The Juice: Yasiel Puig ties game with home run, Dodgers win in 10 on walk-off wild pitch (Big League Stew)

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The legend of Yasiel Puig grows. In only his fifth major league game, the 22-year-old outfielder connected for his fourth home run — a game-tying solo shot off Paul Maholm in the sixth — to complete the home run cycle. Yes, less than a week into his career, he already has a solo, two, three-run and grand slam to his credit. That makes for a remarkable, even historic stretch since he’s only the second player since 1900 to homer four times in his first five games . The other was Mike Jacobs with the New York Mets in 2005.
Of course the most concern for Los Angeles was the fact they scratched out a run to get the game squared up. The team’s then played three more scoreless innings leading into the 10th. That’s where the Dodgers put runners at the corners against Anthony Varvaro. Skipper Don Mattingly then elected to pinch-run Skip Schumaker as the lead runner. That paid off almost immediately, as just a couple pitchers later Varvaro uncorked a wild pitch that original runner Ramon Hernandez would not have scored on, It squirted just far enough away for Schumaker to get in though, so the Dodgers stole it 2-1 in 10 .
Cardinals gain separation in NL Central: The St. Louis Cardinals improved their major league best record to 40-21 with a commanding 9-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. They also extended their lead in the Central division to a season-high four games over both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh thanks to Adam Wainwright’s seven outstanding innings. Wainwright now owns nearly one-quarter of their win total with nine.

Posted under Mlb

Pelfrey, power hitting lead Twins past Tigers 8-2 (The Associated Press)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mike Pelfrey looked around as he stepped on the mound to appreciate the moment. Less than a year after Tommy John surgery, he was back in a major league game.

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Spring Headlines: Bryce Harper feels Stephen Strasburg’s pain; Pablo Sandoval’s elbow not improving (Big League Stew)

One day after Stephen Strasburg was struck on the left thumb by a screaming Prince Fielder line drive, teammate Bryce Harper was unable to play in Saturday’s Grapefruit League game against the New York Mets after experiencing swelling in his own left thumb.
Talk about irony… or maybe superstar teammates really can feel each other’s pain.
In all seriousness, Harper’s problem actually stems from being jammed by a pitch during an at-bat in Friday’s game and the thumb ended up swelling overnight. He was rested for precautionary reasons — manager’s decision, not his — on Saturday but should return to their lineup on Sunday.
Here’s manager Davey Johnson with more on the troublesome courtesy of MLB.com’s Joey Nowak:
“I took him out after two at-bats, though I couldn’t believe that ball jammed him. It was a bullet to right,” Johnson said. “But he’s been getting a lot of reps, a lot of ABs. I was gonna bring him today because I like to watch him play. When I took him out yesterday, it was on my mind not to have him come here. I didn’t re-adjust that after I took him out. The trainers didn’t talk to me about it, and I forgot about it. But when I saw [his thumb] this morning, I said, ‘You’re not going.’ I scratched him.”
The last time I can recall a manager admitting he forgot something was that infamous incident where former White Sox skipper Terry Bevington got confused during a fair or foul argument and basically ended up arguing against himself.
Anyway, nothing to see here. Harper will be fine. Strasburg will be fine. We think Davey Johnson will be, too.

Posted under Mlb

Gonzalez moves on after PED report (The SportsXchange)

Gio Gonzalez stepped on to the mound Feb. 25 and threw two scoreless innings to help the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-4 in a Grapefruit League game. That was the left-hander’s first start of the spring, and it let him forget for a while the problems he’s been having off the field.

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Bin Laden’s Death Unites Fans of Bitter NL East Rivals

There normally exists a strong, mutual dislike, and even hatred, between fans of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, especially when their teams are playing each other.

But, on Sunday night, during the Mets’ 2-1, 14-inning victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, fans of each of those clubs were briefly united behind the same team, as Americans first.

That’s when chants of “U! S! A!” broke out as the Mets batted in the top of the ninth inning, shortly before United States’ president and commander-in-chief Barack Obama later addressed the nation on television with news of the successful capture and death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

“I got chills hearing that,” said Mets’ starting pitcher, Chris Young.

In the age of smart phones and instant information, fans at the ballpark didn’t need to wait for the announcement after the game. As soon as the news broke everywhere else, it likewise permeated the stands, linking Met and Phillie fans in something much bigger than baseball.

Perhaps due to its timeless nature, as a game played without a clock, with more of a focus on individual heroes as much as on teams, baseball, seemingly more than any other sport, has often been connected to and remembered in that way with historical events occurring outside of the sport.

Such was the case on Sunday night.

Appropriately, while President Obama broke the news from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, the only major league game of what used to be (or perhaps still is) America’s past time, was being played within the state of Pennsylvania.

And, in some sense, it was even more fitting to have a team from New York play a team from Pennsylvania while the President spoke from the nation’s capitol about the death of bin Laden, who claimed ultimate responsibility for the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, on September 11, 2001.

On that horrific and fateful day almost a decade ago, two hijacked planes took down the famed Twin Towers in the city from which the Mets hail, while another plane struck the Pentagon not far from the site of president Obama’s White House speech on Sunday night, and a fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylanvia.

Thus, as before, baseball on Sunday night was again tied at least in some small way to an historic moment in U.S. history.

As for something of far less significance, the last-place Mets (12-16) avoided a three-game sweep in Philadelphia against the first-place Phillies (18-9), to end a three-game losing streak while snapping Philadelphia’s three-game winning streak.

Young (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7K) and Phillies’ starter Cliff Lee (7 IP, 8H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 5K) were locked in a pitcher’s duel and each team’s bullpen, for the most part, continued to shut down their opposing teams’ lineups.

New York right-fielder Carlos Beltran gave the Mets a 1-0 lead on an RBI double to right-center field as third baseman David Wright singled before racing home from first on Beltran’s hit.

After Young exited, reliever Jason Isringhausen allowed a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter John Mayberry to start the bottom of the eighth inning.

Mayberry was sacrificed to second base but Isringhausen induced a pop out from third baseman Placido Polanco for the second out.

Pitcher Tim Byrdak then relieved Isringhausen and allowed a shallow single to left field by first baseman Ryan Howard. Mayberry beat a throw home on the hit to even the score, 1-1.

The game stayed that way until Wright led off the top of the 14th inning with a single to shallow left field before moving to third base with two outs, after a one-out single by leftfielder Jason Bay and a sacrifice fly by first baseman Ike Davis.

Catcher Ronny Paulino, who had a career-high five hits in seven at-bats while making his first start as a Met, sent Wright home with a game-winning, RBI double to left field off of pitcher Kyle Kendrick (who fell to 1-2).

Reliever Taylor Bucholz (1-0) pitched a perfect bottom of the 14th inning to post his first win as a Met in the third game to last as many as fourteen innings in the majors this year.

That bit of history along with Paulino recording the most hits of any player while making an initial start for the franchise made it a momentous night for the Mets.

However, for the Mets’ city, that of their opponent, and for the rest of the world, it was a night in which Bucholz, Paulino, and the Mets didn’t mind being overshadowed.

Posted under Barack Obama, Fateful Day, Historical Events, Inning Victory, Instant Information, Mutual Dislike, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Nl East, Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia Phillies, September 11 2001, Starting Pitcher, State Of Pennsylvania, Timeless Nature, Top Story, Worst Terrorist Attack

This post was written by Jon Wagner on May 2, 2011

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