Impressive Rogers helps Jays pick up seventh in a row Hank Conger Jersey

If the recent results are any indication, Esmil Rogers seems to have grown rather fond of his new role in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation.

Rogers entered the season as a middle reliever with the expectation of throwing one inning — possibly two max — at any given time. With what seemed like a full complement of arms ready in the event of injuries, there wasn’t a need for the fifth-year pitcher to be any more than that.

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All of that changed by late May, though, and all of a sudden Rogers was pressed into an emergency starter role and the results have been nearly flawless ever since. Rogers was back at it again on Tuesday night as he didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning of Toronto’s 8-3 victory over the Rockies at Rogers Centre, extending the Blue Jays’ winning streak to seven games.

“There was a lot of thought that went into it, but in a lot of ways, too, it was some desperation, no question,” Blue Hank Conger Angels Jersey Jays manager John Gibbons said of deciding to give Rogers a starting role. “He had done it before, he was all for it and he said he’d love to do it.

“I think he thrives on that and I think that’s actually what he wants to do. So we just kind of built him up, let him run with it and he’s been tremendous, he really has.”

Rogers’ first shot at starting in a Blue Jays’ uniform came on May 29 in Atlanta. Toronto was attempting to get by without the services of injured starters Josh Johnson and J.A. Happ while Ricky Romero was stuck in the Minor Leagues following a period of prolonged struggles on the mound.

To make matters worse, right-hander Brandon Morrow had been forced to leave an outing the day before after just two innings because of a sore right forearm. There were very few options at the club’s disposal and as a result Rogers received an opportunity to make the transition from the bullpen.

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Since then, the performance has gotten better with each start. His first outing was just 3 1/3 innings, the next one just four. But by the time Rogers took the mound in Texas on June 13 he was appropriately stretched out and ready to assume a full workload.

Overall, Rogers has been everything the Blue Jays could have hoped for and more. He has allowed just four earned runs over his 21 innings as a starter while surrendering only 15 hits and striking out 16.

“His sinker, I think, is the biggest difference,” Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia said of the recently added pitch. “Earlier guys could jump on his fastball — he had a straight fastball — and now he’s sinking it so you really have to respect that. He can sink a right-hander in and then they have to respect that and now he’s throwing 96-mph fastballs down and away to strike them out.”

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Rogers has been down this road before. He came up through the Minor Leagues as a starter and made 21 appearances with the Rockies in that role from 2010-11. But the numbers were far from impressive with an ERA well over five and it wasn’t long before he was designated for assignment by Colorado.

The Dominican native went to the Indians before eventually joining the Blue Jays in an offseason deal for utilityman Mike Aviles. It was a whirlwind kind of year for Rogers, but he seems to be settling into his new home.

Rogers had an opportunity for revenge against his former club on Tuesday night and didn’t disappoint. He didn’t allow a hit until Jonathan Herrera recorded a sharp single with one out in the sixth inning. Rogers went on to surrender a pair of runs in the seventh before departing to a standing ovation from the 22,852 fans in attendance at Rogers Centre.

“My confidence, I think that’s been the key,” Rogers said. “The confidence Gibbons and Pete [Walker] give to me right now is unbelievable. The confidence when I’m the mound, I didn’t have it in Colorado, I’m not going to lie to you. I have unbelievable confidence right now. I can throw any pitch in any count whenever I want.”

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The Blue Jays got all the runs they needed against the Rockies during the first inning. Edwin Encarnacion and Arencibia both had RBI doubles while Adam Lind and Rajai Davis recorded RBI singles during the four-run frame against Colorado lefty Jeff Francis.

The production continued later in the game as Encarnacion hit a two-run shot in the fifth while Arencibia and Maicer Izturis had back-to-back solo shots in the sixth. It marked the first time this season the Blue Jays recorded homers in consecutive plate appearances.

All eight runs were charged to Francis, who allowed 10 hits and struck out just two. The Canadian-born lefty’s ERA now sits at 6.58 and his record dropped to 2-5 on the season.

“They’ve got some good hitters in that lineup, it’s a potent lineup,” Rockies Hank Conger Jersey manager Walt Weiss said. “Some offspeed stuff up was the problem. With most of these guys it comes down to location. Some guys with the huge arms have some margin for error, but in the end it’s all about where you throw the pitch.”

The Blue Jays’ seven-game winning streak is the best they’ve had since 2008 when the club won 10 straight from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9. Toronto now finds itself just two games under .500 for the first time since April 18 and continues to dig itself out of an early deficit following an extremely poor record in April.

Izturis’ clutch play edges Rox in pitchers’ duel Josh Hamilton Jersey

When things are going well, everything seems to fall your way.

With the Blue Jays riding a five-game winning streak into Monday’s contest, it was a bloop single that was all the difference.

Maicer Izturis broke open a scoreless game with the bloop to left in the eighth, accounting for both runs, as the Blue Jays defeated the Rockies, 2-0, at Rogers Centre.

“He didn’t hit it hard, but he dunked it in the perfect spot,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the game-winning hit.

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That hit punctuated an excellent outing for the Toronto shortstop, who also made a handful of fine defensive plays.

Among Izturis’ best came in a crucial spot in the fifth. With a runner on second and Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson still nursing a shutout, Rockies shortstop Jonathan Herrera looked to have put the Rockies on the board with a single up the middle. However, Izturis made a diving play, and his throw nabbed Herrera at first to end the threat.

