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Aroldis Chapman posted by Reds Fan

Born February 28, 1988, Aroldis Chapman is presently with Cincinnati Reds, playing Major League baseball. He is from Cuba and nicknamed the Cuban Flame Thrower or the Cuban Missile, as he is a fantastic pitcher, and holds the MLB record for fastest pitch speed of 106mph. He also holds the record for striking out minimum one batter in 40 appearances consecutively. Chapman has a left-handed throw, and he bats as well.   

Aroldis Chapman started playing baseball when he was 15 years old. Initially he was a first baseman, but the coach noticed his throw, and recognized his potential to be a good pitcher. In 2006, Chapman joined a team of Cuban National Series. In 327 2/3 innings, he managed 365 strikeouts, 3.74 ERA, and 24-19 record. In 2008, Chapman failed in defecting to U.S., and the Cuban President suspended him from playing baseball for the full year. In 2009, he was successful in defecting when the Cuban team was playing in Netherlands, and became a resident of Andorra.

In January 2010, Chapman signed a six-year contract with the Cincinnati reds, and in April that year he played his first professional match for the Louisville Bats, a Triple-A team. In this match against the Mud Hens, he pitched for 4 2/3 innings and struck out nine, and gave only one unearned run. In August 2010, Chapman made his MLB debut, when the Reds were playing against Milwaukee Brewers in the eight innings. The very first pitch was recorded to be 98mph and was called strike. In March 2014, Chapman suffered a skull fracture when he was hit by Salvador Perez's line drive, and had to undergo surgery. In May, he was back and Chapman made his 100th save against the Diamondbacks in July, which made him the eight fastest pitchers to achieve this record. 

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Reds Fan

Betting on the Reds in 2013 posted by Reds Fan

Are you a big Cincinnati Reds fan? Are you confident that your team can beat any other team in the MLB? Then you may want to take a chance and win lots of money by picking your team in an online betting game. There are three ways of MLB online betting that you can choose from- money line, run line and over under.

Money line is the easiest type of online betting that you can participate in. The rules are simple- just pick the team you think will win the game. Since you’re a Reds fan, you’d naturally pick your team here. Each team has odds and you simply have to choose the team that will win the ball game. As in any other gambling game, teams with bigger odds of winning will payout less money that the amount that you wagered while teams with lesser chances of winning will have a bigger payout than the amount you have bet.

The other game that you can put your money into is run line betting. In this game, the favored team has a 1.5 run advantage that it has to cover in order for you to win the bet. If your Cincinnati Red win by two or more runs, you win. But if they don’t, you lose the game.

Or you can put your money in over under betting. Here bookies will set a total number of runs scored by the competing teams. You can choose if the total number of runs to be completed in the game is either higher or lower than what was set by the bookies.

Online MLB betting is fun and exciting, however if you can't quite make your mind up over who's going to come out on top or if you're looking for a bit of betting fun during the close-season there are many types of online gambling to get your fix from.

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Richard Kagan

The Latest Marmol Meltdown Is Enough posted by Richard Kagan

Here the deal on Cub's reliever Carlos Marmol.  The hard throwing righty is either lights out, or it's All Hands on Deck.   Marmol was in the game vs. the Reds to protect a 3-0 lead and a gem of performance by Ryan Dempster. Marmol walked guys, put runners in scoring position and Cincinnati scratched 3 runs to tie the game.  They won it on the 10th.  Marmol is boring.  He doesn't get anyone out.  His walk ratio per batters pitched is horrendous.  Something like 25% of the guys he has faced, he has walked.  You don't have to get a hit off him.  Just stand there.  When he is on and somedays he is, his slider is unhittable.   The thing is with Marmol who don't know which pitcher will show up.  The closer or the Blower.  He has blown some games that were in the bag.  And, that is hard to do.  I used to like him.  He thought he was going to be great.  But, groom someone else for the closer role.  Let some other pitcher try his luck.  It has to be better than Marmol.

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Richard Kagan

President's Speech vs. NFL game posted by Richard Kagan

What in the world are we coming to?  President Obama wanted to make his national address on Wednesday night but House speaker John Boehner objected.  This was political brinksmanship at its finest.  Now, Obama had to either go ahead with the date, or move his address to Congress nect night, the debut for the 2011 NFL season.  President Obama opted to make his address on Thursday.  Now, people will have to decide to watch the game or listen to Obama's speech.

