The Juice: Tale of two walk-offs — Mets get clutch single while Rays literally walk away with win

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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A pair of walk-off wins Thursday night showed us two very different ways to win a baseball game. The New York Mets got a pinch-hit single from Mike Baxter to top the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 in 10 innings with a literal walk-off — the Blue Jays walked in the winning run.

We'll start with the Mets and Baxter, who is in the hero role for the second time this week. He got the game-winning hit Tuesday night in that 1-0 victory that most people will remember for Matt Harvey being spectacular. This time around, Baxter came up to hit with Marlon Byrd at second base after an inning-starting single followed by a sacrifice. Facing Pirates closer Jason Grilli, Baxter lined a base hit into center. He then was treated to a hero's huddle and a pie to the face.

At the Rays/Jays game, the matchup of the two reigning Cy Young winners ended in the least Cy Young fashion possible: Brad Lincoln walked Ryan Roberts to load the bases in the tenth, then gave Luke Scott a free pass to force in the winning run. Ouch.

This brings up an interesting question: Can you celebrate a walk-off walk like a walk-off hit? A win is a win, sure, but the ceremonial mobbing seems a bit odd when the other team just hands you the winning run. The Rays did celebrate some, but not like they would have in different circumstances.

No dispute, just destruction: Things were a lot calmer in Cleveland on Thursday. There was no close-call, no controversy, just a walloping of the Oakland Athletics by the Cleveland Indians. The Indians won 9-2, completing a four-game sweep of the A's and continuing a hot streak in which they've won 10 of 11 games.

The story for the Indians was pitcher Scott Kazmir, who won his second consecutive start, something he hasn't done since 2010. Kazmir, who was actually out of baseball a year ago, struck out 10 in six innings, allowing only one run.


- Yankees 3, Rockies 1: Robinson Cano gets his 1,500th hit as the Yankees win a game that was delayed more than two hours by rain.

- Nationals 5, Tigers 4: Nats hold off Tigers to win fourth straight. Ryan Zimmerman gets three hits.

- Royals 6, Orioles 2: Jeremy Guthrie improves to 5-0. Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas all homer.

- Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Twins take three in a row from Red Sox. Kevin Correia gets the W for Twins.

- D-backs 2, Phillies 1: Second-year pitcher Patrick Corbin improves to 5-0 for the D-backs, beating Cole Hamels.

- Angels 6, Astros 5: Despite umpire controversy and protest, Angels win to avoid sweep by Astros. Josh Hamilton homers and has two hits.

- Braves 6, Giants 3: Brian McCann, back from the DL this week, drives in three runs for the Braves.

Jacoby Ellsury says, "If I can't catch this ball with my glove, I'm going to catch it with my mouth."

• Tigers pitcher Doug Fister hit his tenth batter with a pitch Thursday. That leads the league and is twice as many as second-place Justin Masterson, who has five HBPs.

• Charlie Manuel became the Phillies all-time leader in games managed. Thursday was his 1,332nd game, passing Gene Mauch.

• Robinson Cano got his 1,500th hit at age 30. Four other Yankees did it before turning 31: Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig and Don Mattingly.

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