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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Saturday’s games featured Tyler Chatwood‘s two-hit shutout, a walk-off blast for Kendrys Morales and 12 strikeouts for Red Sox’ ace Chris Sale. Here are the rest of the day’s scores and highlights:

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.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Sorry the recaps are a bit later than usual. A multi-day sleep deficit finally came due last night and I slept in to the shockingly late hour of 7am. I feel like a layabout. Half the day is gone. Oh well.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Twins 11, Tigers 5: Gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Tigers have some problems with the back end of the rotation and long relief. Minnesota beat up on Jordan Zimmermann for five runs and long man Anibal Sanchez for six. In better news, Miguel Cabrera hit a homer, so reports of his demise were exaggerated. Miguel Sano hit a homer too. It was a rocket that cleared the greenery in straightaway center field of Comerica Park. That’s 420 to the wall and Sano’s bomb was estimated at 446 feet. Mercy.

Red Sox 4, Pirates 3: Hanley Ramirez is over the flu. He doubled in two in a the Sox’ three-run eighth inning rally and then scored on a Xander Bogaerts single. The Pirates have dropped four in a row. In good news, Andrew McCutchen hit a homer which tied him on the all-time Pirates home run list with Barry Bonds at 176. Now all McCutchen has to do is leave via free agency, immediately, for San Francisco and hit another 587 homers and he can be the all-time home run champ. He’ll be 45 at the time if he does it as quickly as Bonds.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 0: The Cubs take two of three from L.A., holding them to four runs in three games. Brett Anderson, making his Cubs debut against his old mates, held them scoreless for five. Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in two.

Rangers 8, Angels 3: All of this has happened before. And will happen again: The second 8-3 win for the Rangers over the Angels in two nights. Robinson Chirinos doubled in one and singled in two. Yu Darvish struck out ten in seven shutout innings. So say we all.

White Sox 10, Indians 4: The Chisox jumped on Josh Tomlin for five in the first and two in the second. They were sad to see him go but piled on three more runs. Three apiece were knocked in by Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson. Davidson’s came via a three-run homer in the first that broke the game wide open. After starting the season with a sweep of the Rangers, the Tribe has lost five of six.

Yankees 3, Rays 2: Aaron Hicks homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh. Luis Severino allowed two runs over seven innings, striking out 11. But of course, Yankees fans know that they can always count on heroics and top-notch performance from Hicks and Severino.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays fall to 1-8 and, to add injury to insult, lose Josh Donaldson due to that nagging calf he’s had. Four of Toronto’s eight losses have been one-run decisions, and only one of them has been by more than two runs. Horseshoes, hand grenades.

Brewers 5, Reds 1: Jimmy Nelson cooled off the Reds, holding them to one run in seven innings and snapping their five-game winning streak. Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered off of Bronson Arroyo, who has now given up 11 runs on 13 hits in ten innings in two starts. His comeback was a nice spring story, but I do not expect that it will extend too much beyond spring.

Mets 9, Marlins 8: Yoenis Cespedes hit three homers on Tuesday night and added two more last night. The most noteworthy blast in this one, however, came from Travis d'Arnaud, who put the Mets up in the top of the 16th inning with a solo shot. That’d hold up for the Mets win. Way back in the second inning d’Arnaud tripled in three runs. He had four hits on this long night.

Royals 3, Athletics 1: Kansas City snaps its eight-game losing streak to the A’s. The win came mostly due to Jason Vargas being awesome. Being unbelievably good. Just ask Ned Yost:

“He was awesome,” the skipper said.

Care to elaborate?

“He was unbelievably good,” Yost said.

Told ya.

Varagas shut the A’s out for seven and two-thirds.

Rockies 3, Giants 1: Colorado starter Jon Gray had to leave early with a toe injury, but the bullpen sucked it up with five pitchers combining to toss six innings of one-run ball. Trevor Story‘s two-run homer off of Madison Bumgarner in the fourth was enough to win this one, but Mark Reynolds singled in one later for some insurance.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores and highlights from Friday’s slate, none cooler than the way Red Sox fan Thomas Hastings has been spending his days lately.

Pirates 5, Braves 4: The most impressive part of Ivan Nova‘s season debut wasn’t the way he stifled the Braves’ offense through six innings, allowing one run on an Ender Inciarte RBI double, nor was it the four scoreless frames he pitched to start the game nor the four strikeouts he collected. It was the way he managed all of these things while pitching in 37-degree weather during the Pirates’ home opener. The cold didn’t appear to bother the rest of the lineup, either, as they collected 11 hits against the Braves with RBI hits from Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte and back-to-back homers from David Freese and Francisco Cervelli.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 5: For all the back-and-forth on Pablo Sandoval‘s ideal weight, his attitude in the clubhouse, and his waning production over the last two seasons, it’s difficult to remember he’s still capable of doing this:

Unfortunately, the Red Sox needed more than the three-run blast to power their efforts against the Tigers, and were unseated by a two-run rally in the eighth inning.

