If Tim Lincecum isn’t back, well, he’s certainly on the right track.
After tossing eight shutout innings against the Astros in his last start last Saturday, Lincecum gave up two runs over seven innings last night in Philadelphia as part of a 7-2 win over the Phillies. His ERA dropped from 5.93 to 5.72 with the solid effort.
Things looked pretty shaky for a moment, as Lincecum fell off the mound in the middle of his windup to balk in a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. He then walked the bases loaded before getting Placido Polanco on a groundout to escape. The only other run scored on a solo home run by Ryan Howard in the sixth.
Lincecum gave up just five hits in all while striking out six and walking a pair. He topped out at 92.9 mph on his fastball and maintained his velocity throughout. The Giants already lead the Dodgers by 2 1/2 games in the National League West, but they could start to pull away if Lincecum finally gets in a groove.
Your Friday box scores:
White Sox 2, Tigers 4
Marlins 3, Pirates 4
Orioles 10, Indians 2
Braves 11, Nationals 10 (11 innings)
Mariners 3, Rays 4 (14 innings)
Dodgers 7, Mets 6
Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1
Brewers 1, Reds 3
Twins 2, Royals 1 (11 innings)
Cubs 1, Cardinals 4
Yankees 2, Athletics 3
Astros 8, Diamondbacks 13
Rangers 1, Angels 6
Rockies 5, Padres 9
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.