Maikel Franco

Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg has the longest scoreless streak of the season

Leave a comment

Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg hit a new franchise milestone on Sunday afternoon, extending his scoreless streak to a record 34 innings as the Nats clinched their weekend series on a 3-2 nail-biter against the Phillies. His 34 scoreless innings are the longest such stretch among any major league starter in 2017, eclipsing Robbie Ray‘s 27 2/3 scoreless streak back in May. All told, Strasburg’s efforts spanned 19 hits, four walks and 41 strikeouts and he exited Sunday’s outing with the streak still intact.

Strasburg stifled the Phillies at the plate, fanning Nick Williams on three straight pitches to end the first inning and taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning, where Maikel Franco worked an eight-pitch count before lining a single into left field. Franco returned in the eighth for the Phillies’ second hit of the afternoon, but found himself unable to advance a second time after Aaron Altherr grounded into a double play.

The only blemish on Strasburg’s performance? Not a hit, a walk or a run, but this observation:

If anything is wrong with Strasburg’s arm, however, the Nationals have yet to address it. He was able to pitch through the eighth with little trouble and finished the 34-inning streak after battling through a nine-pitch at-bat to get a groundout from Jorge Alfaro.

Not surprisingly, the streak places the ace in pretty good company:

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
2 Comments

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

White Sox 13, Giants 1: The White Sox weren’t about to get shown up by the Giants two days in a row. Six home runs did the trick, from Jose Abreu‘s 372-foot blast in the first inning to Nick Delmonico‘s two-run shot in the seventh. Abreu went 4-for-5 and batted for the cycle, collecting an elusive triple in the eighth to become the sixth player in franchise history (and the first in 17 years) to replicate the feat.

Braves 6, Marlins 5: A night off did wonders for Giancarlo Stanton, who returned to the Marlins’ lineup on Saturday raring to go. He wasted no time getting on the board, hammering a 456-footer to center field in the first inning for an early lead:

The Marlins followed Stanton’s efforts with a three-run spread in the third inning, but dropped their lead in the most anticlimactic fashion: on a walk-off walk.

Yankees 3, Rangers 1: The Yankees extended their lead in the wild card race with a masterful performance from Luis Severino, who fanned 10 batters over seven innings of one-hit ball. Rangers’ right-hander Andrew Cashner was equally stingy, blanking the Yankees through the first seven innings before Chase Headley broke through with a sac fly in the eighth. Tyler Austin’s RBI single provided the go-ahead run in the ninth, and a shutdown performance from Aroldis Chapman sealed the deal.

Indians 4, Orioles 2: The Orioles may not have been able to top the Indians during their remarkable 17-win tear, but they managed to do something that no competitor had done in 16 games: They scored first. Trey Mancini‘s first-inning RBI single held up for two innings, but the Indians came storming back with a four-run spread, banking on key hits from Giovanny Urshela and Jay Bruce to regain the lead.

Athletics 11, Astros 1 (Game 1): It’s too late in the season for the A’s comeback to have any significant impact on their season, but that didn’t stop them from tanking the division-leading Astros in back-to-back double-digit performances. Daniel Gossett finally found his groove against the ‘Stros, leading the way with his first quality start of the month. His dominance was starkly contrasted by that of Houston relievers Reymin Guduan and J.D. Davis, who contributed to the A’s blowout with a cumulative four runs on six walks in the eighth inning:

Athletics 11, Astros 4 (Game 2): Things didn’t look any better for the Astros the second time around.  They kept their walk count to a minimum, with just one free pass by Michael Feliz, but the A’s opted for the long ball with blasts from Jose Altuve, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder. With the Astros’ slump and the Indians’ historic resurgence, the two are now tied for the best record in the American League, at 86-56.

Brewers 15, Cubs 2: The Brewers may have lost ace right-hander Jimmy Nelson for the season, but they didn’t look any worse for wear during Saturday’s hit parade. Chase Anderson led the way with five scoreless frames while the rest of the team tagged opposing starter Mike Montgomery for eight runs in the third. With the win, the Brewers sit just three games out of the division lead, though they’ll have to top both the Cubs and Cardinals to clinch the title.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: There’s no doubt the Nationals will clinch the NL East title. They’re 19 games up on the second-place Marlins and could repeat as division champs as soon as Sunday, provided that they can coordinate another win with another Marlins’ loss. Doing so would make them the first repeat champions since the Phillies clinched in 2007 and 2008… and 2009, 2010 and 2011, but at least on Saturday, the Phillies weren’t quite ready to let that happen. They played spoiler to the Nationals’ efforts with a pair of home runs by Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco in the second inning, then returned for three insurance runs in the fourth.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4: The Blue Jays are still an improbable nine games out of a playoff berth, with seven teams blocking their path to a wild card spot, but on Saturday, they looked every inch the perennial contender. Kevin Pillar did it all for the club, going 4-for-4 with a leadoff RBI single and tie-breaking home run and snaring a deep fly ball to prevent the Tigers from gaining an advantage in the fifth.

Mets 6, Reds 1: The Mets will be eliminated from postseason contention in just seven games, so now’s as good a time as any to start heating up. They worked up to their fourth consecutive win on Saturday, capitalizing on five solid innings from Rafael Montero and an early lead from Kevin Plawecki to stay ahead of the Reds.

Red Sox 9, Rays 0: While the Yankees looked for an edge in the AL East race, the Red Sox extended their lead with their first shutout of September. Chris Sale improved to a 16-7 record, taking the Rays to task with six scoreless frames and fanning eight of 25 batters. At the plate, it was a group effort: Dustin Pedroia led off the first inning with a solo shot, his seventh of the year, and a smattering of base hits and productive outs took care of the rest.

