Things are getting very interesting in the NL Wild Card race. While the Reds lost to the Brewers last night, the Nationals beat the Phillies 6-1 for their seventh straight victory.
Ross Ohlendorf, who started in place of the scratched Stephen Strasburg, tossed five innings of one-run ball in the victory. Ryan Zimmerman homered for the ninth time in his last 11 games while Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 24 games. Only Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer has had a longer hitting streak (29 games) in MLB this season.
With the win, the surging Nationals find themselves 4.5 games back of the Reds for the second Wild Card spot with 15 games left to play. They are four back in the loss column.
Your Friday box scores:
Indians 3, White Sox 1
Cubs 5, Pirates 4
Orioles 5, Blue Jays 3
Marlins 3, Mets 4
Royals 3, Tigers 6
Yankees 4, Red Sox 8
Padres 4, Braves 3
Athletics 9, Rangers 8
Reds 1, Brewers 5
Rays 3, Twins 0
Mariners 1, Cardinals 2 (10 innings)
Angels 7, Astros 9
Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 5
Giants 4, Dodgers 2
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.