“The way he’s playing now is what he’s done his whole career,” Gibbons Josh Hamilton Womens Jersey said of Izturis, who is batting .345 with four RBIs over his last seven games. “He’s showed more range in the field [recently, and made] a couple of nice plays.”

His defense supported an excellent start from Johnson, who was also able to navigate his way out of trouble with the strikeout.

In the second, the Rockies put runners on the corners with no outs. Johnson then struck out Wilin Rosario and Tyler Colvin, before he induced a lazy fly ball from Nolan Arenado to come out of it unscathed.

“Just make pitches,” Johnson said of his ability to tightrope out of jams. “That’s the name of the game, is making pitches whenever you need to. I could feel it that first inning. I was just letting it go and not trying to force my slider to move. I was just trusting it and letting it go.”

By the end of the night, the tall righty tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings with five hits, two walks, and 10 strikeouts, all of them of the swing-and-miss variety.

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“He’s definitely got some of the best stuff in the game — big, tall, throws hard,” said Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer. “When he’s throwing strikes like that, it can be tough. His fastball was getting on guys. He pitched well.”

“He had everything going on,” Gibbons added. “Good live fastball, ball had a lot of jump on it, and a good breaking ball. He was attacking pretty good.”

However, it could’ve been all for naught had it not been for Brett Cecil.

Johnson left the game with two runners in scoring position for the Blue Jays’ lefty reliever. Cecil, who entered the game having retired 24 straight batters, got Carlos Gonzalez on his first pitch. Gonzalez absolutely drilled the ball, but it was right at Adam Lind at first, who snared it to keep the game scoreless.

Toronto then decided to intentionally walk the right-handed Cuddyer to face the left-handed-hitting Todd Helton. Helton found himself up 2-0 in the count, but would eventually hit a weak ground ball to second.

“He’s pitching as good as anybody down there,” Gibbons said of Cecil. “He’s dominating left-handed hitters. So when Gonzalez comes to the plate, one of the premier run producers in the game, yeah, that was a no-brainer to me. Of course, then he gets Helton, too.”

Jorge De La Rosa matched Johnson all evening.

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In fact, De La Rosa carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a single to Izturis. Up until then, the 32-year-old had faced only one batter over the minimum, with a pair of walks to Melky Cabrera the only blemishes.

De Josh Hamilton Jersey La Rosa tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only the single hit and three walks while striking out four.

“[Rosario and I] made a plan to pitch against those guys,” De La Rosa said. “I threw a lot of breaking balls, and when I was behind in the count, I threw a lot of changeups. That’s why I made those quick outs.”

“It was just one of those games where the team that found a way to score was going to win the game, with the way it was pitched,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of the hard-luck loss.

With the victory, Toronto has now won six in a row and 10 of its last 13, moving within three games of .500. It’s the longest such streak for the club since May 2011.

“Now we’re winning. That’s the fun part and the key thing,” Johnson said of his club’s fortunes. “You win games, and then everything else will take care of itself.”

Teixeira Nolan Ryan Jersey has inflammation in right wrist, no tear

The news on Mark Teixeira’s ailing right wrist was positive Sunday, but the Yankees are still uncertain if their slumping first baseman is headed for another stint on the disabled list.

An MRI in New York on Sunday morning revealed inflammation, but no tear, manager Joe Girardi said before Sunday’s game against the Angels. A torn tendon in the same wrist kept Teixeira out of the Yanks’ lineup until May 31 this season, and Girardi said the two injuries are likely related.

Despite the setback, Girardi made sure to point out that inflammation — and nothing more — was positive news.

“That’s a good thing,” Girardi said. “If he was to re-tear it, that would probably be it for the season. We’re looking at some inflammation, and we’re going to have to see how long it’s going to take to get back.”

Teixeira was removed from Saturday’s game in the fourth inning because he aggravated the wrist, and he headed to New York, where he was evaluated by team physician Christopher Ahmad. In addition to the MRI, Teixeira also received a cortisone injection.

Girardi was noncommittal when asked about the possibility of a DL stint for Teixeira. He reiterated that the club needs to check in on how Teixeira feels Monday, but said he’s not an option for Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers in the Bronx.

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“The inflammation should go away, but it’s going to take some time,” Girardi said. “He’s not a player for at least a couple days. Then we’ll evaluate.”

In 53 at-bats spanning 15 games, Teixeira is hitting just .151. He has three home runs and 12 RBIs, but all three long balls and eight of those RBIs came in his first seven games back. Since then, he’s hitting just .097.

The injury has affected the switch-hitting Teixeira almost exclusively from the left side of the plate. Girardi said until the wrist is healed, the left-handed-hitting Lyle Overbay will fill in at first base. But he added that he isn’t too fond of the notion of a left-right platoon with Overbay hitting against righties and Teixeira hitting against left-handers.

“It’s not what I really want to do,” Girardi Nolan Ryan California Angels Jersey said. “I really haven’t thought of doing that. We’ve just got to see how the wrist reacts with this rest.”

Since he arrived in the Bronx, Lyle Overbay’s role with the Yankees has been fluid.

