Matthew Pouliot

New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez talks with manager Joe Girardi while they play Baltimore Orioles in MLB game in New York

Alex Rodriguez goes on WFAN, says he’s wants to play

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It’s hard to imagine that Alex Rodriguez thought this would turn out well.

The beleaguered Rodriguez decided to call into Mike Francesa on WFAN late this afternoon and tell the world that he’s ready to play and that the Yankees are holding him back.

The move comes after Rodriguez took part in a conference call with Yankees management on Thursday afternoon. According to the New York Times, both Rodriguez and the Yankees agreed to a plan that would have A-Rod play in a simulated or minor league game on Aug. 1 and come off the DL a day or two later.

Rodriguez said on WFAN that he agreed to the plan even though he’d rather play tomorrow. Asked whether he still trust the Yankees, he replied, “I’d rather not get into that.”

Rodriguez’s counter comes after a report earlier in the day that he was facing discipline from the Yankees for getting an unauthorized second opinion on his quad injury. These latest public comments are sure to further inflame a relationship with the Yankees that’s already deteoriated to a point beyond which it may never recover. Obviously, the only thing still keeping the two parties together is the $100 million the Yankees owe Rodriguez. One wonders just how much of that they’d now be willing to eat just to get rid of him once and for all.

Bryce Harper hits his first of many walkoff homers

Bryce Harper
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After the Nationals coughed up a 7-3 lead in the top of the ninth Thursday against the Pirates, Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, giving Washington a 9-7 win.

Harper’s homer came off Bryan Morris with two outs in the ninth. He had gone 12 straight games without an RBI before delivering his shot just over the wall in left center. It was his first homer since July 1 and 14th of the season.

The Nationals needed Harper to play the hero because Rafael Soriano and Ian Krol combined to give up four runs in the top of the ninth. Soriano walked the first two batters he faced and gave up two hits while retiring just one batter afterwards. He was pulled from a 7-5 game with left-hander Pedro Alvarez coming up. Krol ended up walking Alvarez (when being able to throw just one breaking ball in the vicinity of the plate probably would have gotten him a strikeout) and giving up a two-run single to Josh Harrison.

The contest ended with neither manager in his respective dugout. Davey Johnson was tossed in the fifth, and Clint Hurdle was ejected two innings later. The sloppy game featured three Pirates errors in the Nationals’ four-run first inning.

Mike Leake notches unique 10th win as Reds beat Giants

Mike Leake
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Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the Reds had to be particularly frustrating for Giants fans, considering that…

– Hunter Pence went 5-for-5 and the team as a whole collected 15 hits

– The team left 15 men on base, it’s high total in a nine-inning game since 2008

– Chad Gaudin, the club’s best starter of late, was roughed up for six runs in 3 2/3 innings

Reds starter Mike Leake pitched six innings of one-run ball despite surrendering 12 hits. Every last knock was a single. The Giants’ only extra-base hit came when Pablo Sandoval delivered a two-run double off Logan Ondrusek in the eighth.

Leake became the first pitcher since the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco in 2011 to allow 12 hits and give up just one run. The last Red to do it was Tom Hume in 1978. The last time a starter did it to the Giants was the Pirates’ Bob Moose in 1972.

At least dating back to 1916 — which is as far as  Baseball-reference’s wonderful play index goes — no one had ever had an outing as short as Leake’s and still managed to give up 12 hits and just one run. The next shortest was 6 2/3 innings. Which makes sense: it’s awfully, awfully hard to cram 12 hits into six innings and get just one run.

Pence’s 5-for-5 game was also pretty unusual. It was the first 5-for-5 game to feature no extra-base hits or runs scored since Detroit’s Roger Cedeno pulled it off on Aug. 15, 2001.  It was also the first time a player went 5-for-5 for a team that lost by five or more runs since Adam Kennedy did so for Oakland in an 8-1 loss to the White Sox on Aug. 15, 2009.