Following eight scoreless innings and a 59-minute rain delay, the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants seemed destined to play long into the night for a second game in a row. Except Hunter Pence wasn’t going to let that happen. Pence delivered a three-run double in the ninth after Madison Bumgarner shut out the Phillies over eight frames to lift the Giants to a 3-0 win Wednesday night over the Phillies. The Giants’ right fielder blooped a double to right field with two outs after Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon (2-2), who blew a save Tuesday, hit a batter and walked two others to load the bases.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 24th, 2014
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With the All-Star Game and the first closer trade in the rearview, it’s time to some good old fashioned closer talk.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 23rd, 2014
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Adam LaRoche’s first home run against a left-handed pitcher since May 28, 2013, came at the perfect time for the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. The first baseman’s three-run shot in the seventh off Rex Brothers broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Nationals a 7-4 win over the Colorado Rockies, who lost their seventh consecutive game. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman strained his right hamstring while running hard to first to avoid a double play in the sixth. The Nationals are 33-19 with Zimmerman in the lineup, averaging 4.9 runs per game.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 23rd, 2014
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At this point, it’s not news that Andrelton Simmons did something impressive on a baseball field. The Atlanta Braves shortstop has already established himself as a Gold Glover and  one of baseball’s elite defenders . But just because we’re used to seeing Simmons pulling off wonderful defensive plays doesn’t mean we can’t sit and appreciate his wizardry each time he puts it on display again.
Look at what Simmons did Monday night against the Miami Marlins . It was the top of the fourth inning and the Marlins had leadoff man Christian Yelich at first base. He took off running on the pitch, a hit-and-run attempt that sent Simmons to cover second base. Jordany Valdespin hit the ball to the left of Simmons, which generally would make for a successful hit-and-run. But not with Simmons on patrol.
He hit the brakes, dove the other direction and grabbed the ball. He then jumped to his feet for a split second and changed directions again to tag second base for the force out. He had very little time to do all this, of course, because Yelich was nearly to second when Simmons fielded the ball.
To get the out, this play needed to happen in one weird but beautiful moment, and Simmons was just the man for the job.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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Post info: By Chipper on July 22nd, 2014
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At this point, it’s not news that Andrelton Simmons did something impressive on a baseball field. The Atlanta Braves shortstop has already established himself as a Gold Glover and  one of baseball’s elite defenders . But just because we’re used to seeing Simmons pulling off wonderful defensive plays doesn’t mean we can’t sit and appreciate his wizardry each time he puts it on display again.
Look at what Simmons did Monday night against the Miami Marlins . It was the top of the fourth inning and the Marlins had leadoff man Christian Yelich at first base. He took off running on the pitch, a hit-and-run attempt that sent Simmons to cover second base. Jordany Valdespin hit the ball to the left of Simmons, which generally would make for a successful hit-and-run. But not with Simmons on patrol.
He hit the brakes, dove the other direction and grabbed the ball. He then jumped to his feet for a split second and changed directions again to tag second base for the force out. He had very little time to do all this, of course, because Yelich was nearly to second when Simmons fielded the ball.
To get the out, this play needed to happen in one weird but beautiful moment, and Simmons was just the man for the job.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

– - – - – - –
Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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Post info: By Chipper on July 22nd, 2014
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ATLANTA (AP) — Catcher Evan Gattis has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and is in Atlanta’s lineup against the Miami Marlins.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 21st, 2014
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The Atlanta Braves are 13-6 in the games Evan Gattis missed, but they know that they are a lot more dangerous team with the slugging catcher in the lineup. Sidelined since injuring his back June 27, Gattis likely will come off the disabled list Monday. “I expect him to be here and in the lineup,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. Gattis played four rehab games with Triple-A Gwinnett, going 3-for-16.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 21st, 2014
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Jimmy Rollins supplied all of the offensive support left-hander Cole Hamels needed to defeat the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night. The veteran Philadelphia shortstop hit a two-run homer and Hamels struck out nine in seven innings as the Phillies defeated the Braves 2-1 before 38,602 at Turner Field. Hamels (4-5) allowed four hits while improving to 15-8 in his career against the Braves.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 20th, 2014
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After they struggled to come through in key situations in the opener, the Washington Nationals responded with several timely hits to even this series and return to the top of the NL East. While Washington looks to remain in first with its fourth win in five games, the inconsistent Milwaukee Brewers will try to bounce back by avoiding their 13th loss in 16 contests Sunday at Nationals Park. The Nationals (52-43) couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities Friday, going 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position in a 4-2 loss that dropped them a game behind Atlanta in the division race. Washington, however, turned things around Saturday by knocking out Matt Garza in the first inning and going 5 for 13 with runners in scoring position in an 8-3 victory that pulled it even with Atlanta after the Braves’ loss to Philadelphia.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 20th, 2014
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Baseball is a simple game, really. But it would be much simpler if not for all of those darn rules getting in the way.
OK, so maybe rules are necessary, but the endless interpretations and the unusual scenarios they create tend to complicate and confuse matters, not only for the fans, both casual and diehard, but even for the players and umpires. For a good example of the mass confusion they can create, check out this weird play from Friday night’s Brewers-Nationals game in Washington.
With Denard Span on first base in the first inning, Nationals batter Anthony Rendon hit a routine grounder to Brewers shortstop Jean Segura. Since Span was running from first on the pitch, he was able to beat the throw to second with an aggressive pop up slide, but the relay throw to first got Rendon by several steps.
An unusual, yet seemingly simple 6-4-3 single putout at first if you’re scoring at home, only that’s not at all how the play would ultimately be ruled.
Second base umpire Angel Campos, who originally ruled Span safe at second, quickly changed his mind and ruled Span out for interference at second base because the pop up slide led to a minor bump with second baseman Scooter Gennett. Of course, the slide had no bearing on Gennett’s relay throw, as he was able to retire Rendon easily, but Campos’ stuck to his ruling.
So it’s a regular 6-4-3 double play after all … or not quite.

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Post info: By Chipper on July 19th, 2014
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