Carlos Gonzalez hits for the cycle in heroic fashion

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Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez hit for the cycle in the Rockies’ 6-5 defeat of the Cubs on Saturday, and he accomplished the home run part of the feat with a walkoff blast.

He singled in the first inning, tripled in the third, doubled in the fifth and then ended the night with a solo shot to deep right field in the bottom of the ninth.  He is the sixth player in Rockies history to pull off all of those hits in the same game and the first player to end a cycle with a walkoff home run since Dwight Evans in 1984.  Thanks, STATS LLC.

Gonzalez is having an incredible 2010 and seems to get better each night.  Through 383 at-bats this season, he is batting .321/.350/.554 with 21 homers, 68 RBI and 15 stolen bases.  The Rockies, meanwhile, have climbed to 5.5 games back of the Giants in the hunt for the National League Wild Card.  They trail the NL West-leading Padres by 7.5 games.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.