What to do?  If you were as patriotic as the character that Hank Williams plays on the intro the Monday Night Football, you'll listen to Obama's speech.  Are you ready for some football?  Not yet.  I can wait a half hour.  But now people will have to make a decision, you can't trust people to make an informed choice.  Or to go with their instincts.  This is not life and death, it's a football game, one of hundreds that will be shown on TV this fall and winter.  If you have a problem missing the game, then look at that.  If we don't get a handle on the economy, football will be relatively meaningless.  I'll take the odds on that one.

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Todd F. Dixon

Stealing Away Some Rival Talent posted by Todd F. Dixon

Another busy day for the Redskins front office.  There is a new strategy in DC these days, steal away talent from your rivals.  Instead of looking all over the country for players, we looked at situations in our division and up 95 to shore up our roster.  Let's take a look at the recent moves.

Josh Wilson CB Ravens - Wilson is a local product having gone to Dematha and then on to UMD.  He was a 2nd round pick ny the Seahawks in 2007.  He was traded to the Ravens on the last year of his contract when injuries decimated the Ravens secondary.   He quickly stepped up his game and landed himself in a starting position.  He also has experience returning kicks and punts so he could help in special teams as well.  His skills are just as good as Carlos Rogers except he has goood hands and is 4 years younger.  He is automatically a starter opposite DHall and a huge upgrade.  So long Butterfingers Rogers.

Stephen Bowen DE Cowboys - An undrafted free agent as a rookie out of Hofstra, he was signed to the Cowboys in 2006.  He learned in Wade Phillips 3-4 defense and is considered a very good 3-4 end.  The Cowboys desperately wanted to keep him but they have salary cap issues and the Redskins surprisingly swooped in and signed him.  He provides great depth along the line, and with Fat Albert and Jeremy Jarmon gone, he will see many oportunities to get at the QBs of the east.

 Barry Cofield NT Giants - Cofield didn't play in a 3-4, but the defense the Giants use has been known to use certain aspects of that type of defense.  He is listed as a nose tackle on which was the Redskins greatest need this offseason.  Cofield was HUGE for the Giants and they were very upset to see him go, especiallly to a division rival.  He will be seeing Eli a lot this season though, in the backfield.

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Todd F. Dixon

Redskins Free Agent Activity!! posted by Todd F. Dixon

So the Redskins were said to be making a huge "splash" in free agencey, which they haven't really done.  The main targets for the Redskins (WR Santonio Homes, OL Marshal Yanda, and OL Doug Free, CB Ike Taylor) all re-signed with their respective teams.  So, plan B.  They made some moves pretty quick although they weren't what was expected.

 The first move they made was dumping Donovan Mcnabb which ends yet another highly anticipated era that ended poorly.  I'm happy we got rid of him and were able to get some value (even though it was a 6th rounder).  Bruce Allen has yet again been able to turn a bad situation good and save a little dignity to this Snyder franchise.  It was a great move, and we will save millions on the cap that we are already more than 20 million under (somehow).  We could sign 3 players with the money we are going to save which we kinda did.

The first big signing was Giants DT Barry Cofield.  He is listed as a NT which was our 2nd biggest glaring need on defense behind CB but, he has been a 4-3 DT (Like Haynesworth) his whole career.  The only thing I can say is that he has the right size, and is a team-first guy who will play wherever he is asked.  He is also great at getting to the QB, so I may be okay with it when I see it play out.  

The best and smartest move was re-signing Santana Moss.  This was so perfect.  He had the best year of his career last year (93 receptions) playing all over the field getting thrown to by a struggling Mcnabb and Grossman.  He will provide great veteran leadership on the field, and also he is a great locker room presence and knows the system and loves DC.

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Trevor Time calls it a day posted by David

Trevor Hoffman, Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader, announced his retirement this week after an illustrious 18-year big league career.  The seven-time All-Star finishes his career with 601 saves, a 61-75 record, a 2.87 ERA, and 1,133 strikeouts.  In 1089.1 innings pitched – spanning 1035 games – he surrendered exactly 100 home runs.  Hoffman spent the bulk of his career with the Padres, with whom he won four division titles and one National League pennant.

