Reds 8, Tigers 4: Todd Frazier plays the hero with a 13th inning walkoff grand slam. It was his second homer of the game and second day in a row in which he hit two homers. Between the 13 innings and an hour and a half rain delay, this thing ended at almost 1:30AM. Todd Frazier may be one of the more overlooked players in baseball, but all he’s doing is hitting .294/.361/.639 and is on a 55-homer pace.
Mariners 2, Giants 0: King Outduels Bum. Felix Hernandez has alternated good and bad starts lately, but this one was good. And necessary, as he was facing Madison Bumgarner. Felix shut the Giants out for eight innings, however, while Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano hit a triple and a double, respectively, off of Bumgarner in the sixth for the M’s only runs.
Rays 5, Nationals 0: Steven Souza was a hero in Washington the last time he played a regular season game in Nats Park. That’s when he saved Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter with an acrobatic catch in the last game of the 2014 season. Last night, as a Ray, he had three hits including a homer. The home crowd probably wasn’t as welcoming of that. They were probably even less welcoming of the fact that the Rays tossed a two-hit shutout in what was basically a bullpen game for them.
Yankees 2, Marlins 1: The Yankees’ winning equation: good starting pitching and old guys coming through. It was a gamble at the outset of the season and one that seemed like a longshot, but it’s paying off often enough for them to keep them in contention. Here the formula played out with Michael Pineda looking sharp into the seventh and both Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran knocking in a run.
Orioles 6, Phillies 4: Chris Parmelee homered for the third time in two games. That’s twelve wins in their last fourteen for Baltimore. Nine losses in a row for Philly. When Ryne Sandberg was asked about the club’s record he said “It’s surprising.” Have to expect heads will be rolling soon.
Blue Jays 8, Mets 0: Drew Hutchison bounced back from a poor start to shut the Mets down into the sixth. Kevin Pillar went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. Terry Collins: “We’ve got to start playing better on the road. We’ve got to start winning some games.” Between him and Sandberg it must’ve been Obvious Night last night.
Cubs 17, Indians 0: I sort of operate like the guy from that old HBO series “Dream On,” in that when stuff happens in life, little movie or TV clips play in my head to characterize it. In the past couple of days this has been getting worn out as I peruse the box scores:
Kris Bryant had a grand slam and Kyle Schwarber was 4-for-5. For the second night in a row we saw two position players take the mound for a team, this time Ryan Raburn and David Murphy, who combined to allow seven runs in the ninth. None of them were earned, however, as all seven runs scored after Francisco Lindor booted what would’ve been out number three in the inning.
Braves 5, Reds Sox 2: Boston has now lost eight of nine overall and 11 of 12 on the road. Nick Markakis knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Pedro Ciriaco knocked in two. John Farrell lost a replay challenge, argued when asking for an umpire replay review later on and then got tossed arguing balls and strikes. Tough night at the office.
Pirates 3, White Sox 2: No one knew whether Jung Ho Kang’s gaudy numbers from Korea would translate to the majors, but he’s doin’ just fine, no? A two-run homer in this one puts him at .280/.363/.420 on the year and I think the Pirates are quite pleased with it. That’s seven wins in a row for Pittsburgh, who actually made up a game in the standings because . . .
Twins 3, Cardinals 1: . . . The Cardinals finally lost a game on a night Pittsburgh won. Tommy Milone gave up one run in seven innings and Glen Perkins notched a four-out save. This from the AP gamer strikes me as odd:
Carlos Martinez (7-3) gave up two runs — one earned — on five hits and struck out six in 6 2/3 innings for the Cardinals, who are embroiled in a federal investigation into allegations that members of the team’s baseball operations hacked into the Houston Astros’ personnel database.
Multiple additional words appear about the hacking thing as well. I guess context is context, but it seems really odd to me to insert this into a game story as the scandal seems so very far removed from actual game play. Especially given that no one is quoted talking about it.
