Bonus baseball is never a bad thing, many say, and that’s exactly what took place on July 4th as the New York Yankees took the Rays in Tampa on Thursday. Despite all of their huffing and puffing, the Rays, six and a half games back of their visitors in the AL East ahead of the game, would ultimately fall short, losing in ten innings by a score of 8-4. They were unable to cope with the powerful and clutch hitting of the Bronx Bombers, which continues to drive them forward. Their record against teams with a plus .500 record has been startling, with them leading the majors at 23-11 so far. It was once again DJ Lemahieu that got the act going in extras, singling to drive in two runs. Gary Sanchez then, of course, hit a home run to to plate three more to extend the lead to 8-3. The Rays tried to battle back, but just one run in the bottom of the tenth meant they fell to a loss which now leaves them even further back in the division race.
For not the first time this season, and especially not for the first time of late, the Atlanta Braves pounded the Philadelphia Phillies, defeating their NL East foes on Thursday night to pull even further clear of them in the division. The 12-6 win for the Braves marks the third in four games they have plated nine or more runs against their opponents and it was the fifth time in nine games total in which they have racked up at least five runs. The Braves got help from all four of their infielders, with Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson (two total), and Josh Donaldson all hitting home runs within the first four innings. Even though the Phillies had roughed up their visitors hosts in the early going, it just wasn’t enough to hold back surging, powerful, and young Braves.
After losing stars Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish to the NBA Draft, all of which were taken in the first round, you wouldn’t blame the Duke Blue Devils for having an off year in 2019-20. But that’s not their style, and Coach K isn’t going to allow that be considered ‘OK.’ Instead, they are making moves to make sure there is no swoon in form, doing so by landing the number four recruit in the nation Thursday in the form of Jalen Johnson. At 6-8, he’s thought to be the best small forward in his class, and will enter having averaged 17.0 points and just over nine rebounds in select ball this past season. Duke just never stops moving forward, do they?