Scott Hairston hit for the cycle, and Pablo Sandoval bumped his hit streak to 20. But who really owned Friday night?
Full Friday scoreboard with recaps and box scores for all games
David Ortiz, Red Sox - Big Papi continued to key the Red Sox's resurgence, as he went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored in the 7-3 win over the White Sox. Ortiz is now batting .431 on the season. And just like that, the beleaguered Red Sox are within a game of the .500 mark.
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees - In the process of going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, A-Rod singled and homered off Justin Verlander in big 7-6 Yankee win over the Tigers. To boot, in the ninth, in the midst of what turned out to be the game-winning passed ball, Rodriguez, who was at the plate, frantically waved home Derek Jeter, who didn't pick up the ball after it scooted past Detroit catcher Alex Avila.
Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks - Against the Marlins, Saunders spun a three-hit, complete-game shutout and never allowed a runner to reach second base. Saunders also pitched in a bases-loaded sac fly in the Snakes' 5-0 victory in Miami.
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers - The Brewers' co-ace struggled badly against the Cardinals on Friday, hemorrhaging eight earned in just 2.0 innings of work. The Cards went on to win with comical ease, 13-1. In 13 career starts against his team's chief division rival, Gallardo is now 1-9 with an ERA of 7.05.
The Blue Jays' defense - The Jays were within one out of snapping a three-game losing streak, but then third baseman Brett Lawrie bounced a routine toss to first base. And then catcher J.P Arencibia sailed a pick-off throw. Thanks in large part to those miscues, the Mariners were able to tie it in the ninth. They went on to win it in the 10th.
Manny Acosta, Mets - Acosta's Friday line: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. Sure, it was Coors Field on a night in which the ball was leaping, but still: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. He entered the game with a perfectly respectable 2.89 ERA. He left with a mark of 6.52.
Harper time: Uber-prospect/firebrand Bryce Harper, who's all of 19, will join the Nats in time for their Saturday night tilt against the Dodgers. He'll be in Davey Johnson's lineup and thus make his major-league debut. Oh, and as a subplot you'll get to see Stephen Strasburg face Matt Kemp. For any number of reasons, this clash between the top two teams in the NL is not to be missed. 9:10 p.m. ET
Colby's control: It's enough that the Rays and Rangers, two of the best teams in baseball, will be crossing swords, but it's also so happens that Texas starter Colby Lewis will be gunning for team history. Lewis hasn't walked a batter in his last 25.1 innings, which puts him four frames shy of John Matlack's franchise record of 29.1 set back in 1978. On the season, Lewis has notched 24 strikeouts against only one free pass. He'll oppose Jeff Niemann, who has a 10.66 ERA in three career appearances against Texas. 8:05 p.m. ET
Lincecum watch: Seemingly Tim Lincecum showed progress last time out, as he held the Mets to one run over 5.0 innings. However, Lincecum also walked five batters, and his ERA still stands at 8.20. Can he finally turn in a vintage Lincecum outing? The banjo-hitting Padres would seem to be an accommodating opponent. Elsewhere, can Pablo Sandoval push his hitting streak to 21 games? 9:05 p.m. ET
Full schedule for Saturday's games
• Going yard: If you've ever had the desire to mow your lawn so that it looks like a major-league outfield (and who among us has not entertained this very desire?), then the Red Sox's director of grounds is here to help. David Mellor has penned a couple of how-to tomes that teach you the secrets of mowing stripes, designs and other baseball-y things into your lawn. Now go make this happen. [Wall Street Journal]
• Swing state: The state of Connecticut has long been the front lines of the Red Sox-Yankees border wars, and now it appears the Yankees are asserting their authority. According to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll, the Yanks have taken Connecticut for a fourth straight year. This year's margin, 43% for the Yanks to Boston's 38%, is the same as last year's. [Boston Herald]
• A modest proposal: Has the home-run derby become as banal as the slam-dunk contest? Pining for something different to spice up All-Star weekend? Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs proposes that we reduce the game to its trace elements and replace the derby with a baseball "skills competition." According to Thurm, the competition would entail "tests of speed, pitching accuracy, hitting accuracy, throwing accuracy and throwing distance." As someone who's pretty tired of the derby, I give this idea my full professional endorsement.
• Silicon Valley FTW: In the A.M. (i.e., "After Moneyball") baseball world, how's a team to gain an advantage? It's all about technology these days, and to no one's surprise the Giants and A's, the two teams closest to Silicon Valley, are leading the way. [New York Times]
• College days are here again: Will the new signing-bonus caps put in place by Major League Baseball lead to a college-baseball boom? Seth Walder of the New York Daily News explores the unintended consequences.
• Feelin' Minnesota: The good news is that Twins first baseman Chris Parmalee, who was struck in the head on Thursday by a pitch from Boston's Justin Thomas, feels better than he looks. But this is how he looks:
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