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The Baltimore Orioles have been basically untouchable when leading after seven innings over the past couple of seasons, but that all came to a stunning and screeching halt on Saturday. With a 6-4 lead entering the ninth, closer Jim Johnson, whose consecutive save streak ended at 35 on Tuesday, allowed a home run to Kelly Johnson, two walks, a single, before wrapping up his outing on Matt Joyce’s go-ahead, two-run double.
Sidearmer Darren O’Day took over from there and allowed both of Johnson’s inherited runners to score and then one of his own. All in all, it was a six-run rally for the Rays that turned Baltimore‘s lead into a 10-6 defeat, ending their remarkable 109-game winning streak in games they led after the seventh inning in the process.
I suppose they knew it was coming eventually, but one has to believe there were a few shocked people in Baltimore's clubhouse after it got away to that extend. Meanwhile, Evan Longoria and the Rays couldn't have been more thrilled they were the team to finally end the late inning dominance.
''Their track record after seven innings has spoken for itself,'' Longoria said. ''They've been really good late in the game. And Jim Johnson has been as good as they come. To be able to get to him and then tack a couple more on and be able to win a game like that, especially here in this hostile environment, is really big.''
The Rays will hope to make it three really big wins on Sunday as they go for the series sweep.
Another day, another walkoff: The Cleveland Indians are rolling and not even a blown save by closer Chris Perez can stop them. Despite Perez allowing back-to-back, two-out home runs in the ninth inning to Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak, which tied the score at four, Cleveland found a way to win again.
On Friday night, it was Jason Kipnis delivering a walkoff three-run homer in the tenth. On Saturday, it was Kipnis again who got the rally started with a leadoff single. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double, and then after Nick Swisher was walked intentionally to load the bases. This allowed Mark Reynolds to get the winner home with an RBI fielder’s choice. Indians take it 5-4.
Votto rhymes with Lotto: Single-walk-double-walk-single. Powerball: Ninth inning two-run homer. No, we didn't win the big cash prize last night, but Joey Votto's fantasy owners had a nice consolation prize with that statline. Aside from reaching safely in all six plate appearances, Votto scored twice, knocked it two runs, and helped lead the Reds to a 10-0 blanking of Philadelphia.
Cubs 8, Mets 2: This was the 700th between the two teams. Chicago leads the series 352-348
Yankees 7, Blue Jays 2: That Robinson Cano guy? Pretty good.
Angels 12, White Sox 9: While Josh Hamilton recharged his batteries on the bench, the Angels regained their confidence against White Sox pitching.
Braves 3, Dodgers 1: Atlanta does all of their damage in the eighth on back-to-back homers from Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons.
Diamondbacks 1, Marlins 0: After Gerardo Parra led off the game with a home run, everyone else put their bats to bed.
Padres 2, Nationals 1: Jordan Zimmermann pitched well enough to be an eight-game winner. Eric Stults and Huston Street were just a little better.
Red Sox 12, Twins 5: Two taters and six RBIs for David Ortiz.
Brewers 6, Cardinals 4 (10 inn.): Jeff Bianchi wins obscure baseball hero of the day. His two-run single in the tenth won it for the Crew.
Rangers 7, Tigers 2: Healthy statline for Elvis Andrus beginning with five hits.
A's 2, Royals 1: Tommy Milone threw over 50 pitches before recording his fourth out, but still managed to throw six innings and end his personal five-game losing streak.
Cashman on Ben Francisco's roster spot: "Just in terms of your fan comments section, just say I'm holding onto him to piss everybody off."
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) May 18, 2013
Professional wrestling took over baseball this weekend. Here's Mr. Baseball (and WWE Hall of Famer) Bob Uecker along with WWE's Bella Twins at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
• Chris Iannetta walked four times, making him the second Angels players to ever have two four-walk games in the same season. According to Jacob Jaffe, the other was Fred Lynn in 1984.
• ESPN's Katie Sharp tells us the Yankees have won eight straight home games against Toronto. They last did that during the 1979-80 seasons.
• David Ortiz now has 38 multi-homer games with the Red Sox, which puts him one ahead of Ted Williams for the franchise record.
The Houston Astros introduced Reid Ryan as their new president on Friday.
It's possible somewhere down the road we'll look back at that moment as the turning point in their organization's history. For now, though, they're still the same old Houston Astros, which means losing games in every way imaginable will continue.
For example, let's look at Friday night's 5-4 walkoff loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros held a 4-1 lead through five innings, but saw that evaporate by the time the ninth inning rolled around. The all too familiar sense of impending doom had to be consuming Astros fans at this point, and especially so when Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out after pitcher Edgar Gonzalez botched a would be 1-6-3 double play.
However, as bleak as it looked for that moment, fans were able to let out a temporary sigh of relief after Gonzalez recovered to strikeout Neil Walker for a huge second out. Gonzalez then made the biggest pitch of the game, getting Russell Martin to hit a weak fly ball into short right field for what should have been the third and final out of the inning.
Only one little problem... Impending DOOM finally arrived at PNC Park.
In charged right fielder Jimmy Paredes. Out went second baseman Jake Elmore. They met at the baseball, and then they collided, allowing the ball to pop loose from Paredes' glove and hit the ground to give Pittsburgh the stunning victory.
Especially for Paredes, who was charged with the error.
''I'm anticipating the ball being hit to me, just like I do on every pitch,'' Paredes said. ''All I'm thinking about is catching the ball for the third out. That's all I wanted to do. I was watching the ball and then I hit into him. Sometimes things like that happen in this game, and it's frustrating to lose like this.''
You almost feel bad when a game ends on a play like that. At least initially. Then you remember how easily it could have been avoided had two professionals simply communicated.
But, hey, manager Bo Porter says that wasn't the problem here.
Honestly, that's what he said.
''It's not a lack of communication, because there's only one person that should be communicating,'' Porter said. ''The infielder is not saying anything. If he gets underneath the ball, the outfielder is running in and he's looking at the infielder. And if the infielder is waving his hands and under the ball, you let him take the ball.''
OK, but if nobody is communicating verbally and the guy who's supposed to be looking for waving arms isn't looking, then it's a lack of communication, no? And shouldn't the outfielder be looking at the ball to determine his chances while listening to the infielder? After all, he's got the better angle and the momentum. If he can get there, it should be the outfielder's ball, I would think.
Maybe I'm just confused, too. All I really know is the baseball hit the grass, the Astros are a league worst 11-31, and there's no end to their misery in sight.
Astros links involving catcher framing, Astros roster construction, minor leagues, the draft and more.
Houston pulls off some extra-inning magic to get the win over the Pirates on Saturday.
Stassi, Correa, Springer, Cokinos star in solid night on the farm.
Mike Scott proves why he was the NL Cy Young in 1986 with a complete game win against the Pittsburg Pirates on this day in 1987.
Three podcasts discussing the Astros pitching woes, the Astros minor league High A affiliate Lancaster JetHawks and reacting to George Postolos resignation as the Astros team president and CEO.
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