Pirates closer Mark Melancon has been pretty good this season. Great, in fact. He entered play Friday having strung together 21 consecutive scoreless appearances and hadn’t allowed an earned run since May 11. As a result, he was 32-for-33 in save situations with a 1.32 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.
Melancon’s streak was in danger of ending on Friday night against the Reds. Staked to a one run lead, he took the mound in the bottom of the ninth, but immediately served up a leadoff single to Brandon Phillips. Jason Bourgeois laid down a bunt to move Phillips into scoring position. The red-hot Joey Votto drew a walk, putting the potential winning run on first base and bringing 2015 Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier to the plate.
Frazier ripped a single past a diving Aramis Ramirez into left field. Marte fired a strong one-hopper to catcher Francisco Cervelli, who easily applied the tag to Phillips for the second out of the inning. Votto, now the potential tying run, stood on second base as Marlon Byrd stepped to the plate.
Byrd lined a 3-2 breaking ball towards Marte in left field. Marte ranged to his right and dove, snagging the sinking liner just before it could make contact with the grass at Great American Ballpark. On consecutive plays, Marte’s defense allowed the Pirates to walk away 5-4 winners and he kept Melancon’s scoreless streak alive.
It looks like Marte might’ve dinged up his wrist in making the catch. Hopefully it’s nothing a nice steak dinner — on Melancon’s tab — can’t help heal.
Phillies 11, Yankees 6: Maikel Franco had five RBI for the second straight night and homered once again. This either has Yankees fans hating his guts or, as is their habit and primary defense mechansim, telling people exactly how long it is until Franco is a free agent and photoshopping him into Yankees gear.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 4: Adam Jones is out, David Lough is in center field in his place. No worries, as Lough hit a three-run homer. John Farrell got ejected after arguing balls and strikes. His comment: “I said a thing probably one too many times.”
Jerry Remy: I’ve never seen John so angry. And frankly, sports fans, he used a word that’s a no-no with umpires. Millie: [turns TV off] John must’ve called the guy a ______. Mrs. Farrell: Mmmmm. How romantic.
Tigers 7, Indians 3: Who says no one likes going to Cleveland? Detroit is 20-5 there since the beginning of the 2013. They were likely inspired by this:
David Price allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. Yoenis Cespedes and Nick Castellanos each drove in two. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Andrew Romine each notched two hits.
White Sox 6, Twins 2: Jeff Samardzija allowed two and struck out seven over seven innings. Jose Abreu notched four of the White Sox’ 15 hits. This paragraph appears in the box score:
The White Sox had eight of their 15 hits with two outs for four RBI. They had two-plus hits with runners in scoring position for the first time in 19 games, going 5 for 16.
At some point we need to have a national conversation about how hitting with two outs and hitting with runners in scoring position is not a skill and is not necessarily even significant in any way despite the fact that it’s satisfying for certain people. This paragraph appears because someone asked Robin Ventura about it, as if it were something requiring his insight as opposed to just being a thing that happened. Most stuff is baseball are just things that happen.
Rays 4, Blue Jays 3: Chris Archer was solid again, allowing one earned run and striking out seven in eight innings. Three of his nine wins have come against the Blue Jays this season. He’s 6-1 against them lifetime. Two of the Rays four runs were made possible by a wild pitch and a passed ball from R.A. Dickey. Live by the knuckler, die by the knuckler.
Brewers 3, Mets 2: Michael Cuddyer misplayed a double off the wall allowing Carlos Gomez to come around to score the go-ahead run. That’s six straight losses for the Mets, who currently have Travis d’Arnaud David Wright and Daniel Murphy on the disabled list. That they’re only two and a half back of Washington is something of a miracle. Imagine if they, you know, had a lineup.
Nationals 3, Braves 1: Stephen Strasburg came back from the DL and pitched five shutout innings, striking out six. He was backed by four hits from Anthony Rendon. The Braves threatened in the ninth, but it amounted to nothing. Storms delayed the start of this one by two hours, giving Braves fans extra time to dwell on how bad their lineup looks without Freddie Freeman in it.
