Big home runs from Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton helped Pottsylvania and Riverside, respectively, win games that affected the Central Division standings.
RIVERSIDE 6, CASSELTON 3
WP: Francisco Cordero (6-5, 4.35)
LP: Heath Bell (3-3, 3.60)
Kendrys Morales and Mike Napoli homered once apiece in the first eight innings, but teammates had bigger shots in the final frame. Entering the ninth in a 2-2 tie, Central Division pacesetting Casselton (seven-game lead) went ahead on a MOON SHOT off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Closer Heath Bell, however, had no concept of the strike zone. After a groundout to begin the bottom of the ninth, Bell walked James Loney, Gordon Beckham and David Freese in order. That brought up Josh Hamilton. The big slugger UNLOADED on a one-strike pitch, and it wasn’t coming back. The grand slam made a lucky winner of Francisco Cordero after a 10-strikeout, six-hit starting performance by Clayton Kershaw.
POTTSYLVANIA 6, FROSTBITE FALLS 4 (11)
WP: Grant Balfour (5-4, 3.19)
LP: Chris Perez (4-6, 1.72)
Matt Kemp’s solo shots in the fourth and eighth innings helped stake Pottsylvania to a 4-1 lead entering the ninth, but Grant Balfour couldn’t close the door on a victory for Jeremy Hellickson. With flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman being held back after throwing 28 pitches the day before, Balfour allowed a pinch-hit bomb to Dayan Viciedo and, two batters later, a game-tying home run off the bat of rookie phenom Mike Trout. Two innings later, Kemp put the visiting Creepers back on top with his third solo home run. Later the same inning, with two out, slick-fielding shortsop Jose Reyes couldn’t handle a Balfour grounder, which scored Aramis Ramirez with an insurance run. With the victory, Pottsylvania continued to “creep” closer to Casselton in the Central standings.
NEW ENGLAND 6, LOS ANGELES 1
WP: Ricky Romero (10-4, 2.44)
LP: Homer Bailey (1-9, 5.63)
Homer Bailey lived up to his name, allowing three homers to West-leading New England. Bailey matched Yankee Stompers starter Ricky Romero’s goose eggs until the fourth, when Carlos Beltran and Miguel Montero hit solo shots. The hosts broke the game open in the fifth, when an error on Starlin Castro extended the inning and Corey Hart hit a three-run blast. On the bright side for Los Angeles, Stephen Drew is hitting well in his return from a serious injury.
In other news, Frostbite Falls and Sin City completed a small trade of injured relievers, with Rafael Perez going to Frostbite and Nick Masset traveling to Las Vegas. The Aces then released Masset, an established player, and signed shortstop Rafael Furcal to start in place of injured Ian Desmond.