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Richard Kagan

The Cubs Are Not Good posted by Richard Kagan

Yippee, The Chicago Cubs beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 behind the solid right arm of Ryan Dempster (2-3), who may be on the trading block.  Dempster bolstered his status with an excellent outing, his second win in a row.  I have been a long-time cubs fans.  I was there for Don Cardwell's no-hitter in the second game of a DH.  I fell asleep and missed most of the game, as a child.  I was more alert for Kenny Holtzman's gem vs. the Atlanta Braves in 1969, when the Cubs looked so good.  I was sure they were going to win the pennant.  But....stuff happens, if you're a Cubs fan.

What still surprises me is that 32,000 fans come of the park every home game if the weather is decent.  The Cubs draw well over 2.5 million.  In a good season, it could be 2.8 million.  In this tiny ballpark in Wrigleyville...The fans still come out and root for the Cubbies.  Who are as lovable as ever, even if they are on pace to lose 100 games this season.  And, that is not a laughing matter.  How do you get paid, and get up in the morning and come to the park?

The Cubs were picked by most baseball experts to finish 4th or 5th in the division.  Unfortunately, they make the Pittsburgh Pirates look good.  Manager Dale Sveum looks like he is on an out of control train in that Denzel Washington thriller.  That train threatened to cause disruption all over the landscape.  It's a stretch to say this team could win 4 or 5 games in a row.  They don't have the players to do that.  And, coming from a fan, that is a sad thing to say.

Continue reading "The Cubs Are Not Good"


Will Chipper hang 'em up? posted by David

Chipper Jones is out for the year with a torn ACL, but let’s hope this isn’t it for the man who has played his entire major league career for manager Bobby Cox.  Chipper has made it known since last season that retirement could be around the corner, but like Baseball Tonight’s Eduardo Perez, I don’t see Chipper calling it quits now that his season has ended unexpectedly.  He wants to go out on his own terms, and these aren’t them.  At 38, his career is nearing the end, but I find it hard to believe that he will be able to say good-bye after watching from the bench as his team battles for the National League crown.

If he’s truly done, Chipper’s numbers speak for themselves: a .306 career batting average and .405 On-Base Percentage, 436 home runs, 147 stolen bases, 2,490 hits, two Silver Sluggers and an MVP award.  The six-time All-Star won a batting title at the age of 36, hitting a staggering .364 to edge Albert Pujols, who hit .357.  He is also tied for the most home runs in a season by a switch-hitter (45 in 1999; Lance Berkman accomplished the feat in 2006).  A little known fact about Chipper is that he and Paul Waner hold the Major League record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit (14).  Chipper will join Waner in Cooperstown as soon as he is eligible.

How ‘bout that?

How about Jered Weaver?  The 27-year-old righty leads the majors with 182 strikeouts and is having his best season (11-7, 2.87 Earned Run Average) since his rookie year (2006), when he went 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA.  Since the All-Star break, Weaver has been even better, posting a 1.93 ERA, limiting opponents to a .204 batting average, and averaging seven innings per outing over six starts.  With the Rangers playing so well in the AL West, the Angels are unlikely to win the division for the fourth straight year and may even finish under .500 for the first time since 2003, but they have to be pleased with how their ace has pitched this season.

Continue reading "Will Chipper hang 'em up?"

