On Friday night, outfielder Matt Kemp completed the first cycle in Padres history, helping his team beat the Rockies at Coors Field. Kemp entered his final at-bat in the top half of the ninth needing a triple for the cycle. Triples are the rarest leg of the cycle.* The once-speedy Kemp used to be good for five-to-seven triples in a given season, but had registered no more than three since 2012 as he’s had a handful of lower-half injuries. The odds were pretty stacked against Kemp tripling.
Kemp didn’t get the memo. With a runner on first base and one out, Kemp drilled a Justin Miller slider to right-center. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon watched the fly ball carom off of the top of the wall and bounce back towards dead center. It was at that point that Kemp’s triple became all but guaranteed. He coasted into third base without a relay throw to complete the first cycle in the 47-year history of the Padres.
Adding even more entertainment value to the feat was listening to the FOX Sports San Diego broadcast team’s enthusiasm. Watch and listen:
Pirates 6, Cardinals 5: For the second straight day the Pirates win in extra innings in walkoff fashion. On Saturday it was Andrew McCutchen with a homer, last night it was Gregory Polanco with an RBI single. Both times the Cards took a lead in extras only to see the Buccos claw back. Pittsburgh took three of four from St. Louis in this series and pulled to within two and a half. It’s only the All-Star break and there’s a lot of baseball to be played, but this is the kind of series on which a team that finishes the season triumphant looks back and says “yeah, that’s when we knew something special was happening.”
Athletics 2, Indians 0: Sonny Gray was absolutely fan-frickin’-tastic, with a two-hit complete game shutout. It wasn’t a Maddux — he needed 107 pitches — but it was pretty close. He has ten wins and a 2.04 ERA heading into the break and has been, by far, the brightest spot in an otherwise dim first half for Oakland.
Mets 5, Diamondbacks 3: When the Mets signed Nieuwenhuis recently, the move was widely mocked. Not so much for what Nieuwenhuis is, but for what he was not: a game-changing bat the sort of which the Mets sorely need. There was nothing mock-worthy about his bat here, however, as all he did was hit three homers and drive in four. The Mets head into the break winners of six of seven and, for all of the up-and-down drama of their season so far and for all of the complaining about the front office people have done, they stand only two games back of the Nationals.
Marlins 8, Reds 1: I listened to this game on WLW while driving into Cincinnati for the All-Star festivities. Jeff Brantley had the call. It’s saying something that listening to Jeff Brantley describe the carnage that has become the Reds’ season in his smooth drawl is best thing about this team in 2015. As it was, Johnny Cueto probably deserved better — his defense let him down a few times — but given credit to Marlins’ first baseman Justin Bour for reaching up and out of the zone in consecutive at bats to drive some balls he or no one else had any business driving with authority. Dan Haren, meanwhile, allowed one run over six innings and wouldn’t be the worst pickup for a team who doesn’t play in a homer-friendly park and could use a starter.
Rays 4, Astros 3: The Rays sweep the Astros, who dropped their sixth in a row heading into the break and find themselves out of first place for the first time since April 18. Matt Moore, making his third start since coming back from Tommy John surgery, allowed three runs and five hits over five innings and notched his first victory since Sept. 29, 2013.
Yankees 8, Red Sox 6: Rob Refsnyder, playing his second big league game, had two hits, including a two-run homer. The Yankees took two of three from the Red Sox and are now three and a half up in the East. It’s their biggest lead in a tight division since they had a four game margin back on May 11.
Nationals 3, Orioles 2: Here’s something that sucks: two of the best pitchers in the game — Sonny Gray and Max Scherzer — pitched yesterday and thus won’t be available to pitch in the All-Star Game. Which, well, maybe doesn’t suck THAT much given that these games matter and the All-Star game doesn’t. Still. Scherzer allowed two runs in eight and two-thirds, winning his tenth and leaving his first half ERA at 2.11.
Royals 11, Blue Jays 10: The Royals had a 7-0 lead after five, completely blew it in the sixth by giving up an eight-spot to Toronto, but then scored three more in the bottom of the sixth and then held the hell on. Not a game for pitching enthusiasts. Or defense enthusiasts. Or comfortable weather enthusiasts, as it was hot and gross. Basically everything that would make me miserable at a baseball game went down here.
