Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Joe Blanton did not pitch well on Saturday, and he pinned the blame on a minor mechanical issue that appears to be messing with his fastball delivery. According to MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, the right-handed reliever has not yet pinpointed the root of the issue, but has not been able to settle into a groove this season. Whatever the reason, Phillies’ second baseman Cesar Hernandez was grateful for the help, going deep on an 0-1 count in the eighth inning to drive in the winning run on a two-RBI shot.
Yankees 3, Cardinals 2: The Yankees saw nothing but wins this week, capping a six-game streak with another gem from CC Sabathia. Sabathia took the mound for Jackie Robinson day, holding the Cardinals to 7 1/3 innings of three-hit, one-run ball, the only blemish on his pitching line a solo home run to Jedd Gyorko in the eighth. Neither age nor declining velocity appears to be slowing Sabathia down, and though the season is still young, he’s currently leading New York’s cadre of starters with a 1.47 ERA through 18 1/3 innings.
Blue Jays 2, Orioles 1: Blue Jays’ CEO Mark Shapiro isn’t ready for a fire sale — or external acquisitions — after watching his club go 1-9 in their first ten games, and Saturday’s walk-off victory gave him another reason to be hopeful about the direction the franchise is heading in this year. Marco Estrada fired seven scoreless frames against the Orioles, backed by a one-run lead from Darwin Barney‘s RBI single that was lost when Roberto Osuna allowed a sac fly in the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, Kendrys Morales came through with a walk-off home run, snapping a seven-game skid and cementing the Jays’ second win of the season.
Reds 7, Brewers 5: Bryan Price’s starting rotation took a hit on Saturday when left-hander Brandon Finnegan was pulled after one hit, three walks, two runs and one shoulder strain in the first inning of the Reds’ hard-fought win against the Brewers. The club battled back, earning a two-run lead after Jesse Winkler’s two-run double in the sixth inning and Scooter Gennett‘s RBI double in the seventh, but the loss of Finnegan will likely have more far-reaching consequences on the Reds, especially with fellow starter Rookie Davis already sidelined with a bruised forearm. While a timetable has yet to be defined for the southpaw’s return, the Reds are expected to recall right-hander Sal Romano to make a spot start during the series finale on Sunday.
Twins 6, White Sox 0: The Twins are tied for first place in the AL Central, just as everyone predicted they would be. Ervin Santana tossed nine flawless frames in his first one-hitter of the season, the lineup put up a five-spot in the first inning off of White Sox’ ace Jose Quintana, Robbie Grossman knocked in a sixth bonus run on an RBI double in the eighth, and as many as 10,000 Twins fans left the game with first-place bragging rights and commemorate fur trapper hats.
Pirates 8, Cubs 7: Neither Tyler Glasnow nor Jake Arrieta could keep a lid on the other’s lineups on Saturday. The 24 m.p.h. winds circulating Wrigley Field helped power a three-homer effort from the Pirates, beginning with Francisco Cervelli’s solo shot in the second inning and ending with Andrew McCutchen’s poignant tribute to Jackie Robinson in the seventh. The Cubs didn’t lack opportunities to score, either, hitting for the cycle in the first inning and tallying four home runs in their 6-5 loss. Bryant muscled his first two homers of the season, but a three-pitch strikeout to Addison Russell doused the Cubs’ chances of extending the game in the ninth.
Rockies 5, Giants 0: Getting no-hit, if only for 5 2/3 innings, is enough to ruin any team’s day. Unfortunately for the Giants, things were about to get worse: left fielder Jarrett Parker made a highlight-reel worthy catch deep in the outfield, then rammed his shoulder into the wall and broke his clavicle. The Rockies went on to craft a five-run lead for their eighth win of the year, but the Giants have bigger issues to consider than a single loss — for instance, what the market looks like for free agent outfielders in mid-April.
Red Sox 2, Rays 1: The Rays stood no chance against Boston ace Chris Sale, who decimated opposing batters with a one-run, 12-strikeout performance on Saturday. It was the most strikeouts Sale had tallied in a single game since last September’s 12-whiff outing against the Royals, and the first win recorded by the lefty so far in 2017. Of course, the run support didn’t hurt, either, with Mitch Moreland‘s second-inning home run and Sandy Leon‘s RBI groundout giving the Red Sox the necessary edge to lock down their sixth win of the season.
Astros 10, Athletics 6: The Astros’ double-digit breakout on Saturday was eclipsed by this scare:
Yes, you’re seeing that right. In the ninth inning, with the Astros hanging onto an 8-6 lead, Carlos Correa took a 94 m.p.h. fastball off of his left hand and was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Mike Fiers. Much to the Astros’ relief, X-rays did not reveal any lasting damage from the hit by pitch, and Correa is currently being considered day-to-day with a contusion.
Indians 13, Tigers 6: What was billed as a showdown between two aces was… well, not that. Corey Kluber held out for 6 1/3 innings against a Tigers’ offense that is currently ranked 12th in the league, scattering eight hits, eight strikeouts and six runs en route to his first win of the season. Justin Verlander had it even worse, giving up 11 hits and nine runs and striking out four in four innings. It was the just the eighth time the former Cy Young winner had allowed at least three home runs in an outing, all multi-RBI hits by Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall.
Marlins 5, Mets 4: There are two plays generally regarded as the most exciting events in baseball: the home run and the strikeout. Saturday’s face-off between the Marlins and Mets had an excess of both. Mets’ right-hander Jacob deGrom delivered a career-high 13 strikeouts, striking out the side in the first, fifth and seventh frames of the game while allowing just four hits and two runs. The Marlins, meanwhile, wrested four home runs away from the Mets, going back-to-back in the second and eighth innings with impressive shots by Justin Bour, Marcell Ozuna, Christain Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton:
Braves 4, Padres 2: The Braves are still undefeated at SunTrust Park, which will eventually be a meaningful piece of trivia if they can stretch their winning streak past the first two games. The Padres jumped out to an early lead with back-to-back home runs from Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges in the second inning, but the Braves tied the game on a pair of RBI singles in the fourth and returned in the sixth to tag San Diego’s bullpen with game-winning back-to-back home runs of their own.
Royals 3, Angels 2: On Saturday, Albert Pujols made his first appearance at first base in eight months, and it went about as well as could be expected given his lengthy hiatus and recent foot surgery. While it appears to be a temporary gig for the veteran infielder, Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols could see more frequent starts at first base as he utilizes a “deep bench” this season. Thankfully for the Angels, Pujols wielded his bat more gracefully than his glove, going 1-for-4 with a base hit and RBI groundout in the club’s 3-2 loss.
Mariners 5, Rangers 0: Felix Hernandez may still be the incumbent ruler of the Mariners’ rotation, but James Paxton is undoubtedly the heir to his throne. Paxton hurled eight pristine innings against the Rangers on Saturday evening, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and giving up just two hits in the effort. Not only did he extend his scoreless streak to 21 innings, but according to MLB.com’s Doug Miller and Jim Hoehn, he is the first major league pitcher since 1914 to start the year with three consecutive starts “of at least six scoreless innings and fewer than four hits in each game.” A dominant performance from the Mariners’ lineup didn’t hurt, backing the lefty’s shutout with Kyle Seager‘s two-RBI single and a three-run homer from Taylor Motter.
Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 4: Following an emotional ceremony to honor Jackie Robinson on the 70th anniversary of his major league entrance, the Dodgers unleashed an eight-run force against the visiting Diamondbacks. NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager brought home two runs on an RBI base hit and sacrifice fly, but Yasiel Puig stole the show in the eighth inning, hammering a three-run blast to left field off of Arizona closer Fernando Rodney.