Michael McGauley

"Tim Lincecum Captures Second Cy Young" posted by Michael McGauley

 Just sheer domination that didn't necessarily show up in the win column! Fifteen victories equals a Cy Young?  Let's look at ALL of the numbers to really appreciate how great Tim Lincecum has been through his first two-full seasons with the Giants (he did throw 146-plus innings in 24 starts in 2007). Back-to-back Cy Young Awards do not come around very often (see: N.L. stand-outs RJ and Maddux, each with four straight, and Sandy Koufax with three of four; Clemens, Palmer, McClain, and Pedro each went back-to-back in the A.L. ([Clemens did it twice; ten years apart]). The difference? Lincecum has done it twice in two full years by the age of 25! So how do you follow up a CY YOUNG AWARD WINNING SEASON??? You work even harder to improve (by perfecting a third pitch), and that's exactly what Lincecum did after winning his first CY in 2008 with an 18-and-5 record, and 265 strikeouts in 227 innings. Lincecum worked 225 and one-third innings this year, and went 15-and-7 with 261 strikeouts. No, that doesn't sound any better until we delve deeper. Check this out - in roughly the same number of innings pitched, Lincecum allowed fourteen fewer hits (182 down to 168); sixteen fewer walks (84 to 68); four fewer earned runs (66 to 62), and an opponent's batting average of .206, down from .221 in '08. He also doubled his complete games (up to four); doubled his shutouts (two); lowered his ERA (2.48 from 2.62), and his WHIP (1.05 from 1.17). That is thirty fewer base runners which is certainly reflected in his walks- and hits-to-innings-pitched. Among his many double-digit strikeout performances this season, I was fortunate enough to see Lincecum dust 15 Pirates in a complete game victory on a Monday night in late July. Just unbelievable, even if it Continue reading ""Tim Lincecum Captures Second Cy Young""

Michael McGauley

"Freddy Sanchez will be the Giants' Second Baseman in 2010" posted by Michael McGauley

As expected, Freddy Sanchez has re-signed with the Giants for two years and 12-million-dollars. That's certainly one mystery solved, and for a discounted rate too! Sanchez has something to prove to the organization, and the fans, after a disappointing end to last season. A three-time all-star, and 2006 N.L. batting champion, Sanchez was hobbled by knee and shoulder injuries that limited him to just 111 games between the Pirates and Giants. He did hit a respectable .293 with seven home runs and 41 RBI's. 

Now, that certainly doesn't sound very impressive, but consider the "up-side" of his potential. When Sanchez won the batting title in '06, check out some of these numbers: 157 games played, 200 hits, 53 doubles, 85 RBI's, and a .344 batting average (.378 on-base). In 2007, Sanchez played in 147 games and collected 602 at-bats! He had 77 runs scored, 183 hits, 42 doubles, eleven homers, and 81 RBI's. All of that to go with a .304 batting average; however, ZERO stolen bases. Freddy doesn't run much - how about 10 bags over his entire career. Well, you can't have it all.

No, he's certainly not a power guy like Jeff Kent at second, but Sanchez will make an ideal number two hitter. He should easily score 90-to-100 runs hitting in front of guys like Pablo Sandoval -- assuming of course that Sanchez collects at least 550 at-bats, and the team adds another slugger to the middle of their batting order.

After making the contract official today, Sanchez called it,"a frustrating end to last season," following the July 29th trade from Pittsburgh in exchange for pitching prospect Tim Alderson. Sanchez defined the end of last season as, "the toughest thing he's had to go through in his career." He's been a pretty durable player until last year's nagging knee and shoulder problems, both of which he's rehabilitating, and says, barring any setbacks, he should be ready for spring training. Sanchez says, "he usually doesn't begin regular baseball activities until December or January," so he hopes to be right on schedule with his rehabilitation and strengthening program.

Continue reading ""Freddy Sanchez will be the Giants' ..."

Michael McGauley

"Carney Lansford the Scape Goat for Giants' Offensive Struggles" posted by Michael McGauley


  Do we really blame Carney Lansford for a bunch of over-anxious, free-swinging hitters?  The stats certainly don't lie.  Only the Padres, Pirates, and Astros scored fewer runs than the Giants' 657 runs in 2009.  San Francisco's 122 home runs was second-to-last in the N.L., behind only the Mets, who stroked just 95 homers with a half-injured team in their brand-new, spacious Citi Field. Walks: 392 for the Giants was dead last in the league (the Rockies had 660 walks to lead the league). And that leads us to on-base percentage; where the Giants ranked last at .309!  That is just dismal, anemic, pitiful....any other good adjectives to throw in there?

  Bottom line, this has been a consistent problem for the Giants for several years now. They never really replaced Bonds and Kent - the last time they had a legitimate three-four combination in the batting order.  Yes, they've built up the pitching big time. Yes, Pablo Sandoval can rake. But that's not enough -- we need two or three more hitters like Pablo. Hey, you've got to give up something to get something, and the time is now to part with a starting pitcher, and acquire a bat. It's not the most desirable scenario, but consider the lack of available sticks in free agency. In addition, they will have to invest some money to keep the young guys happy (Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson are due for BIG raises, and I say, give them whatever they want!).