Hoffman was drafted as a position player, but after hitting .249 and .212 in his first two seasons in the low levels of the minors, the Reds turned him into a pitcher.  Hoffman found immediate success on the mound, going on to become a dominant closer for nearly two decades, but Cincinnati lost him to the Marlins in the 1992 Expansion Draft.  After half a season in the majors, he was traded to San Diego in a deal that sent Gary Sheffield to Florida.  Hoffman would spend the next 15 and a half seasons in a Padres uniform.

Hoffman’s best season came in 1998, when he recorded 53 saves (at the time, tied for second in a season), boasted an ERA of just 1.48 and a WHIP of 0.85, and allowed only two home runs.  In 73 innings, Hoffman struck out 86 batters while walking 21.  That same year, he came in second in Cy Young Award voting despite receiving more first-place votes (13) than the winner, Tom Glavine (11).  In an MVP race that saw sluggers Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire finish first and second, Hoffman came in

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A new champion is crowned posted by David

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who are World Champions for the first time since moving to the west coast more than 50 years ago.  Their last title in New York came in 1954, when Willie Mays made “the catch” that will be played on highlight reels forever.  The Giants came unbelievably close to not even making the playoffs this year, but the fans who claimed that watching their team was “torture” are now the happiest fans in baseball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Matt Cain?  The San Francisco hurler was nearly untouchable throughout the playoffs, outshining staff ace Tim Lincecum, who had a bad outing in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.  In three postseason starts, Cain allowed only an unearned run over 21.1 innings of work, going at least 6.2 innings in each outing and providing a huge boost to his team’s hunt for glory.  He might be the best #2 starter in the majors, but Matt Cain looked like the second coming of Cy Young when it mattered most for the Giants.

How about Brian Wilson?  The flamethrower’s postseason numbers included six saves (in seven chances) and a win in 11.2 innings pitched, allowing just an unearned run.  Additionally, Wilson allowed no more than one hit per appearance while anchoring the San Francisco bullpen.  Wilson gave Bruce Bochy the confidence this postseason usually reserved for Mariano Rivera’s manager when handing his closer the ball in October (or November).

How about the fantastic class of rookies in the postseason?  Stephen Strasburg wasn’t among them, but Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Danny Valencia (Twins), Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland (both Rangers) would make an incredible young team if they all played together.  In fact, even top prospect Domonic Brown, who compiled just 62 regular-season at-bats, was on the Phillies’ playoff roster.  Expectations will be high for this talented group, and here’s hoping none of them experiences too much of a sophomore slump.

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Longer series are good for ball posted by David

Postseason sweeps are great if your team comes out victorious, but for the fan who just wants to see a good series because his team is already done for the year, sweeps make October less exciting.  The Phillies and Yankees outplayed their first-round opponents so it was no surprise that the Reds and Twins failed to win a single game, but the other two division series were more fun to watch.  Additionally, the League Championship Series in both the AL and NL will last a minimum of six games, which is how it should be.  A postseason series that features one team in complete control over the other is like a boxing match in which one fighter KO’s the other in the first round, but then fights him again the next night and does it all over again.  A series that goes the distance (or a game shy of it), on the other hand, is good for ball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Cody Ross?  The Giants outfielder hit two home runs against Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the NLCS and added one off Roy Oswalt in Game 2 to provide San Francisco with its only run of the game.  This feat of power against two of the league’s best pitchers comes after Ross hit only three long balls in 33 games after coming over in a trade from the Marlins.  Though closer Brian Wilson has struck out six in 3.1 scoreless innings of work, Ross’s .375/.474/1.063 line as an everyday player makes him the favorite for the series MVP should his team eliminate the two-time defending NL Champs and play in the Fall Classic for the first time since 2002.

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Pair of Triple Crown candidates duel it out posted by David

Albert Pujols and Joey Votto are having monster seasons.  Not only are the sluggers leading their teams in the playoff hunt – the Cardinals are 1.5 games back in the Wild Card race while the Reds lead the NL Central – but Pujols (.321, 34 HR, 93 RBI) and Votto (.326, 31 HR, 90 RBI) are the top two National Leaguers in each of the Triple Crown categories.  Both have strong cases for the MVP award, but if either one wins the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, it would be awfully hard for the voters not to choose him as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

How ‘bout that?

