It doesn't matter to John Jaso whether he's Oakland's leadoff batter, as long as he's playing. For the Athletics, he's extremely important at the top of the order, especially with Coco Crisp hurting. Jaso drove in three runs Sunday night, helping Scott Kazmir and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 9-3. ''I like (leadoff) because I'm in the lineup,'' Jaso said.
Manager Don Mattingly hardly considers a late-July sweep in San Francisco a turning point to put his Dodgers in the driver's seat atop the NL West. Yet coming off consecutive series losses at St. Louis and Pittsburgh, Los Angeles needed some sort of spark as August approaches. The Dodgers found it in the ballpark of their biggest rival, and left the Bay Area in first place following an emphatic three-game swing. Carl Crawford hit an RBI triple to back Hyun-Jin Ryu's third straight victory, and division-leading Los Angeles beat the Giants 4-3 Sunday night to establish some momentum behind their pitching and offense.
Mike Minor is working to correct flaws in his mechanics that were discovered when he looked at this year's results and matched them up to tape from his strong 2013 season. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was enthused with the early results. Minor gave up three runs, Chris Johnson and Ryan Doumit each drove in two runs during Atlanta's six-run third inning and the Braves beat Eric Stults and the San Diego Padres 8-3 on Sunday.
Manny Machado and the Baltimore Orioles are working extra hard for their wins lately. Machado lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and the Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 Sunday. The Orioles took three of four in the series, twice winning in extra innings. Baltimore is 11-3 in extras this season, including six straight wins.
Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Thomas, pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, and managers Bobby Cox, Torre and La Russa were inducted into the baseball shrine Sunday, and all paid special tribute to their families before an adoring crowd of nearly 50,000. I know it wasn't easy.'' The 46-year old Thomas, the first player elected to the Hall who spent more than half of his time as a designated hitter, batted .301 with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs in a 19-year career mostly with the Chicago White Sox. Ever the diplomat as a manager, Torre somehow managed to assuage the most demanding of owners in George Steinbrenner, maintaining his coolness amid all the Bronx craziness while keeping all those egos in check after taking over in 1996.
Chris Johnson and Ryan Doumit each drove in two runs during Atlanta's six-run third inning and the Braves beat Eric Stults the San Diego Padres 8-3 on Sunday. The Braves trailed 1-0 before roughing up Stults (3-13). Back-to-back doubles by Gerald Laird and Andrelton Simmons started the inning. Tommy La Stella hit an RBI single that skipped between Stults' legs, Johnson had a two-run double before Doumit followed with a two-run single.
After a weekend filled with mostly miserable swings, David Freese surprised his teammates, the Angel Stadium fireworks crew and even himself when he hit a tiebreaking homer. Nobody was stunned when another dominant pitching performance from the Los Angeles Angels kept them near the top of the majors. Freese homered off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, and the Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Sunday for their third straight victory. Freese's sixth homer of the season helped to finish a tense, pitching-dominated series between teams with two of the majors' top three records.