Adam Lind

Getty Images

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

2 Comments

Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: The Dodgers had the NL West title in the bag on Friday, holding the Giants to two runs and taking the lead on Cody Bellinger‘s three-run blast in the third (an NL-best 39th home run, to boot). Feels like the Giants should get some extra credit for a ninth-inning Pablo Sandoval home run off of Kenley Jansen, but alas: they struck out thrice following the homer, leaving the Dodgers with the division title and their 98th win of the year. Next up: the Cubs, whose magic number sits at five heading into Saturday’s contest against the Brewers.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: The Cardinals kept things interesting in the NL wild card race, edging the Pirates to take the lead behind the Diamondbacks and Rockies as the first runner-up. Down 3-2 in the ninth, Jedd Gyorko pinch-hit the tying run with a one-out RBI single, while Dexter Fowler put the Cards ahead after Jordy Mercer failed to execute the double play.

Rays 8, Orioles 3: On the heels of Wilson Ramos‘ monster grand slam, Evan Longoria catapulted the Rays past a new milestone with his 19th home run of the season, a 353-foot solo shot that stretched just beyond the warning track in the third:

It marked the Rays’ 216th home run of 2017, tying their 2016 total for the most in club history. That’s a small consolation in light of their ever-dimming playoff chances, however, which haven’t improved at all since last Sunday. Friday’s win kept them five games back of a wild card spot, but the Twins appear to be in no rush to relinquish their playoff berth just yet.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1: The Yankees postponed their postseason clinch on Friday, unable to topple the Blue Jays with a single 469-foot swing from slugger Aaron Judge. The Blue Jays responded with an eight-run spread and some heads-up defense, including this tried-and-true trick:

Red Sox 5, Reds 4: David Price may not have entered the 2017 season with a bullpen role in mind, but he’s been nothing but dominant in two appearances so far. He pitched through another scoreless inning on Friday, fanning four batters in 2 2/3 innings as he helped preserve the Red Sox’ narrow lead over the Reds. Even better: he contributed a leadoff single in the seventh, his first hit of any kind since 2010.

“I liked hitting way more [than pitching],” Price told reporters after the game. “That was cool. I was due.”

Twins 7, Tigers 3: The Twins have a death grip on the second AL wild card spot. They chased Daniel Norris with a four-run lead on Friday for their second straight win, banking on home runs from Brian Dozier and Max Kepler and a three-hit performance from Byron Buxton. It all proved too overwhelming for the Tigers, who dropped their fifth straight contest and now carry a 2-8 record over their last 10 games.

Mets 7, Nationals 6: Dusty Baker enjoys home runs, but he likes runs more. The Nationals produced both in mass quantities this season, exiting Friday’s loss with a franchise-best 780 runs scored and 203 home runs. Adam Lind was the only National to go deep against the Mets in their series opener, riding a Robert Gsellman fastball for his 13th dinger of the season and helping set a new single-season club record in the process.

It wasn’t enough to overcome the Mets, however, who surged to a one-run lead after putting up a five-spot in the fifth.

Braves 7, Phillies 2: Sean Newcomb hasn’t had the smoothest transition to the majors, but he intends to finish his rookie season strong. He chipped away at the Phillies for 5 1/3 innings, recording two runs and five strikeouts as the offense built a five-run lead behind him. The Braves had a far easier time against fellow rookie starter Ben Lively, who gave up six consecutive hits to start the game:

White Sox 7, Royals 6: The playoffs are looking further and further away for the Royals, who dropped their series opener following Jason Hammel‘s worst start of the season. Hammel scattered seven runs over 3 1/3 innings — including a five-run spread in the fourth — and the Royals’ offense couldn’t quite recover, producing just five baserunners in six scoreless innings. On the plus side, at least Ned Yost is coming back next year?

Cubs 5, Brewers 4 (10 innings): The Cubs are still the clear favorites to clinch the NL Central, but they’ll need to stay on top of the Cardinals and Brewers this week to take their second consecutive division title. On Friday, they did just that, squeezing past the Brewers with a good old-fashioned go-ahead RBI walk.

The win might have been too close for comfort for Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon, who told reporters he doesn’t feel like he’s in control of the division just yet. “Let’s go play [Saturday’s] game,” Maddon said. “I’m interested in one-game winning streaks. We’ve had two of them. I want another one-game winning streak [Saturday]. That’s how I look at it.”

Astros 3, Angels 0: For the first six innings, this had all the makings of a bonafide pitcher’s duel. Justin Verlander and Garrett Richards were in lockstep, dealing one hit and six strikeouts apiece as their respective offenses failed to manufacture any run support at the plate. That changed in the seventh, when Yuli Gurriel unloaded a three-run homer off of Yusmeiro Petit for the first and only runs scored of the night. While the Astros already have a guaranteed reservation in the playoffs, the Angels are still hoping to top the Twins and currently trail by 3.5 games.

Athletics 4, Rangers 1: Speaking of wild card contenders, the Rangers are also stalling at 3.5 games back of postseason contention. They couldn’t find a foothold against Kendall Graveman, who held them to a Shin-Soo Choo solo shot through seven solid innings. The A’s, meanwhile, are playing some of their best ball of the year after getting eliminated, and added Friday’s win to their second five-game tear this month.