  Back to Lansford, I don't blame him. He won a batting title (1981 with Boston), and knows how to hit. That doesn't always translate into being able to teach others how to do the same however. Just to use a brief basketball analogy -- how good of a coach was Magic Johnson with the Lakers? Same idea, but on a smaller scale. Lansford is bright and knowledgeable, but without a couple of big thumpers, this line-up loaded with number two and number six hitters (besides Sandoval) is not going to get the job done. We all know this. The Giants know this. But for some reason, they felt like they had to make a statement with this firing. The rest of the staff was retained by the way, when it was officially announced that Bruce Bochy would be returning for two more years with a club option for a third year. Same goes for GM Brian Sabean.

Continue reading ""Carney Lansford the Scape Goat for ..."


Nobody’s perfect posted by David

Last week I saw Andy Pettitte throw six and two-thirds innings of perfect baseball at against the Orioles at Camden Yards.  With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Adam Jones hit a ground ball to third.  Alex Rodriguez was getting the night off, and his replacement at the hot corner, Jerry Hairston, booted it.  Having grown up an Orioles fan and somewhere along the way developing into a Yankee-hater, one might think I would have been rooting for the Birds to end Pettitte’s bid for perfection; however, this was not so.  As a fan of the game, I wanted to witness history.  Sure; I would have preferred seeing an Oriole pitcher throw a perfecto (though even a shutout by one of this year’s starters would have been historic), but I can’t expect miracles.

How ‘bout that?

How about Jonny Gomes?  Called up by the Reds on May 22nd after not making the team out of spring training, Gomes has crushed the ball to a tune of a .563 slugging percentage and 19 home runs in just 240 at-bats.  His former team, the Rays, could sure use his bat right about now; they’ve lost eight games in a row and have all but eliminated themselves from the Wild Card race.

How about Chris Carpenter?  The Cardinals’ righty has put together a strong case for the National League Cy Young Award: mainly a 16-3 record and a major league-leading 2.16 E.R.A.  Additionally, he’s allowed less than one baserunner per inning pitched (0.97 WHIP), he’s surrendered only seven home runs in 24 games started, and he’s thrown three complete games – which may not seem terribly impressive but he’s tied for third in the N.L.  If all goes well for him and Adam Wainwright (18-7), the duo could become the first pair of teammates to each win 20 games since 2002, when the feat was accomplished in both leagues: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it for the Diamondbacks, and Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez did it for the Red Sox.

Continue reading "Nobody’s perfect"


Cliff Lee: Philly Fave posted by David

Cliff Lee was meant to pitch for the Phillies.  How else do you explain his ridiculous string of starts since joining the team last month?  In five games, Lee has a 5-0 record, a 0.75 WHIP, and a 0.68 E.R.A.  In 40 innings, he has struck out 39 batters and walked just six, surrendered a grand total of zero home runs, and looked like a true ace while averaging eight innings per start.  As if he weren’t contributing enough already, Lee is hitting .313, which, if it were over enough at-bats to qualify, would lead the team.  The southpaw has truly made the most of his time in the City of Brotherly Love.

How ‘bout that?

How about Carlos Pe ña?  Leading the American League in home runs but batting just .222, the Rays’ slugger actually has more homers (37) than singles (35).  If he finishes the season with that dubious achievement, he’d become the third such player to do so, following Barry Bonds (2001) and Mark McGwire (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000).

How about Jim Tracy?  Under his leadership since May 29, the Rockies have gone 54-28 – which translates to a winning percentage of .659 – and have nearly caught the first-place Dodgers, a team Tracy managed for five years during the first half of the decade.  Considering that each of the last three teams Tracy managed (the 2005 Dodgers, 2006 and 2007 Pirates) lost more than 90 games, the Colorado skipper has to be feeling good about his job security right now.