He filled in for a couple of months when first baseman Mark Teixeira was on the disabled list. When Teixeira returned, Overbay shifted to a spot outfielder, backup first baseman and pinch-hitter. Now, with Teixeira’s right wrist problems flaring up again, for at least the next couple of games, Overbay is penciled back in as the Yankees’ everyday first baseman.

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So how exactly does he deal with all the uncertainty and the changes? It’s simple, he says. When you’ve been around the game long enough — he’s played 13 big league seasons with seven different teams — you begin to understand that you have to perform, no matter the role, he says.

“I don’t have anything else to prove,” Overbay said. “I’m just here to win. Whatever that role is. When you’re young, you’ve got stuff to prove. I’m beyond that, so I think that’s why it maybe makes it easier for a veteran.”

An MRI on Teixeira’s wrist showed no torn tendons, and the club is still uncertain about a possible DL stint, but manager Joe Girardi ruled him out for the foreseeable future.

“My plan is to put Overbay at first base,” Girardi said. “I know we’re going to see some lefties against the Dodgers when we get home, but my plan is to put him at first base.”

When the Yankees take on the Dodgers in the Bronx this week, rookie southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu is set to take the ball for Los Angeles in the opener. The Dodgers have yet to officially announce their Wednesday starter, but it seems likely to be left-hander Chris Capuano.

Heading into Sunday’s game, Overbay is hitting just .164 this season against left-handers, but he’s batting .270 against righties. Seven of his eight homers have come against right-handers.

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Still, he’s had plenty of at-bats against left-handers this season (59, to be exact). That’s a prospect he wasn’t expecting when he inked a Minors deal with the club in late March.

“Some more injuries put me in there even more against lefties,” Overbay said. “I think they had the vision of me playing against righties. And then a couple of the other things happened that I kind of got that opportunity [to play] every day.”

 thing is you encourage them, because you know what they’re capable of doing,” Girardi said. “Every hitter has been in a slump. If you’ve played long enough, you’ve been in a slump. Your hope as a club is that you don’t have three, four, five guys slumping at once, but sometimes you do. It becomes really tough to score runs.”

No doubt, the ailing right wrist of first baseman Mark Teixeira is a bit of a setback, but Girardi was quick to point out that the current injury-riddled group is the same bunch that has hovered around first place in the American League East pretty much all season.

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“This is the group that got us 12 games over [.500],” Girardi said. “There’s a few changes, but it’s basically the same group, and they’re capable of doing it — putting together a good run. That’s what we need to do.”

During the past three games leading up to Sunday, the Yankees hit just .138 with runners in scoring position. They’ve left a total of 25 men on base during that time.

Lyle Overbay is back as the starting first baseman, Girardi said, until Teixeira returns. He noted the importance of good at-bats even if the results aren’t necessarily there.

“When you’re not seeing the ball too well as a team, maybe you start trying to do too much, and that’s when it’s tough,” Overbay said. “There are some times when just a walk can get you locked in.”

Playing on Father’s Day has always taken on special meaning to Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who shared an extremely close bond with his father, Jerry.

Jerry passed away last October, but Joe continues to honor his memory, specifically on days like Sunday.

“Days Nolan Ryan Jersey like today, I think of my dad, and how important he was to my life and giving me the opportunity to do what I did,” Girardi said. “I also think of my mom, too. It really hits home, and then you think of how special it is to be a dad yourself.”

Obviously, Girardi would have loved to have spent Father’s Day at home with his children, but he said he was moved by the personalized notes he received from them.

“This is a game — it’s generational,” Girardi said. “Dads sit with sons, dads sit with daughters and grandparents sit with grandkids. It’s pretty neat.”

Nolan Ryan Jersey Given second chance, Rendon comes through for Nats

An error by first baseman Nick Swisher and the first Major League home run by Anthony Rendon helped the Nationals edge the Indians, 7-6, at Progressive Field on Saturday night. The Nationals improved their record to 34-33.

With two outs in the ninth inning and the game tied at 6, Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano was able to get Rendon to pop up to Swisher at first base. It looked like Swisher had a bead on it but then, suddenly, he lost sight of the ball and it dropped in foul territory. Swisher was charged with an error on the play.

“I thought it was going to go fair. That’s why I kept running,” Rendon said. “I went, ‘Phew, I will get another try.'”

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Said Indians manager Terry Francona: “I think Swish thought he was under it and then realized too late that he wasn’t. It ended up falling in no-man’s land. You give teams extra opportunities. … That’s a heartbreaker, what happened after that. That can happen when you don’t turn potential outs into outs.”

In the Nationals’ dugout, infielder Chad Tracy and catcher Jhonatan Solano predicted that Rendon would make the Indians pay for the mistake. They both said that Rendon would hit a home run.

“Everyone was saying this would be a great time for his first,” Tracy said. “You can’t give teams extra outs. They let a good hitter like Anthony get another strike, and he made them pay.”

On the next pitch following the error, Rendon hit his first homer over the right-field wall. It was Rendon’s third hit of the game. He is now hitting .333 for the season.

After the game, Rendon was at a loss for words.

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“I don’t even know how to explain it. It felt good, I guess.” Rendon said. “I thought the ball was in play because I saw it drop. But I didn’t know it went into the bullpen. I thought it was still on the field.”

Rendon Nolan Ryan California Angels Jersey was hanging out with his brother, David, the previous night, and David predicted that Anthony would hit a home run Saturday night. The game-winning ball will now go to Anthony’s mother, Bridget.

