D.J. Short

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Bryce Harper homers with Fourth of July-themed bat

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It’s only noon on the East Coast, but Nationals slugger Bryce Harper is already setting off fireworks. Check out this first-inning blast against Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, which he hit with a pretty nifty-looking Fourth of July-themed bat:

Harper is now up to 25 home runs on the season, which ties him with Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier for second in the National League.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says Terry Collins’ job is safe

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 28:  Manager Terry Collins #10 of the New York Mets looks on against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on June 28, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Red 7-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The Mets began the season at 13-3, but they are just 28-37 since, even if you include Friday’s win over the Dodgers. Missing key pieces like David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Daniel Murphy along the way, a lack of offense has been a big reason for the slide. The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in 13 out of their last 15 games. There’s understandably a lot of frustration in the fanbase right now, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com yesterday that Terry Collins doesn’t deserve to be on the hot seat.

“We’re a .500 team,” the GM continued. “We haven’t been moving in the right direction — I understand that. We’ve had a lot of people hurt for a long period of time. We’ve got some young guys in particular that are not hitting. We’ve got some older players that have tried to carry the load. I think to put all of this on Terry would be grossly unfair.”

Alderson added that he doesn’t think there should be a “Terry Collins watch,” but the speculation figures to continue as the Mets go into their toughest stretch of the season. During their current West Coast trip, they have two more games against the Dodgers before going to San Francisco to play the Giants for three. They’ll go into the All-Star break with three against the Diamondbacks at home before beginning the second half with a six-game road trip against the Cardinals and Nationals. They’ll then come home for a four-game series against the Dodgers, just days before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. This stretch could go a long way toward determining whether the Mets have a real shot at contention. And if they continue to fade, it’s not a stretch to think that it could end up costing Collins his job, even if it’s undeserved.

Collins is in his fifth season as Mets manager and owns a 345-384 (.473) record. He’s in the final guaranteed year of his contract.

Video: Kevin Kiermaier gets spooked by a pigeon

Pigeon
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Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier hit an RBI single in the top of the 12th inning against the Yankees last night, but his excitement was short-lived, as he was spooked off his feet by a swooping pigeon after reaching first base. Watch the terrifying moment for yourself:

I guess the pigeon was a Yankees fan.

Calf injury sends Miguel Cabrera to the disabled list for the first time in his career

DETROIT, MI - JULY 3: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers leaves the game with trainer Kevin Rand during the fourth inning of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 3, 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: According to our own Craig Calcaterra, Cabrera has a Grade 3 calf strain and is expected to miss around six weeks. Terrible news for the Tigers.

9:42 p.m. ET: After straining his left calf in last night’s game against the Blue Jays, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list this morning for the first time in his 13-year major league career.

Cabrera suffered the injury when he broke for second base on an attempted hit-and-run. You can watch the play here. According to the Associated Press, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he was immediately concerned “because Miggy plays through everything.” No word yet on how much time he’ll need to miss, but it’s obviously a challenging blow to the Tigers’ offense. They also have no obvious alternative for first base.

Coming back from offseason foot and ankle surgery, Cabrera leads the American League in batting average (.350), on-base percentage (.456) and OPS (1.034) while putting up 15 home runs and 54 RBI over 77 games.

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

at Yankee Stadium on July 3, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
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Brian McCann played hero in the Bronx last night, launching a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Yankees a wild 7-5 win over the Rays.

The Rays grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Masahiro Tanaka while Chris Archer tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, but Mark Teixeira slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to draw even. The Rays pulled ahead in the top of the 12th on RBI singles from Kevin Kiermaier and Rene Rivera, but Steve Geltz couldn’t hold the lead. Brett Gardner drew a leadoff walk to begin the bottom of the 12th before Chase Headley struck out swinging. However, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira followed with back-to-back singles to bring the Yankees within one run. That brought McCann to the plate:

The Yankees hold a one-game lead in the American League East right now, but the Orioles, Rays, and Blue Jays are all within two games. There’s no clear favorite in this group, so we should probably get used to the drama.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:

Marlins 2, Cubs 1

Rays 5, Yankees 7 (12 innings)

Indians 5, Pirates 2

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 8

Giants 1, Nationals 2

Astros 12, Red Sox 8

Brewers 12, Reds 1

Angels 8, Rangers 2

Phillies 1, Braves 2

Orioles 0, White Sox 1

Padres 2, Cardinals 1

Twins 2, Royals 3 (10 innings)

Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 4 (10 innings)

Mariners 9, Athletics 5

Mets 2, Dodgers 1