How about the Blue Jays?  After starting the season 27-14 and leading the favored Red Sox, Yankees and Rays in the American League East in mid-May, the Jays have tumbled to their current record of 58-67, an even 20 games back of the Yankees.  There’s no joy in Toronto; the mighty Blue Jays have fallen to their usual fourth place.

Continue reading "Cliff Lee: Philly Fave"


While I was out… posted by David

Since I last posted before my trip to Spain, there have been a number of noteworthy occurrences in Major League Baseball.

The American League won yet another All-Star Game – by a single run for the fourth year in a row.  Manny Ramirez returned from his 50-game suspension.  The Nationals fired manager Manny Acta.  Jonathan Sanchez threw the season’s first no-hitter.  The Braves gave up on underachieving hometown boy Jeff Francouer, and traded him to the Mets for Ryan Church, who hit the foul ball I caught at RFK in 2007.  The most exciting news, however, took place the day I returned from my voyage: Mark Buerhle of the White Sox threw a perfect game.  The following day, the A’s traded slugger Matt Holliday to the Cardinals, who now have protection for Albert Pujols.

How ‘bout that?

How about the Giants?  After beating the Pirates 1-0 in 10 innings on Wednesday night, San Francisco has shut out the opponent 14 times this season.  They have kept up the pace with Los Angeles and even picked up half a game over the last eight weeks, closing the gap between themselves and the Dodgers to seven games.  Thanks to a 34-15 record at home, the Giants are leading the National League Wild Card race.

How about Adam Dunn’s defense?  Dunn is having perhaps his best offensive season ever but has been awful both in the outfield and at first base, making 12 errors in the season’s first four months.  His fielding percentage stands at a horrendous .953 at first base, where he has made four errors in just 11 games (10 starts) and an atrocious .947 in the outfield, where he has committed eight errors in 83 games (82 starts).  Maybe it’s time for Dunn to realize he’s better off on an American League team where he can DH on a regular basis.

Continue reading "While I was out…"

Michael McGauley

"One More Thing About The Freddy Sanchez Trade" posted by Michael McGauley

  I knew I forgot something.  The Giants had to give up something to get something, and Wednesday they parted with minor-league pitching prospect Tim Alderson in order to acquire Freddy Sanchez.  Alderson was considered a top-five prospect in the San Francisco Farm System, and its number two pitching prospect behind Madison Bumgarner.  Will Alderson become another Cain or Lincecum, or will he become another Jason Grilli.  We'll just have to wait and see.  For the Pirates' sake, I hope the kid materializes into a solid starting pitcher down the road.

Continue reading ""One More Thing About The Freddy Sanchez Trade""

Michael McGauley

"Are The Giants Done Dealing Before the Deadline" posted by Michael McGauley

  Clearly Brian Sabean had something else up his sleeve when he traded for Pittsburgh Second Basemen Freddy Sanchez Wednesday. Following San Francisco's extra-inning 1-0 win and a series sweep of the Pirates, the Giants then proceeded to swipe Sanchez, who has was one of the last remaining faces of a rudderless franchise.  The 31-year-old Sanchez, the National League's Batting Champion in 2006, is currently hitting .296 with six home runs, 34 RBI's, 45 runs scored, and 28 doubles this season.  Unfortunately, Giant fans may not see the immediate return of the deal as Sanchez is nursing a mild knee sprain, and has not played for several days.  However, before the trade was completed, Giant team doctors checked out the knee twice and gave the "all clear."

  Sanchez follows a long line of talented Pirates who have been traded in the last couple of years including: Jason Bay, Nate McClouth, Adam LaRoche, and Jack Wilson.  If I were a Pirates' fan, I would not be very happy this morning after seeing my double play combination shipped out of town the same day (Wilson was moved to Seattle in a separate deal).  

  What does this trade mean for guys like Kevin Fransden and Manny Burriss?  Is Sanchez a long-term solution, or just a quick fix down the stretch?

  The Philadelphia Phillies come to town for a four-game weekend series beginning Thursday night.  The defending World Series Champions feature one of the most powerful line ups in baseball, and were also busy dealing Wednesday, acquiring last year's A.L. Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee from Cleveland.  So the Giants will likely have to contend with both Lee and Cole Hammels over the weekend.

