|Morales had one of what felt like an infinite number of big hits in Boston. (Getty Images)|
Lots of great baseball was played Thursday night, but one of the most wacky games we'll witness this season wouldn't exactly qualify as "great baseball." Still, it was wildly entertaining and stole the show.
Full Thursday scoreboard with recaps and box scores for every game
Angels-Red Sox offenses: It's difficult to know where to even begin in describing the action I just witnessed in this game. I love great baseball and this game was far from it, but it was unbelievably entertaining. A few times I was just laughing. Anyway, credit both offenses for refusing to quit. The Red Sox had 13 runs on 18 hits, including four doubles and three homers. They scored five runs in the second. Cody Ross tied it in the ninth with a huge homer over the Green Monster.
The winning Angels had 14 runs on 20 hits, including two doubles and two homers. They scored eight runs in the third. Torii Hunter's game-tying single in the ninth was big, as was Kendrys Morales' go-ahead homer in the 11th. Vernon Wells had two huge knocks, an insurance-run double (which it turns out they needed) and a solo homer to cut it to one in the ninth.
Alex Cobb, Rays: The youngster threw his first career shutout. The four-hit gem came against the wild-card contending A's to kick off a huge late August series. Then again, the Rays have climbed to within 2.5 games of the Yankees in the AL East, after trailing by 10.5 games on July 18. So this was big all around. Cobb struck out eight and walked two.
Barry Zito, Giants: The notoriously-overpaid lefty still pulls out gems on occasion, and he did so Thursday against the Braves. Through eight shutout innings, Zito had only allowed three hits. He went into the ninth eyeing a shutout, but was chased after two hits to begin the inning. The Braves would score both of those runs, meaning Zito was charged with two earned runs, but that's still a great outing. The Giants won 5-2 and have now won six of seven, sporting a three-game lead in the NL West. Meanwhile, the Braves have lost five of six, though they're still in playoff position by 3.5 games due to the wild card.
Angels-Red Sox pitching: The two staffs combined to allow a 19.80 ERA and 4.60 WHIP in one game. Enough said.
Mets' offense: The Mets were shut out by Tyler Chatwood (three innings), Adam Ottavino (two innings), Rex Brothers (two innings), Williams Harris (one inning) and Matt Belisle (one inning). They have been swept by the Rockies and are now 11-28 since the All-Star break.
Tyson Ross in the 5th inning: The A's starter was cruising along with a good outing against the Rays in an all-important game. It was a 0-0 tie heading into the fifth inning. But in the fifth inning alone, Ross gave up five hits, a walk and five earned runs. If you completely remove the fifth inning from his line, Ross only allowed four hits and a walk in five shutout innings. But you can't do that and that one inning buried him and his team.
Big test: The Mariners have won eight in a row in the midst of a second-half surge into playoff contention. As I noted Thursday night, however, they've gone 16-1 against bad teams in their hot stretch and the upcoming schedule is very imposing. They'll have a big test Friday night against the first-place White Sox. It's Jason Vargas (13-8, 3.53) against Jake Peavy (9-9, 3.11) at 8:10 p.m. ET.
Young Guns: It's a potential AL wild-card game preview in Tampa Bay between the Rays and the A's, and it features a pair of really promising young pitchers. Matt Moore (10-7, 3.57) gets the ball for the Rays while Jarrod Parker (8-7, 3.48) goes for Oakland.
The Best of Friends: The Cardinals and the Reds really love each other. You've heard about that, right? Well they're set to do battle in Cincinnati this weekend. St. Louis' Lance Lynn (13-5, 3.73) gets the nod against red-hot Reds starter Mat Latos (10-3, 3.56). 7:10 p.m. ET
Friday's probable pitchers
• On newspaper coverage: The Mariners will only have one beat reporter (MLB.com's) the rest of the way on road games. The Seattle Times (which employs excellent writer Geoff Baker) and Tacoma News Tribune will not be sending their respective beat writers on remaining road games, as things currently stand. Mariners blog has the story. From there, Deadspin analyzes whether or not a last-place team really needs beat reporters on the road in the first place.
• Amazing Ichiro: Check out this commercial, via yakyubaka.com:
• Return to Montreal? The Expos left Canada and are now the first-place Washington Nationals, but might baseball return to Montreal? A new study from the Conference Board of Canada suggests that conditions suggest our neighbor to the North (well, some of you readers are Canadians) is ready to support a second MLB team. TheStar.com has the story.
• Tommy Lasorda's tombstone: Check this out via latimes.com, from former Dodgers manager Lasorda: "I've already told my wife that when I do go I want our home schedule attached to my tombstone. I want people who are in the cemetery visiting their loved ones to say, 'Let's go to Lasorda's grave and see if the Dodgers are playing home or away.'"
• How technology has altered umpiring: With the ability to watch slow-motion replays from sseemingly any angle -- in addition to having K-zone and the like on pitches -- umpiring is under the heaviest scrutiny it has even been. The Star Tribune has the story on how it's affecting umpires.
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