Royals 5, Twins 2: With a wild card race this cutthroat, every win counts. The Royals upended the Twins to move within four wins of a postseason berth, breaking through in the eighth inning on Eric Hosmer‘s go-ahead RBI single. Mike Minor and Brandon Maurer stepped in to preserve the win for rookie Jakob Junis, whose quality start was his first since August 14.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: The Pirates may have put the most creative effort into their performance on Saturday, but creativity doesn’t always win games. Adam Frazier lashed an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning and cleared the bases in just 15.7 seconds, the Pirates’ fastest home-to-home mark since 2015.

Some of the credit, however, goes to the wall in center field, which knocked Dexter Fowler out of the game and gave Frazier a head start as he charged around the basepaths. Fowler exited with a left knee contusion and the Cardinals rebounded with Matt Carpenter‘s standard-issue home run and Randal Grichuk‘s tie-breaking RBI groundout to take the lead.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 7: Whatever slump the Dodgers and Astros have suffered from lately appears to be contagious. The Diamondbacks took their second straight loss to the Padres on Saturday, dropping their five-run lead after the Friars mounted a stunning six-run rally in the ninth. At this rate, it’s anyone’s guess how the playoffs will shake out.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: The Mariners did their part to even out the AL wild card standings, putting up their own six-run spread in the fourth inning to create some distance from the third-place Angels. Nelson Cruz saved the biggest and best blast for last, punishing an 0-2 slider from Jesse Chavez for a 398-foot home run, his 32nd of the season:

Rockies 6, Dodgers 5: The Dodgers continued their Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine on Saturday, skidding to their ninth straight loss — their worst since a 10-game slump in 1992 — following a breakthrough effort from Trevor Story and three scoreless innings from Colorado’s bullpen. The Rockies, meanwhile, had some fun during the nail-biter, as Story cranked out his 20th homer of the season and Charlie Blackmon collected his 88th leadoff RBI to tie Craig Biggio’s record.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
15 Comments

After you jump into the recaps, make sure you check out our rundown of trade deadlines winners and losers.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 14, Rays 7Jake Marisnick hit two homers and drove in four. He’s the Astros’ number nine hitter, folks. Derek Fisher homered, singled and doubled, driving in two. He’s a rookie, folks. Charlie Morton got the win, allowing two runs over six innings. He’s Charlie Morton, folks. The Astros can even beat you with their B-team.

Phillies 7, Braves 6Odubel Herrera hit a three-run shot to make it 4-0 in the third. Maikel Franco hit a solo shot. The Phillies are 5-0 since they began a series of trades that rid them of Jeremy Hellickson, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Howie Kendrick. The lesson I’m gonna choose to take from this: never let anyone tell you that wisdom and experience matters. Just go out and do your thing.

Red Sox 6, Indians 2:  Mookie Betts drove in three and Eduardo Nunez drove in two. Rookie Rafael Devers was 4-for-4 with a double and he singled in a run. He’s now 10-for-24 with two doubles and two homers in six big-league games. After the game he said, “sometimes out there I’ll close my eyes and make contact, and wherever it goes, that’s where it goes.” There are some life lessons to be found in there too, I suspect.

Yankees 7, Tigers 3: Luis Severino remains on a roll, allowing one run over five innings and striking out eight. The Yankees scored four in the fourth via two-run hits from Chase Headley and Todd Frazier. Aaron Judge homered in the fifth. Another lesson can be seen both here and in the Red Sox game. In Boston, Devers knocked in the guy whose acquisition was supposed to force his demotion in Eduardo Nunez. Here both Headley and the guy who was supposed to make him superfluous, Frazier, drove in runs. I think we can look at this and—-*16 ton weight falls on Craig’s head, ending this cosmic b.s. for the day*—

Orioles 2, Royals 1: Danny Duffy and Ubaldo Jimenez dueled for seven innings, each allowing one run while striking out six. In the ninth, Joakim Soria got got, however, as Caleb Joseph, Ruben Tejada and Craig Gentry all hit singles, with Gentry’s driving in Joseph for the walkoff win.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and, after giving up a single to Dee Gordon, made way for Sean Doolittle to close it out. Bryce Harper singled in the game’s only run in the sixth. Jose Urena pitched well for Miami in the loss, allowing only that lone run on three hits in eight innings of his own. The game lasted a mere two hours and twelve minutes.

Mariners 6, Rangers 4: This one was tied at four in the ninth inning when Robinson Cano singled in two. Leonys Martin drove in two as well. Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez combined to give up eight runs in eleven and a third innings. I’m so old when I remember that the two of them facing off would mean a pitchers duel.

White Sox 7, Blue Jays 6: Toronto held a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, thanks in large part to Marco Estrada‘s one run, seven inning performance. At that point the Jays bullpen came into play and the White Sox’ bats woke up. Matt Davidson hit a two-run blast, Yolmer Sanchez hit a solo shot and Jose Abreu singled in a run in the eighth. In the ninth, Abreu singled in the tying run and Davidson singled in the winning run to complete the comeback and walk things off. It was Davidson’s second walkoff hit in as many days, as he homered to win the Sox-Indians game on Sunday.

Athletics 8, Giants 5: The A’s were down 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Marcus Semien connected for a grand slam. Jed Lowrie had three hits and an RBI, Ryon Healy added a two-run single and Matt Joyce reached base four times and scored twice. The A’s won even though the guy who was supposed to start for them last night — Sonny Gray — got shipped to the Yankees befre the game. With this loss, the Giants now have the worst record, by winning percentage, in all of baseball.