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The Grand Slam: Carlos Beltran's three-run homer gives Yankees walk-off win

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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After sweeping a three-game series from the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees continued their roll in dramatic fashion on Friday. Free agent acquisition Carlos Beltran, who hasn't quite been himself this season due to a lingering elbow injury, capped a four-run ninth inning rally with a three-run, walk-off home run as the Bronx Bombers topped the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 at a frenzied Yankee Stadium

The Yankees were actually down to their final out against Orioles closer Zach Britton when Brian McCann extended the game with an RBI single. Mark Teixeira followed with a walk which set the stage for Beltran. Somewhat surprisingly, it was New York's first win in walk-off fashion this season. Only the Kansas City Royals remain in that lonely category.

For Beltran, it was his sixth career walk-off home run — and his first since 2008 with the New York Mets — but most importantly it was something to feel good about at the plate.

''Thank God the past couple of days I would say I've been feeling more comfortable at the plate and I've been putting good at-bats together,'' Beltran said. ''I just felt confident that I was going to do something positive.''

A win for Baltimore would have moved them into a second place tie with New York. As it stands, they'll need to take two steps forward over the weekend to make up for this big step back. 

TIGERS RECLAIM FIRST PLACE: After dropping the first three games of their series against the Kansas City Royals,  the Detroit Tigers rebounded with a much needed win on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, the rebound continued in the form of another solid win, 6-4 against the Cleveland Indians

It was all about guys named Martinez. Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer off Corey Kluber in the fourth inning to start the scoring. Outfielder J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to 10-games with a 3 for 4 night, including a three-run homer in the eighth off John Axford.

Rick Porcello pitched six scoreless innings to pick up the win. Struggling closer Joe Nathan notched his 15th save, allowing only a single in the ninth.

In the meantime, the Royals fell at home 7-5 to the Seattle Mariners despite rallying to tie the score after falling behind 5-0. With the loss they fall to one-half game behind Detroit in the standings after leading by a game and a half heading into Thursday. 

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It's still a bit too early to live and die by the standings, but any time there's a close race and two of the teams directly involved come together, it's worth watching. Such was the case in the NL East, where the Atlanta Braves reclaimed first place with a 6-4, 13-inning victory over the Washington Nationals.

The Braves were forced to test their organizational depth to pull off the win. Two relievers, Juan Jaime and Ryan Buchter, made their respective major league debuts in extra innings. Jaime pitched a scoreless 11th inning and Buchter a scoreless 12th to pick up the victory. Each allowed a walk but nothing beyond, which both impressed and relieved manager Fredi Gonzalez.

''Perfect scenario to bring 'em in,'' Gonzalez said with a smile. ''Those are big innings. We always talk when we bring 'em up, 'How are you going to use them?' 'What's the situation?' Well, today was an extra-inning game against your division rival. You're going to have to use them sooner or later.''

Evan Gattis singled in the go-ahead run in the 13th off Jerry Blevins. Earlier in the game, he extended his hitting streak to 19 games. That's the longest streak in MLB currently. Andrelton Simmons provided the insurance run with an RBI ground out. 

PLENTY OF HITS, STILL NO WIN: After falling victim to one of the most dominant pitching performances in MLB history dished out by Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night, the Colorado Rockies came home angry and came out swinging on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers. The result was a 10-run, 16-hit outburst against starter Marco Estrada and four Milwaukee relievers. Yet it wasn't enough. The Brewers countered with a season-high 19 and took the series opener by a 13-10 final.

Jean Segura led the way with a pair of home runs, both hit in the first three innings. In addition to Segura, Ryan Braun, playing in his 1,000th career game, was one of five Brewers with three hits. Carlos Gomez, who extended his streak of safely reaching base to 33 straight games, was another with three singles. Scooter Gennett and Aramis Ramirez rounded out the quintet.

On Colorado's side, Corey Dickerson set the pace with four hits, three RBIs and three runs scored. Justin Morneau added five RBIs, all of which came in the first two innings.

It was, in a word, nuts. And it's only the first of three games to be played between these high powered offenses over the weekend. Keep the phone line open to Triple A, reinforcements will be needed.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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