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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.

The Cardinals are interested in Josh Donaldson

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Last winter the St. Louis Cardinals were rumored to be interested in then-free agent Justin Turner. This was part of a two week period in the runup to the Winter Meetings in which they signed Dexter Fowler and then were rumored to be after other big fish such as Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion.

None of that came to pass and they decided to handle third base by sticking with Jhonny Peralta. Peralta was a bust this year and has been let go. Jon Morosi of MLB Network is hearing that they want to revisit all of that:

There hasn’t been any suggestion I’m aware of that the Blue Jays would want to trade the former AL MVP. Even if they did, it’d cost the Cardinals a great deal for him even if he is having a down year (.238/.350/.457, 8 HR). Donaldson is in the second year of a two-year, arbitration-avoiding deal he signed in February 2016. He’s making $17 million.

Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose, but it strikes me that if Plan B at third base for the Cardinals was “go out and trade for a big name third baseman who makes a lot of money and who would cost a package of prospects,” maybe St. Louis should’ve considered Justin Turner for Plan A a lot more harder than they did.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 15, Blue Jays 1Mookie Betts went 4-for-6 with two home runs and eight RBI. This is the second time in his short career that Betts has driven in eight, last doing it on August 14 last year against the Diamondbacks. He’s the third guy to do it this season, following Scooter Gennett in his four-homer game last month and Anthony Rendon back in April.

Marlins 10, Brewers 3: Marcell Ozuna homered in the third inning. In the eighth inning — as an extension of some earlier gamesmanship — umpire Hunter Wendelstedt made Ozuna get a new bat because it had too much pine tar on it. Ozuna did, and then he hit another homer. Somewhere, George Brett is smiling. Gosh, the way I put that made it sound like George Brett is dead. He’s not. He’s totally alive. When I say “somewhere” it could be, like, the bathroom of some casino in Las Vegas after eating a bunch of crab legs or something.

Royals 6, Twins 2: Alcides Escobar had two hits and drove in two. Escobar had himself a series, in fact, going 7-for-16 with seven RBI. The red hot Royals take three of four and move into a tie for second place with Minnesota. Those of you who wrote them off in April probably feel silly. Yeah, those of, um, you. Yeah. Probably. I’d personally have no idea what that felt like.

Phillies 7, Mets 1Nick Pivetta allowed one run on one hit — a T.J. Rivera solo homer — over seven innings. Maikel Franco and Daniel Nava each drove in two. In other news, my brother texted me this yesterday:

We were visiting our cousins in New Jersey and took them to that game. I was excited because we lucked into the Braves. I was also happy because John Smoltz tossed a complete game allowing only an unearned run. Lonnie Smith hit a homer. It was hotter than hell, but the tickets were only $8. They were way up in the RF corner, but we had binoculars. The weirdest thing: a few months after this game my brother joined the Navy and traveled the world. Then he moved a zillion times, ending up on the other side of the country, renting and crashing with people for almost twenty years. Yet he still has this ticket. I have been a homeowner have had a pretty stable address for nearly 20 years and I can’t find my keys.

Braves 4, Athletics 3: Kurt Suzuki homered twice, once in the second inning and once leading off the twelfth inning. Jim Johnson got the win. Not because he pitched well, but because he blew the save after the Braves took the lead in the 11th and was still the pitcher of record when Suzuki went deep. Or . . . maybe he just knows how to win and stuff? Every think of that, smart guy?

Astros 8, Yankees 1: Yuli Gurriel singled, doubled and homered, Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and Carlos Correa smacked four hits and had drove in three. The Yankees have lost 14 of their last 19 and have dropped three games behind the Red Sox. Less than three weeks ago they led the division by four.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3Fernando Rodney faltered for the first time in  a long time, allowing three hits and a run but his teammates bailed him out in the bottom half, with a Brandon Drury single, a Chris Iannetta double and a walkoff RBI single from Ketel Marte. The Rockies have lost 10 of 11. They’re Yankees of the National League.

White Sox 6, Rangers 5: The White Sox were down 5-4 in the eighth when Yolmer Sanchez hit a two-out, two-run home run. That blown save by the Rangers bullpen was their league-leading 17th blown save of the year.  The Sox win came despite a shaky outing from starter Jose Quintana, who gave up five runs in four and a third innings. Before that he hadn’t allowed a run since June 16.

Giants 5, Pirates 3: The Giants had a five-game losing streak a week ago. Now they’ve won six in a row. I suppose you could say they’re streaky. Either way, they’re not as bad as they’ve looked at times this year. The team still has a lot of talent. That’s not to say they’re getting back in the race or anything — ain’t happening — but they are better than they’ve showed. Here they were down 2-0 and rallied for five runs between the seventh and eighth innings. Or, I should say, in the seventh and eighth. The only thing that happened between the innings was TV commercials.

Orioles 7, Rays 1Kevin Gausman tossed seven shutout innings and Manny Machado hit a three-run jack as the O’s salvage one. Mark Trumbo homered as well and Seth Smith drove in two

 

Cubs 6, Reds 2: Check out the shade from the AP game story writer in Cincinnati:

[Jake] Arrieta pitched one-hit ball for seven innings without allowing a stolen base on Sunday . . .

Maybe Migel Montero was rude to him once? I dunno. But I do like the subtlety. Ian Happ homered twice.

Indians 11, Tigers 8: Jose Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate as the Indians lit up Justin Verlander seven runs and nine hits in less than four runs. Verlander didn’t even strike anyone out. First time in a decade that’s happened. Mike Clevinger allowed a run and two hits in six innings, striking out seven. The Tigers rallied late but it was too little, um . . . I already said late.

Mariners 5, Angels 3Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and James Paxton allowed one run over six and a third. Jean Segura had four hits and drove in two.

Padres 5, Dodgers 3: San Diego jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings and a 5-0 lead after four. Jhoulys Chacin pitched five scoreless innings, Manuel Margot homered and drove in two. Losing is no fun. Maybe that’s why Kenley Jansen was so cranky afterward.

Nationals 7, Cardinals 3: Bryce Harper hit two bombs and Max Scherzer struck out 12 over seven two-hit, scoreless innings. Harper is hitting .318/.424/.601 and he’s on a 40-homer, 122-RBI pace. Scherzer has a 1.94 ERA, a crazy 0.77 WHIP and is on pace to strike out 322 batters in 237 IP and win 20 games. The last guy to strike out that many dudes was Randy Johnson back in 2002, when he K’d 334. It’d be the 13th highest single season total since the end of the Dead Ball Era.