The Grand Slam: Andrew McCutchen hits tying and winning homers for Pirates

Reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen is on a mission to retain his crown in 2014. Among the best ways to make that happen? Come up in the ninth inning with your team trailing by a run and hit a game-tying homer, then come up with the game tied and hit a go-ahead homer two innings later. That will always get people talking, and that's exactly what McCutchen did on Saturday night, helping his Pirates to a huge 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds

McCutchen's ninth inning homer was a solo shot off Jonathan Broxton, who was filling in for closer Aroldis Chapman. The game-winner was also a solo blast, this time off J.J. Hoover in 11th. The homers were McCutchen's 16th and 17th of the season. He's hit 20 against Cincinnati in his career, the most by any opposing player since his debut in 2009.

Like any good leader though, he was quick to credit others action's that afforded him the opportunity.

''I can't take all the credit,'' McCutchen said. ''You've got to think of the throw from Polanco. That was a huge throw, a game-changer for us.''

He's talking about rookie right fielder Gregory Polanco, who gunned down Ramon Santiago at the plate on Jay Bruce's single in the 10th inning. That kept the score even and gave McCutchen another swing, which he turned into Pittsburgh's 49th victory.

SHANE GREENE GIVES YANKEES A QUALITY START: Only getting an opportunity due to the New York Yankees numerous pitching injuries, 25-year-old right-hander Shane Greene made the most of his chance on Saturday. In his second career start, Greene took a no-hit bid into the fifth and a four-hitter into the eighth inning, helping carry New York to a much needed 3-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Greene struck out nine and picked up the win, making him the first Yankees rookie since Jose Contreras in 2003 to win each of his first two starts. Not bad for a guy who was floundering a bit at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkies-Barre (4.61 ERA in 66 1/3 innings). And one guy who has certainly been encouraged is manager Joe Girardi.

''We were really excited about him in spring training and what he could possibly do for us,'' Yankees manager Girardi said. ''We felt he could help us at some point this year, and the time is now.''

Shawn Kelley and closer David Robertson recorded the final five outs. For Robertson, it was his 23rd save. Together, all three pitchers held the 3-4-5-6 hitters in Baltimore's lineup hitless in 16 plate appearances with 10 strikeouts. 


(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

While most division races are tightening up ahead of the All-Star break, the Detroit Tigers are doing their best to create distance in the AL Central. Following their 5-1 victory against the Kansas City Royals — their fifth in a row overall and sixth straight at Kauffman Stadium — Detroit now owns a 7 1/2 game lead with one game to play on Sunday. 

Right-hander Rick Porcello picked up his 12th win on the mound, outdueling Royals' ace James Shields. Porcello allowed one run on six hits through seven stellar innings. Shields allowed two runs, also in seven innings. The Tigers finally broke things open with three runs in the ninth. J.D. Martinez led off the frame with his 13th home run.

HISASHI IWAKUMA FALLS JUST SHORT OF SHUTOUT: The Seattle Mainers right-hander was nearly untouchable against the Oakland A's on his own bobblehead night at Safeco Field, coming up one batter short of his first career shutout. Iwakuma settled for a career best 8 2/3 innings, with Brandon Moss' two-run homer in the ninth serving as the only blemish in Seattle's 6-2 victory

Iwakuma struck out eight and walked none in his third consecutive dominant outing. Over those three starts, he's 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA, 25 strikeouts and no walks in 21 1/3 innings. That includes a 20-inning scoreless streak. Seattle also received two big swings from All-Stars. Kyle Seager cracked a two-run fifth-inning homer off A's starter Jesse Chavez. In the eighth, Robinson Cano applied the finishing touches with a three-run home run. He has seven on the season.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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