Ben Zobrist

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Cardinals 11, Cubs 4: The Cubs finally dropped their first game following the All-Star break, snapping a six-game win streak in dramatic fashion as the Cardinals took Chicago’s bullpen for a ride in the eighth inning. Carl Edwards Jr. kicked off the rally with a double and three consecutive walks, helping the Cardinals to their first run of the inning with a bases-loaded walk. The Cards’ offense did the rest, taking the series opener after they piled on another eight runs to top the Cubs, 11-4.

Phillies 6, Brewers 1: The Brewers aren’t running away with the NL Central anymore, thanks to a skid that was extended to six games on Friday night. Aaron Nola held the club to one run in seven innings, striking out nine of 26 batters to notch his seventh win of the season. Matt Garza kept pace for five innings, but a late-game implosion gave the Phillies a four-run lead — and their 33rd win of the year.

Astros 8, Orioles 7: The Astros looked dominant for eight long innings, from Colin Moran’s first career triple and first career home run to a four-hit night for Yuli Gurriel. None of that seemed to matter in the bottom of the ninth, however, when the Orioles came roaring back with a five-run spread against James Hoyt and Chris Devenski. With two outs and Mark Trumbo at the plate, Ken Giles hung on to preserve the Astros’ lead with a four-pitch strikeout.

Marlins 3, Reds 1: The Reds finally caught a break against the Diamondbacks earlier this week, taking their first win of the second half on a 4-3 nail-biter. Friday saw a return to their slumping ways, with another close call during their series opener against the Marlins. Billy Hamilton put the club on the board with a sac fly in the third inning, but the offense couldn’t solve Jose Urena, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of three-hit, one-run ball.

Mets 7, Athletics 5: Michael Conforto‘s second two-run homer proved the difference maker in Friday’s win. The center fielder took Clayton Blackburn in the third inning with a blast to center field, and returned in the seventh to pad the Mets’ lead with another two-run shot off of Frankie Montas:

Things weren’t all doom and gloom for the A’s: Marcus Semien logged four hits, tying a career-high mark, and the team rallied with RBI singles in the eighth to bring them within two runs of tying the game. Still, it wasn’t enough to close the gap — especially after losing Ryon Healy on a grisly infield hit.

Rangers 4, Rays 3 (10 innings): With all the trade rumors swirling around Texas hurler Yu Darvish, it’s hardly surprising that both the Cubs and Dodgers had scouts in attendance during Friday’s series opener. They couldn’t have picked a better outing to attend: Darvish was lights-out, tossing eight innings with three runs and five hits and striking out a season-high 12 batters.

Indians 13, Blue Jays 3: The Indians rebounded from a series loss to the Giants this week and took their first game against the Blue Jays with a stunning eight-run inning. After carrying a two-run lead against the Blue Jays through the first six innings, the club padded their lead with four consecutive RBI hits against Toronto lefty reliever Jeff Beliveau in the seventh. With a runner on first and one out, Cesar Valdez was brought in to relieve Believau, and instead gave up another three back-to-back RBI to bring the score to a lopsided 13-3.

Tigers 6, Twins 3: Victor Martinez only needed two home runs to carry the Tigers’ 44th win of the year and move them within six games of the division lead. His big moments were only slightly overshadowed by the loss of Miguel Cabrera, who was felled by a line drive in the fourth inning and left the game with a bruised collarbone. Austin Romine replaced the slugger at first base, going 0-for-2 as the bullpen combined for 3 1/3 scoreless frames to lock down the win.

Royals 7, White Sox 6 (10 innings): Yoan Moncada is off to an auspicious start with the White Sox after plating four runs on Friday, including a bases-loaded triple in the third inning.