Diamondbacks 13, Marlins 11: Zack Greinke doesn’t implode often, but when he does, Chris Iannetta is there to bail him out. At least, that’s how the narrative unfolded on Friday night, when Greinke was tagged for a season-high eight runs in four innings and Iannetta helped power the Dbacks’ comeback with three hits (including a three-run homer and a grand slam) and eight RBI. Fernando Rodney fended off a late-game rally from the Marlins in the ninth, closing the door with a game-ending force out to collect his 300th career save. The club’s magic number is two.

Mariners 3, Indians 1: It’s been exactly a week since the Indians lost their historic 22-win streak to the Royals, and on Friday, they commemorated that anniversary with another fumble. This time, the loss only snapped Cleveland’s modest five-win streak, but the Mariners still found a way to inject some ninth-inning drama:

Rockies 4, Padres 1: The Rockies aren’t taking any chances when it comes to the NL wild card race — and for good reason, as they’re clinging to a 1.5-game lead with eight still left to play. Jon Gray padded their wild card advantage with his third quality start of the month, going six strong as Nolan Arenado, Ian Desmond and Trevor Story backed his efforts with a handful of homers.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
2 Comments

Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Pirates 2: Chris Rowley got his first taste of the majors this weekend, holding the Pirates to a single run over 5 1/3 innings and making history as the only West Point graduate to break into Major League Baseball.

Despite ranking fourth-to-last among Major League teams in run production, the Blue Jays scrounged together seven runs of support for their starter, capitalizing on a a pair of force outs and fielding errors to build a five-run lead and clinch their 55th win of the year.

Red Sox 10, Yankees 5: Andrew Benintendi was the one-man wrecking crew the Red Sox needed on Saturday, mashing two three-run jacks as the team coasted to their first win of the series.

Benintendi’s two-homer, six-RBI performance was hardly the worst thing to happen to the Yankees this weekend. Luis Severino was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs over 4 2/3 innings, his worst start of the season to date, while Masahiro Tanaka landed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Jordan Montgomery took a line drive to the head prior to the game.

Indians 3, Rays 0: Chris Archer has been the picture of consistency for the Rays, lasting at least six innings in each of his previous 15 starts. That streak came to an abrupt end with the Indians’ surge on Saturday, forcing Archer to bow out early after pitching into a jam after 5 1/3 innings. With the loss, the Rays sit pat at .500 and remain one full game back of an AL wild card spot.

Tigers 12, Twins 11: The Tigers went big in their second win of the week, staging an impressive six-run rally to topple the second-place Twins. Brian McCann helped the team to an early five-run lead in the first inning, destroying a Jose Berrios curveball with his first grand slam of the season, but Justin Upton‘s late-game heroics proved the difference-maker for the Tigers after he smashed a game-winning two-RBI home run in the ninth:

Phillies 3, Mets 1: The Phillies’ win, on the other hand, was anything but a slugfest as Steven Matz crafted four innings of a no-hitter and Aaron Nola clinched his 10th consecutive quality start. Yoenis Cespedes collected a lone home run against Nola for the Mets’ first and only run of the night, while a couple of mistake pitches to Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis gave the Phillies the edge they needed.

Nationals 3, Giants 1: After a rainout on Friday and a three-hour delay on Saturday, the Nats and Giants finally got a chance to face off in a late-night series opener. The field was dry enough for the contest, but not dry enough to prevent Bryce Harper from slipping on first base while attempting to beat out an infield single.

The Nationals rallied without their star slugger, putting up a two-spot in the first inning and returning in the sixth to cap their win with Adam Lind‘s RBI double.

Brewers 6, Reds 5 (10 innings): Every streak has to find an endpoint sometime, and on Saturday, the Brewers’ six-game losing streak found theirs. Milwaukee bested their division rivals with five airtight innings from the bullpen and a walk-off wild pitch to score Eric Sogard in the 10th:

Marlins 4, Rockies 3: If the rumors are true, the Marlins’ home run sculpture will be on the chopping block once the Sherman-Jeter group assumes control of the team. Unless the Marlins have something even gaudier in the works, that means we have precious few moments left to enjoy Giancarlo Stanton dingers commemorated in full Technicolor spectacle and glory:

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Most hitters undergo a protracted adjustment period when they begin to face big league competitors, but Jose Abreu just isn’t one of them. The White Sox’ first baseman cranked two home runs in a 5-4 loss to the Royals on Saturday night, becoming the first player in franchise history to start his career with four consecutive 20+ homer seasons.

Melky Cabrera, meanwhile, reminded his former team exactly what they’re missing after unleashing a tie-breaking 397-footer in the eighth to snap the Royals’ five-game losing streak.

