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The roller coaster season of Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson continued on Friday as the 2012 All-Star blew his league-leading sixth save of the season in a gut-wrenching 3-2 division loss to the New York Yankees.
Entering the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead, Johnson would allow a lead-off single to David Adams and then commit a fielding error on Brett Gardner's sacrifice bunt attempt. He never recovered. After the Yankees kindly handed Johnson a free out on Ichiro's sac bunt, Johnson intentionally walked Robinson Cano and unintentionally walked Travis Hafner to force home the tying run. One batter later, Vernon Wells put an end to the misery with a clean single to left field.
For Wells, it was the fifth walk-off hit of his career (two have come against the Yankees). For Johnson, it's his sixth blown save since May 14. Prior to that date, he'd successfully converted 35 saves in a row dating back to July 30, 2012.
Toronto’s Killer B’s: The tag team of Jose Bautista and Mark Buehrle were all the Toronto Blue Jays needed in their 4-0 victory over the fading Minnesota Twins. In the third inning, Bautista connected for a solo home run — his 20th of the season — to put the Jays up 1-0. He later added an RBI single to wrap up the scoring. On the hill, Buehrle ran his personal scoreless innings streak against Minnesota to 35 2/3 with seven dominant frames.
The Great Uribe: Yasiel Puig went 1 for 5 with a double and Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a pair of singles, but the real offensive star of the night was Juan Uribe. The 34-year-old infielder came up just a single shy of the cycle — he had a chance in the ninth but struck out — and matched a career high seven RBIs in the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 drubbing of the San Francisco Giants.
Uribe's big night started with a two-run double off Matt Cain in the second. In the third, Uribe added to his total with a three-run triple that just alluded a diving Cole Gillespie. He then capped his big game with a two-run homer to straight away center in the seventh. All of the offense was in support of rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, who pitched into the seventh inning to earn his first win since May 28.
The Big 4-0: Oakland A's closer Grant Balfour matched Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's franchise record with his 40th consecutive save in their 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. It was Balfour's 22nd save this season, and came in relief of Tommy Milone after he held the Royals to three runs in 8 1/3 innings. Oakland actually entered the inning leading 6-0, but Balfour had to retire both Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas representing the tying run.
Afterwards, he talked about his feat (via the Associated Press):
''You know, it's an accomplishment. Definitely,'' Balfour said. ''I don't like to look into it too much — I'm superstitious, obviously. But I never knew about this, and it's not something I set out to do. It just happened. I still have a lot of work to do.''
While Balfour awaits the opportunity to set a new franchise record, he'll also wait to hear if his name is called during Saturday's All-Star selection show.
Pirates 6, Cubs 2: Francisco Liriano throws Pittsburgh’s first complete game of the season and the second of his career. The first was his no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on May 3, 2011.
Tigers 7, Indians 0: Forgotten man Rick Porcello comes through with seven shutout innings.
Phillies 5, Braves 4: Great game for Cliff Lee. Not so great game for umpire Angel Hernandez, according to Chipper Jones.
Mariners 4, Reds 2: Aaron Harang returned to Cincinnati and outpitched Mike Leake for his fourth victory.
Rays 8, White Sox 3: Tampa's five-run second inning was the difference. Jose Molina and Kelly Johnson each homered in the rally.
Rangers 10, Astros 5: Nelson Cruz's grand slam leads Texas to their tenth win over Houston in 11 games.
Mets 12, Brewers 5: Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached base six times and Ike Davis returned from his minor league assignment with a three-hit game. In other news: The Brewers need pitching help.
Cardinals 4, Marlins 1: Edward Mujica listened to catcher Yadier Molina and bounced back from his first blown save on Thursday.
Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 0: 21-year-old Tyler Skaggs held Colorado to three hits over eight scoreless innings.
Red Sox 6, Angels 2: Boston scored the go-ahead run in the seventh when Josh Hamilton overran and dropped a flyball. David Ortiz provided the insurance with a two-run blast in the eighth.
''I felt he was spent. He perspired a lot. It happens sometimes to guys who can go deep and finish games.''
— Phillies manager Charlie Manuel on removing Cliff Lee after 6 1/3 innings.
The Arizona Diamondbacks paid tribute to the 19 fire fighters killed in Yarnell, Arizona by painting the number 19 behind home plate at Chase Field.
• According to Larry Stone, Seattle shortstop Brad Miller is the first player with two triples in a game at Great American Ball Park since it opened in 2003. That stretch covers 855 games
• Yasiel Puig is the third player to reach 50 hits in his first 30 MLB games. Joe DiMaggio and Roy Weatherly were the first, both in 1936.
• With six career grand slams, Nelson Cruz is one shy of tying the Texas Rangers franchise record.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Chipper Jones critical of ump Angel Hernandez
• Chris Davis still recognizes Roger Maris as HR record holder
• Derek Jeter cleared to play rehab games