Pirates 7, Reds 6: Down 4-0, the Pirates hung seven runs in the fourth inning and then hung on themselves as the Reds came close but not close enough. A two-run homer for Andrew McCutchen and a three-run shot for Francisco Cervelli. After McCutchen hit his homer he was almost the victim of a beaning when a breaking ball thrown his direction failed to break. So he did pushups.
Athletics 8, Rangers 6: Josh Phegley homered and had a two-run double. Oakland dug themselves too deep a hole in April and May but they’re 12-8 in June.
Cubs 1, Dodgers 0: Four in a row for the Cubs as they walk off on a Chris Denorfia sac fly. Strong pitching performances from Zack Greinke (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) and Jason Hammel (7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) both went unrewarded with a decision. Los Angeles has dropped six of eight.
Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 5: Nolan Arenado hit two homers. He now has 19 on the year. Wilin Rosario, D.J. LeMahieu and Brandon Barnes all homered as well. The Dbacks hit three of their own to make it eight overall in the game. Which was in Colorado, by the way. In case you did not know that.
Astros 13, Angels 3: Luis Valbuena hit two homers. Carlos Correa hit a three-run homer to give the Astros a 4-0 lead early and they never looked back. Correa is at .308/.338/.569 with four bombs in 15 games. He had three hits in all. The Astros lead baseball with 107 homers. Which is a lot of homers.
Mariners 7, Royals 0: Rookie Mike Montgomery tossed a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. He was a first round pick of the Royals back in 2008 and they traded him away. It was in the famous James Shields/Wade Davis trade, however, so I figure Kansas City is cool with that even if this one smarted a bit.
Padres 3, Giants 2: Madison Bumgarner was cruising until the eighth — by the time that inning had started he had been shutting out San Diego and had struck out 13 on his way to 14Ks in all — but then he gave up two runs which eventually forced extra innings. Alexi Amarista singled in the go-ahead and, ultimately, the winning run in the 11th.
BREAKING: Max Scherzer throws a no-hitter against the Pirates
Update #3 (6:27 PM EST): It seemed like a foregone conclusion with the way Scherzer had been pitching through six innings. Scherzer was one strike away from a perfect game against the Pirates. In the ninth inning, he got Gregory Polanco to foul out to the third base side on a nice play by Anthony Rendon, Jordy Mercer to fly out to center field, then hit pinch-hitter Jose Tabata with a pitch to end his bid for a perfect game. He salvaged the no-hitter, getting Josh Harrison to fly out to end the game, completing the no-hitter.
Scherzer threw 105 pitches, 80 for strikes. He recorded 10 strikeouts in the outing, his sixth double-digit strikeout start of the season. Scherzer joins Chris Heston as pitchers to have thrown no-hitters this season. Jordan Zimmermann was the last National to throw a no-hitter, who accomplished the feat on the final day of the regular season last year.
Update #2 (6:11 PM EST): Scherzer remains perfect through eight innings. He got Jung Ho Kang to pop out, struck out Francisco Cervelli, and got Pedro Alvarez to ground into the shift, with second baseman Danny Espinosa making a very nice play to get the out with inches to spare. Scherzer has 10 strikeouts on the afternoon. He one more inning left to complete baseball’s 24th perfect game.
Update (5:55 PM EST): He’s perfect through seven innings. Scherzer carved through the top of the Pirates’ batting order, getting Josh Harrison to fly out weakly, then striking out Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen. Stay tuned for the final two innings as Scherzer attempts to polish off his perfect game.
We could have some history in the making this afternoon at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., as Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer is perfect through six innings against the Pirates.
Scherzer has struck out seven batters thus far while throwing 50 out of 67 pitches for strikes. He has only had two three-ball counts out of the 18 batters he has faced. He’s cruising.
The Nationals currently lead 1-0 on a solo home run from Bryce Harper. Stay tuned to see if Scherzer can finish it off.