The Juice: Cincinnati Reds home runs stun Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel in ninth-inning comeback

David Brown
Big League Stew

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One strike away from his 100th career save, Atlanta Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel suddenly became vulnerable to the Cincinnati Reds, who hit two solo home runs in a span of five pitches to flip the script on the league's top closer.

Devin Mesoraco remembered the advice of manager Dusty Baker and connected for his career first pinch-hit home run, and Shin-Soo Choo followed with a game-ender in the Reds' shocking 5-4 victory Tuesday night. Reporter Joe Kay of the Associated Press writes:

Mesoraco hasn't done much pinch hitting, but remembered something that manager Dusty Baker had advised about those pressure situations.

''Dusty says with two strikes, look for their hardest pitch away,'' Mesoraco said. ''I stayed on it.''

It was the second blown save in five days for Kimbrel, who gave up a tying home to David Wright of the Mets in a loss Friday. He's blown three saves this season after blowing that many in all of 2012. He's also allowing a .449 slugging percentage by opponents.

''All around, it's frustrating,'' said Kimbrel, who is 10 of 13 in save chances. ''I've blown three saves. Those are wins we should have had."

More ninth-inning home-run heroics: Slugger Paul Goldschmidt ended an 11-pitch at-bat against Brandon League with a two-run homer that broke a tie in the ninth and sent the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory that kept the Los Angeles Dodgers reeling. Goldschmidt fouled off five pitches with a 3-2 count before taking League over the fence. Arizona handed L.A. its sixth straight defeat after Heath Bell pitched a scoreless ninth. J.J. Putz felt stiffness in his right elbow and was lifted after walking Nick Punto to start the bottom of the ninth.

Thinking of J.A.: With teammate J.A. Happ no doubt on their minds, the Toronto Blue Jays staged another comeback against the Tampa Bay Rays, turning around an early three-run deficit into a 6-4 victory at Tropicana Field. In a moment reminiscent of Brandon McCarthy a season ago, Happ was struck in the head with a line drive by Desmond Jennings in the second inning and taken to a hospital. The Stew's Mike Oz wrote about it Tuesday night. But the show went on, with Jose Bautista tying the score with a double in the eighth, and Maicer Izturis hitting a solo home run to put the Jays ahead in the ninth. They've won three straight for the first time all season.


Rockies 2, Yankees 0: Three dozen members of the Denver Broncos (field trip!) watched Jorge De La Rosa outduel Hiroki Kuroda, who allowed a two-run homer to Carlos Gonzalez.

Mets 1, White Sox 0 (10 inn.): Matt Harvey was the story, even if he was out of the game by the time somebody scored.

Cubs 2, Cardinals 1: Travis Wood just a hair better than Lance Lynn. For some people, the Cubs beating the Cards is like when the Bears beat the Packers. Everything else is gravy.

Padres 5, Marlins 1: Eric Stults, take a bow, no matter that it's the Fish.

Phillies 6, Giants 2: Where, oh where has my Timmy Lincecum gone? Is he with Roy Halladay on a nice farm?

Tigers at Nationals, ppd. (rain): Try it again Wednesday night.

Orioles 4, Royals 3: It's gotten to a point with the Royals that it's not only a disappointment when they lose, but also a mild surprise.

Indians 1, Athletics 0: Another good start for Zach McAllister.

Twins 6, Red Sox 1: Scott Diamond. Best name for a pitcher ever?

Astros 7, Angels 6: The Angels are only 2 1/2 games ahead of the Astros in the standings. Slight payroll discrepancy.

Pirates 4, Mariners 1: Nice job subbing for James McDonald, usual long reliever Jeanmar Gomez.

Brewers 6, Rangers 3: Yuniesky Betancourt has eight home runs, people.

"Leave the ball on home plate and I swing,"

— Betancourt, on his hitting approach

Marcell Ozuna of the Miami Marlins adjusts his route and makes a great catch to rob Everth Cabrera of ... probably an inside-the-park home run. What do you think?

• Dusty Baker has 1,600 career victories, good for 18th place all-time ahead of Tommy Lasorda, his old manager with the Dodgers.

• Kyle Kendrick has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts.

• The Angels 11-21 start ties for the worst in franchise history through this many games, going back to 1976.

Baseball is in full swing! Interact with @AnswerDave, @MikeOz, @Townie813 and @bigleaguestewon Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page!

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