How about Billy Wagner?  The 39-year-old anchor of the Atlanta bullpen has saved 30 games, holds a 1.68 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP, and did not give up a run in the entire month of June (11.1 innings, six hits, five walks, 17 strikeouts).  Wagner plans to retire at season’s end, and with the Braves currently leading the NL East, he’s looking for his first crack at the World Series and the opportunity to go out on top.

How about Carlos Gonzalez?  The Venezuelan outfielder is enjoying a fine year in his first full season as a big leaguer, hitting .320 with 26 homers, 84 RBI’s, and 20 stolen bases.  His batting average, .569 slugging percentage, and .922 OPS put him behind only Pujols and Votto in the National League.  Rockies fans can look forward to many years of watching Gonzalez display his talents at Coors Field.  At 24, he has a very promising career ahead of him.

How about the Twins?  Despite almost getting no-hit and losing three of four to the Rangers earlier this week, the Twinkies are 27-13 since the All-Star break, and hold a three-and-a-half game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central.  After losing cleanup man Justin Morneau to injury the week before the All-Star break, several Minnesota players have stepped up to the plate.  Since the break, birthday boy Jim Thome (now 40) is slugging .651, Delmon Young and Jason Kubel have driven in 33 and 32 runs, respectively, in 39 games, and Joe Mauer has raked to a line of .399/.476/.594 with 32 RBI’s in 36 games.

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Nathan Eovaldi's gem elevates Yankees to first place tie with Blue Jays (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 Toronto Blue Jays run may have thrust them into the spotlight recently, but the New York Yankees are still very much a threat in the American League East. They proved as much Monday, beating the Houston Astros 1-0. [ On this week's StewPod: Should adults bring gloves to baseball games? ] With the win, New York pulled into a tie with the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. Both teams are currently 69-55 on the year. The Yankees were led by Nathan Eovaldi during the contest. Eovaldi tossed eight scoreless frames, giving up just four hits. He struck out seven and walked three.  If you did your research prior to the game, Eovaldi's success against Houston shouldn't have come as a surprise. The #Astros face Nathan Eovaldi tonight. They have the lowest BA in MLB vs pitches 95 MPH+, .176 (51 for 290). 84% of Eovaldi FBs 95 MPH+. — Daren Willman (@darenw) August 24, 2015 There was one problem for Eovaldi, however. Houston starter Scott Feldman was just as good. Feldman also tossed eight scoreless frames. Because of that, both pitchers received no-decisions despite their stellar efforts. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the ninth, Carlos Beltran struck. With the bases loaded, Beltran managed a sacrifice fly, plating home the only run of the contest.  The Yankees will continue their series against the Astros on Tuesday. The Blue Jays will begin a series at Texas. REDS EXPLODE FOR 10-RUN INNING The Cincinnati Reds haven't had a ton to celebrate this season. That changed Monday, as the team registered a 10-run inning in a 12-5 win over the Detroit Tigers.  Things looked bleak early, as the club actually trailed by five runs. That changed in the sixth inning. Eugenio Suarez kicked things off with a solo home run. After Joey Votto walked, Brandon Phillips got in on the act, adding a two-run shot. A single by Todd Frazier was followed up with a Jay Bruce double, making it a one-run game. The Reds didn't stop there. The club loaded the bases for Skip Schumaker, who promptly singled in two more runs. Suarez came up again, and plated two more runs with a double.  Votto was intentionally walked, putting two men on base. Phillips came up again, and smashed a triple, scoring two more runs.  When the dust cleared, the Reds had plated 10 runs during the inning. that's what a 10-run inning looks like #Reds — C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) August 25, 2015 With the win, the Reds improved to 52-71 on the season. RED SOX SURVIVE LATE WHITE SOX RALLY The Boston Red Sox looked to have Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox in hand until the ninth inning. The club held on for the 5-4 victory, but it wasn't easy.  Boston went into the frame holding a three-run lead. Jean Machi came in to shut things down, but ran into trouble almost immediately.  Jose Abreu doubled to lead things off. After a groundout, he was driven in by an Avisail Garcia single. Adam LaRoche followed that up with a single, putting the tying run on first.  Alexei Ramirez grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Garcia from third. With the tying still at first, Carlos Sanchez flew out to left to end the game.  Boston improved to 57-68 with the win. J.A. HAPP IS LOVING HIS NEW CLUB The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a lot of success turning around pitchers in recent years. J.A. Happ might just be the team's latest reclamation project. Happ was fantastic during the club's 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Monday. Happ's first start with his new club didn't go as planned, but he's been fantastic since.  J.A. Happ has given up one earned run in 17.1 innings over his last three starts. A week working with Ray Searage will do amazing things. — Tim Williams (@timwilliamsP2) August 25, 2015 That was the case Monday. Happ tossed six scoreless frames, giving up just four hits. He walked one and struck out six during the contest. Pitching coach Ray Searage obviously deserves credit if Happ has turned a corner. Searage has turned around a number of pitchers recently, including Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett and Edinson Volquez, among others. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] With the win, the Pirates improved to 75-48 on the year. Want to see more from Monday'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