Continue reading ""Are The Giants Done Dealing Before the Deadline""

Pittsburgh Pirates News

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Pirates-Tigers Preview (The Associated Press)

It was not that long ago that Justin Verlander was considered the best pitcher in the game, but his star has diminished over the past couple of seasons with injuries limiting him in this one. In his return from an ailing back, Verlander will get a close look at the potential heir to that crown when the Detroit Tigers face Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. The AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner in 2011, Verlander is 28-25 with a 4.05 ERA in 68 starts since the beginning of 2013. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Scherzer pitches no-hitter after losing perfect game in 9th (The Associated Press)

Just one strike from a perfect game, Max Scherzer saw it slip away with a misplaced slider. Scherzer lost his bid in agonizing fashion, plunking a batter with two outs in the ninth inning before finishing off a no-hitter Saturday in the Washington Nationals' 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pinch-hitter Jose Tabata was all that stood between Scherzer and pitching's ultimate achievement. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Dodgers steal win over Rangers on bizarre walk-off balk (Big League Stew)

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out a win in bizarre fashion Thursday against the Texas Rangers. The contest was decided on a walk-off balk in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving L.A. a 1-0 victory. As evidenced by the final score, offense did not reign supreme during the game. Both Anthony Ranaudo and Zack Greinke gave their clubs strong starts, leaving the bullpens to decide things. For a few innings, both pens performed well. That changed in the bottom of the ninth. Yasmani Grandal opened the frame with a walk against reliever Keone Kela. Grandal was replaced by Enrique Hernandez on the bases. Andre Ethier followed that up with a walk of his own, putting men on first and second.  For a second, it looked like Texas might escape the jam. Kela induced a double play against Alberto Callaspo. Hernandez advanced to third on the play, but Kela needed one more out in order to send the game into extras. He didn't get it. Kela managed a 1-2 count against Jimmy Rollins, and was just one strike away from ending the inning. On the next pitch, Kela appeared to start his delivery, but stopped abruptly. A balk was called, scoring Hernandez from third and giving the Dodgers the walk-off win. With the victory, the club improved to 28-29 on the season.  A-ROD INCHES CLOSER TO LATEST MILESTONE DURING YANKEES WIN New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez came close to reaching another milestone during Thursday's 9-4 win against the Miami Marlins. Rodriguez picked up two hits and is just one away from reaching 3,000 for his career. Rodriguez wasted no time getting to work against the Marlins. He picked up his 2,998th hit in the first inning on an RBI single. He would strike again in the fifth, singling to left for hit No. 2,999. Rodriguez had two more opportunities to pick up No. 3,000, but couldn't do it. He flew out to right field in his fourth at-bat, and was walked on four pitches in his final plate appearance. Yankees fans were not too happy about the four-pitch walk. They began chanting some unsavory things at pitcher Sam Dyson. Rodriguez will continue his pursuit of hit No. 3,000 on Friday against the Detroit Tigers. If his past performance is any indication, there's a good chance he'll come out on top. A-Rod vs. Friday starter Justin Verlander: 10-for-28 (.357) with four homers. — Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) June 19, 2015 A-Rod wasn't the only player making noise during Thursday's contest. Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton belted his 25th home run in the sixth inning. The 25-year-old leads the majors in dingers. SCHWARBER SHINES IN CUBS' LOSS The Chicago Cubs couldn't pull out a victory despite the performance of their newest addition. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber turned in a fine game during the 4-3 loss against the Cleveland Indians. Schwarber announced his presence early, singling in his first at-bat. He would come around to score, plating the Cubs first run of the game. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] He was even better the next time up. In the top of the fifth, Schwarber hit his first major-league home run. The two-run shot came on a 96-mph fastball from Danny Salazar, tying the game 3-3.  The Cubs couldn't hold on. Justin Grimm gave up an RBI single in the seventh, giving Cleveland the 4-3 lead. Schwarber made outs in his final two at-bats, and couldn't bring the Cubs back. That's not a knock on the rookie, though. Through three games, he's hit .600, so he's clearly done his part thus far. With the loss, Chicago dropped to 35-29 on the year. THE WHITE SOX'S OFFENSE CONTINUES TO BE ABYSMAL The Chicago White Sox couldn't get much going offensively against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. The team mustered just three hits during a 3-2 loss. Those struggles are starting to become a trend. Using @baseball_ref play index, over the past 102 seasons, this is only time White Sox have been held to 4 or fewer hits 4 straight games — Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 19, 2015 That shouldn't come as a huge surprise looking at the team's lineup. During Thursday's game, only two starters were hitting above .250 coming into the contest. One was Jose Abreu, the other was part-time outfielder J.B. Shuck. Not surprisingly, Abreu accounted for one of the team's three hits and scored one of the two runs during the game.  The entire series with the Pirates has been awful for Chicago. In 4 games vs Pirates, White Sox were outscored 20-4, outhit 46-13. — Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 19, 2015 With the loss, the White Sox fell to 28-37. The White Sox begin a new series with the Rangers on Friday. The Rangers have been surprisingly good this season, but the White Sox are probably glad to face anyone other than the Pirates after this stretch. Want to see more from Thursday's slate of games? Check out  our scoreboard . More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Todd Frazier stays red-hot, hits walk-off grand slam for Reds (Big League Stew)

