Aug. 3, 1987: That time Joe Niekro tried to hide evidence of cheating, then got busted

On this day in 1987, Twins knuckleballer Joe Niekro was ejected after umpires determined he was trying to scuff balls, presumably to give his signature pitch a bit more movement. That’s the short version. The long version is much more entertaining. Watch this.

Hmmm. Just casually tossing away an emery board, like, “Ho hum. Nothing to see here?” That’s, shall we say, compelling evidence. Not a good look for Mr. Niekro, but certainly compelling television.

It wasn’t the start Gray was looking for, but it demonstrated how valuable he can be. After New York’s first-inning troubles, Gray worked his way out of trouble all night long, getting out of two separate innings with two runners on to put zeroes on the board.

The Indians are clinging onto a two-game lead over the Royals — winners of nine straight games — in the American League Central. Despite the Indians’ recent flurry of wins, they’ve actually lost ground on the equally-hot Kansas City team.

In fact, this is the first time two teams from the same division have had simultaneous streaks of eight-plus wins after the All-Star Game since 2004, when the Cardinals and Astros — then in the National League — accomplished the feat.

A postseason berth will not be easy for either team in the tough AL, but Hot Cheap Jerseys Ramirez was a part of the Indians’ World Series runner-up team last year, and he just keeps getting better. The Indians once again look like a dangerous team at the right time.

Masahiro Tanaka, who led the Yankees to a 6-1 win over the Rays, lost his perfect Jerseys From China game with two outs in the fifth inning en route to allowing just one run in eight innings. The inconsistent hurler gave up just two hits with no walks while striking out 14 batters. Despite the gem, he is just 8-9 with a 5.09 ERA this season.