Nationals 7, Phillies 6: Remember when a fractured finger cost Max Scherzer his Opening Day start? Apparently he doesn’t. The 32-year-old ace looked no worse for wear on Friday, firing seven strikeouts and allowing two runs over 6 2/3 frames against the Phillies. He held opposing batters scoreless through the first five frames, backed by a comfortable seven-run cushion with home runs from Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth.

Rockies 2, Dodgers 1: The Rockies kicked off their first homestand of the season with a dominant major league debut by southpaw Kyle Freeland. Freeland snagged a roster spot after impressing in spring training with a 3.48 ERA and looked just as solid against the Dodgers in regular season play, holding them to four hits, one run and six strikeouts through six quality innings.

Padres 7, Giants 6: One man can only do so much for his team in a single game. That was likely how Giants’ first baseman Brandon Belt felt during a 7-6 loss to the Padres, during which Belt drove in five runs on two home runs, including his first career grand slam. The bullpen blew their tenuous one-run advantage in the sixth inning, allowing San Diego to notch three runs on a two-run double and an RBI bunt and take their second win of the season.

Orioles 6, Yankees 5: The Orioles are one of two undefeated teams left in the American League (along with the Twins, which we all predicted) after squeezing past the Yankees in Friday night’s series opener. Neither pitching staff could suppress the other’s offensive drive, but it was Seth Smith‘s first home run in a Baltimore uniform that became the deciding factor for the Orioles in the seventh inning.

Marlins 7, Mets 2: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only four players since 1900 have started their major league careers with hitless streaks greater than 50 consecutive at-bats. Marlins’ left-hander Wei-Yin Chen broke his streak of 51 at-bats with his first career hit on Friday, a blooper that rolled toward shortstop for an infield hit against the Mets’ Zack Wheeler.

Rays 10, Blue Jays 8: After taking home their first win of the year on Thursday, the Blue Jays hit another speed bump with shaky performances from Francisco Liriano and their bullpen on Friday. Whatever stability Liriano found with his 2.00 spring training ERA dissolved in Tropicana Field, as the veteran right-hander was forced out of the game after giving up three hits, four walks and five runs through the first 1/3 of the first inning.

Rangers 10, Athletics 5: If there’s been one bright spot in the Rangers’ lineup this week, it’s 21-year-old Nomar Mazara, who helped catapult the team to their first win of the season with an RBI single and grand slam against the A’s. Mazara is looking to follow up an impressive rookie performance in 2016, during which he batted .266/.320/.419 with 20 home runs and a .739 OPS. Sample sizes notwithstanding, his .588/1.059/1.647 slash line through the first four games of 2017 indicate that he’s on the right track.

Brewers 2, Cubs 1 (11 innings): After ten innings of mostly dominant pitching, this wasn’t the way the Cubs planned to lose. In the eleventh, with one out and the bases loaded, Chicago right-hander Mike Montgomery served up a wild pitch that bounced over the shoulder of catcher Wilson Contreras. Contreras missed the throw to home plate and the ball skirted back into the infield as Ryan Braun crossed the plate for the game-winning run.

Royals 5, Astros 1: Carlos Beltran slugged his way into the history books during the Astros’ second loss of the season. He snagged an RBI double in the seventh inning, scoring Carlos Correa and tying the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio with 1,537 career RBI — good for 49th-most among all past and present major leaguers.

Twins 3, White Sox 1: There are two ways to consider Twins’ center fielder Byron Buxton. You can choose to isolate his superb defense…

…or you can focus on the fact that he’s collected 11 strikeouts in 19 PA this season, including a coveted “golden sombrero” during Friday’s fiesta.

In other news, the Twins haven’t started a season 4-0 since 1987. If they can stretch their streak to five wins, it’ll be the club’s most successful start to a season since the Washington Senators went 5-0 in 1913.

Reds 2, Cardinals 0: Rookie left-hander Amir Garrett looked calmer and more polished than many veteran major leaguers on Friday. He made his major league debut with six dazzling frames against the Cardinals, striking out four and issuing just two walks and two hits.

Diamondbacks 7, Indians 3: The Indians’ AL Central crown won’t be tossed aside anytime soon, but they had a rough go of it in their season opener against the Diamondbacks. Arizona came close to a collective cycle in the fifth inning, stockpiling five runs on a single from Jake Lamb, doubles from Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas, and a two-run triple from Brandon Drury.

Angels 5, Mariners 1: The Mariners are averaging just 1.8 runs per game in 2017. While a slump isn’t unusual this early in the season, it’s not exactly a good sign, either. Angels’ right-hander Jesse Chavez served up 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, backed by an airtight performance from the bullpen and a four-run lead.