The Juice returns for season No. 6! It’s almost eligible for free agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
Josh Hamilton came into Thursday with an eight-game hitting streak that showed some signs of life with his bat. But, as Halo Hangout pointed out, Hamilton still wasn’t showing much power for the Los Angeles Angeles. They’re not paying you $125 million to hit singles, Hamilton! (Well, sometimes they are.) Down to a probable final at-bat against the St. Louis Cardinals, without any hits and with the Angels trailing by two runs, Hamilton came through against Edward Mujica with a two-run homer to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth. He also raised his batting average to .226.
Admiral Aybar: The Angels continued their rally against Mujica and, with two outs, Erick Aybar lined an RBI single to left field for a 6-5 victory. The Angels took two of three against the Cards and improved to 41-44. It was Aybar’s third career game-ending hit, not counting the one for the Dominican team at the World Baseball Classic.
Hambone, is that you?: Via the Associated Press, Hamilton said he was happy to pollute the air with home-run fireworks:
”It was just a good feeling to hear that sound come off your bat,” Hamilton said. ”… It couldn’t happen on a better day for the crowd on the Fourth of July. They got a little more fireworks and a little more bang for their buck than they thought they were going to get. It was cool.”
Is it a coincidence that Hamilton is hitting and, reportedly, chewing tobacco again? None of your beeswax!
Uninterrupted Mujica: On the strength of one pitch, basically — a filthy split-finger change-up — Mujica had compiled 21 saves in 21 opportunities. He came on for starter Adam Wainwright, who allowed a leadoff bloop single to Albert Pujols on his 104th pitch of the game. Wainwright was a team guy afterward, saying it was the “right” call for manager Mike Matheny to use Mujica at that point. Mujica said he made the wrong call himself by shaking off catcher Yadier Molina:
“I made two big mistakes. I didn’t follow Yadier on a couple of pitches, and that was the ballgame,” Mujica said. ”He called for a fastball on Hamilton and I threw the changeup. On Aybar, he called for a fastball again and I decided to throw my changeup. I threw a couple good changeups and got two popups so I figured I’d go with my best pitch.”
That’ll learn ya’, youngster.
Diamondbacks 5, Mets 4 (15 inn.): Arizona took the lead in the 13th, 14th and 15th inning — thanks, Cliff Pennington — before finally putting away the Mets in 5 hours, 46 minutes. More on this one later.
Nationals 8, Brewers 5: What a return from the DL for Wilson Ramos, who homered and drove in five.
Marlins 4, Braves 3: The Marlins are getting healthy, and they’ve been playing competitively since June began, even winning eight of ten recently. Giancarlo Stanton made a great catch to keep them ahead in the ninth and Donovan Solano got the go-ahead hit in the ninth. If you look closely at the photo of Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel sitting in the dugout darkness, you can see tiny goat horns forming for him being the guy on the mound when Miami took the lead.
Rockies 9, Dodgers 5: Yasiel Puig went 1 for 5 with an RBI to lower his batting average to .430. Because you need to know!
Royals 10, Indians 7: Kansas City was shut out for the first five innings, but Salvador Perez’s bases-loaded double gave them a three-run lead in the eighth to complete a wild comeback.
Rays 7, Astros 5 (11 inn.) : Joe Maddon is touting Yunel Escobar for the All-Star Game because of his defense — it might be a stretch — but he really is a complete player when he puts together games like this at the plate, too.
Phillies 6, Pirates 4: They also took the series, with Cole Hamels (!) beating Gerrit Cole in the finale. The Pirates still have the league’s best record.
Tigers 11, Blue Jays 1: Nice game for Justin Verlander. He still has them.
Yankees 9, Twins 5: Sweep. The Yankees just pretend it’s the playoffs whenever they play the Twins. Great catch by Chris Parmelee, though:
Rangers 5, Mariners 4: Check out this play made by Mitch Moreland on the bases, jarring the ball loose from Nick Franklin for a key error. Nobody complained at the time, and Moreland claimed it was incidental contact, but it looks like he gives a little extra oomph with his elbow — which probably should be against the rules. It’s no A-Rod slap, though.
Giants at Reds, ppd. (rain): No makeup date scheduled yet. Sorry.
Red Sox 8, Padres 2: Eighteen hits for Boston, three from Jacoby Ellsbury.
Athletics 1, Cubs 0: The A’s run scored in the seventh inning on a passed ball — on a strike … with two outs. It’s all very #Cubes. Via the A.P.: “According to Sports Features Group, the last time the Cubs lost a 1-0 game, with the lone run scored on a passed ball, was July 1, 1962, in Milwaukee.” I would have bet it was even longer.
”I’m excited, happy for this day, for me, for my family, for my team. They were waiting for me for my return, and I’m happy for this day, and hopefully I will help the team to win a lot of games.”
— Wilson Ramos
This is what George Washington envisioned 237 years ago, I believe.
• Arizona is 10-3 in extra innings.
• Adam Dunn is batting .272 in June and July after batting .156 in April and May.
• Raul Ibañez has 12 homers in his past 28 games, giving him 21 for the season at age 41.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Derek Jeter cleared to play rehab games
• Barry Zito makes special strikeout July 4th donation
• Power Rankings: NL Central puts another team on top