MLB Notes: Rivera wants to play center field

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MLB Notes: Rivera wants to play center field

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera may make a debut on his final weekend before retirement: as a centerfielder.

The 43-year-old closer, in his 19th and final big league season, has said he'd like to play the outfield.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says he's thinking about allowing Rivera to do it this weekend, when the Yankees finish their season with a three-game series at the Houston Astros.

Says Girardi: "In my mind, thinking that he's going to want to pitch, it would be a situation that I might bring him in (in) the eighth to play the outfield and close him out in the ninth if we have that opportunity."

Rivera missed most of the 2012 season after hurting his knee while shagging fly balls during pregame practice at Kansas City.

Slain fan was son of Dodgers security guard
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers say the 24-year-old man who was fatally stabbed during a postgame confrontation in San Francisco was the son of one of the team's security guards.

Spokesman Jared Kaufer said Thursday that Jonathan Denver's father worked security at Dodger Stadium.

San Francisco police say Denver was walking with his father, brother and two other people not far from the San Francisco Giants' ballpark Wednesday night when their group exchanged words with some Giants fans who were leaving a nightclub.

The exchange turned physical and Denver, who was wearing Dodgers gear, was stabbed to death.

Denver attended the game with his relatives but left in the eighth inning of what turned out to be a 6-4 Giants victory. His attackers did not attend the game.

Police Chief Greg Suhr says two people are in custody and one of them is facing face homicide charges.

For more, read Ray Rotto's column at CSNBayArea.com.

Selig sets retirement date
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he plans to retire in January 2015.

The 79-year-old Selig has repeatedly said since 2003 that his retirement was imminent, but Thursday marked the first time he issued a formal statement.

He says he will announce a transition plan shortly that will include a reorganization of central baseball management.

Selig bought the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court in 1970 and moved the team to Milwaukee. He was part of the group that forced Fay Vincent's resignation.

Selig took over as acting commissioner on Sept. 9, 1992, in his role as chairman of the executive council. He repeatedly said he would not take the job full time but was formally elected commissioner July 9, 1998. He agreed to new contracts in 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012 (see full story).

Gomez, Johnson suspended for fight
NEW YORK -- The Brewers' Carlos Gomez and the Braves' Reed Johnson have each been suspended one game after a benches-clearing argument between their teams.

Both were also fined an undisclosed amount Thursday.

In the top of the first inning Wednesday in Atlanta, Gomez homered off Paul Maholm, still furious the Braves starter hit him with a pitch three months earlier.

Gomez stood in the batter's box watching the ball, stared at Maholm, and flipped his bat. Gomez was yelling at Maholm as he slowly trotted up the first base line. Gomez then began jawing with first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Gomez touched second and third without incident before catcher Brian McCann stood in the third base line about 20 feet from home plate and stopped him.

The benches emptied, and Gomez was ejected for shoving Johnson, a reserve outfielder. Freeman and reserve catcher Gerald Laird were also ejected.

Gomez accepted his suspension and will sit out Thursday's game at the Mets.

Best of MLB: Matt Kemp walk-off HR lifts Braves over Giants

Best of MLB: Matt Kemp walk-off HR lifts Braves over Giants

ATLANTA -- Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer off Cory Gearrin in the 11th inning to lift the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

The homer, the third of the game for Atlanta, was Kemp's seventh game-ending shot of his career.

Gearrin (1-2) walked Nick Markakis with one out before Kemp's homer barely cleared the right field wall..

Matt Adams hit a two-run homer and Tyler Flowers also homered off Jeff Samardzija.

Braves Sean Newcomb, who gave up one run in six innings, was denied his first win when Hunter Pence's homer off Braves closer Jim Johnson tied the game at 3-3 in the ninth. It was Johnson's fifth blown save in 18 chances (see full recap).

Diamondbacks ride 10-run 4th inning to victory
DENVER -- Taijuan Walker pitched six solid innings and slapped an RBI single during Arizona's biggest inning ever on the road -- a 10-run fourth -- and the Diamondbacks went on to beat the Colorado Rockies 16-5 on Wednesday night.

Shaking off Tuesday's tough loss in which Colorado rallied late for a one-run win, the Diamondbacks sent 14 men to the plate and pounded out nine hits, including a two-run double and RBI single by Brandon Drury in his two at-bats in the inning. Drury finished with four hits and career-high six RBIs and the Diamondbacks established season highs in run and hits (20).

David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt also connected for two hits in the inning and combined for three RBIs, helping the Diamondbacks snap the Rockies' winning streak at six games and setting up Thursday's match between the NL West rivals as the decisive game in the series (see full recap).

Royals rally past Red Sox on Perez grand slam
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Salvador Perez hit his first career grand slam, connecting in the eighth inning to rally the Kansas City Royals over the Boston Red Sox 6-4 Wednesday.

