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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Giants 5, Padres 4 (12 innings): A big fourth inning from both the Padres and Giants gave the teams the backing they needed for another extra-innings affair, but this time, it was the Giants who prevailed in the end. Hours before the seagulls of McCovey Cove even entertained the thought of swarming the field, Nick Hundley broke a 4-4 tie in the 12th inning with a walk-off RBI single, his first walk-off hit for the Giants in 2017:

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: The Cubs fueled their hot streak with another win on Saturday, resting on 5 2/3 perfect innings from Jon Lester to lock down a one-run lead over the Cardinals. The win, Lester’s seventh of the season, was made all the more poignant by its circumstances. He took the mound just one day after the death of his uncle on Friday, and dedicated his performance to him with the letters “PLACT” (“Play Like a Champion Today,” a motto from his uncle’s alma mater, Notre Dame) etched on the front of his cap.

Lester was phenomenal on the mound, retiring 17 consecutive batters to start the game and losing the perfecto with Adam Wainwright‘s first-pitch single in the sixth. The Cardinals eventually took the lead in the eighth inning, plating a pair of runs with back-to-back homers from Paul DeJong and Randal Grichuk to gain a two-run edge. They were met with three runs in the bottom of the inning, however, and Anthony Rizzo‘s two-out, go-ahead double secured the win.

Astros 8, Orioles 4: Marwin Gonzalez became the unlikely hero of Saturday’s win over the Orioles when he blasted a 387-foot home run out of Camden Yards:

The dramatic three-run knock was the product of unusual circumstances: Astros’ starting third baseman Colin Moran was removed from the game in the sixth inning when a foul ball deflected off of his bat and struck him near the left eye. He crumpled to the ground and was carted off the field before finishing his at-bat, at which point Gonzalez subbed in and promptly clubbed his 18th homer of the year. Houston ran with the two-run lead, earning their 65th win after another two-run effort from Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran in the ninth.

Brewers 9, Phillies 8: The Brewers huffed and puffed their way to a win on Saturday, snapping a horrendous six-game skid to stay atop the NL Central standings, albeit by a narrow margin. They carried a seven-run lead into the seventh inning, highlighted by Ryan Braun‘s incredible dash from first to home plate after first baseman Tommy Joseph overthrew the bag at second base.

The Brewers nearly lost it all when the Phillies mounted a massive rally to tie the game in the eighth, but Domingo Santana persevered with a clutch RBI single in the ninth, saving the team from another extra-inning debacle and netting the team’s 52nd win of 2017.

Twins 6, Tigers 5: Kyle Gibson went the distance for the Twins on Saturday — that is, he lasted more than seven innings, a feat in and of itself for the 29-year-old hurler. It was his longest start since September 2016 and a much-needed winning effort for the Twins, who have gone 4-4 since the All-Star break. The Twins backed Gibson’s three-run, five-strikeout outing with six runs, but nearly lost it all when the Tigers rebounded for five runs in the eighth.

Marlins 5, Reds 4: An hour of rain did little to upset the Marlins’ plans on Saturday night. Chris O’Grady got shelled by the Reds’ offense, giving up three runs on four hits and six walks in just 4 1/3 innings, but the club found their salvation in a two-homer performance from J.T. Realmuto:

Not only did the win position the Marlins to execute their first sweep of the second half, but it set a new franchise record:

Mets 6, Athletics 5: With the trade deadline only a week away, it stands to reason that most teams want to put their best foot forward. For the Mets, that meant sticking Asdrubal Cabrera at third base for his first career start in the hot corner.

Luckily for the veteran infielder, nothing tricky or unusual broke his way. He fielded two easy ground balls and only missed Ryon Healy‘s line drive single into left field in the eighth. While that might not have been the most convincing showcase for Cabrera’s versatility around the horn, the 31-year-old upped his marketability with a single and double at the plate. The spotlight quickly shifted to Wilmer Flores in the ninth inning, though, as the second baseman broke a 5-5 tie with a two-out, walk-off home run.

