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Nate McLouth continued his career rebirth with the Baltimore Orioles, taking Vidal Nuno deep for a game-ending home run in a 3-2 victory against the New York Yankees to snap a six-game losing streak Tuesday night.
McLouth, an All-Star and Gold Glove winner with the Pirates in a breakthrough 2008 season, wandered around in decline during the following seasons until the Orioles picked him up as a free agent in June 2012. McLouth helped the surprising O's reach the playoffs, and has kept on helping in 2013 via a stat line of .277/.365/.423, with three homers and a league-leading 13 stolen bases coming into Tuesday. Make it four homers. After blowing three straight saves, Jim Johnson picked up the victory in relief and former Yankees outfielder Chris Dickerson hit two solo home runs.
Kung fu grip: After a killer triple by San Francisco's Gregor Blanco turned the tables on Washington in the ninth, slugger Pablo Sandoval turned the lights out in the 10th with his eighth home run, a mammoth shot to center, sending the Giants to an unlikely 4-2 victory. As Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper said, "He put both cheeks into that one."
Walkoff this way:
The Atlanta Braves didn't walk off with a home run, but Evan Gattis tied the score with two outs in the ninth with his second pinch-hit homer in four days. In the 10th, the Minnesota Twins walked off the field in sadness after Freddie Freeman blooped a two-out single to score Jason Heyward and produce a 5-4 victory.
However, as Paul Newberry of the Associated Press wrote, Gattis coming through against Glen Perkins was the talk of the clubhouse:
Walk, don't run: Wilin Rosario of the Colorado Rockies wants to know where his walkoff love is at? He delivered a game-ending single against Matt Reynolds and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th. Rox win 5-4.
Tigers 5, Indians 1: Kind of a big win for the Tigers, even though it's May, because they stopped Cleveland's five-game winning streak and moved a little closer to first place. Detroit's Max Scherzer was perfect after the first inning, retiring 22 straight before saying good-night.
Brewers 5, Dodgers 2: Carlos Gomez and Matthew Lucroy spoiled the homecoming, so to speak, of Zack Greinke. Hey, he called Wisconsin his home for 1 1/2 years — it counts! Greinke had racked up 15 victories without a loss inside of Miller Park. Eventually, that bratwurst gets ya'.
Athletics 1, Rangers 0: Peep this: Dan Straily outpitched Yu Darvish. The margin was a home run by Yoenis Cespedes.
White Sox 3, Red Sox 1: Left-hander Jose Quintana got on a roll, man, taking a no-hitter into the seventh. The difference was a two-run Jeff Keppinger. First a walk, now this.
Rays 4, Blue Jays 3: Fernando Rodney of the Crooked Cap Club straightened himself out to save it for Alex Cobb.
Phillies 7, Marlins 3: Nice games by Ryan Howard and Delmon Young, but Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz are hurt, so keep on dog paddling!
Reds 4, Mets 0: Mike Leake didn't get a complete game but pitched well, and David Wright made a key error he probably thought should have been ruled a hit. Mets!
Cardinals 10, Padres 2: Daniel Descalso hit a grand slam and Adam Wainwright finally earned a victory at Petco Park. Waino's lone holdout: Citi Field.
Royals 7, Astros 3: Rather than picking someone else from the Third Baseman Tree, manager Ned Yost stuck with Mike Moustakas, and he rewarded the Kansas City Royals with a tying RBI single in the eighth to break an 0-for-18 streak at the plate. The Royals stopped a four-game losing streak themselves and got back to .500.
Pirates 5, Cubs 4: How about a pinch-hit grand slam by Travis Snider? OK!
''One hit is not going to ... completely turn anything around, but it's a big hit in a big situation and it gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. Everybody had confidence in me.''
— Mike Moustakas
• Right-hander Samuel Deduno, a World Baseball Classic star for the Dominican Republic, gets the start for the Twins on Wednesday.
• Indians bearded closer Chris Perez deactivated his Twitter account after two poor outings and harsh comments from followers. He'll be back.
• The White Sox scratched left-hander Chris Sale from his scheduled start Wednesday due to mild discomfort in his shoulder.
In sticking up for one of his struggling players over the weekend, Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost introduced a neoclassical term to the world. Coming into play Tuesday, third baseman Mike Moustakas was batting .240/.294/.384 with 29 home runs in 1,130 career plate appearances. This season alone, his numbers are much, much worse.
It appears Royals brass has overreached in expecting Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer to develop into reliable corners this season. But it's too soon to give up on Moustakas — even for a while, by demoting him to the minors — Yost said to Kansas City Star reporter Bob Dutton:
“You know what?” Yost said. “Maybe when we get home, I can go to the third base tree and pick another third baseman. … Obviously, third basemen who can hit and hit with power, they must grow on trees."
There it is. "The Third Base Tree." Soak it in, in all of its grandeur. If he contributes nothing else in his managerial career, either on the field or in a press conference, Yost has borne fruit by conjuring a mystical tree from which any major league team can pluck a ripe stud for the hot corner.
• Miguel Cabrera would be the trunk.
• David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and (UPDATE) Manny Machado (who someday will cross-pollinate over to the Shortstop Tree) would be the biggest branches.
• Kyle Seager would be a blossoming bud.
• George Brett would still be attached, double-tapered and tan.
• Moustakas would be a fallen leaf.
• (UPDATE) Jeff Keppinger is poison oak.
Later in the interview, in case you weren't sure that Yost's quote didn't drip with sarcasm, he broke it to everybody:
“There is no third baseman tree. You don’t go grab another one. You let him develop. Look at Gordy (Alex Gordon). When I came over here (in 2010), all I heard (from fans) was this kid is never going to be anything.
“No. You’re wrong. Give them time to develop. But I understand it. I know what the fans want. They want it, and they want it now. Instant gratification just doesn’t work (in baseball).”
He's right that the Royals have needed patience, but we're more than 1,000 at-bats into Moustakas's career. His adjusted OPS this season is 52. Average is 100. Seager's is 130.
Opening day is no longer an "instant" ago. Yost knows this, but he's being willfully dishonest in order to be seen as "in his player's corner." If he really wanted to help Moustakas, not to mention the team, he would tell GM Dayton Moore to send Moose to Omaha and bring in another player to play third. It doesn't have to be forever, but it should be now.
There's a lot more fruit on the tree than Yost lets on. Kings of Kauffman has more.
In closing: Thanks, skipper, for the imagery of the Third Baseman Tree. It will remain planted in our memories long after Ned has gone.
The pillow fight to end all pillow fights.
The fifth installment chronicling the highs and low of the Royals roster
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