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The Grand Slam: Chase Headley bests Aroldis Chapman in ninth inning battle

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

Aroldis Chapman's anticipated return to the mound went very well on Sunday, but he ran into a problem on Tuesday when his 99-mph fastball ran into the bat of Chase Headley. With the game all tied in the ninth, San Diego's third baseman not only caught up to the pitch, but launched it for an impressive home run to break the tie and ultimately give the Padres a 2-1 victory

''He's a guy that's throwing with tremendous velocity,'' Headley said. ''So you can't try to do too much. You just try to get the barrel to it. He's one of those guys that if you're able to get the barrel to it, he really supplies some power for you.''

Barrel it he did, but San Diego was lucky to still be in the game after mustering only two hits off Reds starter Mike Leake in eight innings. Both of them belonged to reigning NL Player of the Week Seth Smith. Smith led off the fourth with a double and scored their first run on Jedd Gyroko's sacrifice fly. Brandon Phillips' RBI single off Andrew Cashner in the first inning accounted for Cincinnati's only tally. They loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth but failed to score in their only other quality scoring chance.

The win gives San Diego a season-high four-game winning streak and puts them two games under .500.

METS WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT IN SUBWAY SERIES: In a continuing display of unexpected dominance, the New York Mets pummeled Yankees pitching yet again on Tuesday en route to an overpowering 12-7 win. With the win, the Mets sweep a quick two-game series at Yankee Stadium and extend their winning streak overall against the Bronx Bombers to six. 

Adding insult to injury for the Yankees is the fact that an ice cold Curtis Granderson has suddenly warmed up against his former team, cracking his second home run is as many days. His three-run shot capped a four-run first. Daniel Murphy added a three-run homer of his own to break the game open in the fifth.

David Wright added three hits while Eric Young Jr. scored three times without collecting a hit. He walked once, was hit by a pitch and reached on an error.

The action will shift to Citi Field on Wednesday when Mets pitchers will continue looking for their first hit of the season. 

THAT'S SO CUBS: Coming off a 17-run explosion on Monday in St. Louis, it was only natural to wonder how the Chicago Cubs would turn around and find a unique way to lose on Tuesday. They came through with a doozy, falling to the Cardinals 4-3 in 12 innings when reliever Justin Grimm plucked pinch-hitter Greg Garcia with a pitch with the bases loaded.

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright was in line to become the NL's first seven-game winner before Emilio Bonifacio tied the game with an RBI single in the ninth. Truthfully, the one thing Chicago has done well this season is make life difficult for Wainwright. In addition to snatching this victory away, the Cubs have connected for the only three home runs the veteran right-hander has allowed in 64 innings this season. That includes that the two-run homer hit by Luis Valbuena on Tuesday.

In the end, though, it's all just window dressing around another disappointing Cubs loss.

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(USA TODAY Sports)

TWINS GIVE MINNESOTA REASON TO SMILE: On a night when the underdog Minnesota Wild fell to the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in overtime to end their exciting season, the Minnesota Twins helped to pick up of the pieces with a thrilling victory over the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. The games ended in similar fashion, too, as Chris Parmelee came through with a two-run walk-off homer in the ninth to win it 8-6.

Minnesota overcame two early solo home runs from David Ortiz to build a lead of 6-2 against Jake Peavy. That disappeared quickly, with Ortiz contributing RBI singles in both the sixth and seventh innings to lead the comeback. Ortiz finished with four hits and four RBIs, much to the chagrin of Ron Gardenhire.

Sometimes you can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them. They couldn't do that with Ortiz either, but it was Parmelee's one swing that ultimately decided the game, much to the joy of everyone in Minnesota.

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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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