Ender Inciarte

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AL edges NL 2-1 to win fifth consecutive All-Star Game

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It was fitting that, for the first time since 2002, the All-Star Game did not determine home field advantage in the World Series and went extra innings. In 2002, when the All-Star Game was held in Milwaukee, the midsummer classic ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings. Thus began then-commissioner Bud Selig’s motivation to tie the All-Star Game to home field advantage.

In all honesty, the 2017 All-Star Game was a snoozefest. We’ve heard stories of commissioner Rob Manfred’s desire to speed up the game, to reduce non-action plays. Over 10 innings, the American League pitching struck out nine and walked five while National League pitchers walked one and struck out 14. Out of 79 batters, walks and strikeouts accounted for over one-third of their at-bats — 36.7 percent, to be exact. One out of every three at-bats ended in a player either walking to first base or back to the dugout. Riveting baseball.

There were a couple of bright spots, though not everyone seemed to like them judging by my Twitter feed. The FOX broadcast had Ken Rosenthal interview Jose Altuve just before he stepped to the plate to begin Tuesday’s action. For a game that has struggled to push its stars into the pop culture mainstream, this was a good decision. Later, FOX had Alex Rodriguez roam around the infield for interviews with NL All-Stars Daniel Murphy, Zack Cozart, and Nolan Arenado. And then FOX had George Springer and Bryce Harper wear microphones and interviewed them in the middle of an inning.

Harper made a great play in the second inning, robbing Salvador Perez of a single to shallow right-center. Harper’s hat flew off in the process, so he flipped his long hair back as he got up. That was fun. Nelson Cruz had Yadier Molina take a picture of him with umpire Joe West before batting in the sixth. Also fun.

The American League took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Miguel Sano hit a single to shallow right field off of Alex Wood. Molina tied the game at one apiece with a solo home run to right-center off of Ervin Santana. Robinson Cano un-tied the game with a solo home run in the top of the 10th off of Wade Davis. Andrew Miller took the mound in the bottom half of the 10th and retired Corey Seager and Ender Inciarte to start the inning. Joey Votto drew a walk — of course — to extend the game, but Miller struck out Cody Bellinger to end the game.

The American League has now won five consecutive All-Star Games. Impressively, that pales in comparison to the AL’s previous streak, which ran from 1997-2009 (excepting the 2002 tie).

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Yankees 5, Brewers 3: Clint Frazier couldn’t have picked a better time to show the Yankees he’s capable of handling major league responsibilities. The rookie outfielder went 3-for-4 at the plate on Saturday, recording a single, RBI triple and his first career walk-off home run against Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Frazier is the youngest Yankee to belt a walk-off homer since Melky Cabrera did it for the club in 2006 and the fourth-youngest to do so in franchise history (via ESPN Stats and Info).

Blue Jays 7, Astros 2: We could talk about Evan Gattis10-game hitting streak. We could dissect Josh Donaldson‘s highlight reel-worthy pirouette to turn a double play. Or we could just watch the season’s prettiest slider looping on a GIF forever:

Orioles 5, Twins 1: Miguel Sano mashed his 21st home run of the season on Saturday, putting the team on the board with their first and only run in a loss to the Orioles. With the knock, Sano became the fourth Twins’ player to hit at least 21 home runs before the All-Star break, joining former Twins Harmon Killebrew (1961, 1964, 1967, 1969 and 1970), Kent Hrbek (1987) and Justin Morneau (2007 and 2009).

Braves 13, Nationals 0: The Nationals were shut out for the first time this season, suffering a 13-run deficit at the hands of right-hander Julio Teheran and an electric run by the Braves’ offense. Teheran went seven strong, limiting the Nats to four hits and two walks and striking out five of 28 batters. Nick Markakis, Kurt Suzuki, Ender Inciarte and Julio Teheran each drove in at least two runs, which marked the first two-hit game of Teheran’s season and the eighth of his career to date. Per ESPN Stats and Info, the Yankees are the only remaining team that has not yet been shut out this year.

Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Rick Porcello took his first complete game loss against the Rays, stymieing their offense through eight innings on one run, six hits and seven strikeouts. Tampa Bay catcher Jesus Sucre capitalized on a precarious situation in the second inning and drove in the team’s first run with a sac fly to score Steven Souza Jr. It was the fifth time in club history that the Rays won 1-0 on a sacrifice fly, and the first time since 2007 that they managed to do so against the Red Sox.

