FROSTBITE FALLS 11, WORCESTER 8
WP: Rich Hill (9-5, 5.80)
LP: Brad Lidge (2-3, 5.74)
SV: Nathan (32)
Rich Hill blew leads of 5-3 and 8-5, but still got the win thanks to an exceptional long relief outing by banished starter Chris Capuano (3 IP, 1 hit), as the Squirrels got an RBI triple from Brad Hawpe and Carlos Beltran’s 24th boundary belt of the year in their half of the sixth to snap an 8-8 tie! Hanley Ramirez hit a pair of circuit shots himself in a losing cause for Worcester, but the big news was that the Squirrels, last in the East just six weeks ago, have put an exclamation point on their stretch run drive, sweeping the Elims (who fell to 78-56) and taking a three-game lead in their division with an 81-53 mark!
DARWIN 5, BROOKLYN 3 (11 innings)
WP: Trevor Hoffman (2-3, 3.21)
LP: Francisco Rodriguez (5-7, 3.29)
David Ortiz’s 36th homer of the year, a two-run shot, came with one down in the bottom of the eleventh, a walkoff job that led to a sweep of the visiting Moabs, who blew a 3-0 lead, wasting a great outing by Andy Pettite and another three-hit day by red-hot leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki, who has banged at a .342 clip over the last three weeks of play. The win keeps Darwin (77-59) in the hunt, but time is running out for the Finches....
ARIZONA 3, OAKEYLAND 2
WP: Derrick Turnbow (5-6, 7.24)
LP: Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-6, 7.83)
SV: Street (10)
Joe Blanton and Zack Greinke allowed just one run between them in the first seven frames of a classic pitching duel, but ‘Dice-K’ unraveled in a relief appearance for the pitching-strapped Ballers, hitting Delmon Young, muffing a sac bunt attempt by David Eckstein that was ruled a base hit, then coughing up a bases-loaded single to ‘I-Rod’.
YUMA 5, S-MART 4
WP: Scott Shields (5-0, 2.65)
LP: Garret Olsen (1-1, 0.90)
Russell Martin led off the bottom of the eighth with a homer off rookie Garret Olsen, and the Firebirds held on to snap their longest (5 games) losing streak of the year, improving to 76-59 and maintaining a 4 ½ game lead in the West. The Boom Sticks lost despite getting a record ninth straight game with a homer from sizzling infielder Alex Rodriguez, who looks to be the loop’s hottest piece of trade bait in the off-season.
BLACK MESA 7, LAS VEGAS 4
WP: Justin Verlander (11-6, 3.02)
LP: Scott Olsen (10-2, 3.63)
SV: Papelbon (18)
Austin Kearns had three hits, Hideki Matsui homered and added an RBI double with the bases juiced, and the Anomalies held off the visiting Luchadores (71-62) despite a pair of homers from SS Jimmy Rollins, bailing out a so-so (7.1 IP, 11 hits) outing by Verlander and keeping Black Mesa (65-68) near the .500 mark.