Derek Dietrich

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Max Scherzer takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning, loses the game

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Max Scherzer has been hotter than the sun lately. Coming into today’s game against the Marlins he had won four of his last five starts while striking out 58 batters in his 40 innings. His stuff has looked electric and you get the sense that he could no-hit the opposition any time out.

He looked that way again against the Marlins, no-hitting them through the first seven innings of the game. He struck out ten batters through those seven innings and then led off the eighth by making Derek Dietrich victim number 11. With A.J. Ellis and the bottom of the order coming up after that, Scherzer looked to be in control.

Baseball, however, had other ideas.

Scherzer got two strikes on A.J. Ellis, who hit a comebacker to the mound. Scherzer reached up for it, but only got a piece of it, deflecting the ball upward with his glove. It arced back to shortstop Trea Turner, but slowly. He would’ve had to barehand it perfectly to throw out even the slow Ellis, but he couldn’t get a handle on it. Ellis reached and it was ruled an infield single. It was the right ruling.

That was a nice effort for Scherzer, but the game was not over yet. The Nats only led 1-0 at the time. While Scherzer was up over 100 pitches by then, Dusty Baker stuck with him. Probably because he believed Scherzer had something left in the tank — which was fair given that Ellis did not hit him hard — but also because, one suspects, the Nats bullpen has been extraordinarily unreliable lately and Scherzer was still his best bet to win the game.

Then this happened:

  • JT Riddle grounded out, advancing Ellis to second;
  • Pinch hitter J.T. Realmuto grounded to short. Trea Turner’s throw to first was not great, but first baseman Adam Lind should’ve scooped it up. He didn’t, Realmuto was safe and Lind was charged with an error. It was the right call. Ryan Zimmerman gets that ball. In any event, runners were on the corners, with Jose Urena pinch running for Ellis;
  • Scherzer was visibly frustrated by now, and he was also getting tired. He hit Dee Gordon on the foot with a pitch to load the bases;
  • Then Scherzer uncorked a wild pitch and Ureña scored, tying the game;
  • Giancarlo Stanton singled to left, scoring Realmuto to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Gordon was thrown out on the play after the run scored.

In the top of the ninth the Nats got a single, but that was it. The final batter, Lind, struck out on a called third strike to end the game. The pitch was almost in the right-handed hitter’s batter’s box. Scherzer barked at home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, clearing saying that DeMuth hadn’t called that pitch all game.

Life comes at you fast. One moment you’re five outs from a no-hitter, the next you get the L. Tough break, Max.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 9, Red Sox 1: Gary Sanchez hit two homers and drove in five and Michael Pineda allowed only an unearned run and struck out eight over seven innings of work. David Price said he wasn’t talking to the media except on days he pitched. Yesterday he pitched. And he gave up six runs on eight hits in five innings. I’m sure he was looking forward to that conversation for the rest of the game but, to his credit, he refrained from expletive-filled rants and simply answered questions.

Diamondbacks 15, Padres 3: This game started at 3:40 Eastern time and lasted less than three hours, so Senator McCain has no excuses if he’s less than sharp today. Chris Iannetta hit a two run homer and drove in five more runs with a pair of RBI doubles. Ten of the Dbacks’ 15 runs came with two outs.

Giants 9, Brewers 5: This game had everything. Lead changes. A blown ninth inning. A big extra innings rally. A guy with no pants storming the field:

You know, the usual. As for the baseball, Giants closer Mark Melancon, blew a two-run lead in the ninth by giving up a leadoff homer to Eric Sogard and an RBI single to Travis Shaw‘s before recording an out. He stopped the damage there, however, and his teammates rallied for four in the tenth.

Reds 5, Cardinals 2: A four game sweep for the Reds capped with a four-hit day from Joey Votto. One of those hits was a two-run shot. Adam Duvall had three hits. It’s the first time the Reds have swept the Cardinals in a four game series since 2003. The Cards have lost seven in a row.

