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The Grand Slam: Marlins thump Angels, now the AL West is tied again

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Garrett Richards would have been starting for the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night had he not blown out his knee last week, requiring surgery and ending his breakout season. In Richards' place was Wade LeBlanc, a 30-year-old making his first start for the Angels.

Since it lasted just 3 1/3 innings and resulted in six earned runs, LeBlanc's first start might also be his last. The visiting Miami Marlins won the game 7-1 and while the Angels pitching was a noteworthy storyline, most people who watched the game were once again awestruck by Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

He hit his NL-leading 33rd homer, a three-run missile in the fourth inning that put the game out of reach for the Angels. 

''The difference between a four-run game and a seven-run game is like night and day, because they can put up four runs in an inning with no problem,'' Stanton said.

It was Stanton's 150th career homer and it gave him an MLB-high 97 RBIs for the season. The Marlins are doing better than in 2014, and Stanton's a big part of that. He's a legit NL MVP contender, but none of that is enough to make Stanton say he's committed to Miami long-term. He told Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown on Monday: "Five months doesn't change five years."

A'S WIN, TAKE BACK A SHARE OF FIRST
The Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros on Monday by the score of 8-2, so that combined with the Angels' loss, puts the A's back in a tie for first in the AL West. The two teams have been jostling for position in the division since last week, and they'll continue to do so as they collide for a four-game series starting Thursday.

To beat Houston on Monday, Oakland got a 10-strikeout outing from pitcher Jeff Samardzija, plus a three-hit, three-RBI day from Josh Donaldson.

BOSTON SNAPS LOSING STREAK THANKS TO YOENIS CESPEDES
Former Oakland slugger Yoenis Cespedes came through again for his new team. Cespedes hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning as the Boston Red Sox topped the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3. The win ended Boston's eight-game losing streak.

This didn't look like it was going to be so close. The Red Sox took a 3-0 lead into the ninth, but starter Clay Buchholz and closer Koji Uehara couldn't shut the door in the final inning. The Blue Jays scored three to tie the game. Before that Buchholz was pretty impressive. He gave up just two hits through eight innings.

THE YANKEES KEEP WINNING
As they surge toward wild-card possibilities, the New York Yankees have adopted a horse mask as a good-luck charm. Seabiscuit — that's what they call it — struck again Monday night as the Yankees won an 8-1 game against the Kansas City Royals.

It was a one-game meeting between the two, making up for a rainout earlier in the year. Michael Pineda looked good on the mound for the Yankees, giving up one run and pitching into the seventh. Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury homered for the Yankees. New York is now 2 1/2 games back for the second AL wild-card spot.

For the rest of Monday's results, check out our scoreboard.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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