Rafael Soriano blanked the Indians in the ninth inning and picked up his 18th save of the season.

“Everybody feels good about themselves. I have confidence in this offense,” manager Davey Johnson said.

The game got off to a great start for Washington. The team began Saturday hitting .209 with a .275 on-base percentage against left-handers. It didn’t seem to be a problem against Indians starter Scott Kazmir, who allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings.

The Nationals scored the first two runs in the first inning as Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth hit consecutive home runs. The following inning, Washington made it 3-0 on a home run by Ian Desmond.

Kazmir found himself in trouble again in the third inning. The Nationals had the bases loaded with no outs, but Adam LaRoche hit into a double play, with Rendon scoring on the play. Zimmerman then scored on a wild pitch by Kazmir to make it a five-run Nationals lead.

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Kazmir was taken out of the game in favor of right-hander Matt Albers, who was able to stop the bleeding.

However, Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann couldn’t take advantage of the 5-0 lead. He pitched five innings and allowed six runs on eight hits.

“I felt terrible all night. Everything I threw was up in the zone. I wasn’t getting ahead of guys. I was 1-0, 2-0,” Zimmermann said. “Obviously, I had to come with the fastball then. Even when I didn’t come with the fastball, it was up in the zone. When those guys give me five runs, I’ve got to be able to lock it down and get us the win.”

The Indians started chipping away at Washington’s lead starting in the third, when Mike Aviles scored on a single by Jason Kipnis.

An inning later, Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds hit back-to-back home runs to make it a 5-3 game.

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In the fifth inning, the Indians scored three more runs to take a one-run lead against Zimmermann. Aviles scored on a single by Swisher, while Michael Brantley gave Cleveland the lead with a two-run double.

“We could have easily put our heads down and folded up,” Tracy Nolan Ryan Jersey said. “But that’s the makeup of this team. We made not have showed it a lot so far. The season is still young and we are a very confident bunch. We believe in the goal that we are after, and that’s what we are going to do.”

Indians relievers were able to blank the Nationals until the eighth inning, when right-hander Joe Smith allowed a pinch-hit home run to Tracy to tie the game at 6. It was Tracy’s second pinch-hit home run of the season.

“It’s great to have the comeback win, especially when we had a pretty good lead at the beginning of the game,” Rendon said. “They fought their tails off to come back. We never gave up though, we kept going out there and kept grinding.”

Rookie Josh Hamilton Jersey Fernandez fans career-high 10, stops Cards

Facing the best certainly brought out the best in Jose Fernandez.

The ambitious 20-year-old struck out a career-high 10 batters over seven innings on Friday night in the Marlins’ 5-4 win over the Cardinals in front of 15,403 at Marlins Park.

The Cards came into the contest sporting MLB’s best record, and they were taking on the team with the league’s worst.

To Fernandez, it was an ideal matchup.Womens Josh Hamilton Jersey.

“I was looking forward to this start,” the rookie said. “I look forward to every start, but they’re a great team. Everybody knows it. They’ve got great hitters. They’ve got hitters who can hit it out. They’ve got guys who are patient. They have guys who will take a 3-2 curveball for a walk. They’ve got incredible guys, incredible hitters.”

Yet, after the two-hour, 48-minute contest concluded with Steve Cishek logging his eighth save, it was the Cardinals singing Fernandez’s praises.

“We watched him in the spring and knew that he was going to be a handful today,” Cards manager Mike Josh Hamilton Womens Jersey Matheny said. “He threw the ball well. He had a big hit, too, that ended up hurting. He did a lot of things right.”

Along with throwing a career-most 107 pitches and reaching double-digit strikeouts in his 13th big league start, Fernandez added a critical two-out RBI single that tied the game at 2 in the second inning.

But it was his dominating stuff that improved his record to 4-3 while enabling the Marlins to improve to 20-46, while the Cardinals fell to 43-24.

“He did a good job of containing us,” St. Louis’ Jon Jay said. “We jumped out to a lead early and we had some chances, but he got the best of us tonight.”

Fernandez, whose fastball topped out at 98 mph on the night, logged all 10 of his strikeouts on breaking pitches. He had one 10-pitch showdown with Matt Holliday end with the slugger swinging through an offspeed pitch.

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The highest compliment Fernandez had on the night was a brief exchange he had when he stepped up to bat in the second inning. Turning to All-Star Yadier Molina, the Marlins’ rookie expressed his admiration.

“One of the special moments during the game was the first time I went up to hit,” Fernandez said. “Molina was catching. I look up to that guy. When they won the World Series and I saw him catch, I said, ‘Man, I wish one day, I could shake his hand.’ I was in high school back then.

“I told him, ‘Hey, it’s a pleasure to be playing against you.’ He said, ‘No, it’s my pleasure.’ That was pretty great.”

What Fernandez is doing is putting his name among some of the game’s best.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Fernandez is the first pitcher under the age of 21 to strike out as many as 10 since Felix Hernandez in 2007.

“Felix, I mean, there is nothing to say about that,” Fernandez said. “Great pitcher. He competes. It’s just incredible that I’m able to accomplish that. I’ll keep working hard and getting better. That’s the plan.”

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The Marlins were able to manufacture enough offense off Jake Westbrook, who gave up five runs (three earned) in five innings.

Giancarlo Stanton added three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs.