Twins 7, Tigers 1: Kyle Gibson won his fourth straight, allowing one run — unearned — in seven innings. Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer. The Twins are four and a half back at 44-40. The Tigers are nine back at .500. With old fading stars on one side and young rising stars on the other, this feels like a matchup between the future and the past.
Cubs 3, White Sox 1: Jake Arrieta went the distance and allowed only one run. He also [altogether now] helped his own cause with a homer as the Cubs salvage one in their series against their crosstown rivals.
Padres 2, Rangers 1: Tyson Ross outdueled Yovani Gallardo, tossing six and two-thirds of shutout ball. Ross hasn’t allowed a homer in 86 and two-thirds innings.
Giants 4, Phillies 2: The Giants sweep the Phillies. What’s the right adjective to use here for Philly? “Lowly?” I feel like we’re well past lowly right now, but all of the other adjectives that spring to mind are not really suitable for a family baseball blog like Hardball Talk Dot Com.
Angels 10, Mariners 3: With the Houston skid and their very own surge, the Angels claim first place heading into the break. They’ve won 11 of 14. Here Chris Iannetta hit a two-run home run and David Freese hit a two-run double in the Angels’ six-run sixth inning.
Dodgers 4, Brewers 3: Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer as the Dodgers came from behind late. A lot of pitching injuries and a lot of ups and downs, but the Dodgers have 51 wins and lead the West by four and a half. I’m sure they’ll take it.
Rockies 11, Braves 3: The Rockies sweep the Braves behind a Troy Tulowitzki homer and a 3-for-4, four-RBI day from Charlie Blackmon. A seventeen hit attack against the Bravos, with ten of them — and seven runs — coming off of Alex Wood. Wood threw two pitches on Thursday in that game that had the weird rain delay. After what happened yesterday, he was probably praying for more rain.
Tigers 12, Yankees 4: J.D. Martinez hit three bombs. His fly ball in his last at bat fell short or else he would’ve had four, which we in the business call “pulling a Whitten.” Actually, that’s a lie. I’m the only one in the business who calls it a “pulling a Whitten,” but I am trying hard to make that happen. I figure if that dumb car commercial can call a control pitcher “a Rembrandt,” I can make “pulling a Whitten” happen.
Orioles 13, Blue Jays 9: Like Brunelleschi or Masolino da Panicale or whoever it was giving the world of art single-point perspective and dragging everyone into the Renaissance, the Orioles’ and Jays’ offenses are going to single-handedly pull us out of that mini-deadball era we’ve been experiencing. The O’s had 16 hits including Jimmy Paredes’ three-run homer and Chris Davis’ solo homer.
White Sox 3, Rangers 2: Gordon Beckham hit a walk-off solo home run on Father’s Day. He also had a walkoff hit on Mother’s Day. The White Sox play the Twins at home on September 13, which is Grandparents Day. Place your bets accordingly.
Indians 1, Rays 0: Compared to that walkoff balk in the Dodgers game on Thursday night, David Murphy’ walkoff sac fly was some pretty insane action. Cody Anderson pitched shutout ball into the eighth before that.
Reds 5, Marlins 2: Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce each hit two-run homers. Frazier has hit five homers in five days. Aroldis Chapman got out of a heck of a jam in the ninth, which he created himself, having loaded the bases while trying for an easy three-run lead save. But then he struck out Donovan Solano, Dee Gordon and Derek Dietrich with 102, 101 and 103 MPH heat, respectively. It’s like he needed to give himself a difficulty to all of this.
Braves 1, Mets 0: The good Julio Teheran showed up, shutting out the Mets for seven and outdueling Matt Harvey. The Braves also bested the giant and went in with a Sicilian with death on the line to complete the three-game sweep. Next up: they get into a land war in Asia and win.
Nationals 9, Pirates 2: A day after you get no-hit you have the other guys put up a nine-spot on you in the first inning. It’s like two games in a row that you didn’t even need to bother playing, really. And that’s before you mention that Gio Gonzalez shut the Pirates out for seven innings. Just a bad couple of days at the office for the men in black.
Phillies 9, Cardinals 2: Adam Morgan made his big league debut and ended up out-pitching Michael Wacha by a good margin. This after being 0-6 at Triple-A. This was the first game won by a Philly starter since May 23. Andres Blanco homered while Ben Revere and Maikel Franco each got three hits.
