This rivalry between the Cardinals and Reds continues to live up to the hype.
The Reds kicked off the second half in style last night, defeating the Cardinals 6-5 thanks to a two-out, walk off two-run homer by Brandon Phillips off Cards’ closer Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Reds were staked to an early 2-0 lead after a pair of solo homers from Chris Heisey, but this game saw three lead changes over the final three innings. The Cardinals jumped out in front in the top of the eighth when Albert Pujols absolutely demolished a 96 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman for a two-run homer to left field. However, arch enemy Phillips had the last laugh in this one.
The Reds limped into the All-Star break two games under .500 and losers in seven out of their last 10 games, but they still find themselves just three games out in the ultra-competitive National League Central.
Your Friday box scores:
Cardinals 5, Reds 6
Marlins 1, Cubs 2
White Sox 8, Tigers 2
Phillies 7, Mets 2
Indians 6, Orioles 5
Yankees 1, Blue Jays 7
Nationals 1, Braves 11
Red Sox 6, Rays 9
Pirates 4, Astros 0
Royals 2, Twins 1
Brewers 0, Rockies 4
Angels 3, Athletics 5
Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 4
Rangers 4, Mariners 0
Giants 6, Padres 1
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.