Rangers 4, Rays 3: Chris Archer was left hanging after another dominant performance on Saturday night, turning in four runs, a walk and 11 strikeouts in a losing effort against the Rangers. In six starts with at least 11 strikeouts this season, the Rays’ hurler carries a 2-4 record and an average 4.67 runs of support (skewed slightly by a 12-1 win over the Royals in May).

A lack of run support wasn’t the only thing to blame for Archer’s defeat, however. He lost the game on a tie-breaking wild pitch to give Adrian Beltre the go-ahead run in the sixth:

Indians 2, Blue Jays 1 (10 innings): Francisco Lindor was all smiles after notching his first career walk-off home run during Saturday’s extra-inning win. The Indians’ shortstop waded through a seven-pitch at-bat before selecting Danny Barnes‘ 2-2 heater for a 438-foot homer in the 10th:

The blast backed an impressive start from Cleveland right-hander Danny Salazar, who made his first appearance of the second half after rehabbing a strained right shoulder. He fired seven pristine innings of one-hit ball and struck out eight of 21 batters in his fifth no-decision of the season.

Royals 7, White Sox 2: “Dingers” was the name of the game on Saturday, when the Royals fueled Jason Vargas‘ winning efforts with five home runs to secure the lead. Melky Cabrera got the White Sox on the board with a solo home run and RBI double, but the rest of the offense failed to materialize as the Royals crafted a seven-run rally. Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas went back-to-back in the sixth…

…shortly followed by another solo blast from Brandon Moss, his 12th of the season:

Jorge Bonifacio plugged another home run in the seventh, while Moustakas returned for a second helping in the eighth. It was the second time the Royals combined for five home runs in 2017, following another five-homer performance back in June, but they still fell one dinger shy of the all-time franchise record set against the Mariners in 2003.

Rockies 7, Pirates 3: The Pirates’ six-game win streak came to an abrupt end at the hands of rookie right-hander German Marquez, who held the Bucs to just three hits and two runs over seven innings on Saturday. His one mistake? Plunking Andrew McCutchen in the sixth, which resulted in some old-fashioned retaliation from Colorado starter Chad Kuhl and a predictable, benches-clearing dispute:

Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 3: Anthony Banda finally got the call he’d been waiting for this weekend. The Diamondbacks plucked him from Triple-A Reno and inserted him into Saturday’s lineup for his first big league start, though things didn’t go quite as smoothly as expected. Banda punctuated his first major league inning with a home run to Bryce Harper, one that cleared the wall in center field and landed on the concourse. The Nats returned in full force in the sixth inning, amassing another three runs on RBI doubles from Harper and Ryan Zimmerman and an RBI single by Anthony Rendon and preserving their 11-game lead in the NL East with their first win of the series.

Angels 7, Red Sox 3: When Mike Trout is at bat, there are few less enviable positions than that of the opposing pitcher. Except, maybe, the photographer crouching in foul territory:

The end result of that at-bat was only slightly less thrilling: Trout worked a nine-pitch walk and scored on Albert Pujols‘ two-run double for the club’s first two runs of the evening. Andrelton Simmons clubbed a go-ahead home run to finish off the four-run inning, bringing the Angels within four games of a wild card berth.

Dodgers 6, Braves 2: A modified delivery appears to be working wonders for Dodgers’ southpaw Rich Hill, whose resurgence proved instrumental to the team’s first win of the weekend. Hill lasted 6 1/3 innings — the fourth time he’s pitched into the sixth inning this season — and issued six hits, two runs and eight strikeouts as he improved to 7-4 on the year. Chris Taylor powered Hill’s efforts, padding the Dodgers’ one-run lead with a solo shot in the seventh inning and a bases-clearing triple in the eighth.

Mariners 6, Yankees 5 (10 innings): Aaron Judge packs a mighty punch with his home runs, and Saturday was no exception. The slugger produced his 32nd homer of the season, though this one didn’t find the crevices of Safeco Field quite as easily as Friday’s epic blast.

