Orioles beat Rays in 14 innings to complete sweep

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Another day, another one-run victory for the unstoppable Orioles.

Baltimore beat Tampa Bay 3-2 in 14 innings Thursday to complete a three-game sweep. Manny Machado came up big again, delivering a game-winning single after starting the day 0-for-5.

It looked like the Orioles would win it in the 13th, but Chris Archer, making his first major league relief appearance, got three outs to escape a bases-loaded jam. The first out was aided by a five-man infield, as Robert Andino grounded to second and the Rays got the out at home. Archer then struck out pinch-hitter Matt Wieters and Nate McLouth.

Archer went on to take the loss in the 14th. After pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings, he allowed a walk to Adam Jones and back-to-back singles to Endy Chavez and Machado, ending the game.

Baltimore’s early hero was catcher Taylor Teagarden, as the .119 hitter put the team on the board with a two-run double in the seventh. He has just six hits this season, but they include two homers and three doubles. He had a walkoff homer in his first appearance of the season for the team on July 14.

The Orioles have now won 13 straight extra-inning games. They’re an incredible 27-7 in one-run games this season. At 81-62, they’ve ensured themselves their first .500 season since 1997, not they they seem likely to stop there, as they’re 26-11 since Aug. 3. All that and they’ve still been outscored 643-623 for the season.

As for the Rays, things look pretty bleak. They’re 4 games back of the Orioles in the AL East. They’re also 4 1/2 games behind the A’s and they’ll end the night 3 or 4 back of the Yankees. They’ll have to pass one of those teams and fend off the Angels and Tigers to claim a postseason spot. It’s still doable, but it’s going to take a winning streak.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.