The Juice: Jay Bruce halts slump with walkoff for Reds, Hiroki Kuroda is aces for Yankees

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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The Bruce cuts loose: A lot of Cincinnati Reds players have picked up the slack while Joey Votto has been parked on the disabled list, but one of the most likely candidates — All-Star right fielder Jay Bruce — has not been one of them. Well, until Tuesday night, that is. Despite wielding a .220 batting average in the 24 games of Votto's absence, the powerful lefty mashed a three-run opposite-field  homer off reliever Josh Edgin for a 3-0 walkoff victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.  The blast ended the Reds frustrating night with runners in scoring position (0 for 9 before the homer), stopped Bruce's hitless streak at 0 for 13 and sent the Great American Ballpark crowd into a frenzy. Coupled with Pittsburgh's 11-0 drubbing by Los Angeles and the Reds now lead the NL Central by a season-high six games.

Seattle walkoff snaps streaks: The Tampa Bay Rays had won seven straight games. Their All-Star closer Fernando Rodney had saved 22 straight games dating back to May 26. Both runs, however, came to an end as Seattle's Eric Thames — who was riding a streak of three straight strikeouts — managed a walkoff RBI single on an 0-2 pitch from Rodney with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at Safeco. The end result: A 3-2 Mariners victory that left Thames poppin' fresh with a mouthful of pie.

Hiroki The Man: No CC Sabathia? No problem. While I thought the Yankees might struggle over a tough stretch in the absence of their ace, they've begun a 10-game stretch against Texas, Boston and Chicago with two straight victories over the Rangers. The latest came courtesy of Hiroki Kuroda, who contributed a two-hit, complete-game shutout in a 3-0 win over Texas at Yankee Stadium. Considering the power of the opposition, there's no arguing Joe Girardi's assessment of "probably our best pitching performance of the year."

Giant win: Speaking of complete games, San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner twirled five hits and one run into a 6-1 win over the Washington Nationals and the second go-the-distance effort of his career. Brandon Belt helped the effort with his bat, turning in three hits and three RBIs.

Early, not often: The Phillies took home a 1-0 win over the Marlins in which a homer from Jimmy Rollins leading off the game served as the night's only offense. It was the first time since 1969 that the Phillies won a 1-0 game with a homer coming from their first batter of the game.

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Quote of the day

"I was just happy to piece it together."

— Chicago manager Robin Ventura, whose team did not manage an extra-base hit but turned seven singles into a 3-2 win over Toronto.

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Photo of the day: Great job, good effort

Omar Quintanilla didn't come up with this single from Jacoby Ellsbury, but he he looked pretty good while doing it. He also looked good while hitting a third-inning home run off Josh Beckett for the first run of Baltimore's 7-1 win over Boston.

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Three facts for the water cooler

• Behind rookie pitcher Lucas Harrell, the Houston Astros won just their third road game in their last 28 tries — and only their 12th overall this season — with a 10-1 trouncing of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

• Miguel Cabrera became the first player to reach 100 RBIs this season with two in an 8-4 win over the Twins. He's reached that mark in nine straight seasons, including all five in Detroit.

• Zack Greinke had lost eight straight starts dating back to Milwaukee before earning his first win in an Angels uniform after a 9-6 win over Cleveland.

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