Sat 19 Apr 2014
The hottest hitter in baseball struck again on Friday night when Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton connected on yet another impressive home run. Only this time the drama wasn't attached to how far it would go (a more than respectable 407 feet), because it served as a walk-off grand slam that gave Miami an 8-4 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners .
Stanton's slam came immediately after the umpires reversed a critical call at third base. Reed Johnson was originally ruled out on a force play, but the umpires determined third baseman Kyle Seager never controlled the baseball before transferring, which loaded the bases with nobody out. MLB intends on reviewing transfer plays next week, but that won't be soon enough for Seattle. It hampered the Mariners' game plan, which up to that point was to pitch around Stanton when possible.
''We tried to stay away from him all night, because he is the one guy in that lineup that can really hurt you,'' Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''We had no choice there.''
Stanton finished the game 3 for 3 with two walks and five RBI. Through 17 games, he has six home runs and a league-high 26 RBIs. With that in mind, Saturday's game plan may call for avoidance at all costs.
It's also worth noting that Stanton previously hit a walk-off grand slam on May 13, 2012 against the New York Mets.
AARON HARANG FLIRTS WITH NO-NO: Aaron Harang was a late addition to the Atlanta Braves roster, signing a one-year contract on March 24 only after the Braves learned that Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy would each require their second Tommy John surgery. On Friday, Harang looked like he belonged all along and nearly entered the history books after tossing seven no-hit innings in the Braves' 6-0 triump over the New York Mets
Harang didn't get a chance to pursue history on his own because it wasn't his most efficient outing. Over seven innings, he walked six batters while striking out five. Two of those walks came as he labored through his final inning. He finally got Andrew Brown to swing through a slider low and away on his 121st pitch to escape. Based on the pitch count and the fact Harang's was operating on fumes, Fredi Gonzalez turned to left-hander Luis Avalan without hesitation in the eighth.
''I want him pitching 27 more times,'' Gonzalez said. ''If it was the ninth inning, maybe, think about it.''
''If I'm through eight, I'm going back out,'' Harang said.
Harang didn't make it that far. Neither did the no-hitter. With two outs in the eighth, David Wright singled for New York's only hit.
Had the Braves completed the no-hit bid, it would have been their first since Kent Mercker against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 8, 1994. Mercker was also a part of the Braves' last combined no-hitter, which happened on Sept. 11, 1991 against the San Diego Padres.
YANKEES BULLPEN HITS THE WALL: It was bound to happen eventually. The Yankees bullpen has been exceptional despite losing closer David Robertson, putting up nothing but zeros over the last seven games. That all changed on Friday, though, as the Rays offense erupted for eight runs in their final two at-bats to pull out an 11-5 victory .
Five different Yankees relievers allowed runs, including Adam Warren and César Cabral, who each allowed three. In fact, Cabral didn't record a single out, hit three batters and was ejected by umpire Joe West. He was designated for assignment following the game.
James Loney's two-out, two-run single in the seventh gave Tampa Bay its first lead and was easily the biggest hit in the game. Wil Myers put the icing on the cake with a two-run single in the eighth, breaking his 10-game RBI drought in the process.
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