Angels 11, Tigers 4: The Tigers had an early 4-1 lead but Michael Fulmer faltered and the bullpen utterly failed. The Angels took the lead with a four-run fifth and piled on six runs in the seventh. Eric Young Jr. had three hits and scored three times and Danny Espinosa drove in three.

Nationals 6, Orioles 1: A makeup game no one wanted to play. The Nats were coming off of a west coast road trip and Orioles just played a couple of long, tough extra innings games against the Pirates which drained their bullpen. The starters were fresh, but only one of them pitched well. Joe Ross of the Nats gave up one run and four hits over seven and a third innings, striking out 12 and not walking anyone. His secret:

“Tried to execute and keep the ball down”

Oh, thanks.

Stephen Drew homered and Trea Turner had three hits and three stolen bases

Marlins 7, Pirates 1: Often times guys have a bad outing following a no-hitter. Not Edinson Volquez. The Marlins starter, who no-hit the Diamondbacks last Saturday tossed seven shutout innings here, allowing only three hits and striking out eight. He’s lowered his ERA on the season by more than a run in just his last two starts. Derek Dietrich and Christian Yelich each had three hits, each with two doubles.

Rays 7, White Sox 5: Derek Norris has not had a good week off the field, but on the field yesterday he was just fine, homering in the third and the fourth innings. Peter Bourjos and Colby Rasmus also homered for Tampa Bay. Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier left the game with a jammed right hip after sliding into first base while trying to beat out an infield hit in the fifth. Sliding into first base is never a good idea, people. Ever.

Braves 3, Phillies 1: R.A. Dickey hasn’t had a good year so far, but last night he got things right, allowing only one run on three hits in seven innings. The highlight of this game, however, may have been when Maikel Franco hacked at a knuckleball, lost control of the bat and sent it flying into the protective netting. Where it got stuck:

 

Rockies 4, Cubs 1: All of the scoring was over after the second inning in this one, with Kris Bryant hit a solo homer in the first and Charlie Blackmon and D.J. LeMahiew each knocking runs, on a double and a homer, respectively, in the second. Tyler Chatwood went six innings, allowing only tat Bryant homer. That’s five straight wins for Colorado. For years the deal with the Rockies was that, if they could only get average pitching, they had a fighting chance given their offensive environment. So far this year Colorado has a top-10 pitching staff in all of baseball.

Astros 6, Royals 1: It was a 1-1 game heading into the ninth, thanks in large part to Lance McCullers, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. McCullers wasn’t able to hang around for the decision, but his teammates did their part in the final frame, scoring five runs thanks in part to Jose Altuve‘s  two-run homer. Jason Hammel was pretty dang good himself, allowing only one run over seven.

Twins 2, Mariners 1: The M’s five-game winning streak came to end, thanks in part to Robinson Cano who made two errors on one play, allowing the Twins’ go-ahead run to score in the fifth. The Twins first run came on a Jason Castro homer in the fourth.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2Justin Smoak smacked a two-run homer to tie it up in the sixth and Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer to break that tie in the eighth. It was Donaldson’s bobblehead day too. I wonder how many guys knock in game-winning runs on their bobblehead day? I wonder if anyone’s been ejected on their bobblehead day?

Pirates 11, Mets 1: The Pirates had a 5-1 lead in the seventh when John Jaso grounded into an inning-ending double play. The players went to their dugouts to get ready for the bottom half of the inning, the fans stood and “God Bless America” was sung. Then, because Clint Hurdle had actually challenged the call on the double play and because he won the challenge, the Pirates went back to bat, making this the first time the top of the seventh inning was finished before the seventh inning stretch. When play resumed, David Freese singled home a run to make it 6-1 before the Mets finally recorded the third out. They played “Take me out to the Ballgame” for the second seventh inning stretch. And you thought replay made the game less interesting.

