And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

68 Comments

Angels 6, Rays 5: Mike Trout’s walkoff caps a four-run ninth inning rally. The homer came off  Brad Boxberger, but even if he lit the match, Grant Balfour spread the kerosene by walking two batters and giving up an RBI single just before Trout’s three-run bomb.

Twins 4, Red Sox 3: Another walkoff. This time the hit was delivered by Aaron Hicks. A day after his own team ripped him in the media. I guess in between Wednesday and Thursday Hick, to paraphrase Ron Gardenhire, studied the game a little more, studied the pitchers a little bit more, did drills and everything, threw his talent out on the field and said, “I can do this.”

Brewers 4, Pirates 3: Oh, another walkoff. Here it was Khris Davis, who delivered a two-run single off  Mark Melancon. when the Brewers were down 3-2. The Brewers have won four of five and still have a five-game lead in the Central. I keep saying to myself “the Cardinals will close that gap in time” — and I still believe that — but it would help their cause of the Brewers started to lose. A pity for St. Louis that Milwaukee doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with all that.

Reds 5, Padres 0; Padres 6, Reds 1: Johnny Cueto is gonna petition the league office to have all of his starts move to the afternoon because he’s lights-out during day games. Well, he’s pretty amazing during all games, but his day game performances has been pretty incredible over the years. Even before yesterday’s gem he had a 2.53 ERA in daytime starts compared to 3.94 at night. On the 2014 season he’s now down to a 1.25 ERA and has three complete games. He had only six in his whole career before this season.

Blue Jays 4, Indians 2: Two homers for Edwin Encarnacion. At this point I’d insert that “Nacho Libre” video but the short version with just the chorus of that song and no preroll ads seems to have been taken off YouTube. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call NBC to have them buy me that movie. A craftsman has to have tools at his disposal.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 3: Well, the Cardinals are at least trying to do their part. Playing the Cubs helps as they’ve lost nine of eleven. Here Michael Wacha pitched seven solid innings and [altogether now] helped his own cause by driving in two runs.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Orioles 2, Royals 1: Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer in the fourth for all of the runs Baltimore needed. He’s on pace for 50 homers and 145 RBI. Someone alert Buster Olney that he needs to write a column telling everyone it’s OK to think Cruz is juiced.

Yankees 1, Mets 0: Alfonso Soriano had an RBI double for the only scoring in this one. The real show here: rookie reliever Dellin Betances coming into the game for the Yankees in the middle of the game and striking out six Mets in a row. He picked up the win too, and I now predict the New York media will anoint him the Yankees’ savior.

Giants 6, Marlins 4: A Buster Posey RBI double came in a three-run fifth inning that put the Giants ahead for good and helped Matt Cain get his first win of the year. Cain wasn’t fantastic — he gave up a couple of homers early — but he did give San Francisco eight innings.

Watch: Mike Trout ties MLB record with his 25th home run

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:

In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.

Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.

Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.

Blue Jays acquire Tom Koehler from Marlins

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.

The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.

Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.