Rangers 8, Astros 3: Rotation issues continue to plague the Astros, whose 12-game lead in the AL West masks this week’s five-game skid. The latest culprit: Mike Fiers, who exited in the fifth inning after issuing six runs on five hits and four walks. The Rangers’ Tyson Ross fared little better, registering three runs and five walks over 5 2/3 innings, but was bailed out by an explosive performance from the offense, including three RBI from Adrian Beltre and a pair of home runs from Brett Nicholas and Mike Napoli.

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 2: Good luck catching David Peralta at the plate — or anywhere else on the basepaths, for that matter. The Diamondbacks’ left fielder clocked an inside-the-park home run in 15.59 seconds to secure the win on Saturday night, beating the relay from Ian Happ and narrowly avoiding Alex Avila‘s tag at the plate.

The Cubs broke through in the ninth on Kris Bryant‘s two-run single, but failed to close the four-run gap and tie the game. With the loss, the club relinquished sole possession of first place in the NL Central after 15 consecutive days at the top of the standings.

Cardinals 6, Braves 5: Thanks to an eight-game win streak, another solid outing from Carlos Martinez and the blessings of the Rally Kitten, the Cardinals are back on top of the division for the first time since May 16. Martinez evened his win-loss record with six innings of three-run, seven-strikeout ball, while the Cardinals turned to Paul DeJong for the tie-breaking knock:

Orioles 12, Athletics 5: You know what they say: It only takes one seven-run inning to win the game. The Orioles wasted no time booting Sean Manaea from the mound on Saturday, batting around in the first and collecting seven straight bases before the A’s managed to record the first out of the game.

When the dust settled, the Orioles were standing atop a seven-run lead, one that catapulted them to their 58th win of the season and brought them within 1.5 games of a wild card spot.

Angels 6, Mariners 3: Speaking of the AL wild card race, the Mariners dropped out of the running with their third straight loss on Saturday, despite a strong performance from Erasmo Ramirez and Kyle Seager‘s two-RBI effort. Ramirez went six innings on three hits and an unearned run, but couldn’t do much to prevent Tony Zych from imploding in the eighth:

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Don’t look now, but Cody Bellinger is one home run shy of breaking a franchise record. The rookie first baseman smashed his 34th homer on Saturday, taking Carter Capps deep in the seventh inning to pad the club’s two-run lead. Another blast will tie him with the Dodgers’ all-time rookie home run record set by Mike Piazza in 1993.

It’s been a banner year for the team as a whole after they amassed a league-leading 82 wins on Saturday, reaching the 82-win mark faster than any National League team since the 1944 Cardinals.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
7 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 3, Tigers 0Trevor Williams tossed a one-hit shutout for seven innings and George Kontos and Juan Nicasio were each perfect for an inning to complete the job. Williams left with only a 1-0 lead but John Jaso hit a two-run pinch-hit homer when replacing him in the lineup in the seventh. That’s gotta feel pretty good if you’re Williams.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: I guess Max Scherzer was no worse for wear following that neck spasm-shortened outing from last week. Here he didn’t hit a homer — he did single! — and went seven innings allowing two runs and striking out nine. He got a no decision, however, as four Marlins pitchers matched him, collectively. Adam Lind solved all of that with an eighth inning RBI single to give the Nats the lead for good. Bryce Harper homered.

Reds 11, Padres 3: Joey Votto homered for the third straight game, Patrick Kivlehan hit a grand slam and Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart went deep as well. Votto’s blast was his 251st, which ties him on the all-time Reds home run list with Ted Kluszewski. If Votto were to walk out on the field one day with no sleeves like Big Klu did, people would lose their minds. You can pretty much do anything you want, though, when you’re hitting .314/.438/.604 and you’re on pace for 43 bombs and 117 RBI.

Twins 5, Brewers 4: Eddie Rosario doubled home the tying run in the seventh inning. He then advanced to third and the Brewers went in to a big shift for the next hitter, Ehire Adrianza, leaving no one to even pretend to cover him at third base. As a result, Rosario decided to take a biiiiiig lead off third because, hey, why wouldn’t you? That rattled pitcher Oliver Drake, who promptly balked Rosario in for what would be the winning run:

Shifts work a lot of the time, but there are still inefficiencies to exploit in them.

Cardinals 11, Royals 3: Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in St. Louis’ six-run fourth inning as the Cards cruised. Earlier he doubled. Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong each hit two-run homers and Dexter Fowler tripled, walked and scored two runs in his first game back off the disabled list. The Royals have dropped six of eight.

Cubs 5, Giants 3: Javier Baez hit one to the deep recesses of AT&T Park, it bounced off the brick wall, he turned the jets on and got himself a two-run inside-the-park homer:

That’s great, but give credit to Giants outfielder Carlos Moncrief for making it a pretty dang close play at the plate with his throw from right field once he caught up to the ball. Later in the game Moncrief would have a chance to show off that hose again:

Orioles 6, Angels 2: Mike Trout homered on his 26th birthday to tie things up at two in the sixth inning and earlier he doubled to collect his 1,000th career hit. Manny Machado and the Orioles would be the ones celebrating, however, as he hit a grand slam in the seventh to give the Orioles their third win in a row and their eighth in ten games. Dylan Bundy struck out ten Angels in seven innings of two-run work.