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'O' no: Baltimore ballgirl snatches up live ball

  • An Orioles ballgirl made a play on a grounder she'll probably never forget during Sunday's game.Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion ripped a line drive down the third base line that the umpires ruled fair. Too bad the ballgirl either didn't hear the call or wasn't paying attention, because she scurried over and snatched it right up. The umpires called it a ground rule double.Sure, being on the field during a major league baseball game is exciting and sometimes overwhelming, but the general ballgirl rule (and I can vouch for this) is not to touch anything questiona夜网论坛ble.So, uh, FAIL.[......]

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    Here's what Blue Jays, Royals can do to break playoff droughts

  • Only two franchises have failed to make the postseason in the wild-card era.If the season ended today, both of those streaks would be snapped. The season doesn’t end today, of course, so it doesn’t really matter that the Royals and Blue Jays are atop the AL Central and AL East, respectively. Kansas City hasn’t made the postseason since win夜网论坛ning the 1985 World Series, and Toronto hasn’t been since winning the 1993 fall classic. What do these two teams need to do to play in October? Let’s look …Blue JaysToronto leads the majors in home runs and is third in runs scored. Offense isn’t the issue. The Blue Jays need pitching help, which is why they’ve been connected to pretty much every available hurler thought to be on the trade market. Though it might be tough to convince Tampa Bay to deal David Price within the division, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos will explore the possibility. The Blue Jays are considered a frontrunner to land Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, though meeting Chicago’s prospect demands won’t be easy. The Jays would prefer an ace, make no mistake.The rotation is actually in better shape than most people realize. At the top of the current configuration, veteran Mark Buehrle has been outstanding (2.32 ERA in 15 starts) and youngster Drew Hutchison has been solid (3.62 ERA in 14 starts) in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey got off to a rough start, but he has a 3.23 ERA in his past 10 starts. J.A. Happ has been hit-or-miss (4.[......]

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    Josh Hamilton's Angels return overshadowed by Jon Singleton's Astros debut

  • HOUSTON — Jon Singleton homered and had two RBIs in his major league debut, Chris Carter also homered and the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-2 Tuesday night.Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman drove in two runs apiece as Houston took the lead with a five-run third inning. The Angels were done in by C.J. Wilson's lack of control. Wilson (6-5) walked a season-high five batters, including four in the third, in just 2 2-3 innings.Josh Hamilton had a solo homer in the eighth inning in his return from the disabled list after breaking his left thumb on April 8. Fellow outfielder Mike Trout was back after missing two games with a stiff back, but left in the second inning with more back trouble. Collin Cowgill replaced Trout and homered in the eighth.Singleton walked and had two strikeouts and two errors at first base before he launched a towering shot off Matt Shoemaker into the bullpen in right-center in the eighth inning for his first major league hit to make it 6-2. Carter followed with his opposite field shot to the seats in right field to give Houston back-to-back homers for the first time this season.Wilson walked three of the first four batters in the third inning to load the bases. Castro followed with his single to right field to put Houston up 2-0. Matt Dominguez singled to load the bases again and Wilson walked Singleton on four pitches to give the rookie his first career RBI.He struck out Carter for the second out before Grossman's full-count single[......]

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    Albert Pujols: Home run stroke is back, timing is perfect

  • MVP seasons and World Series rings couldn't help Albert Pujols in his first two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. This season, the power and production that made Pujols a start have returned.Just ask the Houston Astros. Long an Albert nemesis, with memories of a bomb off Brad Lidge haunting their collective memories, Astros fans watched Pujols unload his 511th career homer Saturday. MORE: 500 homer list, hitters and their favorite pitchersBetter yet for the Angels: Homer No. 19 on the season was the go-ahead hit in what became an 11-5 victory. "It doesn't matter who we're facing," Pujols said. "We hit some balls hard against [starter Scott] Feldman, but he made some good pitches when he needed them to get out of some innings. But our goal is not to concentrate on who's on the mound. It's to go out there and have quality at-bats against anybody."It was the 511th homer of his career, tying Mel Ott for 23rd place on baseball's list and putting one behind Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews. Pujols added his 542nd career double in the ninth, overtaking Rogers Hornsby for 30th place."It's good to see him attacking the ball the way he can," Scioscia said. "Albert knows how important he is to our lineup. And when he doesn't play to his potential, nobody feels it more than he does. We need Albert to do what he's capable of, and he's doing it."A week ago, reports suggested Pujols was loafing, not playing all out and at his accustomed pace. Turns out, he was playing through a[......]

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    WATCH: Brandon Phillips saves game with diving catch

  • The Reds thanked their lucky stars for second baseman Brandon Phillips' athleticism on Monday night.After Aroldis Chapman blew his first save of the season to send the Reds and the Nationals to extras, Phillips laid out for a diving catch of a Wilson Ramo夜网论坛s liner in the bottom of the 12th. — SN ranks baseball's worst bullpens Three innings later, Phillips scored ahead of Todd Frazier's tiebreaking two-run homer. Cincy won the game, 4-3.[......]