After falling behind by two runs in the first inning, the Marlins claimed the lead in the fourth inning on Greg Dobbs’ RBI double to left. In the fifth, Stanton’s two-run double to deep left-center padded the lead to 5-2.

Fernandez got off to a shaky start, giving up two runs on three hits in the first inning. One of the runs was unearned due to an error charged to third baseman Ed Lucas.

Matt Carpenter singled to open the game, and with one out, Holliday reached on Lucas’ error. Allen Craig lined an RBI single to right, and Molina’s single to right produced the second run.

The Marlins tied it at 2 in the second inning, with both runs unearned. Derek Dietrich reached on Carpenter’s error to open the inning, and Adeiny Hechavarria singled to center. Jeff Mathis’ groundout to second brought in Miami’s first run, and Fernandez helped his cause with a two-out run-scoring single.

Fernandez got stronger as the game progressed, striking out the side in order in the third inning.

“I think his competitiveness comes out,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “I think he, in his mind, goes, ‘Man, that’s it. They’re not getting any more runs.’ He has the ability to make and execute pitches like only a handful of guys I think I’ve ever seen.

“He gives up a few hits, and then he goes, ‘That’s it. I’m done giving up hits, and you guys are really going to have to earn the rest of them.’ And that’s what he did tonight. He settled in after giving up those two runs. They had a few guys that battled him, had some good at-bats, but he was able to finish them and really was in complete control of that game after the first inning.”

In the eighth inning, the Cardinals chipped back to 5-4 with a run off Chad Qualls, who hadn’t given up a run since May 10 — a span of 10 1/3 scoreless innings.

David Freese laced a two-out, opposite-field double to trim Miami’s lead to one run. Mike Dunn relieved Qualls and doused the threat by striking out Jay, keeping Fernandez in line for the win.

The growing success Fernandez has had in the big leagues, the right-hander maintains, will not go to his head. He points out that he defected from Cuba at age 15, which keeps him humble.

“It was pretty hard for me to get here,” Fernandez Josh Hamilton Jersey said. “Not to the big leagues, but to get to the United States first. That’s why I am the way I am. I grew up with nothing. I like to help people. I don’t think I’m better than anybody.

“To be humble, people will love you more in the long run. That’s how I want it to be. I don’t want to be a good pitcher. I want to be a great example on the field.”

Royals Nolan Ryan Jersey interrupt pitchers’ duel with big sixth

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Now, along with a bunch of victories, the Royals are getting the hang of scoring runs by the bunch.

While right-hander Ervin Santana stymied Tampa Bay with tight pitching, the Kansas City offense roared to a 10-1 victory over the Rays on Thursday night at Tropicana Field. It was the Royals’ eighth victory in their last nine games.

Santana evened his record at 5-5 with his second straight win. In 7 2/3 innings, he held the Rays to five hits and one unearned run.

It was a case of a pitchers’ duel interrupted. Loudly.

Nolan Ryan California Angels Jersey Santana and Jeremy Hellickson went head-to-head, pitch-for-pitch for five innings. Santana gave up a single and hit a batter. Hellickson permitted just two singles. It was scoreless.

Then it was boom town — the Royals had their biggest inning of the season with eight runs in the sixth inning, all off Hellickson.

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Let’s see, ex-Rays infielder Elliot Johnson started it all with a single and ended it with a three-run homer. In between came a double by Alcides Escobar, singles by Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Billy Butler and David Lough, plus a double by Miguel Tejada.

Johnson’s blast soared into the right-field seats on Hellickson’s 1-1 delivery, his 100th and last pitch of the game. Jake Odorizzi, the pitching prospect the Royals sent to the Rays in the big trade for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis and Johnson, relieved Hellickson. He got Escobar on a tap to the mound.

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Johnson was the first Royal to get two hits in an inning since Eric Hosmer on Aug. 20, 2011, against Boston, also in the sixth inning. That also was the last time that the Royals had scored eight runs in one inning.

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Gordon’s hit in that inning was his second of the game, so perhaps he is finally getting the hang of hitting at the Trop. He was 0-for-37 in his career here until getting a double in his first at-bat of 2011. Now he’s 7-for-67, .104.

Hosmer, who did not contribute to the sixth-inning fun, made up for it in the seventh when he hammered a solo home run to left center against Odorizzi.

The Nolan Ryan Jersey Royals’ 10th run came in the eighth as Lorenzo Cain doubled and scored on Lough’s single.

The Rays had finally broken through against Santana with a run in the bottom of the sixth. It was unearned as Jose Molina, who led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch, scored as Tejada threw away Yunel Escobar’s grounder to third.

Ubaldo, bullpen on point as Indians top Rangers Josh Hamilton Jersey

A.J. Pierzynski popped up a pitch from Indians left-hander Rich Hill in the sixth inning and then slammed his bat to the ground in disgust. For Cleveland, and for the team’s bullpen in particular, it has been nice to see frustration finally find its way to the other dugout for a change.

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On a muggy Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark, the Indians pulled off a 5-2 victory over Texas that resembled the kind of win that had gone missing during the Tribe’s recent losing streak. Ubaldo Jimenez led the way to the win column with a solid start, the offense found its form and the bullpen shut the door when it mattered most against the Rangers.

That last element to this win felt especially important on the heels of a grueling road trip.

