The Juice: Cardinals win on wacky game-ending error; Josh Hamilton hits walk-off homer for Angels

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The Miami Marlins have been playing much improved baseball since the beginning of June, but they took a big step backwards in their gut-wrenching 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. With the game tied and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, A.J. Ramos walked Jon Jay to set up what is undoubtedly one of the stranger finishes we‘ve seen this season.

The next batter, Shane Robinson, would pull a single to right field that had Jay moving to third. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton decided to not challenge the play at third, so he instead threw in to cut off Logan Morrison. However, Morrison couldn’t handle the throw, and as it squirted out of his reach, Jay was able to race home with the winning run.

I think this one is going to require an explanation. From the Associated Press:

''I was just trying to get the ball before it hit the ground,'' Morrison said. ''I should have played it back or just let it go because it was on the line.

''We should have won that game, no doubt about it, but we didn't and now it's over and that's why we play every day.''

That was Morrison's take on the play. We didn't hear one Stanton's point of view because he refused to speak to the media afterwards. I don't think anyone was planning on blaming him anyway.

All-Star parade: Six Detroit Tigers were named to the American League All-Star team on Saturday, including the usual suspects: Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder, but it was their oldest All-Star, Torii Hunter, who led the way in their 9-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians. In his three-hit, three-RBI performance, Hunter fell only a single shy of the cycle. He tripled in the first inning but was stranded on base. In the fourth, he doubled home Ramon Santiago to a cap three run rally. In the seventh, he finished up Detroit's scoring with a two-run bomb to left. He would have one chance to finish in the ninth, but grounded back to the pitcher.

Boston meltdown leads to Josh Hamilton revival:

Saturday had the market cornered on ugly ninth inning meltdowns. Though the game-ending play in St. Louis still takes he cake, the Boston Red Sox moved into the similar territory by allowing the Los Angeles Angels to score four times with two outs to force extra innings. Albert Pujols cashed in the first two runs by serving a soft single to center field. Josh Hamilton would follow with an RBI just out of the reach of a leaping Dustin Pedroia to set up men at the corners for Howie Kendrick. Then, on Kendrick's would-be game-ending roller to third, Brandon Snyder airmailed the short throw for an error.

Just like that, the game was tied at seven. Fast forwarding to the 11th, Hamilton would come up against left-hander Craig Breslow, and on the very first pitch he crushed a two-run homer to right field for the 9-7 win. Hamilton's late heroics made up for an eighth inning error that allowed Dustin Pedroia to score from first base on what should have been a single. Hamilton also made a critical error in Friday night's loss, misplaying a flyball into the go-ahead run for Boston.

In other words, he needed the good finish. So did the Angels.

Moore, Moore, Moore: If Matt Moore was disappointed about not making the American League All-Star team, he didn't let it show in his performance. In fact, he channeled whatever frustrations he may have had in the proper manner by out pitching the Chicago White Sox own left-handed all-star representative, Chris Sale, to lead the Rays 3-0 victory. For Moore, it was his fourth consecutive victory. He improves to 12-4 with a 3.42 ERA on the season.

"Lone"Star representative: Every team gets an All-Star — even the Houston Astros. On Saturday, catcher Jason Castro was named Houston's lone representative (first time selection) and he celebrated by delivering a tie-breaking three-run homer in their 9-5 victory over the Texas Rangers.


Yankees 5, Orioles 4: Andy Pettitte won his 28th career game against the Orioles. Only Whitey Ford has more with 30.

Twins 6, Blue Jays 0: Minnesota snapped their six-game losing streak at the expense of R.A. Dickey. Brian Dozier homered and knocked in four.

Royals 4, A's 3: Kansas City rallies for single runs in the seventh and eighth to pull out the victory. Especially good planning considering Oakland closer Grant Balfour has converted his last 40 save chances.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1: Alfonso Soriano homers twice and Theo Epstein rejoices as the trade deadline approaches.

Nationals 5, Padres 4: Washington moves to three games over .500 (45-42) for the first time since May 18.

Reds 13, Mariners 4: Cesar Izturis is alive and he's driving in runs for the Reds — three on Saturday.

Brewers 7, Mets 6: Yovani Gallardo singled, doubled and pitched six solid innings in the win. Think any contenders could use a player like that?

Giants 4, Dodgers 2: San Francisco was out of order early, but got back in line to beat their longtime rivals.

Braves 13, Phillies 4: Atlanta scored all but two innings — third and sixth.

Diamondbacks 11, Rockies 1: Cody Ross had five of Arizona's 12 hits yet didn't drive in a run. Miguel Montero and pitcher Wade Miley knocked in three apiece.

''In his text he said, 'Play me or trade me.' And so since trading's out of the question I guess I'm going to play him.''

— Nationals manager Davey Johnson on Bryce Harper lobbying to play in Saturday's game.

The Rays wore throwback jerseys from a different galaxy on Saturday.

• David Ortiz was the only player in the top 10 among active players in career home runs to be selected as an All-Star.

• The Cardinals are the last team to win in walk-off fashion this season.

• The Braves are 33-7 when scoring first.

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