Yovani Gallardo

Gregory Polanco

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Yovani Gallardo extended his scoreless innings streak to 29 and a third

Yovani Gallardo
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Yovani Gallardo is having an excellent season, even if a lot of people haven’t noticed. They’ll likely start noticing now, as he extended his scoreless innings streak to 29 and a third innings thanks to six shutout innings against the Orioles last night.

He got the a no-decision, but he pitched just fine, allowing only two hits and navigating around three walks. On the year he’s now got a 2.56 ERA and a 72/31 K/BB ratio over 102 innings on the season. Next up, the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Red Sox
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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,
whistle blowing
through my brain.
Signals curling on an open plain,
rolling down the track again.
See the sky about to rain.