“This is how we’re supposed to perform,” Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano said. “I know it’s a surprise, the way we’ve been playing these games lately, but this is the way this bullpen is supposed to get the job done. When we’re handed the ball, especially with a four-run lead, let alone anything smaller, it’s our job to go out there, get outs and win the ballgame.”

That has been easier said than done of late for the Josh Hamilton Womens Jersey Tribe’s relief corps.

Over the past few seasons, even when Cleveland struggled as a whole, the team’s bullpen remained reliable. The group had bordered on becoming a liability in recent weeks, considering it headed into Wednesday’s contest with a Major League-worst 7.21 ERA dating back to May 21. During that time period, the Indians dropped 16 games in a span of 21 contests, including eight in a row before the past two wins.

All-Star closer Chris Perez is on the disabled list recovering from a right shoulder injury, Pestano has dealt with his own health and velocity issues throughout the season and the team’s left-handed options have fallen far short of expectations. Given the wave of adversity that has hit the bullpen, Wednesday’s win was a welcome development for the staff.

“Definitely,” Jimenez said. “That’s definitely going to make them feel better and more confident, any time they have a game like this. That was good for us.”

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The win was the second in a row for Cleveland (32-33), which claimed a series on the road for the first time since taking two out of three in Detroit on May 10-12. On the season, the Tribe has gone 12-2 against teams in the American League West, and the club wrapped up this three-city tour of New York, Detroit and Texas with a 2-7 record.

Jimenez set the stage for the bullpen’s solid night.

The right-hander logged five-plus innings and limited the damage of the four walks and four hits he allowed against the Rangers’ potent lineup. Texas drove Jimenez’s pitch count to 101 at the time of his exit and the home team’s lone breakthrough against the pitcher came courtesy of a leadoff home run from Leonys Martin in the third inning. It was an impressive performance given that Jimenez was not as his sharpest.

“All night I don’t think he had his best command,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “To his credit, I thought he competed. They were very patient, and for the most part he worked ahead, even though he didn’t really command the ball. He kind of stayed away all night.”

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The Indians offered sufficient run support against Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch, scoring five runs in the starter’s five innings. Cleveland struck first in the second inning, when Mike Aviles crushed a 2-0 offering to left field for a two-run home run. Michael Brantley added an RBI single in the third inning, and Jason Kipnis jump-started a two-run push in the fifth with a home run to right field.

Later in the fifth, Brantley drew a walk and came around to score on a double down the right-field line from Carlos Santana, putting the Indians ahead, 5-1.

The Rangers were on their third time through their lineup in the sixth inning when Jimenez issued a leadoff walk to Lance Berkman and then a single to Adrian Beltre. At that point, with the left-handed-hitting Pierzynski looming, Francona opted to hand the ball to Hill.

“We didn’t need to let them creep back into that game,” Francona said.

Hill did his job against the only hitter he faced, getting the Texas catcher to fly out to center field. That is when Francona turned things over to right-hander Bryan Shaw, who retired Nelson Cruz and Jeff Baker in order to escape the sixth inning unscathed. Shaw and lefty Nick Hagadone teamed to blank the Rangers in the seventh inning, and sidearmer Joe Smith followed suit with a scoreless eighth.

“It was like we expect,” Francona said. “And I thought Ubaldo got us to a point where it was manageable, where you’re not asking too much of anybody. Both our lefties got the lefties out. Shaw was very good. Any time, I don’t care how you do it, when you limit [Texas] to one or two runs, you’re doing something pretty good.”

It was up to Pestano to finish the job, and Baker did not let him do so without a fight.

The second baseman led off the ninth with a 15-pitch battle against Pestano, who had nine pitches fouled off in a row before Baker sent a hard comebacker up the middle. The ball glanced off Pestano’s glove, but second baseman Kipnis quickly scooped up the grounder and fired it to first base for a bang-bang out.

“He hit it back at me and I froze for a second,” Pestano Josh Hamilton Jersey said. “Kip came up and made a nice play.”

Later in the inning, Martin reached on an infield single and came around to score on a double from Jurickson Profar.

No harm done.

Pestano retired David Murphy on a flyout to end the game and seal the win.

“That’s what our bullpen is supposed to be like,” Pestano said.

Coachable Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels Jersey Brown breaks out for Fresno

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Fresno manager Bob Mariano and his staff wanted Gary Brown to stand a little taller.

Now that he’s heeding the advice, he again looks like the player who hovered over much of the prospect world two years ago.

It took Brown a while to come around, but now he’s all ears and the results are coming fast. One day after his first four-hit game of the season, the Giants’ No. 2 prospect put together what Mariano described as the “best game he’s had all year,” going 3-for-5 with a homer and double on Tuesday in the Grizzlies’ 7-2 loss to Tucson.

Mariano and hitting coach Russ Morman have been preaching most of the same things to Brown for most of the season. But despite hitting .199 through 59 games,’s No. 89 overall prospect remained stuck in his old ways.

“Gary’s been real reluctant to really make adjustments,” Mariano said. “Some guys just take some time and are a little stubborn.”

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Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels Jersey Mariano and Morman wanted Brown to get taller in his stance and work down to the ball more in his swing. The manager said Brown’s swing had gotten long, noting he was “in and out of the zone real quick.” As Brown told after his four-hit game on Monday, “I wasn’t doing much right.”