Indians 4, Tigers 0: The Indians boosted their lead to two full games in the AL Central with a shutout over the Tigers this weekend, spearheaded by Mike Clevinger in his third consecutive win. Michael Brantley was tasked with spoiling Justin Verlander‘s own shutout attempt and lashed an RBI double in the fifth to put the Indians up 1-0. The only dampener on the game? The untimely loss of second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was forced to exit in the third inning after sustaining a right hamstring strain.

Padres 2, Phillies 1: Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander weren’t the only pitchers to suffer from low run support on Saturday. The Phillies’ Aaron Nola turned in a masterful performance against the Padres, setting down eight innings of two-run ball and matching a season-high nine strikeouts. A pitcher’s duel is only effective with adequate run support, however, and Nola’s best efforts were ultimately unraveled by Austin Hedgesgo-ahead RBI single in the seventh.

Dodgers 5, Royals 4 (10 innings): It took a 10th-inning bases-loaded walk from Cody Bellinger to seal the deal, but the Dodgers finally grabbed hold of their 60th win on Saturday night. Brandon McCarthy shined in his first start off the disabled list, holding the Royals to two runs and striking out one of 24 batters through the first six innings of the game. Ian Kennedy held his own with three runs and seven strikeouts in six innings, but it was Kelvin Herrera‘s unfortunately-placed slider that sunk the Royals in the end.

Pirates 4, Cubs 2: Sometimes, it’s all about taking the time to recognize the small victories. Kyle Schwarber went back-to-back with Ian Happ in the fourth inning of Saturday’s loss to the Pirates, his first home run since he was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. The feat may not have been rewarded with a win, but it didn’t go unnoticed:

The Pirates, on the other hand, pulled within seven games of the division lead, though they still have a ways to go if they plan to overtake the Cardinals, Cubs or Brewers.

Cardinals 4, Mets 1: It took Paul DeJong five pitches to solve Zack Wheeler and just four at-bats to prove that his hot streak is here to stay. The rookie shortstop made franchise history as the first shortstop to go 4-for-4 with four extras bases in a game, mashing his eighth home run and tacking on three doubles and two RBI to power the Cardinals through their 42nd win. Adam Wainwright complemented the rookie’s efforts with one of his strongest outings of the season, quashing the Mets’ efforts with five hits, one run and seven strikeouts through 6 2/3 frames.

Rangers 5, Angels 2: Adrian Beltre sure looked spiffy on Saturday night, sporting a 1977 throwback uniform as he muscled his way higher on the all-time home run and RBI lists. He helped the Rangers to a two-run lead in the third inning with a first-pitch home run, depositing it just over the left field wall for his 452nd career homer and 1,598th career RBI.

With the blast, he now sits at 38th overall on the all-time home run list, tied only with Carl Yastrzemski, and 36th on the all-time RBI list. He’ll need six more home runs to supersede Miguel Cabrera for second-most career knocks by an active major leaguer.

White Sox 5, Rockies 4: Jose Quintana may not be thinking about the trade deadline right now, but a three-run, 10-strikeout performance undeniably upped his trade value on Saturday. The White Sox’ hurler pitched to his sixth no-decision of the year, reaching double-digit strikeouts in just 5 1/3 innings against a Rockies’ offense that currently ranks sixth-last among major league teams.

Quintana helped his own cause, too, driving in a run on a sac fly in the fourth inning to help the Sox tie the Tigers for last place in the AL Central.

Marlins 5, Giants 4: While Barry Bonds was honored on the Wall of Fame with a commemorative plaque and a touching speech from Hall of Famer Willie Mays, the Giants couldn’t quite do justice to their former slugger on the field. They tagged rookie starter Chris O’Grady for three runs in the first six innings, but fell short in the ninth when Joe Panik‘s two-out rally fizzled out with Hunter Pence‘s game-ending, three-pitch strikeout.

Reds 7, Diamondbacks 0: Taijuan Walker didn’t stand a chance against the Reds’ offense, which jumped out to a sizable lead with five runs through the first five innings of Saturday’s win. Backed by 6 2/3 flawless innings from rookie right-hander Luis Castillo, three stolen bases by professional speedster Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto‘s 27th home run (good for most homers in a non-Aaron Judge league), the Reds clinched their first win of the series and improved to 38 wins on the year.

Athletics 4, Mariners 3: On a night when 36-year-old right-hander Chris Smith became the oldest starting pitcher to debut with the Athletics, the club looked as sprightly as ever. Smith logged six innings of three-run ball, Yonder Alonso mashed his 20th home run and Marcus Semien picked up his first homer of the year. The Mariners kept pace with their division rivals until the ninth, when Ryon Healy pounced on an 0-2 slider from Edwin Diaz and laced a game-winning ground-rule double into right field.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 6, Giants 2: Detroit jumped out to an early lead they’d keep for good thanks to a two-run homer from shortstop Dixon Machado and a couple of base knocks from Alex Presley. Anibal Sanchez was solid over six, which makes me wonder what has happened to the real Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers taking two out of three from the Giants makes up for the 2012 World Series, right?