Judge’s penchant for dingers wasn’t quite enough to get the job done for the Yankees, however, and the teams found themselves at an impasse by the ninth inning. Nelson Cruz came through in the clutch, pushing the Mariners within a win of .500 after scoring Clint Frazier on a walk-off single — the first walk-off Seattle had seen since June 20.

Ryan Zimmerman becomes the all-time home run leader for the Expos-Nationals franchise

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There is some rare Monday afternoon baseball today, with the Reds and Nationals wrapping up their four-game series. The game has practically ended before it really got going, though, with the Nationals jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning. This following three games in which the Nats outscored Cincinnati 29-11. Not exactly a competitive exercise.

The big blow so far has been a Bryce Harper three-run homer. That was followed up by a Ryan Zimmerman solo shot. Though it counted for two fewer runs, Zimmerman’s homer was historic, as it was his 235th career dinger, all coming with the Nationals. That dinger puts him past Vladimir Guerrero’s 234 and makes Zimmerman the all-time home run leader for the Expos/Nationals franchise. Behind them come Andre Dawson (225), Gary Carter (220) and Tim Wallach (204).

It’s worth remembering that the Expos/Nats did not come into existence until 1969. The leaders for the other franchises which came into existence that year aren’t super gaudy either. The Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers leader is Ryan Braun with 296. The home run king of the Kansas City Royals is George Brett with 317. The leader for the San Diego Padres is Nate Colbert with a paltry 163.

Of course the Seattle Mariners didn’t begin play until 1977, and their leader — Ken Griffey Jr. — had 417 in their colors. The Colorado Rockies didn’t come into existence until 1993 and their homer leader is Todd Helton with 369. But let’s not hold that against Zimmerman, OK?

 

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Cubs 9, Orioles 8: It took the Cubs three innings to construct an eight-run lead and another five innings to dismantle it, handing the Orioles eight unanswered runs to tie the game 8-8 in the eighth. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that’s fairly unheard of, at least during the 2017 season:

No thanks to the bullpen, the Cubs managed to rally in the ninth inning with their fifth home run of the night: a game-winning solo shot from Addison Russell.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 2: The Pirates’ winning streak survived the All-Star break, improving to three consecutive games after rookie Josh Bell clobbered his first walk-off home run against the Cardinals. Unlike Jedd Gyorko’s home run in the first inning, this one wasn’t hurled into the Allegheny River:

Mets 14, Rockies 2: The Mets opened a nine-game homestand with another gem from Jacob deGrom, who earned his 10th win of the season after dealing eight innings of two-run, 11-strikeout ball. He impressed at the plate, too, recording his fourth multi-hit game of the season with two base hits and an RBI to help pad the team’s 12-run lead. The same could not be said for opposing starter Jon Gray, however, who delivered eight runs in two innings for a season-worst performance and pushed the club to a 10.5-game deficit in the NL West.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 4: Aaron Judge furthered his on-base streak on Friday, reaching just once on a six-pitch walk. Excepting a rare pinch-hit at-bat, he’s successfully reached base in 40 of his past 41 games (via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch). Even combined with Gary Sanchez‘s mammoth home run, that wasn’t enough to propel the Yankees past the Red Sox, and they dropped to third place after Andrew Benintendi drew a game-winning, bases-loaded walk in the ninth. Worse than the loss? A report that the Yankees may have seen the last of right-hander Michael Pineda, who has been battling a torn UCL and is currently considering alternatives to season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 4: Yasiel Puig was the indisputable hero of the Dodgers’ series opener, fueling the club’s division-best 62nd win with a solo home run in the fifth inning and a go-ahead, three-run homer in the ninth. The most unconventional of the Dodgers’ six runs, though, came on a caught stealing error in the first inning, which allowed Joc Pederson to swipe home plate as the Marlins chased the ball around the infield:

Nationals 5, Reds 0: The Reds haven’t turned out a home run title in 39 years, and if Friday’s shutout was any indication, it looks like they’ll have to keep waiting. They failed to generate a lead against the Nationals, who rested on two home runs from Bryce Harper and a pair of RBI base hits to secure their first win of the second half. Joey Votto, who may be in line for the NL home run title this year, went 0-for-3 with a walk and has not smashed one out of the park since July 8.