Royals 10, Brewers 2: Joe Blanton got his first win — and made his first start — in nearly two years. I suppose this now means he’ll be the starting pitcher for the American League All-Star team.
Astros 8, Rockies 4: Carlos Correa hit one of Houston’s four home runs and he and George Springer each had three hits. In his first nine games he’s hitting .359/.375/.641 with three homers. And he won’t be able to have a legal beer for over three months.
Diamondbacks 3, Angels 2: Paul Goldschmidt and Welington Castillo each hit homers and Yasmany Tomas had three hits with an RBI triple. Goldschmidt is putting up video game numbers this year: .363/.481/.679 with 19 homers and 54 RBI. He’s five homers and eight RBI behind Giancarlo Stanton for the lead in all three triple crown categories. Heck, we actually could have a Triple Crown race this year between him and Bryce Harper.
Athletics 16, Padres 2: Another blowout, this one paired with a dominating pitching performance from Jesse Chavez, who struck out 11. Billy Butler had a big game, hitting a homer on a 4-for-5, 3 RBI night. And of course we got more position player pitching, this time from Alexi Amarista. He only threw two pitches, though, which is kind of sad. We’ve come to expect so much more this week.
Rangers 5, Dodgers 3: Clayton Kershaw struck out ten but he was touched for a Joey Gallo homer and a lot of timely Rangers hitting. Sort of the story of his year, really. Good stuff but you look up at the end of the night and wonder how he gave up four runs.
Must-click link: Playing the game “the right way” is a relative thing
The longer I played baseball, the more I realized that across America, that cliché – Play the game the right way – actually means something very specific: Play the game MY way.
And that “my way” means something very different to different people everywhere. Specifically, he has a great anecdote about his time in the Dominican winter league, where the constant celebrations, bat flips and the sorts of things that could get a guy thrown at or punched in the big leagues is actually a sign of respect and love for the game to others:
The next day I asked some of the local players why they participated in what I’d been taught was excessive celebratory behavior. Their consensus answer was perfect and humbling. They explained that most of them hadn’t spent much time in school beyond fifth grade, and they practiced baseball all day because they didn’t want to chop sugar cane in the fields or do laundry at Casa De Campo, the main resort in town. Job opportunities were slim, and job opportunities with potential upside were nearly nonexistent. They weren’t flipping the bat to show up the pitcher. They were flipping the bat to show everyone watching that they appreciated where they were, and that they really, truly loved playing baseball. They pimped everything, and it was awesomely poetic.
He learned this from a Padres prospect who was also playing down in the Dominican and who showed him one excellent bit of celebratory flair after a homer in a winter ball game. You may be interested to learn who that prospect was. And it may change your perspective on what “playing the game the right way” really means.
Excellent piece by Baker. And a good reminder that the “right way” we’re so often told about is just one way. One way favored by guys who learned to play in one particular part of the world. Well, they have no monopoly on the “right way” and we should not expect anyone, let alone everyone else, to conform to it.
Braves 4, Red Sox 2: Seven straight losses for the Red Sox, but hey, no one really expects you to win when Williams Perez is on the mound for the other team. “What’s the deal with that ‘s’ at the end of his first name?” the opposing hitters say, fearfully. “How can we possibly hit against a guy whose parents are so dismissive of generally-accepted naming conventions?” After the game Pablo Sandoval actually said this:
“We’re fighting. We’re not giving at-bats away . . . We’ve got a good team.”
All evidence points to the contrary.
Orioles 4, Phillies 0: Wei-Yin Chen was great, striking out nine in eight shutout innings. As the season has gone on, game stories from Phillies losses have made them sound more and more like some sort of service provider, traveling the country and helping pitchers who have lost their confidence to find it again. It’s almost noble. It’s like they’re saying “hey, we’re technically major league hitters. Dominate us for a while. Remember what that feels like. It feels good, doesn’t it? We’re happy to help. No go out there and be the best pitcher you can be! Oh, no. We will accept no payment. Helping you was payment enough.”
