Game of the day: Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m. It’s a rare year when a July series between the National League’s Pennsylvania rivals features two playoff contenders, but that is where we sit heading into this three-game set. The Phillies are well on their way to a fifth-straight National League East title, while the Pirates remain close in the crowded NL Central. The Phillies have won right-hander Roy Halladay’s (12-4) last nine home starts, and the two-time Cy Young Award winner is set to take the mound at Citizens Bank Park again on Friday. Halladay has a 1.45 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh. Right-hander Charlie Morton (8-5) will pitch for the Pirates, looking for his second win this year against the Phillies. Morton pitched seven strong innings in a 6-3 win over the Phils on June 4.
Other game to watch: Boston at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m. The White Sox continue to creep closer to the top of the American League Central standings, and they enter this three-game series against Boston just three games behind Detroit. Chicago went 6-1 against the Red Sox last season, and has won six of its last eight home games against Boston. Right-hander Gavin Floyd (8-9) has allowed one earned run in 14 2/3 innings over his last two starts for Chicago, winning both after failing to earn a victory in his previous six. Right-hander Tim Wakefield (6-3) will toss his knuckleball for the Red Sox, hoping he will continue to receive the run support that has boosted him in recent outings. Boston has averaged 10 runs per game over Wakefield’s last four starts.
Games you should have seen:
Tampa Bay 10, Oakland 8 . Rookie Desmond Jennings’ RBI single keyed a seven-run seventh inning that propelled Tampa Bay to a come-from-behind victory over the A’s. Oakland led 5-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but Jennings hit his first-career home run — a two-run shot — to ignite a comeback in the sixth. Johnny Damon and Matt Joyce also had RBI singles in the big seventh inning, and Evan Longoria capped the frame with a solo home run. The Rays are still a disappointing 5-9 since the All-Star break.
New York Mets 10, Cincinnati 9 . The Reds cut an early 9-3 deficit to 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Cincinnati couldn’t complete the comeback and the Mets left town with a four-game sweep. Jason Bay went 3 for 4 with three RBIs for the Mets, while Joey Votto and Miguel Cairo homered for Cincinnati. New York (54-51) ties a season-high by climbing three games over .500.
Stat you should know: 17. Outs made in the air by Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins in 28 at bats over his last seven games. The speedy Rollins is 2 for 28 since he hit two home runs on July 20 against the Cubs and started swinging recklessly for the fences. Rollins went 1 for 4 with three fly ball outs Thursday in Philadelphia’s 4-1 loss to the Giants.
Star of the night: Angels first baseman Mike Trumbo went 3 for 5 with five RBIs and finished a single short of a cycle in Los Angeles’s 12-7 win over Detroit. The 25-year-old rookie now has 19 home runs this season — the most among Angels hitters.
Chatter: “I was getting up to celebrate. I thought he got plenty, then the wind knocked it down.” — Red Sox manager Terry Francona, describing Carl Crawford’s deep fly ball that became the second out in the bottom of the ninth inning of Boston’s 4-3 loss at home to Kansas City. With Drew Sutton on base, Crawford’s drive would have given the Red Sox a dramatic win had it traveled a few more feet.