With the aid of special assistant Shane Turner, Mariano and Morman finally got through to Brown over the weekend while the team was in Salt Lake City.

“He really started opening up and asking questions to Shane and us about what he needed to do,” Mariano said. “We looked at some video of him in [Class A Advanced] San Jose and he was taller in his setup back then, and that allowed him to stay above the ball in his setup and stay through the zone.

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“He’s been asking more questions and been more receptive to some teaching that Russ was trying to get through to him and Shane Turner was trying to get through to him. And he just started catching on fire.”

Brown snapped out of a 4-for-32 funk with two hits on Sunday, then doubled and homered in Monday’s 4-for-5 effort against Tucson. On Tuesday, he led off the bottom of the first inning with his fifth homer of the season. He lined a double to center field in the seventh and laced a single back up the middle in the ninth.

“He hasn’t done that all year,” Mariano said of Brown’s three line drive hits.

The 24-year-old outfielder is showing signs of the versatile talents that shot him up prospect lists in 2011. He was named California League Rookie of the Year and the Giants’ top prospect — 48th overall heading into the 2012 season — after batting .336 with 14 homers, 53 stolen bases and a .925 OPS.

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Last season, Brown earned mixed reviews at Double-A with a .279 average and .731 OPS. This year, his prospect stock took a hit as his numbers diminished.

Mariano Albert Pujols Womens Jersey thinks the rocky first half could prove a blessing in the long run, as the struggles finally pushed Brown to open up and accept a little coaching.

“Sometimes failure is your best teacher as a coach,” Mariano said. “You let guys fail and they have to take a couple steps back before they can take steps forward. Sometimes guys take time to make adjustments and are more open to it. Gary, he was kind of, he was real receptive earlier.

“He’s catching fire and putting together some good at-bats, and that’s something we’ve been waiting for for a long time.”

Uggla swats pair as Minor, Braves cruise in LA Jose Reyes Canada Day Jersey

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Since joining the Braves before the start of the 2011 season, Dan Uggla has proven to be both maddening and unpredictable. The two prolonged slumps he has endured during his days in Atlanta were interrupted by a long impressive stretch during which he performed like he had during his successful days with the Marlins.

Through the first two months of this season, Uggla extended the woes that haunted him through last season’s final four months. But over the past week, the veteran second baseman has shown signs that he might be in the beginning stages of another highly productive stretch.

As the Braves celebrated Sunday afternoon’s 8-1 win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Uggla was once again flashing that smile that has been absent most of the past year. His second multihomer game of the season highlighted this convincing victory and gave him reason to believe he might be turning things around.

“You always want to feel like you matter and feel like you’re a factor,” Uggla Blue Jays Canada Days Jersey said. “It [stinks] to feel like I felt last year and this year. You feel like you’re a non-factor. So to get some homers, get some runs and drive in some runs, it feels good.”

Uggla highlighted a four-run third inning with a three-run home run, then added a solo home run in the fifth. His close friend Freddie Freeman hit a three-run double in the fourth to provide even more comfort to Mike Minor, who pitched six strong innings after limiting the Dodgers to one run after they loaded the bases with none out in the first.

Minor’s escape act combined with Uggla’s power paced the Braves, who split this four-game series, despite totaling just three runs in the first three games. They are a season-high eight games in front of the second-place Nationals in the National League East race.

“The batting average is what it is,” Uggla said. “It’s not the first time I’ve hit .160, .170 or whatever it is. I throw those numbers out the door. I look at it like we’re up [eight games] right now and that’s without me doing anything at all.”

A majority of Atlanta’s recent offensive contributions have come from Freeman, who has batted .354 with 24 RBIs in his past 24 games. The 23-year-old first baseman added to his recent success when he chased Dodgers starter Matt Magill with his opposite-field three-run double.

“He’s been the most consistent hitter we’ve had,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s come up with some big two-strike hits.”

While Freeman has been a model of consistency, Uggla has consistently battled disappointment as his batting average has remained below the Mendoza Line throughout this season. But through his struggles, he has continued to show the power he possessed while hitting at least 30 home runs over the course of five consecutive seasons (2007-11).

Uggla opened his most recent multihomer game with his third-inning shot off Magill, who issued six walks in just 3 2/3 innings. He capped it with a solo drive in the fifth inning off Ronald Belisario.

Combined with his solo shot in Saturday night’s 2-1 win, Uggla hit three home runs within a span of five at-bats to raise his season total to 13, second among all Major League second basemen. He has also raised his batting average from .175 to .193 with seven hits in his past 20 at-bats.

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“He’s swinging it pretty good right now,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the stuff he can do right there, what we saw today.”

After hitting .173 through his first 86 games of the 2011 season, Uggla produced an Atlanta-record hitting streak in the 33 games that followed. That streak marked the start of a 130-game stretch — over two seasons — in which he batted .291 with 34 home runs.

In the 157 games that have followed, Uggla has hit .188 with 22 home runs. But the Braves are certainly going to hold out hope that he is indeed in the early stages of another turnaround.

Minor has certainly turned things around since entering last July with a 6.20 ERA. In the 28 starts that have followed, he has posted a 2.32 ERA and gained the maturity that was on display after the Dodgers loaded the bases in the first with Yasiel Puig’s first-pitch single, a bunt single and a walk drawn by Gonzalez.