Red Sox 13, Royals 2: David Ortiz hit a monster homer which put him past Stan Musial and Willie Stargell on the all-time list. Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts went yard as well. Betts doubled and tripled as well in an all-around hit parade.
Cubs 8, Twins 0: Jake Arrieta pitched a four-hit, seven strikeout shutout. Like a real one. Not a “shut the ___ out of ___ innings.” He went all nine, which is a thing one needs to specify in this age. The game was already out of hand when Dexter Fowler hit a grand slam in the eighth, but Dexter Fowler still hit a grand slam in the eighth.
Athletics 3, Angels 2: Scott Kazmir gave up one run in seven and a third. There was a 5:14 replay review here, and that’s kind of special.
Astros 6, Mariners 2: Colby Rasmus and George Springer each homered and six relievers managed to hold the Mariners to two runs in what was a bullpen game for Houston. In regards to that Arrieta comment, part of me fears that the future of baseball holds way more bullpen games. Like it will become a standard thing teams do, not just when they’re down a starter or something, possibly even being a rotation spot in and of itself. Which, even if it makes tactical sense, would be a bummer if, like me, you are really a starting pitching kind of guy.
Rockies 10, Brewers 4: Charlie Blackmon drove in four and Troy Tulowitzki knocked in three. Nick Hundley had four hits. Tulowitzki has reached in 21 straight games and is hitting .368/.419/.529 in the month of June.
Diamondbacks 7, Padres 2: The Dbacks scored seven runs in the second but only three of them were earned. The came in part due to two San Diego errors, two walks and a hit batter, and A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt each singled home two.
Dodgers 10, Giants 2 : Tim Lincecum and Yusmeiro Petit each got beat up for five runs. Yasmani Grandal hit two homer. Jacob Justin Turner drove in three. Also: this was the ninth out of 15 games yesterday in which the losing team scored two runs. This is important. This means something.
Ah, it’s good to be back. If you’re curious about where I was, you can read what I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re not curious, well, let’s get right back into it, shall we?
Tigers 8, Indians 1: All Miguel Cabrera does is hit 450+ foot homers against the Indians. He did it on Friday and again here yesterday, this time tagging Corey Kluber. Also, if you ever visit Miguel Cabrera’s house, ask him to show you the bill of sale for when he acquired Kluber. For he certainly owns him: he’s 20-for-35 with five homers against him in his career.
Mets 10, Braves 8: The Braves were up five at one point, but the Mets just bashed the living hell out of them to come from behind. Four homers in all for New York, including Juan Lagares’ go ahead three-run homer in the sixth to cap the scoring in a game that looked like the American League circa 2000. Oh, and I should note that Dana Eveland pitched in this one for the Braves. He was acquired by them while I was gone, and I did not get to make mention of it. Long time readers will know of my fascination with Eveland and the fact that he has the EXACT name I would use if I was a pretty young starlet in 1940s Hollywood. And which I bet at some point some starlet did use, only she didn’t make it big because she wouldn’t sleep woth Howard Hughes or some such thing and got buried in RKO B-movies. Sure, she came back once in a “Murder, She Wrote” episode in the late 80s and John Waters stunt-casted her a couple of times, but it wasn’t much of a career, frankly.
Rockies 4, Marlins 1: I’ll always remember where I was when Jorge De La Rosa passed Aaron Cook for the all-time Rockies franchise win record. Specifically, I was . . . um. Wait. I did some laundry yesterday. And I met some friends for an early dinner. Hmm, not sure when this game ended so I can’t really be sure. OK, guess I won’t always remember where I was, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered in this one.
Dodgers 4, Padres 2: Adrian Gonzalez drove in three, including a two-run single in the top of the 12th to put the Dodgers over. I did not say “put them ahead,” because I wanted to use a wrestling term there in honor of the Late, Great Dusty Rhodes who died last week. I don’t follow wrestling now but I sure as hell followed it back in the mid-80s and Georgia/Mid-Atlantic was my circuit of choice. Rhodes owned that world, jack, telling us all about “Hard Times” and lamenting the time Baby Doll — that Jezebel! — spent $5,000 of his hard-earned dollars on assorted men and papaya juice. RIP, American Dream.