Blue Jays 7, Tigers 2: After taking a tough 19-1 loss to the Astros prior to the All-Star break, the Blue Jays came out swinging against the Tigers during their first road trip of the second half. Steve Pearce put the Blue Jays on the board in the fifth inning with a solo home run, his seventh of the season, and Josh Donaldson‘s two-run single sealed the deal for the club in the seventh.

Braves 4, Diamondbacks 3: R.A. Dickey‘s resurgence continued with another masterful performance on Friday, executing six innings of one-run ball as the D-backs struggled to hold a lead. Dickey didn’t get the run support he needed to pull off his seventh win of the year, but improved to a 1.09 ERA over his last five starts, holding opposing batters to just four runs and eight walks and striking out 27 batters in 33 innings.

Astros 10, Twins 5: Any concern about the Astros facing a second-half slump was obliterated on Friday night. Charlie Morton spun 10 strikeouts in five innings, while the offense hammered Jose Berrios with an eight-run second inning. In fact, the worst thing to happen to the Astros was Jose Altuve‘s “underwhelming” performance: he went 2-for-4 with a single, double and walk, coming one game shy of shattering the all-time record for most consecutive three-hit games.

Brewers 9, Phillies 6: Nick Pivetta laid down four strikeouts to kick off the Phillies’ series opener, a promising start for a rookie who carried a 4.73 ERA into the second half. His outing was quickly compromised in the second inning, however, when the Brewers responded with eight runs and Ryan Braun‘s sixth career grand slam:

Braun’s 400-foot home run set a new franchise record for career grand slams, breaking a four-way tie among Cecil Cooper, Jeromy Burnitz and John Jaha.

Rangers 5, Royals 3: Speaking of historical knocks, Adrian Beltre moved up another rung on the all-time home run list, drilling a 2-2 slider from Jason Hammel to center field for his 453rd career home run.

He now sits at No. 38 on the all-time list, just four home runs shy of Miguel Cabrera‘s 457 career blasts.

Mariners 4, White Sox 2: All-Star MVP Robinson Cano hogged the spotlight again on Friday, propelling the Mariners to their 44th win with a three-run homer in the third inning. The club now sits just three games back of an AL wild card berth, but will need to duke it out with the Twins, Royals, Rangers and Angels to earn a spot in the postseason this fall.

Athletics 5, Indians 0: Sonny Gray has already incurred considerable interest as the trade deadline approaches, and his performance on Friday night only boosted his appeal. The 27-year-old ace turned in six pristine innings, limiting the Indians to two hits and striking out five of 22 batters as he worked up to his fifth win of the season.

Rays 2, Angels 1 (10 innings): To the delight of fans everywhere (and the chagrin of non-Angels pitchers), Mike Trout finally made his triumphant return to Major League Baseball. The slugger punctuated his performance with a single and a stolen base, doing his part to allay any immediate concerns about his ability to return to form after a lengthy spell on the disabled list. Things didn’t go so smoothly for the rest of the Angels, whose bats went cold after Albert Pujols‘ solo home run in the second inning. With the win, the Rays now sit 3.5 games back of the division lead.

Giants 5, Padres 4: Johnny Cueto was felled by blisters on his pitching hand on Friday, exiting after just four innings and 82 pitches. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea, the baseballs may have something to do with Cueto’s discomfort, who doesn’t remember getting blisters on his pitching hand at any point during his 10-year career. The Giants, meanwhile, rallied to take the lead in the sixth and capped their win with a Buster Posey home run in the seventh.