Cubs move into wild card spot with big win over Giants (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. It may only be August, but that doesn't mean there aren't playoff caliber baseball games happening. The Chicago Cubs found that out during a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. [ Play a Daily Fantasy contest for cash today! ] With the second wild card spot potentially on the line, the Cubs came out firing. Chicago wasted no time going to work against Giants starter Chris Heston. Jorge Soler kicked off the scoring in the first inning with a two-run single. Rookie Kyle Schwarber struck the following inning, belting a three-run homer on an 89 mph sinker from Heston.  While the Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead early, holding it would be a challenge. Starter Jason Hammel seemed to lose some effectiveness in the fourth inning. After giving up a double to Hunter Pence, Hammel allowed a two-run shot to Brandon Belt. Manager Joe Maddon clearly sensed what was on the line, pulling Hammel after he walked the first two batters to start the fifth inning. He had only thrown 76 pitches, and wasn't injured, so it was assumed Maddon pulled him in an attempt to preserve the win.  The move would work, as Hammel's replacement, Justin Grimm, got out of the inning without giving up any runs. That wasn't the case for Tommy Hunter, though. Hunter allowed the Giants to score twice in the sixth, cutting the Cubs lead to one run. The bullpen would get it together over the next three innings, keeping the Giants from tying the game. With the win, the Cubs improved to 59-50. They lead the Giants by a half game for the second wild card spot in the National League.  ASTROS OVERCOME LATE RALLY It wasn't pretty, but the Houston Astros picked up a win Thursday against the Oakland Athletics. After nearly blowing the game in the bottom of the ninth, Houston delivered a 5-4 win in extras. Houston had a late rally of their own, scoring three runs in the eighth inning to take a two-run lead. The Athletics, however, managed to battle back. Stephen Vogt would score on a single, making it a one-run game. Then, controversy struck. With the bases loaded, Billy Burns appeared to hit into a game-ending double play. Oakland challenged, and it was determined Burns beat out the throw. The tying run scored as a result. Houston was able to escape the inning, but the damage had been done. It didn't matter. In the top of the 10th, Jed Lowrie delivered the game-winning double. Will Harris came on for the save in the bottom of the frame, and tossed a perfect inning, securing the Houston victory. With the win, the Astros improved to 61-49 on the year. BLUE JAYS KEEP WINNING The Toronto Blue Jays are heating up at just the right time. The club won its sixth-straight contest Thursday, defeating the Minnesota Twins by a score of 9-3. The usual suspects were responsible for the damage at the plate. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion combined to go 6 for 12, with five runs scored and six RBI. They also combined to add three walks.  [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] The club's pitching has been much maligned all year, but Mark Buehrle was able to keep the team in the game. He lasted seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Toronto's streak couldn't come at a better time, the team will take on the American League East leading New York Yankees starting Friday. If Toronto has any aspirations at taking the division, they'll need a strong series against their rival. MICHAEL WACHA DOES IT AGAIN St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha has been shutting down opponents all season. He did it again Thursday, earned the win during the team's 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.  Wacha was fantastic. The 24-year-old allowed just four hits over seven shutout innings. He walked two and struck out six during the contest.  With the performance, Wacha lowered his ERA to 2.92 on the season. Overall, that's pretty impressive. In St. Louis, however, it's not that great. Michael Wacha has the WORST ERA in the #STLCards starting rotation. His ERA ranks as the 13th BEST in the National League. #STLCards — The Birds On The Bat (@BirdsOnTheBat13) August 6, 2015 That's insane. If you had any doubts about how the Cardinals have been able to succeed despite all their injuries this season, that stat tells you a lot. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] With the win, St. Louis improved to 69-39 on the year. 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