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. If we couldn't convince you earlier on Wednesday that Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier was worthy of starting the All-Star game at the Great American Ball Park, perhaps his performance later that evening did the trick. Coming off a two-homer game Tuesday night in Detroit, Frazier muscled up for two more home runs in an 8-4 victory, including a 13th-inning walk-off grand slam off Tigers closer Joakim Soria.   That's four home runs in two games and 22 on the season for Frazier, which ties him for second in MLB along with Bryce Harper. We don't just need him in the All-Star game, we need him representing the home Reds in the Home Run Derby.  Of course, Frazier couldn't do everything on his own. The Reds also got career nights from Jay Bruce (five hits) and Brayan Pena (four hits). Unfortunately, they were batting directly after Frazier, otherwise this game may have been over a lot quicker than 1 a.m. ET.  This all played out in a game started by David Price and Johnny Cueto, which was later interupted for 1 hour, 14 minutes by Mother Nature. The true result: Mother Nature wins again.  [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] KING FELIX OUTDUELS MAD-BUM TO EARN 10TH VICTORY The pitching matchup of the night on Wednesday was also one of the most anticipated pitching matchups of the entire season. On one side, you had World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner representing the San Francisco Giants. For the homestanding Seattle Mariners, it was former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. It looked good on paper. It played out even better before the 34,844 in attendance at Safeco Field and those watching on television. For 15 of their combined 16 innings, the two studs traded zeros on the scoreboard. For 4 1/3 innings, Bumgarner was actually perfect. Mark Trumbo ended that with a bad-hop single that Brandon Crawford recovered and threw for an error. The only breakthrough came in the sixth inning when Mike Zunino, Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano went single-triple-double, producing two quick runs. The Mariners held on for the 2-0 victory, with Hernandez throwing eight scoreless on four hits to pick up his AL-leading 10th victory. Bumgarner, for his part, was credited with a complete game despite taking the loss. He allowed those two runs on just four hits. A true pitching duel if there ever was one, and a much-needed win for the still scuffling Mariners. MICHAEL PINEDA DOMINATES IN YANKEES' BOUNCE-BACK WIN After dropping two straight in Miami, the New York Yankees' four-game series with the Marlins shifted to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Unfortunately for the Yankees, their offense seemed to still be in Baltimore following their weekend series. After combining to score three runs in Miami, they mustered only two runs against Jose Urena and company. Fortunately for the Yankees, they had Michael Pineda doing some heavy lifting. He held Miami to a Christian Yelich home run and two walks over 6 2/3 innings and that's it, which allowed them to escape with a 2-1 victory. [ On this week's StewPod: Should fans really pick the MLB All-Stars? ] Pineda struck out nine, but struggled a bit with his efficiency and worked into numerous deep counts. That prevented him from working deeper in the game. The Yankees bullpen bridged the gap to victory, with Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances securing the final seven outs. Betances, who's filling in for Andrew Miller as closer, was called on to get five outs. He struck out two, including an overpowering strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton in a power-vs.-power matchup. PIRATES SHUTOUT STREAK ENDS, WINNING STREAK CONTINUES It was bound to happen. On Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates allowed a run (two runs, actually) against the Chicago White Sox. But don't worry, Pirates fans, the Jolly Roger was still raised following a 3-2 victory. Pirates pitching entered with three consecutive shutouts, including two against those same White Sox in Pittsburgh. Overall, the streak spanned 28 scoreless innings, including the final 10 innings of their weekend series against Philadelphia. On the flip side, the White Sox hadn't scored in 25 innings dating back to Sunday's loss against Tampa Bay. Needless to say, the matchup didn't look good on paper. It looked worse when Pittsburgh scored three runs in the first inning, but the White Sox were able to make it interesting against Jeff Locke in the sixth inning on Melky Cabrera's RBI double and Avisail Garcia's RBI single. From there, though, Pittsburgh's bullpen started a new streak, silencing the White Sox for three innings and extending the Pirates' winning streak to seven. Want to see more from Wednesday’s slate of games? Check out our scoreboard . More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813 [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Mets snap Blue Jays' 11-game win streak with walk-off win in 11th inning (Big League Stew)

