-- Eric Hosmer had his first 2-HR game, but the Tigers scored 3 in the 8th for a comeback 5-4 win.
- At 21 years and 311 days, Hosmer is the youngest Royal ever to hit 2 HRs in a game, supplanting Carlos Beltran (22/042).
- Jose Valverde is now 1 shy of Brad Lidge's 2008 mark of 41 saves without blowing a single one. There are some who think it's bad luck to carry any year-long streak into the postseason; a Yanks fan friend of mine was happy when David Robertson finally allowed a home run recently. But the season save streak didn't seem to jinx Lidge, so I say: Roll on, Papa Grande, roll on!
-- Meanwhile, Jake Peavy allowed 6 runs in the 1st -- on a pair of RBI-ground-rule 2Bs and a pair of 2-run HRs -- and the White Sox' late rally fell short, as they drooped to 6 games back of Detroit.
-- Madison Bumgarner stopped the Giants' slide with the best game of his young career. He stymied the Cubs on 2 singles through 8 innings, and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts.
- Jeff Keppinger, one of the few Giants swinging a strong bat the last week, had 3 hits and went "back-to-back jack" with Pablo Sandoval -- the Panda's drive being of the splashtastic variety -- to end SF's 6-game string without a HR.
- The 4-0 win represented the Giants' biggest offensive output in 8 games.
- Montero also has 31 doubles, and has helped the D-backs virtually eliminate the running game, allowing a league-low 52 SB with a league-high 41% CS. Check out the MLB catcher leaders in Wins Above Replacement before today:
- After going the first 98 games of the year without a HR, Colorado's Dexter Fowler has homered in consecutive games for the first time in his 4-year career.
-- Cliff Lee came within one out of his 6th shutout this year, a mark not reached since 1998. But with 2 out and the bases empty, Joey Votto doubled, Jay Bruce walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Miguel Cairo was hit by an 0-2 pitch, prompting Charlie Manuel to bring in Ryan Madson to protect the 3-0 lead.
- Madson got PH Yonder Alonso to foul out for his 25th save in 27 tries, and the Phillies are now 40 games over .500 at 86-46. They've never finished a season more than 40 games over.
- Through 8.2 IP, Lee had thrown just 104 pitches, allowing 5 singles and no walks.
- It was Lee's 10th scoreless start of at least 7 IP this year, the most by any pitcher since 1985 (11 each by Dwight Gooden & John Tudor).
-- Chipper Jones stung career HR #450, breaking a tie with Jeff Bagwell for #34 on the career list. A slightly more unusual trot was made by Derek Lowe, who fouled off a couple of 3-2 pitches, then broke the 5th-longest active career HR schneid at 521 PAs with a laser that just cleared the LF wall.
- Eric O'Flaherty (1.21 ERA), Jonny Venters (1.31) and Craig Kimbrel (1.64) each tossed a perfect inning to close out the 3-1 win.
- Kimbrel converted his 22nd straight save try and extended his scoreless streak to 33.2 IP, tied for the 3rd longest relief streak in the past 20 years.
- It was the 23rd HR by a pitcher this year, 7 more than all of last year, and the 2nd grand slam; Wolf's teammate Shaun Marcum hit the first off Daniel Hudson on July 4, in a game the Brewers went on to lose.
- They lost this game, too, for their first losing streak since July 23-24 and their first at home since July 4-5; they lead the Cards by 8.5 games.
- Westbrook is the first pitcher to hit a grand slam and win the game since 2009, when Chris Carpenter did it while earning his 17th win and sewing up the ERA title. Nice.
-- In a back-and-forth battle for supremacy in the AL East, Jacoby Ellsbury broke a 5-all tie with a 2-run shot off "lefty specialist" Boone Logan, and Boston went on to a 9-5 win for a 1.5-game lead.
- It was the 4th HR off Logan this year, all by LHBs in 83 ABs; he has allowed an OPS about 230 points higher to LHBs than RHBs this year, quite the reverse of his career splits.
- Ellsbury's 24th HR was his 5th off a lefty this year and the 8th of his career.
- Jason Varitek added his 10th HR, extending his career lead among Red Sox catchers to 30 over Carlton Fisk (192-162). Boston has 23 HRs from their catchers, tied for 1st in the AL with Toronto; they're also #1 in runs, #2 in RBI and #3 in OPS+.
-- Tampa won 4-1 in Texas, behind 8 shutout IP from James Shields, and pulled back to 7.5 GB the Yanks in the wild-card race. The Rangers got the tying run to the plate in the 9th with 3 straight 2-out hits against Kyle Farnsworth, but Yorvit Torrealba struck out to end it.
- Is Alexi Ogando officially out of gas? He was lifted in the 3rd after allowing 3 runs and 8 baserunners, giving him a 7.14 ERA in 6 August starts. His 154 IP this year is more than his previous career total for majors and minors combined. I haven't heard of the club's plans, but it would be no surprise if Ogando were pulled from the rotation for a rest, then used in relief the rest of the way; he was very good in that role last year, with a 1.30 regular-season ERA and 1 run in 6 postseason IP.
- The Rangers' rotation has been remarkably healthy and productive to date. Their top 5 have started all but 4 of the team's 137 games; all 5 have at least 153 IP, with ERA+ ranging from 134 to 103. They would be the 2nd team this century to have 5 qualifying pitchers post ERA+ over 100 (joining the 2005 Cardinals), and the first AL team to do so since the 1960 Orioles.
- Young RHP Henderson Alvarez earned his first MLB win with a signature game, stopping the O's cold on 3 hits and no walks through 8 IP. Alvarez hails from Valencia, Venezuela -- the hometown of Felix Hernandez , Francisco "Clap!" Cervelli, Endy Chavez, and a few other current big-leaguers. He's also the 2nd MLB pitcher with the last name Alvarez and another common last name as his first name.
-- Johnny Damon's 14th gave him HRs in consecutive games for the first time since 2009. He added his 398th career SB, with an 80% success rate.
-- It's over at last in Cleveland! In the last of the 16th, Jack Hannahan -- whose 2 HRs provided most of Cleveland's scoring in regulation -- singled home Cord Phelps, pinch-running for Jim Thome, for the win on a very close play at the plate. The game tied the longest in the AL this year.
- Cleveland's 5 relievers put up 10 straight zeroes from the 7th through the 16th, including 4 perfect innings by Frank Herrmann for a well-earned win. He's is the 3rd pitcher to go 4 perfect relief IP in a game this year, after no such games in MLB from 2006-10.
- Oakland's bullpen allowed just 1 baserunner in their first 8 IP, and starting in the 7th retired 24 straight batters (10 by strikeout), before a leadoff double in the 15th. Josh Outman escaped a jam in the 15th, getting 2 strikeouts with a man on 3rd, but he allowed 3 straight hits in the 16th for the loss.
- Starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Rich Harden (wait -- are we sure this game had starters?) posted identical basic pitching lines: 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts. Harden allowed 2 solo HRs by Jack Hannahan; Jimenez allowed 1 by Kurt Suzuki.
-- Mets play-by-play man Gary Cohen pulled off an "Alphonse and Gaston" reference after one of Florida's many miscues, much to the delight of his old-school boothmates, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, not to mention your humble narrator.
[The Angels-Mariners game wrapped too late for this edition of Wednesday Wambsgansses.]
- The Mets' 3-2 win -- in which Jose Reyes went 2-4 to maintain a slim lead in the batting race, and the Mets had 4 relievers each pitch a scoreless inning for the first time this year -- was just a bonus.
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