The Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants have an interesting history when it comes to throwing around accusations. If you recall, during a game at Coors Field in September of 2010, Tim Lincecum tossed a baseball out of play and could be seen mouthing the words “blank this juiced ball fertilizer.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course, while channeling my inner Vin Scully.
Lincecum never backed off his words following the game, and the accusation seemed to be that Colorado would occasionally throw a few non-humidor baseballs into the bag later in games to give their offense a better chance at instant offense. Though it felt more like gamesmanship than anything, Major League Baseball took San Francisco’s complaints seriously, even changing the rules for how baseballs at Coors Field were handled between the point where they leave the humidor and end up in the umpires hands.
Case closed. That particular issue has not resurfaced since, whether it be the Giants or any other team visiting Coors Field, but the hard feelings between the National League West rivals have seemingly lingered since that point without ever truly boiling over.
That brings us to Coors Field on Friday night. For a few seconds it seemed like we may have been headed towards that inevitable flare up. It happened in the third inning with Troy Tulowitzki running on first base, D.J. LeMahieu at the plate, and Madison Bumgarner pitching. As it's being reported, Tulowitzki asked first base umpire Tim McClelland to check the baseball. McClelland complied, stopping play to give it a once over before tossing it out of play.
Bumgarner had the outward reaction you'd expect. He didn't appear pleased by the stoppage or the insinuation, and even directed some words in Tulowitzki's direction, but it didn't go beyond those words. That left many of us wondering what exactly the situation was. Had Tulowitzki played the gamesmanship card himself? Did he think something shady was going on? What did McClelland find, if anything?
Andrew Baggerly of Comcast Sports Net San Francisco has some of the answers. At least the ones straight from the players.
“I wasn’t accusing him at all,” Tulowitzki said. “I have too much respect for him to do something like that. I didn’t think they were cheating.”
Tulowitzki said he noticed the mark and pointed it out to umpire Tim McClelland, only to suggest that they put a fresh one into play.
“You respect the game and there’s something on the baseball, so let’s get rid of it and move on,” Tulowitzki said. “You respect guys who compete. I have respect for him and hopefully he has the same for me.”
“I was just confused at the runner on first base asking for the ball to be checked,” Bumgarner said.
Did he think at the time that Tulowitzki was trying to get in his head?
“He didn’t, if he was,” Bumgarner said. “I didn’t take it that way.”
Much ado about nothing, it seems. Just a bizarre occurrence where the runner spots a scuff on the baseball before the batter or home plate umpire. Not a first, but certainly not something you see often. When you then take the history of the two teams into consideration, not to mention the Clay Buchholz accusations from a couple weeks ago, it became a situation worth investigating, but we can close the book on it quickly.
We can also close the book on Colorado's 10-game losing streak to San Francisco. They pounded Bumgarner for nine runs in four and a one-third innings, and then held tight to a 10-9 win after once leading 10-5.
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With their desired lineup intact for the first time in 40 games, the Atlanta Braves offense turned it up a notch in their 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jason Heyward, who just returned from the disabled list on Thursday after undergoing an emergency appendectomy in Colorado last month, reached base three times to help set the table. Justin Upton then cleared it in the sixth, cracking his third career grand slam off Paco Rodriguez.
''As soon as he took that swing, I knew that ball was going to be out of the ballpark,'' said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. ''That was one of the prettiest swings I've seen put on a baseball.'
After traveling an estimated 461 feet, we're sure the baseball agreed with Gonzalez's assessment. It was Upton's tenth homer — out of 14 — to travel over 420 feet this season. He's averaging 427 feet on all of his home runs, which is the most for any players with more than five.
Just awesome, game-changing power. As we're about to learn, though, the Diamondbacks aren't exactly lacking that type of player despite trading Upton during the offseason. But boy how nice would it be to have two of them?
Good as Goldy: How about the start for Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt? After going 4 for 5 with two more home runs and 4 RBIs in the D-Backs 9-2 win over the Marlins on Friday night, the 25-year-old slugger is up to .338 on the season with 12 big flys and 35 driven in. Only Upton has more homers in the National League with his 14. Goldschmidt is also second in RBIs to Brandon Phillips. An all-star bid seems more likely with each passing day.
Hiroki Special: For the fifth time since the beginning of the 2012 season, Hiroki Kuroda gave the New York Yankees eight plus innings of scoreless baseball. Only Felix Hernandez has more during that time with eight. Kuroda didn't have much room for error on this night as Mark Buehrle nearly matched him through six innings. New York did manage single runs in the first and fifth, and then finally broke it open with a three spot in the seventh to lock up their 5-0 win.
Rosales strikes again! And this time... it counts! After hitting a game-tying home in Cleveland last week that was incorrectly ruled (despite a review) a double, Adam Rosales left no doubt on Friday. His eighth inning solo home run was the difference in Oakland's 2-1 victory over James Shield and the Royals.
''I think I was pretty sure about that one,'' Rosales said with an ear-to-ear grin. ''It felt good to get over that hump. Every ballfield I went to, they all were saying, 'Oh, it was a homer,' or you talk to family and friends and like, 'Yeah, it was a homer.' So, now they'll be talking about something else. They'll talk about a real homer.''
And more importantly, a real win.
Mets 3, Cubs 2: Matt Harvey gets the win on the hill and the game-winning RBI at the plate. He’s already 5-0.
Phillies 5, Reds 3: Philly gets two in the eighth after bullpen blows lead for Cliff Lee.
Indians 6, Mariners 3 (10 inn.): Three-run, walk-off home run by Jason Kipnis sends Indians fans home happy.
Rays 12, Orioles 10: Camouflaged Rays strike early and often, then hold on as O's rally for six runs in eighth.
Red Sox 3, Twins 2 (10 inn.): Boston steals another game late on the road. Jonny Gomes' sac fly in the tenth is the difference.
Cardinals 7, Brewers 6: David Freese's long-awaited first home run in 2013 was a grand slam. That helped St. Louis overcome two three-run homers by Aramis Ramirez.
Rockies 10, Giants 9: Jordan Pacheco's go-ahead grand slam in the fifth holds up as Colorado snaps their 10-game losing streak to San Francisco.
White Sox 3, Angels 0: Even dozen strikeouts for Chris Sale.
Nationals 6, Padres 5 (10 inn.): Chad Tracy homers off Huston Street in the tenth. That's six allowed by San Diego's closer in 17 innings.
''We don't want to be the heart-attack kids, but it's a good character check for us right away.''
— Jonny Gomes on Boston's back-to-back dramatic road victories in their final at-bats.
• Elias says the Yankees are the first team in AL history to begin a season 17-0 in games they've scored first.
• Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson became first pitcher to allow eight earned runs and still win the game since Andy Pettitte in 2007.
• According to Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan, the Kansas City Royals have lost six of James Shields' nine starts this season, with each coming by one run.
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