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. With a 11-game winning streak riding into the 11th inning Monday night, it seemed like the perfect time for the Toronto Blue Jays to keep their winning ways going or watch it all fall apart. It looked like the first, as the Blue Jays took a 3-2 lead on a Dioner Navarro sac fly in the top half of the inning. But the Mets doubled down on their rallying ways, putting up two runs in the bottom of the inning, punctuated by a walk-off single by Wilmer Flores. Goodbye, Jays winning streak . You were fun while you lasted. Before the extra innings, this one looked like the pitchers would be the story, with veteran Mark Buehrle matched up against rookie Noah Syndergaard. Buehrle looked strong early, working efficiently and finishing with seven innings and two runs allowed. Syndergaard had a high pitch count, but struck out 11 in six innings and allowed just two hits and one run. Jose Bautista was determined to keep the Jays winning streak going, launching a tying homer in the top of the ninth. It was his second of the game, but ultimately neither was enough. With the loss, the Jays are now 34-31, a contender in the AL East for sure, but still in third place because the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees have been hot lately too. RED SOX LOSE — AGAIN There's not much to be happy about if you're a Boston Red Sox fan these days. The disappointing Red Sox have a hit new low lately and they lost their seventh straight game Monday night against the Atlanta Braves. The Red Sox had a team meeting before Monday's game, but even that didn't seem to light a spark. The Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth and that about finished the night for Boston. The Red Sox tried to mount a comeback, including a ninth-inning rally, but it feel short and they lost 4-2. PIRATES, LIRIANO DOMINATE WHITE SOX Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates bats took turns beating down the Chicago White Sox on Monday night in an 11-0 rout . The Pirates scored five in the first inning off White Sox rookie Carlos Rodon and Liriano just cruised with that cushion. He struck out 12 in eight innings, allowing just two hits in eight shutout innings. There was nothing to like for the White Sox, who saw Rodon get lit up for seven runs in 3.2 innings. It was the fifth straight win for the Pirates. PADRES PUMMELLED IN FIRST GAME WITHOUT BUD BLACK While we all can talk about what degree of a disaster the San Diego Padres' makeover has been this season, the story played out  for itself Monday. The team dismissed manager Bud Black earlier in the day, after nine years with the Pads. Then, later that night, they faced an Oakland Athletics team that sent Jesse Hahn to the mound. That's the same Jesse Hahn the Padres traded to Oakland for Derek Norris. And how did this go for San Diego? Not too well. Hahn allowed just three hits in 6.2 innings, holding the Padres to one run and striking out four. The A's got a big boost of offense from Stephen Vogt, who hit a eighth inning grand slam en route to a 9-1 win .   Want to see more from Monday's slate of games? Check out our scoreboard . More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz [read full article]

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