Mark Reynolds

Jeff Francoeur

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Braves 2: Of course Jeff Francoeur comes back to Atlanta, riding an 0-for-19 streak, and knocks the cover off the ball. This is the place of his birth. Where he was forged like steel into a machine that destroys garbage pitching like that he faced last night. Frenchy was 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and a couple driven in. A big night all around for ex-Braves as Aaron Harang allowed one run over six. Hell, I half expected Kyle Davies to pitch a couple scoreless frames.

Rays 5, Red Sox 1: Jake Odorizzi tames the Sox’ lineup, scattering seven hits. A lineup without Hanley Ramirez, who left in the first inning with a shoulder injury. Clay Buchholz continued to struggle, giving up five runs in six and a third. After the game he said “You go out there and try to throw a lot of strikes, not walk guys.” If you read that with a lot of emphasis on the “you,” as if he’s contrasting all other pitchers with himself, it sounds like a fairly accurate description of much of his past couple of seasons.

Rangers 2, Astros 1: The winning streak is over. A Jake Smolinski RBI single in the eighth and then a Robinson Chirinos sac fly in the ninth was all the Rangers needed because a first inning Evan Gattis sac fly was all the Astros got. The streak stops at 10 despite a fine outing from April AL Pitcher of the Month Dallas Keuchel (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8K).

Mariners 3, Angels 2: The AL Player of the Month had a decent night too, with Nelson Cruz going yard to snap a scoreless tie in the seventh.That’s his 14th on the year, and Cruz is on an 87-homer pace. I am inclined to believe he won’t keep it up, but man, I don’t think most folks expected him to even keep up his 2014 pace this year.  Felix Hernandez, whose greatness is rarely confined to single month, was excellent (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K).

Giants 2, Padres 0: Madison Bumgarner tossed no-hit ball into the seventh and shutout ball into the eighth and the pen locked it down. In his last two starts he has beaten Clayton Kershaw and Tyson Ross and shut down the Dodgers and Padres’ potent lineups. He’s pretty good when you think about it some.

Nationals 6, Marlins 4: A comeback thanks to four in the eighth. The offensive charge was led by Yunel Escobar who had a career-high five hits. Ian Desmond hit a homer during that eighth inning. Tanner Roark got his first career save.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1: Russell Martin knocked in a run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. We usually say “against his old mates,” and then I usually say “well maybe they weren’t his old mates because teams turn their rosters over so much” but then I remembered it was the Yankees and, yeah, they are his old mates because it’s been mostly the same guys there forever.

Brewers 4, Dodgers 3: Craig Counsell is now the all-time leader in winning percentage among Milwaukee Brewers managers. His new club rallied for three runs in the eighth inning off of a tiring Clayton Kershaw and a less-than-jake Chris Hatcher. Gomezes Hector and Carlos helped key the rally, the latter with a homer the former with an RBI double.

Cardinals 10, Cubs 9: A five-run first inning for the Cubs was met with a four-run first inning for he Cards. Having lost a five-run lead early, the Cubs then went and lost a four-run lead later. when St. Louis rallied in the sixth and seventh. Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first rally. The rally in the sixth and seventh was a little more sustained. The Cardinals’ 19-6 record is their best start since 1900. And it’s not like they haven’t had a couple other halfway decent squads in the past 115 years.

Twins 8, Athletics 7: Another 4-0 first inning lead blown, this one by Oakland. The big hit: a two-out, three-run homer by Torii Hunter in the sixth to break the 5-5 tie. After that the A’s tried to claw back but couldn’t quite get there. That’s five wins in a row for Minnesota.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: POSTPONED:All the rain

All the rain
Cover me now
All the rain
All the rain
Cover me now

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

Cardinals v Pirates
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No Adam Wainwright? No problem. At least for now, anyway. The Cardinals won their fourth straight game last night with a 2-1 victory over the division rival Pirates in 10 innings.

The game went into extras after Mark Reynolds tied the game with an infield single in the seventh. The game-winner was set up after Jon Jay singled and Matt Carpenter doubled against Rob Scahill with two outs in the tenth. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle elected to intentionally walk Matt Holliday to load the bases, but Matt Adams made him pay with an opposite-field single to end it.

A.J. Burnett tossed six scoreless innings in the loss and drove in the only run of the game for the Pirates with an RBI single. He also passed Sandy Koufax on the all-time strikeout list. He’s now at 2,397 for his career, tying him with Kevin Brown for 41st.

The Cardinals currently own the best record in the majors at 16-6. Only the Royals (+48) have a higher run differential than St. Louis (+38).

Your Friday box scores:

Pirates 1, Cardinals 2 (10 innings)

Brewers 0, Cubs 1

Rays 2, Orioles 0

Nationals 0, Mets 4

Blue Jays 4, Indians 9

Phillies 3, Marlins 4

Athletics 7, Rangers 5

Reds 3, Braves 4

Tigers 1, Royals 4

White Sox 0, Twins 1

Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 8

Mariners 3, Astros 4

Rockies 3, Padres 14

Angels 2, Giants 3

Evan Gattis has struck out in eight straight plate appearances

Evan Gattis AP
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The Astros knew that they’d have to live with strikeouts when they acquired Evan Gattis from the Braves over the winter, but this is a little extreme.

Gattis went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts for the second straight day on Thursday against the Indians. That’s not a category you want to be in. According to Baseball Reference, Gattis is the first player in Astros history to strike out four times in consecutive games. He’s also the first player since at least 1914 with two four-strikeout games within his team’s first three games in a season. Yikes.

Now 0-for-11 on the year and hearing boo-birds from the home crowd in Houston, Gattis summed up how he felt to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:

“It’s embarrassing,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ve never done [0-for-4 with four strikeouts] in my career before [Wednesday], and then two in a row. … Yeah, it’s disappointing. I’m just a better hitter than what I’ve done so far this year.”

The all-time record for consecutive strikeouts from a non-pitcher is nine, which is shared by Mark Reynolds, Bo Jackson, Reggie Jackson, Eric Davis, Steve Balboni, and Adolfo Phillips. There’s some decent company in there, but Gattis will hope to avoid joining that club next time out.

Correction: Brian McTaggart informs me that the record for a non-pitcher was actually set by Rick Ankiel in 2013, with strikeouts in 10 consecutive plate appearances. So Gattis is two away. My apologies on that.