The Big Papi blast, as dramatic as it was, wasn't all that shocking compared to the rest of the game:
• Mike Napoli stole home (!!) and then hit a homer later in the game, becoming the first Red Sox player to do so since Rico Petrocelli in 1967. It was only Napoli's second stolen base of the season and fourth in the past three years. So he's not exactly a threat for this sort of thing.
• The Red Sox had a 6-1 lead after their half of the eighth inning, but the A's rallied for five runs in the eighth and ninth to tie the game. Oakland won the previous two games in the series by one run, each on a late-inning, tie-breaking hit by Coco Crisp. "Not again," the Red Sox had to be thinking.
• To tie the game in the ninth, the A's hit back-to-back homers off Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, who had saved 31 straight chances dating back to last season, including 15-for-15 in 2014 before this. The homers came from two A's catchers, Stephen Vogt and John Jaso, who hit his as a pinch hitter.
• Speaking of Vogt, he had quite the day in the field. He started the game in right field, moved to first base, then went back to right field, then moved to catcher in the 10th inning after Derek Norris was injured when he was hit in the head by a backswing and forced to leave the game.
• The A's had used all the position players on their bench when Norris had to leave the game, so Vogt went to catch and designated hitter Josh Donaldson was forced into the field. Because of that, Oakland's pitcher had to hit, and sure enough, the pitcher's spot came up with two outs in the 10th inning with Oakland down a run. The A's sent up closer Sean Doolittle, who used to be a first baseman in the minors, for his first career big-league at-bat. It was the first time an A's pitcher had pinch-hit since Bob Welch in 1994. Doolittle grounded out to second base to end the game. Afterward, he (jokingly) had words for Uehara.
Wow Koji thanks for the steady diet of splitters. When I face you, you're getting all fastballs! THIS ISN'T OVER!— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) June 23, 2014
With all these rare things happening, Ortiz hitting the go-ahead homer was quite the opposite. It was his 17th go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later in a regular-season game since 2003. In other words: It took a lot of weird to get there, but the result was something the Red Sox were very familiar with.
TANAKA FALLS TO 11-2 AS O'S BEAT YANKS 8-0
Masahiro Tanaka pitched and the New York Yankees lost a game 8-0? Is this real life? Indeed. The Yanks' imported ace, who has been as good as advertised this season, took just his second loss of the season Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.
While the score might make you think Tanaka was shelled by Baltimore, that wasn't exactly the case. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits. Not bad, but Chris Tillman was even better for the O's, pitching seven scoreless innings and scattering four hits.
''He's some kind of pitcher,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Tanaka. ''We were fortunate to catch him on a day when he wasn't as sharp as he normally is.''
Tanaka — who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year in Japan — is now 11-2 this season, his ERA rising from 1.99 to 2.11 in the loss. Tanaka still hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start this season. The eight runs scored by Baltimore, however, were the most by a Yankee opponent this season in a game started by Tanaka.
BUMGARNER HELPS GIANTS PAST D-BACKS AGAIN
The San Francisco Giants, once the owners of baseball's best record, have had a rough last two weeks. They'd lost nine of 10 games before beating the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. After a 4-1 victory Sunday, the Giants (45-30) now have a bona fide winning streaking going. OK, so it's two games. It's still a welcome sight for Giants fans.
Madison Bumgarner definitely did his part, stifling the D-backs for eight innings, giving up just two hits and one run. San Francisco also got help from a youngster making his first MLB start. Joe Panik, a 23-year-old first-round draft pick from 2011, just called up to play second base, made his debut for the Giants and it was a good one. He had two hits, including an RBI double in a three-run ninth inning that put the game out of reach for Arizona. Panik also made a stellar defensive play (above) to immediately endear himself to the folks in orange and black.
BLUE JAYS LOSE GAME AND TWO STARTERS TO INJURY
The first-place Toronto Blue Jays lost 4-3 on Sunday to Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds, but the game wasn't their biggest loss of the day. The Jays had to take two starters out of the game because of injury.
Brett Lawrie was hit by a pitch on the hands and suffered a fractured finger on his throwing hand as a result. He'll hit the disabled list, and it's not immediately clear for how long. Meanwhile, star outfielder Jose Bautista left the game with a leg injury. His prognosis wasn't easy either, though there's hope that it's just a day-to-day injury.
More information on Bautista won't be available until he undergoes an MRI tomorrow in Toronto. For now, he's day to day. #BlueJays— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) June 22, 2014
Bautista on whether it's long term or short term: "I don't feel too bad but I really want to see what the MRI says before I can answer."— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) June 22, 2014
The Blue Jays start a three-game series Monday with the Yankees, who are a game and a half back in the standings. The injuries might give the Yanks a good chance to pounce on the Jays and climb into first.
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