The Rays versus Red Sox rivalry continues

Unlike the England friendly against Norway, MLB produced plenty of action on Saturday.

There were walk-off home runs by the Rangers (Josh Hamilton), Red Sox (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and Dodgers (A.J. Ellis), while the Pirates beat the Cubs on a walk-off hit-by-pitch.

That made it eleven defeats in a row for the Cubs, who are finding new ways to lose every day. Maybe today will be the end of their losing streak and the start of a winning run? That’s one of the great things about baseball, the next day nearly always gives you a chance to start to turn your fortunes around. Matt Garza will take to the mound for the Cubs looking to help his team do just that.

Albert Pujols homered off Felix Hernandex to make it three consecutive games with a longball, showing that rumours of his demise were premature to say the very least. Hector Noesi will be the Mariners’ starter today trying to stop Albert extending his streak to four.

However, the highlight of the evening had to be Great Britain player Mike Nickeas launching a grand slam in the Mets’ 9-0 win over the Padres. It was his first homer of the season and there’s no better way to get off the mark.

On to Sunday’s games, with all times in BST.

18.10. Colorado at Cincinnati (Moyer – Latos)
18.10. San Diego at NY Mets (Volquez – Dickey)
18.10. San Francisco at Miami (Cain – Nolasco)
18.35. Kansas City at Baltimore (Hochevar – Matusz)
18.35. Tampa Bay at Boston (Hellickson – Buchholz) *BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, ESPN America
18.35. Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh (Garza – Bedard)
19.10. Cleveland at Chicago White Sox (Jimenez – Floyd)
19.10. Detroit at Minnesota (Porcello – Walters)
19.15. Philadelphia at St. Louis (Halladay – Wainwright)
20.05. Toronto at Texas (Drabek – Darvish)
21.05. NY Yankees at Oakland (Kuroda – Milone)
21.10. LA Angels at Seattle (Wilson – Noesi)
21.10. Houston at LA Dodgers (Happ – Capuano)
21.10. Milwaukee at Arizona (Wolf – Hudson)

01.00 a.m. Washington at Atlanta (Gonzalez – Beachy) *ESPN America

Both BBC radio and ESPN America are focusing on the Rays-Red Sox rivalry, which has boiled over in recent days after reliever Franklin Morales hit Luke Scott with a pitch in Friday’s game. Joe Maddon took to Twitter to criticise the Red Sox and Bobby Valentine hit back in his press conference. With the series tied at 1-1, there will be plenty to play for in the series finale today.

Nat Coombs and Josh Chetwynd will be on 5 Live Sports Extra following close of play at Trent Bridge, so they may be joining the game in progress rather than from the first pitch.

Elsewhere, arguably the most intriguing pitch match-up will take place in St. Louis. Adam Wainwright had his best post-surgery start last time out against the Padres, while Roy Halladay allowed five runs over six innings against the Nationals and has been strangely off-par for most of the season. He insists that he is healthy, so the Phillies will be expecting a return to his dominant form today.

All of these games are available to watch live via the MLB.TV subscription at MLB.com.  BBC 5 Live Sports Extra can be found on digital radio, digital TV and on the BBC.co.uk website (coverage on the website is only available to UK residents). 

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