The Juice: Nelson Cruz hits 484-foot homer to help beat Angels, Mets shut down Cardinals again

David Brown
Big League Stew

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Space Cruz: Nelson Cruz hit the longest home run in the majors so far this season, a two-run shot estimated at 484 feet, to help the Texas Rangers seal a 7-3 victory and avert a three-game sweep at the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. Given the green light on a 3-0 count against reliever Bobby Cassevah, Cruz hit a blast that landed somewhere high on the funky rock formation in left field at Angel Stadium. It helped end a four-game losing streak by the Rangers, who are 15-16 since May 1 and have lost some luster off their standing as best team in the majors. The Rangers still lead the Angels by five games in the loss column with 13 more to play between them.

Mets-tastic: The New York Mets nearly shut out the St. Louis Cardinals for a third-straight game, but will happily settle for a 6-1 victory behind 10 strikeouts by left-hander Jonathan Niese and a two-run homer by rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Niese had to leave the game after six scoreless innings with an accelerated heart beat — a recurring issue — but manager Terry Collins insists it's nothing to worry about. The Cardinals lost the series opener Friday in a no-hitter at the hands of Johan Santana, and were shut out on seven hits by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Saturday. A two-out RBI single in the eighth by Adron Chambers snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak. Oh, and comedian/social commentator Bill Maher owns a piece of the Mets now.

[MLB Full Count: Watch live look-ins and highlights for free all season long]

Detroit Rock(ed) City: Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each went deep against Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, and Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes threw his first nine-inning complete game in a 5-1 victory. Jeter hit the first pitch of the game over the right-field fence and A-Rod hit one that rousted Hank Greenberg's ghost. Verlander has allowed 19 hits in his past two starts. This went well for the Tigers, at least: They saluted Magglio Ordoñez, who has retired.

Full mast: Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale used 119 pitches to finish off his first career complete game in a 5-2 victory against the Mariners. It's been a strange few weeks for Sale, who leads the AL in ERA (2.29) but was yanked from the rotation and named the team's closer for exactly one save attempt because of a sore elbow. An elbow that apparently is not sore anymore. That whole episode seems like a dream now.

Bard bad: Red Sox right-hander Daniel Bard hasn't been right all season, but he was particularly wrong against the Blue Jays in a 5-1 loss. Bard got five outs, but not before walking six and hitting two batters on his way to allowing five runs.

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Quote of the Day: ''He's kind of a spray painter. He's not a guy that's sitting there hitting spots. His ball just has movement." — Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Rockies right-hander Alex White, who allowed two runs and two hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 3-2 victory.

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Photo of the Day: Time for a Pirates victory dance.

Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen get funky regarding a 6-5 victory at Milwaukee.

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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:

• The Tampa Bay Rays have nine players on the disabled list but managed to take two of three games from the Orioles to move into first place by a game over Baltimore in the AL East after an 8-4 victory.

• Since his batting average bottomed out to .172 on May 20, Eric Hosmer of the Royals is 16 for 45 with two homers and four doubles over 12 games. Hosmer homered in a 2-0 victory against the Athletics.

• Carlos Zambrano of the Marlins hit his first homer of the season — it traveled 418 feet — in a 5-1 victory at Philadelphia, giving him 24 for his career to lead all pitchers since 1974. Wes Farrell's 38 homers are the most by a pitcher since 1900.

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