Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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With the Cardinals right on their heels, the Pirates continue to hang tough in the National League Central. They maintained a one-game lead in the division with a 3-1 win over the Giants last night in San Francisco.

Charlie Morton was the story of the night for Pittsburgh, as he allowed just one run over 7 2/3 innings for the victory. The only offense he needed was a three-run homer by Clint Barmes in the top of the seventh inning, which made a loser out of Madison Bumgarner. MVP hopeful Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-3 with a walk for Pittsburgh and is hitting .451 with a ridiculous .556 on-base percentage in August.

The Pirates now sit at 76-52 on the season. They need just six wins in their last 34 games to secure their first winning season since 1992.

Your Friday box scores:

Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 4

Twins 5, Indians 1

Tigers 6, Mets 1

Rockies 3, Marlins 2

Athletics 7, Orioles 9

Yankees 2, Rays 7

Brewers 6, Reds 4

Braves 1, Cardinals 3

Rangers 11, White Sox 5

Nationals 11, Royals 10

Blue Jays 4, Astros 12

Red Sox 0, Dodgers 2

Angels 2, Mariners 0

Cubs 6, Padres 8

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.