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    Rockies score twice in ninth to stun Giants

  • SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Barnes isn'夜网论坛t a classic power hitter. In fact, neither of the Colorado right fielder's two home runs this season even left the park.They did help the Rockies to victories, however, and for that Barnes isn't making any apologies. MORE: Trade rumors | 'Field of Dreams' anniversary | Cooperstown coversBarnes hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning and Colorado rallied for the second straight day to stun the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Saturday. "I'd really like to hit one out so I can jog around the bases to make it easier," said Barnes, who hit his first inside-the-park home run against Arizona on June 5. "I always seem to make it hard on myself. I hit the ball and I'm going to run hard until something stops me."Charlie Blackmon singled with two outs off Giants closer Sergio Romo (3-3) before Barnes lined a hit to center field. San Francisco's Angel Pagan misplayed the ball and it skipped to the fence as Blackmon and Barnes raced around the bases.Barnes, who had a walkoff triple to beat the Dodgers on June 7, had flown out to center in three consecutive at-bats before helping Colorado extend its winning streak to four games."My father made the trip up from Anaheim for Fathers' day tomorrow and my step-mom and sister were here," Barnes said. "It's special to play in front of them, especially like a day like today."It's the second consecutive blown save and fourth this season for Romo, who gave up five runs in the ninth innin[......]

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    Twins fan shaves Brian Dozier jersey into back hair

  • There are certain things in life that are best left unseen.This is probably on夜网论坛e of them. A Twins fan decided to show his support for Minnesota's second baseman, Brian Dozier, by manscaping his back hair into a jersey.Ultimate Dozier fan @geoffreytweets @thecheeseball19 @nickgroke pic.twitter.com/KFRyYxi6l9— David Carmichael (@dpcRocktober) July 12, 2014Brian Dozier Back Hair Jersey. Cannot unsee. h/t @FSNtylermason . pic.twitter.com/el38Xdu0IB— Memes (@Meme) July 12, 2014Said fan was supposedly in attendance at the Rockies-Twins game on Friday night, sporting his hairy creation. So, uh, you're welcome. Or something.Source: Memes[......]

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    Red Sox officially introduce Yoan Moncada

  • Baseball Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington introduced the team's newly acquired switch-hitting second baseman from Cuba, Yoan Moncada, as "one of the few most talented 19-year-olds in the world" at a Friday news conference ."He's got a really unique combination of skills — great athlete, speed, switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate, defensive skills," Cherington said. "He's an athlete with the ability to play multiple positions if he had to, but he's a natural second baseman." MORE: Five bold Red Sox predictions | Madden not a fan of Ferrell's marathon | PHOTOS: Ferrell's dayMoncada and the Red Sox agreed to a minor-league deal on Thursday night. Although the Red Sox did not disclose the details of the contract, Yahoo! Sports reported that Moncada will recieve a record $31.5 million signing bonus, shattering the previous record of $8.27 million for an international amateur. He will immediately begin training with the team. "We want to try to let him get into some baseball normalcy as quickly as possible," Cherington said.Moncada has additionally played shortstop, third base and center field."He's going to enter the minor league system — there's still development to do," Cherington said. "He's a developing baseball player, but an exceptionally talented one. Obviously, given the investment we're making, we believe he can be a very good majo夜网论坛r-league player for a long time and we're committed to[......]

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    Robinson Cano or Adam Jones for AL MVP? Stop overthinking it, guys

  • It’s possible to think too hard sometimes.Friday night, Erik Hahmann, the editor of Tampa Bay blog DRaysBay, did a public service by watching Network and calling attention to Dan Plesac’s statement that Adam Jones is the current MVP of the American League. Upon receipt of a snarky reply about Mike Trout, with a nod to the song “Forgot About Dre,” Hahmann noted that Greg Amsinger picked Robinson Cano, on the grounds of where the Mariners might be without their second baseman. Robinson Cano (AP Photo) MVP WATCH: Trout or Abreu in AL? | McCutchen or Kershaw in NL?The question of how much worse a team would be without a specific player is germane to MVP conversations. Last year, when I was covering the NHL, I used it to help sort out my Hart Trophy ballot, and the Washington Capitals’ reliance on Alex Ovechkin for so much of their offense led me to give him the nod over Sidney Crosby in a very close call — Ovechkin did win the MVP.The problem comes when you give too much weight to this question as a factor in the MVP debate. Cano is at 4.6 wins above replacement this season (all WAR data from FanGraphs), while Jones is at 3.9. But there’s also the small matter of Trout being at 5.9 and Felix Hernandez being at 6.1, the major league WAR leader.Aside from Cano, the only member of the Mariners lineup contributing any sort of offensive value is Kyle Seager. Seattle is dead last in the American League in team on-base percentage and OPS, next-to-last in slugging and runs s[......]

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    Few things fuel a sense of nostalgia like opening a box of 1987 Topps

  • Two packs into my box of 1987 Topps, ordered online in a moment of nostalgic indulgence, the memories were rushing back faster than Vince Coleman used to steal second base.The smell of the gum was unmistakable, even though these pink slices of formerly chewy goodness were 27 years old, brittle and partially fused to the backs of these cardboard relics. The rush of seeing “Future Stars” plastered across the front of special rookie cards was still very real, even though I now know Tim Pyznarski never really became a star for the Padres, and Pat Dodson never lived up to the promise I believed in because the back of his card told me he hit .417 in 12 at-bats for the Red Sox in 1986.MORE: Take SN's 1987 Topps Real or Fake Fun Facts quiz A few more packs in, I remembered the sequencing issues that used to frustrated me to no end. In this particular box, every time I saw a Steve Garvey, I knew Andy Van Slyke, Bryan Clutterbuck and Mike Smithson were next in line. As a kid, on those occasions when I saved enough allowance to buy a full 36-pack box at .40 cents a pack, the anticipation of unveiling each card was exhilarating. Knowing what cards were coming next, especially if they were all commons and/or I only had a few packs left, was so very disappointing.As a kid, I opened each pack slowly, reading every word and every number on the backs of every card. These were my 11-year-old self’s Baseball-Reference, and I devoured the information. I memorized the stats, and found[......]

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