|Both Gonzalez and Ibanez came through with a late, clutch, go-ahead home run Monday. (Getty Images)|
The theme of the night seemed to be injuries to big-name sluggers, as we found out about an impending Joey Votto surgery, while Jose Bautista and David Ortiz went down as well. Still, there was plenty of on-field action. Let's check it out.
Full Monday scoreboard with recaps and box scores for every game
Raul Ibanez, Yankees: He stepped to the plate in the eighth inning still seeking his first hit of the game. The Yankees were tied, 2-2, with the Blue Jays. The bases were loaded and there were two outs. And Ibanez crushed a Jason Frasor pitch into the right-field seats for a grand slam. Though it wasn't a walk-off, that essentially ended the game. Yankees win.
Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: The first baseman averaged 31 home runs per season from 2006-11. He even hit 40 in 2009 while playing half his games in Petco Park. Yet Gonzalez entered Monday with just six homers, meaning he was on pace for just 11. Monday, he came to the plate with the game tied, 1-1, against the White Sox in the bottom of the eighth with two men on and came through with a three-run bomb. It helped propel the Red Sox to a 5-1 win. Starting pitcher Aaron Cook also deserves credit for his outing (7 IP, 1 R, 0 ER).
Casper Wells, Mariners: Wells had a big blow of his own, but it wasn't to break a late tie. Instead, he got his team going in the first inning. Wells' three-run home run jumpstarted the Mariners, who put up five runs in the first and two more in the second, en route to a 9-4 victory over the Royals.
Bronson Arroyo, Reds: A six-game winning streak for the Reds came to a halt on the night they learned they'd be without Votto for three to four weeks. The main culprit was starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo's first inning. He coughed up four runs before even recording an out. His final line was pretty dreadful, too, as he gave up eight hits and five earned runs in three innings.
The Baltimore Orioles: Obviously when a team scores 19 runs, they should be given credit. So props to the Twins. But, wow, what a stinkbomb by the Orioles, a team with playoff aspirations. Keep in mind the Twins entered the game on a five-game losing streak and had dropped seven of eight. And seven different Orioles pitchers allowed the Twins to rack up 19 runs on 20 hits with five walks and only three strikeouts. The weirdest line? Chris Tillman: 2/3 innings pitched, five hits, seven runs, one earned run, two walks, one strikeout. Yep, a Mark Reynolds fielding error extended the first inning. The Orioles could have been out of it with a 1-0 deficit. Instead, it was 7-0 and the rout was on.
John Axford, Brewers: Fair or not, baseball still views the job of a closer to simply "get the job done." And Axford's now blown five of his last 11 save chances. He also now has a 5.35 ERA on the season. Monday, though, was a tough luck experience. Axford did give up a leadoff walk, which is a huge mistake, especially with a two-run lead. He then got two outs before an infield single that probably could have been a game-ending groundout. Another walk was then followed by two singles. All of a sudden, the Brewers went from a 2-0 lead to a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. Axford was booed by the Milwaukee fans.
Doc's return: Roy Halladay (4-5, 3.98) is back as the Phillies look to somehow crawl back into the playoff picture. The time to start a run is now, as Halladay, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are now healthy and they need not give management an excuse to deal Cole Hamels before the trade deadline. They have won three in a row, but it's still a long road ahead. Tuesday night, Halladay will attempt to get his second half off to a good start against the Dodgers, who have yet to announce a starter. L.A., meanwhile, could really use a win. The Dodgers have lost six of their past seven games. 10:10 p.m. ET
Braves go for eight: The longest winning streak in baseball is boasted by the Atlanta Braves, who have taken seven games in a row. Tuesday, that streak will be on the line against the first-place Giants. It's Barry Zito (7-6, 4.01) against Jair Jurrjens (3-2, 4.97). 7:10 p.m. ET
Streaking A's: The Braves may even not be the hottest team in baseball. The Oakland Athletics have won four straight and nine of 10 overall. And get this: They are only a half-game out of the second AL wild card at this point. Tuesday, they'll get to measure themselves against the class of the AL West, in the Rangers. It's Roy Oswalt (2-1, 6.26) against Bartolo Colon (6-7, 3.80) in Oakland. 10:05 p.m. ET
Tuesday's probable pitchers
• Nine things you didn't know about Bull Durham: This is awesome. Pop Watch has the list, which includes the studio's first choices to play Crash Davis, Nuke LaLoosh and Annie Savoy (hint: None of the first choices were cast). Obviously there are a lot more interesting facts, so fans of the movie should go read the article in full.
• All-Star Game coming soon to Wrigley Field? The home of the Cubs celebrates its 100th birthday in 2014, so the Cubs have been pushing Major League Baseball to host an All-Star Game shortly thereafter (with the Twins getting the 2014 game). According to the Chicago Tribune, if the Cubs can greatly update Wrigley Field -- the way the Red Sox did Fenway Park -- there is a distinct possibility commissioner Bud Selig will grant them an All-Star Game. Other teams expected to get the midsummer classic soon are the Nationals, Marlins and Reds. (ChicagoTribune.com)
• Worst way to lose a game: In light of what transpired in Los Angeles Friday night -- when the Padres stole the game from the Dodgers -- ESPN.com provides four other options for the worst way to lose a game: A dropped infield pop-up, a game-ending triple play, a bases-loaded walk following three other walks and a walk-off grand slam while having been ahead by three runs. I think I'm going with the dropped infield pop-up (and I'm guessing Mets fans who saw Luis Castillo lose a game this way in the Bronx agree with me). What happened to the Dodgers Friday night would be my second choice.
• What can brown do for the Padres? In a freelance piece for ESPN.com, Tom Krasovic argues that the Padres should bring back brown as the most prominent color in their uniforms. Uni Watch agrees (within the same article) and so do I.
• Interesting timing: Justin Upton is a hot name when it comes to trade rumors. What if he's dealt before next Saturday, July 28? A bunch of Justin Upton in Arizona colors bobbleheads will go to waste, that's what. Chase Field has a scheduled Upton bobblehead giveaway on the 28th. (Via D-Backs press release)
• "Frank Jobe Surgery:" We know it as Tommy John surgery, but the procedure was actually first performed -- on Tommy John, of course -- by Dr. Frank Jobe. He was inducted into the Shrine of the Eternals by the Baseball Relinquary Sunday, but OC Register columnist Mark Whicker argues Jobe belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'd agree with that line of thinking. There's a non-players wing, and look how much the Tommy John surgery has done for baseball. Without Jobe's innovation, everyone who has ever suffered a torn UCL would likely have had his career ended.
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