Big League Stew - MLB

Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in Los Angeles, Calif. — this is the city — where the Dodgers won in their last at-bat in a most unusual way.

Game of the Day
Dodgers 5, D-backs 4

Oh, Casey Blake(notes), you rascal. Just a few days earlier against the Cubs, Blake vigorously pointed at the pitcher and argued in vain with umpires to get a call. This time, he was proactive and provocative, jockeying around third base in order to get Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Esmerling Vasquez(notes) to flinch.

Incredibly, Vazquez flinched, committing a balk to send Blake home and cap a Dodgers comeback fueled mostly by Arizona blunders.

L.A. had itself, as Joe Torre later called it, a "balk-off" victory. It's a rare thing, as some commenters on Baseball-Reference have deduced that this is only the 13th time since 1954 that a game has ended on a balk. 

Watch the dramatic balk-off balk 

"Most of the time it doesn't work," Blake said in the L.A. Times. "But sometimes it does."

Anything is worth trying against the D-backs bullpen, which came in with a 7.68 ERA, dead last in the NL. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully used words such as "beleaguered, suspect" and "in tatters" to describe Arizona relief.

Add "jittery" and "facepalm."

Arizona's A.J. Hinch (above, right), who is well on his way to seeing it all in a short time as manager, said there was no debating the umpires about Vasquez's illegal move.

"He flinched," Hinch said. "His legs buckled. He balked. It was pretty plain and simple."

James Loney(notes) led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, took second base on Blake's single but soon got picked off after thinking he could get to third while it was unoccupied defensively (he was wrong).

After Russell Martin's(notes) grounder moved Blake to third with two outs, Blake DeWitt(notes) worked the count to 2-2. Blake started his third-base boogie and Vasquez (right) got distracted. First-base ump Tim Timmons saw it all the way.

It's the first time a major league game ended on a balk since September 2008, but it's the first such victory for the Dodgers since 1989. Only the second since '69.

It's also an eight-game losing streak for the Deebax, who helped the Dodgers tie the score in the eighth thanks to a double error — fielding and throwing, on the same play — by second baseman Kelly Johnson(notes).

"This team sorely needs a win, and losing this way is just excruciating," said Hinch, whose club dropped to 20-32.

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They Also Played

Rockies 4, Giants 0: The Giants had nothing — not a thing — for Ubaldo Jimenez(notes), who was throwing in the upper 90s with unparalleled movement. ERA down to 0.78 and WHIP down to 0.90. That anyone gets any hits against him right now is remarkable.

Another time, Tim Lincecum(notes) would have been able to match Jimenez, but he's not himself. Timmy walked five batters for the fourth straight start. He didn't have great command of his breaking pitches and his velocity is down. His hair is also really stringy.

Braves 9, Phillies 3: Well, look who's in first place (it's not the Phillies). And Charlie Manuel (right) has something to say about it, too.

Twins 5, Mariners 4: In a pinch because Orlando Hudson(notes) and Alexi Casilla(notes) are hurt, manager Ron Gardenhire played outfielder Michael Cuddyer(notes) at second base. Brendan Harris(notes) or Nick Punto(notes) probably would have been safer alternatives, but it all worked out, mostly because the Twinkies hit three homers.

Nationals 14, Astros 4: Guh, it said in the Bible all along that Stephen Strasburg(notes) would debut on June 8, if there's no rain. It's right there in Acts.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2: Brandon Morrow(notes) showing some evolution out there. Maybe not a sixth finger, but he's learning. ... Mongo like candy and Blue Jays like home runs; after Adam Lind's(notes) two-run deep, they lead the bigs with 89 and finished May with a club-record 54.

Athletics 4, Tigers 1: Nothing like a little pregame delay of 2 hours, 43 minutes — no rain actually fell, it was just a threat — to get a pitcher out of his rhythm. Trevor Cahill(notes) adjusted better than Justin Verlander(notes) did.

Padres 18, Mets 6: Jerry Manuel quote taken out of context, for laughs: "I don't know what happened there."

Cardinals 12, Reds 4: Look at 'em; all scrunched together at the top of the NL Central. ... I think Albert Pujols(notes) dropped below a .300 batting average for about 10 seconds before back-up systems kicked in and corrected this blight on humanity.

Yankees 11, Indians 2: It's probably time to stop intentionally walking Mark Teixeira(notes) to face Alex Rodriguez(notes) with the bases loaded.

* * * 

Pirates 2, Cubs 1: How do people stand being Cubs fans? Jim Hendry, can you say?

Marlins 13, Brewers 5: The Breu Creu actually led this game 4-0 in the sixth inning but then manager Ken Macha brought in fans to pitch, or something.

Angels 7, Royals 1: KC's alternate uniforms for Memorial Day really didn't cut it and were thankfully hauled away by authorities.

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Follow Dave on Twitter — @answerdave

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