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The Juice: Yoenis Cespedes hits a big one in extras, Royals halt losing streak at a dirty dozen

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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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.

Yo! Paul Konerko may have walked away with his 400th home run and a classic Hawk Harrelson call, but it  was Yoenis Cespedes who hit the roundtripper with the most current meaning. The Oakland A's rookie hit a game-tying two-run homer off Chicago's Hector Santiago in the bottom of the 14th, paving the way for Kila Ka'aihue's bloop RBI single that sealed a 5-4 win at the Coliseum.

''I was lucky enough to hit home runs to decide games," Cespedes told reporters after the game. "This was not the first time."

It won't be the last, either. The 26-year-old outfielder has five home runs through the season's first five games which makes Yo the best free-agent pick-up in the AL West not named Yu. (Yes, that's a shot at Albert Pujols, who remained homerless and stuck in an 0-for-19 slump as the Angels fell 3-2 to the Rays. The Halos are 8 1/2 games behind first-place Texas.)

It's over! Put your books down, Kansas City. The Royals finally snapped their 12-game losing streak with an 8-2 pounding of Ubaldo Jimenez and the Cleveland Indians. Billy Butler hit two of the team's four home runs while Luke Hochevar decided to turn in a good start — two runs over 6 1/3 innings — for a change. Onward and upward, city of fountains!

Ain't no stopping them now: The 15-4 Rangers kept rolling with a 7-3 win over the Yankees that was lowlighted by a gauche Thernadier-type couple withholding a baseball from a disappointed little boy.  Meanwhile, over in San Diego, the Nationals moved to a NL-best record of 14-4 with a 7-2 victory over the Padres.

Aging third basemen of the world, unite! Scott Rolen and Chipper Jones both starred in late rallies for their respective teams. Rolen hit a seventh-inning solo home run to end Barry Zito's shutout bid and key a four-run inning that was the difference in Cincinnati's 4-2 victory over San Francisco. Jones, meanwhile, singled home the go-ahead run in Atlanta's 4-2 comeback victory against Javy Guerra in Los Angeles.

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Quote of the Day: "We'd still like to put it on the opponent a little harder, a little more, but we'll take this one." — St. Louis third baseman David Freese after the Cardinals beat the Cubs 5-1 to salvage one victory from the three-game set.

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Photo of the Day: On a night when Michael Pineda received the worst news and Phil Hughes faltered yet again, Andy Pettitte reminded Yankees fans he's not that far away from disappointing them, too. The old lefty allowed three runs and seven singles in five-plus innings of work at Double-A Trenton on Wednesday night.

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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:

• Robbie Ross of the Rangers is a real win vulture. He has four career victories in his first six relief appearances, the first pitcher in the majors since at least 1918 to poach at such a rate.

• The Astros had lost 11 straight games to Milwaukee before a 7-5 win.

• Let's give this last bullet point to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

"We're going home 5 and 5, which is better than 4 and 6,'' he said after a 7-2 win in Arizona.

Seriously, go tell that one to your co-workers right now. They'll be amazed!

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