<span class="vcard">Drew Silva</span>

Justin Nicolino

Justin Nicolino shut out the Reds over seven innings in his major league debut on Saturday

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23-year-old Justin Nicolino was rushed to Cincinnati on Saturday morning after Tom Koehler had to be scratched from his scheduled start against the Reds due to a neck injury. Maybe it was helpful to the kid that he had no time to process all of his emotions.

Nicolino fired seven scoreless innings in his major league debut Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, yielding only four hits and two walks in one of the least pitcher-friendly stadiums in Major League Baseball. Miami grabbed a 5-0 win.

As noted by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the young lefty is the only pitcher in the 23-year history of the Marlins to debut with seven shutout innings. More perspective from Spencer’s game story …

The only other pitchers to make their major-league debuts with the Marlins and go at least six innings without allowing a run were Josh Beckett in 2001 and Adalberto Mendez in 2010.

Brad Penny allowed just one run over seven innings in his debut in 2000.

Nicolino had an impressive 2.87 ERA through 78 1/3 innings this season at Triple-A New Orleans, so maybe this is legit. He was rated a top-100 prospect in 2014 by MLB.com but fell off that list this past winter.

Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

Jose Oquendo, Randal Grichuk
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Baseball’s top team is having a blast in Philadelphia.

Randal Grichuk homered twice and John Lackey hurled seven innings of one-run ball as the Cardinals routed the Phillies on Saturday for the second night in a row. Friday’s score was 12-4. Saturday’s was 10-1.

St. Louis boasts the very best run differential in MLB at +84 and the best record at 45-23. Philadelphia has the worst run differential (by a wide margin) at -129 and Sunday’s matchup of Michael Wacha vs. Adam Morgan doesn’t bode well for a quick bounceback.

With the Pirates getting no-hit Saturday by Max Scherzer and the Nationals, the Cardinals’ lead in the National League Central is back up to six games.

If the Cardinals play .500 ball the rest of the way, they will still finish the season with 92 wins. Hack that. Or something.

Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 3

Rangers 2, White Sox 3

Cubs 4, Twins 1 (10 innings)

Angels 1, Athletics 4

Pirates 0, Nationals 6

Brewers 1, Rockies 5

Cardinals 10, Phillies 1

Rays 4, Indians 1

Red Sox 4, Royals 7

Mets 4, Braves 6

Marlins 5, Reds 0

Tigers 3, Yankees 14

Giants 6, Dodgers 2

Astros 3, Mariners 6

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 1

Daniel Murphy expected to return to Mets next Tuesday

daniel murphy getty
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Good news here for the battered Mets infield …

According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that Daniel Murphy is on track to be activated from the disabled list next Tuesday. Murphy is eligible to return Saturday, but the Mets want him to play in a few minor league rehab games before they activate him. He’s currently participating in extended spring training exhibition games in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Murphy has been on the disabled list since June 5 because of a strained right quadriceps muscle. He is expected to play third base when he returns, with Dilson Herrera sticking at second.

David Wright isn’t due to return from his back injury until after the All-Star break.

Wil Myers to undergo left wrist surgery on Thursday, will be sidelined for at least eight weeks

wil myers getty
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Dennis Lin, beat writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, shares the bad news

Myers has been limited to 35 games this season due to ongoing wrist issues and this procedure is going to keep him out of action until at least mid-August. The 24-year-old outfielder was acquired from the Rays back in December as part of a three-team, 11-player trade. He was batting .277/.327/.459 with five home runs, 19 RBI, and 30 runs scored in his first season with San Diego. Will Venable and Melvin Upton Jr. will handle center field for the fourth-place Padres, who entered play Wednesday with a disappointing 32-35 record.

Dodgers place Chris Hatcher on disabled list with left oblique strain, activate Scott Van Slyke

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From the official Twitter account of the Los Angeles Dodgers …

Van Slyke wound up missing just over two weeks with inflammation in the middle of his back. He is starting in left field and batting sixth in his return to action Wednesday night against Rangers lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

Hatcher is probably looking at a three-week absence. He felt a twinge in his oblique after a relief appearance Sunday against the Padres and an MRI taken Tuesday revealed the muscle strain. The 30-year-old right-hander has posted a rough 6.38 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and 19/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings this season.