Cardinals 4, Marlins 3: Luke Voit homered and doubled in two. It’s the second time I’ve mentioned his name this week and I’m still not 100% convinced he’s a real person, so I suppose I have to watch a Cards game this weekend. Randal Grichuk homered too. When he first game up I thought he was made up too, but I was proven wrong, so I’m giving Voit the benefit of the doubt. For now.

Brewers 11, Cubs 2: This was a train wreck of a game from the Cubs’ perspective as Chicago pitchers walked eight guys in the first four innings and change. Two runs were walked in with the bases loaded in the third alone. Milwaukee scored all 11 of those runs thanks to only one homer — Ryan Braun‘s two-run shot in the third. Jon Jay was forced into action as a pitcher for Chicago. He pitched a scoreless inning!. The defending champion are now 4.5 games behind the first-place Brewers.

Reds 6, Rockies 3: Reds rookie Sal Romano got his first big league win in his second career start, scattering six hits and allowing two runs. After the game he got a scratch under his eye suffered during the celebration after the game. Not the best way to close the day, but better than his namesake, Salvatore Romano, got from “Mad Men.” I waited the last several seasons for him to return — they gave a bunch of lesser characters callbacks — and never got to see him again. That was some bullcrap, frankly. Sal was great.

Pirates 6, Phillies 3: Josh Bell homered, doubled and drove in three runs, and Gregory Polanco had four hits with a home run and two RBI. Andrew McCutchen had hits with two doubles. The Pirates have won three straight. All against the Phillies, though, so once you run that through the converter, it works out to only 1.5 straight.

Blue Jays 7, Astros 4: Russell Martin had three hits, one of which was a homer. Josh Donaldson had a two-run single. Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran homered for Houston in a losing cause. Oh, and Carlos Correa got all salty about Jays closer Roberto Osuna taking a while to throw over to throw him out for the game’s final out. Baseball players are so whiny sometimes.

Indians 11, Padres 2Edwin Encarnacion homered and had four hits in all. Jose Ramirez homered and drove in three. Lonnie Chisenhall drove in three runs and Yan Gomes homered. Josh Tomlin allowed only two runs in seven innings. This was the Indians third straight game without Terry Francona.

Rays 4, Red Sox 1: Chris Sale struck out 12, which is pretty good! But he gave up four runs and seven hits, which is bad when your opponent gives up less. Wilson Ramos homered and drove in three. That opponent — Jake Faria — allowed only one run in six innings. He struck out only two. Remember: strikeouts are fascist.

Twins 6, Orioles 4: Eduardo Escobar hit a two-run triple to highlight a six-run third inning off of Dylan Bundy and the O’s. That was enough support for Jose Berrios who bent — four runs, three earned over six — but did not break. Max Kepler drove in two as well.

Athletics 7, Mariners 4: Khris Davis hit a three-run homer and Blackburn pitched one-run ball into the eighth. The win was Bob Melvin’s 500th with the A’s. He also won 337 with the Diamondbacks and 156 with Seattle. For some reason I have no memory of him managing Seattle. In my defense, that took place in 2003 and 2004 and my life was something of a blur then so I probably missed a lot of things.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 4: The Dodgers really are something lately. Here they were down 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth but rallied to win it anyway thanks to a Fernando Rodney four-walk meltdown a Corey Seager RBI single and then a Chris Taylor walkoff RBI single. L.A. takes three straight from Arizona and has won six of seven overall. They’ve opened up a five and a half game lead in the West.

Braves 5, Nationals 2: This one featured a three hour and five minute rain delay. With no rain for almost all of that time. The Nats were just worried it might rain which, uh, yeah, OK. There was, eventually, about 15 minutes of rain way, way after the game was supposed to start. Crazy idea: next time, start the game and then delay it briefly, after its in progress. Such a practice might catch on! Anyway, when the “rain” was over, the Nationals announced that fans could get free soda, free bottles of water and free ice cream at the concession stands. Smart play given that all the kids probably went home already. As for the game, Freddie Freeman doubled in Ender Inciarte twice and was doubled in once himself by Nick Markakis Kurt Suzuki homered. The game ended at close to 1:30AM.

OH MY GOD GET THE TARP ON THE FIELD!!!!