Mariners 7, Rays 1: Seattle’s Ariel Miranda pitched a four-hitter complete game, striking out nine, as the M’s sweep the Rays. All that’s great, but this play by Jarod Dyson is really all that matters:

Red Sox 7, Orioles 3Andrew Benintendi hit two solo homers and added an RBI single. They scored two more runs when opposing catcher Francisco Pena tried to keep a runner at third base close by firing the ball down the line after fielding a pitch in the dirt but airmailed it. When I saw this in the box score at first, it didn’t say where Pena was throwing it, but did say that Pablo Sandoval was safe at second base after it was all said and done, so for a moment I imagined it all kicking off with Sandoval trying to steal a base. Alas, that was not what happened and we are all worse off for it not happening.

Phillies 9, Giants 7: , Freddy Galvis homered from both sides of the plate and Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera went deep too. The Phillies win back-to-back games for the first time since April. The Giants have lost their seventh of ten. After the game, Bruce Bochy said “We just didn’t execute pitches very well today and we got what you’re going to get when you don’t make pitches.” I have a bit of a rant coming up later this morning about “executing pitches.” It’s not the most well thought-out rant, but it’s been a long time coming. Stay tuned.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 0: Zach Davies tossed six shutout innings, allowing three hits, and the bullpen added three hitless innings onto that to shut the Dodgers out. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana homered for Milwaukee. No one went deep for L.A., because as I said, they were shut out. In this homer-happy age, though, I’m sure some team will find its way around that at some point this year.

Nationals 11, Athletics 10Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run homer to give the Nats a 6-3 lead in the eighth and the A’s made it 6-4 in the bottom half. The Nats scored five in the top of the ninth thanks in part to back-to-back homers from Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor to make it 11-4 but the A’s scored six in the bottom half to make this one really dang close. The Nats have a 10.5 game lead in their division but boy howdy do they need a closer. The A’s have lost seven of nine.

Tigers 7, White Sox 4: Tied at four in the bottom of the ninth and Justin Upton hit a walkoff three-run homer. The White Sox have dropped five in a row and were outscored 32-10 in the series. The win makes what was otherwise a bad day for Detroit more tolerable.

Braves 13, Reds 8: Ender Inciarte had five hits, reached on a walk and knocked in five runs. Danny Santana had four hits and three RBI and Matt Adams hit his third homer in two days. Fourteen hits in all for Atlanta, who took two of three from the Redlegs. Zack Cozart homered twice and drove in five runs in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Marlins 6, Diamondbacks 5: Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer, Derek Dietrich drove in two and A.J. Ellis knocked in the go-ahead run with an RBI single on the 14th pitch of his seventh inning at bat. The Marlins have won seven of eight and eight of ten.

Indians 8, Royals 0: Daniel Robertson drove in three, Roberto Perez knocked in two and Jason Kipnis homered and drove in two as the Indians pound the Royals to avoid the sweep. Trevor Bauer didn’t figure in the decision here because of a two-hour rain delay that chased him out of the game, but he probably had the highlight of the game anyway when he kicked a ball to start a double play.

Astros 7, Rangers 2: Two homers for George Springer and four homers in all for the Astros as they sweep the Rangers and win their tenth game in a row. The Astros have won six of seven from the Rangers this year after going 4-15 against them. Houston has a 13.5 lead over the Angels and Mariners in the division.

Twins 3, Angels 2Miguel Sano hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth as the Twins take three of four from the Angels. The game ended on an overturned call on an attempted steal of second base by Ben Revere.

Rockies 3, Padres 1: Rockies starter allowed one run on three hits over seven innings and Trevor Story drove in a couple as the Rockies jump back into first place in the NL West. Hoffman, who the Rockies acquired in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA and has struck out 26 dudes while walking only two in 20.2 innings this year. He has mid-90s heat and kills you with curveballs. This kid’s gonna be a good one.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 6: Rookie Ian Happ hit two homers and pinch hitter Jon Jay drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh with an RBI single as the Cubs sweep the Cards and move back over .500. The Cards have lost 8 of 11.