Frazier's fifth inning home run extended the streak to 66 straight games in which a homer has been hit at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. According to Stats LLC, that's the longest such since home runs were hit in 80 straight games at Coors Field between 2002-2003. Frazier's blast also helped the Reds overcome their rivals from St. Louis, 5-3.
• According to Elias, the 30 swings and misses Francisco Liriano forced were the most by a starting pitcher since Johan Santana induced 32 back on Aug, 19, 2007. Unfortunately for Liriano, while those whiffs and his 15 overall strikes were impressive, it still wasn't enough as the Twins lost a 6-3 decision to the Oakland A's thanks in large part to Jonny Gomes' fourth inning grand slam.