It wasn’t enough to top the Royals, who came storming back in the 10th with Whit Merrifield’s walk-off sac fly, but Moncada still managed to set a season record during his dash from home plate to third base:

Pirates 13, Rockies 5: After 103 days, the Pirates are back over .500 again. Rookie first baseman Josh Bell carried the Bucs through their double-digit win, going 4-for-6 at the plate and driving in four runs with an RBI single in the first inning and a three-run double in the second. He wasn’t the only one turning heads, either:

The deep fly ball landed for Jhan Marinez‘s first base hit of the year and the first by a Pirates’ reliever since Wade LeBlanc smacked his first RBI single back in May.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 5: One bad start does not a bad pitcher make, but this one may have stung just a little too much. Max Scherzer kickstarted his fourth no-decision of the season with not one, not two, but three consecutive home runs in the first inning:

It’s the first time the Nationals’ ace has given up three homers since May 2016, when he issued a career-high four homers to the Cubs’ Tommy La Stella, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist. He allowed another RBI single and double before settling down, and issued three scoreless innings before making his exit in the bottom of the fifth. It wasn’t quite enough to salvage the game, however, as the Nats went on to lose in the bottom of the ninth on Brandon Drury’s walk-off single.

Red Sox 6, Angels 2: Chris Sale is pitching on another level right now. The Red Sox’ lefty took on the Angels during Friday’s series opener, mowing down nine of 24 batters en route to his 12th win of the year. One pitch — a 1-2 heater to catch Kole Calhoun swinging in the sixth — moved Sale into elite company:

The strikeout, Sale’s ninth and final whiff of the night, was also his 200th of the season. According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne and the Elias Sports Bureau, only three major league pitchers have whiffed 200+ batters by their 20th start of the year: Hall of Famer hurlers Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.

Braves 12, Dodgers 3: Jamie Garcia’s fifth-inning grand slam was the centerpiece of the Braves’ win on Friday night, catapulting the team to a nine-run lead and giving them the cushion they needed to lock down their second win of the series.

Garcia’s antics weren’t the only thing powering the Braves’ efforts: Garcia plated his first runs of the night on a fielding error, Freddie Freeman went oppo-taco in the fifth and Tyler Flowers clubbed a three-run shot off of the Dodgers’ Grant Dayton. Dodgers fans, meanwhile, tried their best to derail everything by doing this:

Yankees 5, Mariners 1: Aaron Judge has mashed some impressive taters in his rookie year so far: the 400-footers, the base-clearing knocks, the game-winning blasts. This one ranks somewhere among his top home runs of the season, as it very nearly cleared the perimeter of Safeco Field — a feat made all the more astounding by the park’s pitcher-friendly dimensions.

The Mariners couldn’t recover after Judge’s homer or five solid innings from CC Sabathia, and have yet to produce more than one run per game in either of their back-to-back losses this series.

Padres 12, Giants 9 (11 innings): The seagulls that roost in AT&T Park have things to do and places to be, man. They don’t have time to wait around for an 11-inning marathon to reach its inevitable conclusion, nor do they have the patience to split center field territory with Denard Span:

Even a horde of low-flying gulls couldn’t keep the Padres at bay, however: George Kontos and Kyle Crick combined for back-to-back-to-back base hits, allowing San Diego to amass a three-run lead in the 11th and clinch their second win of a four-game set against the Giants.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with wrist inflammation

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The Cubs placed second baseman Ben Zobrist on the disabled list on Friday with left wrist inflammation, per an official announcement. The move is retroactive to June 13, though Zobrist told reporters that he has been playing through the soreness in his wrist for the past two weeks.

Zobrist was removed from the Cubs’ lineups on Tuesday and Wednesday after feeling increased discomfort in his left wrist, finding it too painful to bat from either side of the plate. The injury may have affected his production at the plate, too. Through his first 215 PA, the veteran infielder has slashed just .223/.321/.394 with seven home runs and a .715 OPS. While he missed some time in March and April with back soreness and neck stiffness, he hasn’t faced a serious stay on the DL since 2015, when he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

The club recalled infielder Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Iowa prior to their series opener against the Pirates. La Stella saw marginal success with the team during a short-lived gig earlier in the 2017 season, batting .304/.484/.522 with one home run and two RBI through 31 PA. He’s coming off of a 14-game run with the Iowa Cubs, during which he put up a .163/.208/.184 batting line with one extra-base hit through 53 PA.