The Royals have won nine of 11 and moved within a game of .500.

Perez homered over the Kansas City bullpen in left field on the ninth pitch from Robby Scott (0-1). With Boston leading 4-2, reliever Matt Barnes started the inning by walking Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain on 12 pitches.

Scott was summoned to face Eric Hosmer, but walked him on four pitches to load the bases for Perez. The All-Star catcher fouled off three full-count deliveries before hitting his 15th home run of the season.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Perez was the first Kansas City player to hit a grand slam in the eighth inning or later with the Royals trailing since Frank White in 1986.

Jorge Soria (3-2) worked a spotless eighth. Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances (see full recap).

Phillies on pace for 111 losses after bizarre late-game bullpen meltdown

Phillies on pace for 111 losses after bizarre late-game bullpen meltdown

BOX SCORE

In the big picture — and that's what has really mattered right from the beginning of this season — something quite positive happened for the Phillies on Wednesday night: A young, promising pitcher took a nice step forward and for the second straight start offered hope that he might just be a reliable piece of the rotation when this rebuilding club is ready to be relevant again.

But in the narrow view, it was easy to look right past Nick Pivetta's six innings of three-run, 10-strikeout ball. That's how bad the losing has been. Every night offers a gaper delay on the highway to 100 losses.

Did we say 100?

How about 111? That's the Phillies' current pace after an ugly 7-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals (see Instant Replay) — and 111 losses would match a franchise high set in 1941 when Doc Prothro's club went 43-111.

It's bad, folks.

But you already knew that.

This one was especially unsightly for how the Phillies lost it. They blew a five-run lead under the weight of a barrage of home runs — two against the bullpen in the eighth and ninth innings — had the potential winning run cut down at the plate by 20 feet in the bottom of the ninth then lost it in the 10th after a troubling meltdown by reliever Edubray Ramos.

You almost had to see it to believe it. And if you didn't see it, don't bother looking for a replay. It will only hurt your eyes.

"We let that five-run lead get away from us," manager Pete Mackanin said. "Real disappointing night. Pivetta did a really good job for us, gave us six good innings. And we had 16 hits; you have to win a game when you get 16 hits. We couldn't push any more runs across until that 10th inning. Very disappointing."

Pivetta — 19 strikeouts in his last two starts — took a 5-0 lead to the mound in the fifth and was tagged for a home run on a 3-2 fastball in that inning. No problem. He issued a two-out walk in the sixth then served up a first-pitch, two-run homer to Jedd Gyorko. Little problem, but not fatal.

Things started to turn bad in the eighth when reliever Joaquin Benoit served up a first-pitch homer to Jose Martinez to make it a one-run game and they got worse when Hector Neris blew his second save in three games when he gave up a game-tying homer to Tommy Pham (his second of the game) on a 1-1 fastball in the ninth.

In the 10th, Ramos gave up a leadoff double to Martinez. The reliever then balked Martinez to third and gifted him home plate on an errant pickoff throw to first base. (It sailed way over Tommy Joseph's head.) The Cards ended up scoring two runs in the frame. The second one came in handy when the Phils pushed across one in the bottom of the inning.

Ramos looks like a pitcher who needs to go to the minors to clear his head. In his last three outings, he has faced eight batters and allowed three hits, three walks and seven runs. He has also committed a costly balk and a costly error, signs that's he becoming a little overwhelmed.

"I don't know what to tell you," Mackanin said. "It looks like he's mixed up or something. He's not the same guy."

Ramos declined to speak with reporters after the game.

But Odubel Herrera and Pat Neshek did agree to chat.

Neshek, the Phillies' best reliever, was conspicuously absent from a close game. He threw 28 pitches Sunday, had a day off Monday and threw 11 on Tuesday. He was not available. What was curious was that Mackanin said Neshek had told him he was sore. Neshek said he never said such a thing, that he showed up to the ballpark and was told he was getting a day off, which he actually thought was a good idea. But sore? Not so, he said.

As for Herrera, he drew attention for running through third base coach Juan Samuel's stop sign in the bottom of the ninth inning and getting nailed at the plate for the final out. Samuel said it was the first time a player had ever run through one of his stop signs. In this case, Herrera almost ran him over.

"It's just bad timing for it," Samuel said.

There was some question as to whether Samuel's stop sign went up too late, but Herrera dismissed that. He said he was simply running with his head down.

"I was playing aggressive," he said. "I wanted to win the game. So when I was rounding third, I put my head down. I kept going to home plate. I saw [the stop sign]. But I saw it late. I put my head down. That's my mistake."

Making a mistake didn't make Herrera unique Wednesday night.

"The mistakes we're making are giving the other team too many pitches to hit," Mackanin said. "Those are our mistakes. Especially late in the game."