Mark Teixeira homers from both sides, makes history in Yankees win (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. It seems Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are taking turns being the New York Yankees offensive leader. That's pretty impressive considering Yankees fans didn't know what to expect from either, with A-Rod coming off his suspension and hip surgery and Mark Teixeira battling back from wrist problems. On Friday, it was definitely Teixeira's turn to do the damage. New York's first baseman muscled up to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in their 13-6 victory against the Chicago White Sox. Batting right-handed against White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, Teixeira launched a second-inning grand slam that broke the game wide open early. Two innings later, Teixeira stepped up left-handed against Matt Albers and connected for a two-run blast. In doing so, Teixeira has now homered from both sides 14 times, which sets a new MLB record. Teixeira has now homered from both sides of the plate 14 times, a MLB record. He was tied with Nick Swisher. — Scot Gregor (@scotgregor) August 1, 2015 To have 14 multi-homer games in a career would be pretty remarkable. The added caveat of homering from each side only makes it more special. Teixeira finished the game with three hits, adding a double in the fifth, while driving in six. Rodriguez was far from quiet too. He reached base five times and scored four times as New York slugged its way to victory. STARLING MARTE SAVES THE DAY Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte was a man on a mission in the ninth inning of their 5-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds. With no margin for error, Marte made two terrific defensive plays that helped preserve the victory and extend Mark Melancon's 21-game scoreless streak.   In that ninth inning alone, Marte cut down Brandon Phillips at home plate as he attempted to score the tying run. Home Run derby champion Todd Frazier started the play by lacing a single to left that Marte fielded and fired home for the second out of the frame.  One batter later, Marlon Byrd lined a 3-2 breaking ball toward Marte that he caught with a dive just before the ball landed on the grass. It was a somewhat risky play. With the runners moving and two outs, both would have scored easily and given Cincinnati a walkoff win had the ball squirted away from Marte. As it turned out, he made the play, and the Pirates escaped with a huge victory.  With the win, Pittsburgh finished July with a league-best 17-9 record. They're currently 5 1/2 behind St. Louis in the NL Central while maintaining a four-game lead in the NL wild-card race.  TEMPERS FLARE AS RANGERS TOP GIANTS Friday night was a rough night for San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.  The 2014 World Series MVP was touched up for six runs in the first two innings during San Francisco's 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. A rare bad start to be sure, and his frustrations seemed to spill over into the fourth inning when he reacted unfavorably to a reaction from Delino DeShields.  DeShields had just  popped out to second base to end the inning when he tossed his bat down in his own fit of frustration. That didn’t appeal to Bumgarner, who then exchanged words with DeShields. At that point the benches emptied but nothing came of it other than Bumgarner getting into a shouting match with  Adrian Beltre.  It was quite strange, but thankfully it didn't escalate beyond words.  DeShields also had an RBI single against Bumgarner in the second inning but there didn't appear to be any issues there. Beltre and Elvis Andrus each homered, but nothing there appeared to tick off Bumgarner either. The general feeling is Bumgarner just doesn't like when an opponent feels comfortable enough to express anger that he missed a hittable pitch.  It's a unique way of thinking, but Bumgarner is competitive enough that it makes sense. Thankfully, we'll never have that problem with him.  ORIOLES RALLY TO UPEND TIGERS A six-run deficit was nothing for the hot-hitting Baltimore Orioles.  Starting in the fourth inning, Baltimore scored eight unanswered runs over three innings to take the lead and ultimately walk away with an 8-7 victory.  Adam Jones delivered perhaps the biggest swing when he cracked a three-run homer off Detroit starter Buck Farmer. That cut the deficit to 6-4. One inning later, Manny Machado put them ahead for good with a two-run shot against Jose Valdez.  The Orioles found themselves in a similar position one night earlier against Detroit, but fell short 9-8. That made Friday's comeback all the more important as Baltimore attempts to stay above water in the AL East. With the win, they remained six games behind the Yankees and tied with the Blue Jays. They're also very much alive in the wild card race at one game behind Minnesota.  Whew.  Thus concludes a wild July in MLB. Bring on August.  Want to see more from Friday’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

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