Rays 2, White Sox 1: Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Chris Sale in the seventh and that’s all the Rays would need. Which was unfortunate given how well Sale pitched otherwise, striking out 12 and allowing only two hits apart from that mistake to Cabrera. Sale was clearly tiring, however and finished that inning with 125 pitches on the day.
Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The Yankees kept pace and maintained their percentage points lead over Tampa Bay with a victory here. Free passes helped key the Yankees’ rally. Two Orioles pitchers managed four straight walks to force in a run and then John Ryan Murphy hit a two-run double.
Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 5: The last time I did an “And That Happened” was ages ago. June 3, to be exact. And that is the last time anyone around here was able to write about a Blue Jays’ loss, which last happened the evening before. Now it’s 11 straight for Toronto, and they stand only a game behind the Yankees and Rays. Some things are the same as before I went on my little trip: the Red Sox sucked then and they suck now. Ryan Goins homered, doubled and drove in five in this one.
Pirates 1, Phillies 0: Josh Harrison drove in Neil Walker with two outs in the bottom of the 11th for the win, but it was really A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels who owned the day. Burnett pitched nine, shutting out the Phillies in regulation on five hits. Hamels only went seven but he too shut out the opposition, striking out 12. It’s a shame neither of them figured in the decision and one of their team’s had to come out on the losing end.
Nationals 4, Brewers 0: Max Scherzer must’ve been feeling right yesterday: 1 hit, 16 strikeouts and the complete game shutout. All he’s done this year is post a 1.93 ERA with a 113/14 K/BB ratio over 93 1/3 innings. Yet he’s only 7-5 and the Nationals aren’t in first place, meaning that he really has not done his job, right?
Astros 13, Mariners 0: The Astros take two of three from Seattle. In the two wins they outscored the M’s 23-0. Not too bad. Here Lance McCullers had a no-hitter going through five but was nonethless pulled. That’s what happens when you’re a well-regarded kid and you’ve already tossed 90 pitches in those five innings. Four relievers came in after him and helped to combine for a two-hitter. Evan Gattis had four hits. Colby Rasmus and Hank Conger each drove in three. Houston: still in first place after Flag Day. Who’da thunk it?
Twins 4, Rangers 3: Byron Buxton made his big league debut. No hits and he struck out twice, but he scored the go-ahead and winning run from first base in the top of the ninth after reaching on a botched sac bunt in which the lead runner was thrown out.
Athletics 8, Angels 1: The A’s are double-digits behind the division leaders but Sonny Gray has done his job at least. He allowed only one unearned run in seven and two-thirds to lower his ERA to 1.60. Ben Zobrist — likely coming to a contender near you in the next month or so — went 3-for-5 and scored three times.
Diamondbacks 4, Giants 0: Good day for De La Rosas. Jorge set a team record and Rubby took a shutout into the ninth. He couldn’t seal the deal but he did get his first win in ages. Chris Heston, alas, did not pull a Johnny Vander Meer, allowing a hit in the second and being chased after five after giving up three runs.
Cubs 2, Reds 1: For the second game in a row Starlin Castro got a walkoff hit. This one in the 11th. Chicago took three of four. They’re seven games over .500. Six and a half back and in third place, mind you, but they’d be leading three other divisions and, given how strong the NL Central is, it’s totally possible three playoff teams come out of that division anyway.
Royals vs. Cardinals: POSTPONED: Another rainy day, we’re trapped inside with a train set
Chocolate on the boil, steamy windows when we met
You’ve got the attic window looking out on the cathedral
And on a Sunday evening bells ring out in the dusk
(sorry; I saw Belle and Sebastian in concert last night, so everything is nice and twee today)
Play of the Day: Freddy Galvis makes a no-look behind-the-back flip for the out
Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis made a terrific play for one out that very nearly could have been an inning-ending double play. With a runner on first base and one out in the seventh inning, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon hit a Jake Diekman offering sharply up the middle, which was corralled by a sliding Galvis. Without looking, Galvis flipped the ball behind his back, leading second baseman Chase Utley perfectly to the bag for the second out of the inning. Utley fired to first base, but Blackmon just barely beat the throw to keep the inning alive.
Though Galvis has cooled off at the plate recently, he’s still hitting .289/.342/.335. He’s been better than Jimmy Rollins, traded to the Dodgers during the off-season, on both offense and defense this season.