Mariano Rivera earns 30th save despite surrendering homer

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For just the third time in his Hall of Fame career, Mariano Rivera has given up homers in back-to-back relief appearances.  However, It didn’t prevent him from notching his 30th save Thursday against the Angels.

Rivera, who gave up a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in a loss to the Angels on Tuesday, came into a 6-2 game with two on and one out in the ninth inning today.  He promptly allowed a three-run homer to Russell Branyan, making it 6-5.  However, he was able to retire the next two batters he faced to end the contest.

The previous times Rivera gave up homers in consecutive appearances came in Aug. 2003 against the Orioles and in April 2009 versus the Red Sox and Tigers.  It also happened to him twice as a rookie in 1995, but he started both games the first time and one game during the second streak.

On the positive side, Rivera’s save today gave him 14 seasons of at least 30, tying Trevor Hoffman’s major league record.  Lee Smith is the only other pitcher with double-digit 30-save seasons, and he finished with just the 10.  Billy Wagner had nine.

Video: Javier Báez jukes David Freese to avoid tag at first base

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Cubs shortstop Javier Báez pulled off one of the best jukes you’ll see, avoiding the tag from David Freese on a play at first base in the second inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers. Báez barely made contact with a Kenta Maeda pitch well outside the strike zone, tapping it towards Freese. Báez halted his momentum, juking Freese while he attempted to apply the tag, then dove into first base.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts attempted to argue that Báez went out of the baseline, but the umpires’ no-call stood and Báez had himself a single. He would end up stranded on base, unfortunately for him and the Cubs.