Pirates 11, White Sox 0: Francisco Liriano was fantastic, going eight innings allowing only two hits and fanning 12. People don’t say “fanning” enough for strikeouts. I feel like they used to say that a lot more than they do now. Sort of how like people used to write “Chisox” for the White Sox and “Bosox” for the Red Sox. I blame it all on unrestrained speculation and shorting going on at the increasingly unregulated New York Word Exchange. Bernie Sanders will straighten them out if we just give him the chance, man.
Tigers 6, Reds 0: Anibal Sanchez with a two-hit shutout and J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera each with a couple driven in. Sanchez has now had two good starts after a couple of months of bad ones. And the Tigers have won six of eight. Scary moment in this one when Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart was on deck and Eugenio Suarez fouled a pitch back and hit him. Barnhart was unhurt, but I have always wondered when, not if, someone on deck was going to get smacked with a foul ball. Shocked we haven’t had more incidents like that.
Mets 4, Blue Jays 3: New York was down 3-2 in the 11th when the Mets rallied. Wilmer Flores had the walkoff hit which ended the Blue Jays’ 11-game winning streak. The Mets are now 35-30 on the season, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals for first place in the National League East. Because . . .
Rays 6, Nationals 1: Erasmo Ramirez was shut out Washington for six innings and the Rays kept scratching out runs. Weird thing: Steven Souza walked five times but was stranded all five times. Tampa Bay won for the 12th time in 16 games to take a one-game lead in the AL East. Because . . .
Marlins 2, Yankees 1: Tom Koehler outdueled Masahiro Tanaka. Kohler allowed a Mark Teixeira homer, but that was it. Fun thing: A-Rod didn’t start due to there being no DH, but he came on to pinch hit in the ninth inning and got a huge ovation from his hometown Miami fans. I feel like the last time he got cheered on the road happened during the Clinton Administration. Oh well, just make him a player-manager, Jeff Loria. You know it’s a great idea.
Rangers 4, Dodgers 1: Rougned Odor had three hits, including a two-run single in his first game back after an over month-long demotion to the minors. Yovani Gallardo frustrated Dodgers hitters. How frustrated?
Royals 8, Brewers 5: The Royals were cruising and then put lights-out closer Greg Holland in the game despite having a six-run lead. He needed the work, you see. But he couldn’t close it out, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. His ERA went from 1.76 to 3.52. The Royals still won, but this will sadly give fuel to the fire of people who insist on claiming that “save situations” are somehow different and more special and more magical than non-save situations and that a special breed of pitcher approaches them in a special sort of way and, my god, I hate that crap.
Astros 6, Rockies 3: Two homers for George Springer to go along with a couple of diving catches in the outfield. Colby Rasmus added a three-run homer. Carlos Correa had three hits.
Cardinals 3, Twins 2: John Lackey allowed two runs on five hits over eight innings and Mark Reynolds and Yadier Molina homered. Random from the AP game story: “Lackey said he missed Reynolds homer live because he was ‘in the bathroom.'” Good to know.
Diamondbacks 7, Angels 3: Robbie Ray allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. No hits until after the fifth inning. The AP says that’s the third time in four days that a Dbacks starter held an opponent hitless through the first five innings. Luminaries all of them: Ray, Chase Anderson and Allen Webster.
Athletics 9, Padres 1: Stephen Vogt hit a grand slam and Jesse Hahn allowed only one run while pitching into the seventh, spoiling Dave Roberts’ managerial debut. Vogt had two other hits as well. He was 0-for-his-last-15 coming into the game.
Mariners 5, Giants 1: Kyle Seager hit a solo shot and Taijuan Walker struck out six in seven innings What an up-and-down season for San Francisco. The Giants have lost five in a row and nine straight at home.
Indians vs. Cubs: POSTPONED: See the sky about to rain,
broken clouds and rain.
Locomotive, pull the train,
through my brain.
Signals curling on an open plain,
rolling down the track again.
See the sky about to rain.