MLB: Weekend's Best Photos from the Diamond
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It was a big weekend in Major League Baseball with the second wave of interleague play. As always, plenty of great photographers were on hand to capture memorable images from the action around the big leagues.
Among the things we saw were a combined no-hitter in Seattle, the Yankees reminding the Mets who rules New York and the Washington Nationals sweeping out Fenway Park.
There were no squirrels photographed running around an outfield, but we did have Stormtroopers and giant teeth racing each other. Just like Bud Selig envisioned.
Here are 10 photographs we enjoyed from the past three days in MLB.
Mark Reynolds Dives for a Wide Pickoff Throw
Matt Wieters' pickoff throw to first base on Friday night was just a bit outside.
But let's give Mark Reynolds some credit for his effort at making a catch.
The pickoff attempt may not have been worth the effort with John Mayberry Jr. and his nine career stolen bases on first for the Philadelphia Phillies.
And the Phillies already had a three-run lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth inning.
Fortunately for the O's, Mayberry didn't come around to score despite moving to third base on the throwing error.
Fresh Beats Toothy and Bristles in Tight Race at Coors Field
You know it's a big night at the ballpark when dental hygiene products are racing each other between innings.
Yes, Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels were in Denver to play the Colorado Rockies.
But promoting dental care was also on the itinerary for fans at Coors Field.
Toothpaste tube Fresh squeezed out a victory over Toothy and Bristles, winning the between-innings race by the width of a piece of dental floss.
Atlanta Braves Retire John Smoltz's No. 29
The Atlanta Braves and their fans celebrated the career of one of the team's best pitchers on Friday night, retiring John Smoltz's No. 29 before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Smoltz became the ninth player in Braves franchise history to have his number retired.
As you might expect, it was a very emotional moment.
"Honestly, I thought I was going to lose it when I started talking about playing for the jersey," Smoltz said, as quoted by the AP. "That's something I hope more people can take pride in, wearing a jersey. For some people it's just a jersey. For me it was my life."
Ryan Roberts Gets a Shaving Cream Pie After Walkoff Home Run
I may have made too big a deal about Johan Santana getting a cream pie in the face after throwing his no-hitter.
I just think the whole thing is a bit overplayed now. But hey, if major leaguers keep wanting to smash gobs of shaving cream in their teammates' faces, who am I to criticize it?
At the very least, the shaving cream pies make for good photos.
After hitting a three-run walkoff homer to beat the Oakland Athletics Friday night, Ryan Roberts got a face full of shaving cream from Arizona Diamondbacks teammate Chris Young.
Ah, camaraderie. Perhaps with a bit of aloe or menthol for a smoother celebration.
Six Seattle Mariners Pitchers Combine for No-Hitter
The fans at Safeco Field (and those tuning in around the country) may have felt a bit deprived when Kevin Millwood left Friday night's game between the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Millwood had gone six innings without allowing a hit, but an injured groin took him out of the ballgame. A no-hitter wasn't going to happen. Or was it?
Five pitchers combined to pick up where Millwood left off, finishing off something arguably more special than a "regular" no-hitter.
Pitching a combined no-hitter is a more rare accomplishment, despite it not being a singular achievement. Only 10 combined no-hitters have been thrown in major league history.
Neil Walker Strikes a Classic Pose in His Throwback Uniform
On Saturday night at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals honored the Negro Leagues with throwback uniforms for teams from their respective cities.
The Pirates adopted the look of the Homestead Greys while the Royals wore the attire of the Kansas City Monarchs.
If not for the modern PNC Park stands in the background, Walker looks like he could pass for a player from the 1930s in this photo.
Where's Instagram to put in some sepia or black-and-white tones when you need it?
Stormtroopers Stand for 'Star Wars Night' at Chase Field
Fans at Chase Field didn't just get a ballgame between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
Nope, it was "Star Wars Night" at the ballpark as well.
Fortunately, a wretched hive of scum and villainy did not populate the stands. Instead, a brigade of impressively outfitted Stormtroopers took the field for pregame festivities, including the National Anthem.
But the guy in the middle looks like he may not quite be in military shape. Maybe he's in the Empire's equivalent of the National Guard.
Seth Smith Lurks in the Outfield Shadows
Shadows were obviously a factor at Chase Field on Sunday, with wide swaths of shade covering the outfield.
Here, we see Oakland A's outfielder Seth Smith lurking in the shadows, ready to run after an unsuspecting fly ball or line drive that dares venture into his territory.
The shadows didn't affect Smith at the plate, where he went 1-for-1 as a pinch-hitter before taking over for Jonny Gomes in left field during Sunday's game against the Diamondbacks.
A.J. Burnett Tips His Cap to Pirates Fans at PNC Park
A.J. Burnett has been a frequent punching bag among fans, analysts and commentators in recent years.
But when the man pitches well, he should get some praise too.
Since giving up 12 runs in 2.2 innings during an early May start, Burnett has been outstanding for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In his subsequent seven starts, he hasn't allowed more than three runs. And that three-spot happened only once. Burnett allowed two runs or fewer in the other six appearances.
Burnett pitched into the eighth inning on Sunday and got a nice ovation from the PNC Park crowd as he headed back toward the dugout. His effort helped the Pirates keep their first-place tie with the Reds in the NL Central.
Jose Reyes Avoids Takeout Slide While Trying to Turn Double Play
Shortstop isn't just a demanding defensive position because of the range and arm strength it requires.
The good ones also have excellent agility, as Jose Reyes demonstrated for the Miami Marlins against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
Reyes jumps to avoid a takeout slide from Sean Rodriguez as he tries to turn a double play. He did so successfully, throwing James Shields out at first base.
Unfortunately, Reyes and the Marlins lost to the Rays on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep at home. That extended the Marlins' losing streak to six games.
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