The only thing that prevented Minor from escaping that potentially damaging threat unscathed was Skip Schumaker’s two-out RBI dribbler that traveled approximately 45 feet down the third-base line.

“I knew I was a couple pitches away from getting out of it,” Minor Jose Reyes Canada Day Jersey said. “Or it could have been really bad. But I knew if I made quality pitches that I could get out of it. I pitched around Gonzo just because he has hit me pretty well in the past. I just tried to make quality pitches.”

Red Melky Cabrera Canada Day Jersey Sox start Day 3 with infielder Asuaje

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Through 10 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, the Red Sox had yet to select an infielder, but that all changed on Day 3, as the Red Sox picked a slick-fielding shortstop from Florida. With their 11th-round pick, Boston took Carlos Asuaje from Nova Southeastern, a Division II school in Florida, on Saturday.

A native of Venezuela, Asuaje was raised in Florida. He has consistently played well at Nova Southeastern for the last three years, where he drew the attention of many professional scouts. This year, Asuaje hit .320 with 13 doubles, 33 RBIs and a .449 slugging percentage.

“It was ridiculous the way he dominated our league,” said his college coach, Greg Brown, a former scout. “He has the best hand-eye coordination I’ve ever been around.”

Asuaje Blue Jays Canada Days Jersey makes hard contact using a compact swing, which he also showcased in the Cape Cod League last summer. Listed at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, he doesn’t hit for much power, profiling more as a speedy, top-of-the-order hitter. He was 32-for-35 in stolen base attempts this season.

“I think he’s a true leadoff, which is one of the hardest things to find these days,” Brown said. “Red Sox Nation is going to love him.”

Asuaje played mostly second base in college but moved to shortstop halfway through the spring, and he has played third base as well. As a professional, he is considered to be best suited for second base, where he has soft hands and solid range.

Red Sox end Drehoff’s wait in Round 12

Frustrated with not hearing his name called through the first 10 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, Jake Drehoff decided to go to the pool with his friends to take his mind of it.

It didn’t take long for the left-handed pitcher to be selected on Day 3, though. Less than an hour after the Draft’s third day began, he received a call from his adviser that he had been selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 12th round on Saturday.

“I was ecstatic,” he said. “I know the Red Sox are known to have a great organization. I was thrilled to get drafted by them.”

Drehoff, who played his college ball at Southern Mississippi, is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound lefty who says his changeup is his best pitch.

He also throws a slider and a fastball, which sits between 87 and 91 mph.

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The Red Sox have made left-handed pitching a priority in the Draft this year as Drehoff is the fourth southpaw Boston has selected through the first 12 rounds.

Drehoff had a 5-5 record this season while posting a 3.54 ERA in 81 1/3 innings. He struck out 69 batters.

To get to the big leagues, Drehoff said he’ll need to work on his consistency.

“I need to get more consistent and tighten up my breaking ball a little bit and get better with my location,” he said.

Red Sox take Sheffield in 13th round

It’s been quite some time since Jordan Sheffield, one of the top high school arms in this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, took a mound, but he heard his name called nonetheless — by the Red Sox in the 13th round on Saturday.

“Jordan, when he’s challenged, he can really step up,” said Brad Melky Cabrera Canada Day Jersey White, Sheffield’s coach at Tullahoma (Tenn.) High School. “I can’t think of a bigger challenge than this for a 17-year-old [pitcher]. If he faces this like he has every other challenge, then I like his chances.”

Sheffield also played shortstop for Tullahoma and appeared at designated hitter while trying to recover from the arm tightness.

Sheffield, who was ranked No. 47 on’s initial ranking of the Top 50 Draft Prospects, underwent Tommy John surgery on his prized right arm in April. The operation was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. Sheffield has not pitched in a game since March 12, when he exited a start after 73 pitches because of tightness in his forearm.

He isn’t the biggest player in this year’s Draft class, but his athletic frame and fast arm deliver three future above-average to potentially plus pitches.

He was touching the mid 90s over the summer and can sit in the 92-93 mph range consistently, and a dazzling performance at the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Championship last fall helped boost his draft stock when he displayed some impressive velocity at the event.

Sheffield backs up his fastball with a sharp breaking ball that remains a bit inconsistent at this point, but it still has the chance to be an outstanding secondary offering. He maintains his arm speed on his changeup with good sink and deception, giving him a third projectable weapon in the future.

The righty is committed to play ball at Vanderbilt next year, and his operation could factor into his signability.

Red Sox take Gwynn pupil Romanski in 14th round

Hitting is an art and few are better equipped to teach it than former MLB hitting extraordinaire Tony Gwynn.

The Red Sox selected one of Gwynn’s pupils in the 14th round of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday when they drafted catcher Jake Romanski out of San Diego State, where Gwynn coaches.

Romanski hit .303 for the Aztecs in his senior year and was named all-Mountain West.

He is the second catcher the Red Sox have drafted this year behind third-round selection Jon Denney.

Red Sox take OF Hudson in 15th round

With their 15th-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, the Red Sox selected their third outfielder in Bryan Hudson.

Hudson, who hails from Mill Creek High School in Georgia, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. He bats left, throws right and is currently committed to play for Darton State College, which is also located in Georgia.

The Red Sox drafted outfielders Jordon Austin in the sixth round and Forrestt Allday in the eighth.

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