Max Scherzer flirted with a perfect game and ultimately settled for a no-hitter the last time he faced the Pirates on June 20. It was a different story for the Nationals ace this time around. The Pirates scored five runs off Scherzer last night as part of a 7-5 victory at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates hit three home runs off Scherzer. The first sailed into the Allegheny River off the bat of Pedro Alvarez. The second was a game-tying blast from Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning which capped an impressive 12-pitch at-bat. The third one was from Neil Walker and gave the Pirates the lead.
That lead was short-lived, as Ian Desmond tied things up in the top of the sixth with a home run of his own. However, the Pirates battled right back with a go-ahead RBI double from Brent Morel and an RBI single from Polanco. Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon followed with three scoreless innings of relief to finish off the victory.
The Pirates are six games back of the Cardinals in the National League Central, but are still sitting pretty for a Wild Card spot. The Nationals are just 3-5 since the All-Star break, but the Mets are also slumping, so they still have a three-game lead in the NL East.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Phillies 5, Cubs 3 (10 innings)
Tigers 1, Red Sox 2 (11 innings)
White Sox 6, Indians 0
Nationals 5, Pirates 7
Orioles 1, Rays 3
Dodgers 7, Mets 2
Astros 4, Royals 0
Braves 2, Cardinals 4
Yankees 1, Twins 10
Reds 5, Rockies 6
Rangers 4, Angels 2
Brewers 2, Diamondbacks 1
Blue Jays 2, Mariners 5
Marlins 1, Padres 3
Athletics 3, Giants 9
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.
The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.
Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.
Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.
The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.
Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.
Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.