The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday (and now on Saturdays) for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
McCann Slam: Altanta Braves catcher Brian McCann won't be going to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2005. The Philadelphia Phillies must be wondering why, because for the second time in three games against them this season, McCann connected for a Grand Slam — he settled for a solo homer in the third game — which helped Atlanta secure a 5-0 victory and spoiled the return of their own former all-star, Ryan Howard.
Howard was greeted by a standing ovation from the Citizens Bank Park crowd when he stepped to the plate leading off the second. He promptly doubled, but was ultimately left stranded right there. He later singled in the seventh, giving him half of Philadelphia's hits against Tim Hudson over his seven scoreless innings. So a good night for Howard, but more of the same for the Phillies.
At least it was sorta quick?: The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox needed 42 minutes to complete their first inning. The inning included ten runs — five each, making it the first game since Aug 29, 2005 where both teams scored at least five runs (Indians 6, Tigers 5) in the first inning, according to Elias — nine hits, one error, one walk, one hit batter, one wild pitch, and three sacrifice flies.
From there things "settled down" a bit, as both starting pitchers — Josh Beckett and Hiroki Kuroda — made it through five innings. A Yankees four-run seventh inning rally, highlighted by Mark Teixeira's two-run double, would then prove to be the difference as they held on for a 10-8 win in exactly one minute under four hours. Which is a real good thing considering the teams are scheduled for a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
Off the Schneid: We're not sure how he'll celebrate, but at least Luke Scott finally has a reason to after snapping what grew to an 0-for-41 slump with a two-run homer. Scott's blast off of Justin Masterson began a game-breaking six-run fifth inning rally for Tampa Bay. It was an easy road from there as the Rays rolled over the Cleveland Indians, 10-3.
Pearcing Blow: The Angels received solo home runs from Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, as well as a quality start from C.J. Wilson, but that wasn't enough to top the Baltimore Orioles. That's because platoon outfielder Steve Pearce took Wilson deep in the fifth inning for a three-run shot, and that would provide all the offense rookie Miguel Gonzalez needed in his first career start. The 28-year-old right-hander tossed seven innings of one-run, three-hit baseball to lock up his first major league win in the Orioles 3-2 triumph.
All he does is hit home runs: Not to borrow and reword a phrase often used to describe another sport's Cris Carter, but it certainly describes the Oakland A's own Chris Carter. The 25-year-old slugger used that home run prowess to play hero on Friday, connecting for a pinch-hit, three-run walk-off blast in Oakland's 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. The home run was his third of the season. He has six hits.
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Quote of the Day:
''I've iced it three times already. It feels a little better than it did. It kind of scared me when it first happened because I didn't know what to expect from a spasm like that. I had some weakness in my legs.''
— Josh Hamilton describes the back spasms that forced him out of the Rangers 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He's currently listed as day-to-day and doesn't seem to be in danger of missing Tuesday's All-Star Game.
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Photo of the Day: Splitsville
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki gets all twisted up trying to avoid being struck by a JA Happ offering. Thankfully, he was successful in doing so and was uninjured in his fall. And even better for the Brewers, he was productive before and after going into the splits, delivering a first inning homer and a seventh inning RBI single, as they easily topped the scuffling Houston Astros, 7-1.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• Red hot Rockies slugger Tyler Colvin became the first player to homer twice off Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg in the same game, connecting in the first and third innings in Colorado's 5-1 win. The homers were Colvin's fourth and fifth of the week (all on the road) and his ninth and tenth overall since June 9.
• Perhaps angry he didn't crack our list for the Ten Best Rookie Starts, Drew Smyly dominated the Kansas City Royals in Detroit's 4-2 win, becoming the first Tigers rookie since Eric Erickson in 1918 to finish a game with ten or more strikeouts and zero walks.
• Reed Johnson hit a lead-off home run off Johan Santana to begin the Cubs 8-7 win over the New York Mets. It was his eighth career lead-off home run of Johnson's career, and his first since July 23, 2007. Ironically, that one also came against Santana when they were members of the Blue Jays and Twins respectively.