Cole Hamels was the shining star of Saturday’s slate, but there’s a ton of coverage of his feat already posted here. Let’s talk about the Cardinals, who have the best record in Major League Baseball at 63-34, the best run differential in baseball at +108, and the longest current winning streak now at five games.
23-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez was again excellent Saturday at Busch Stadium, hurling eight innings of scoreless ball against the Braves in a 1-0 victory. He narrowly out-dueled former teammate Shelby Miller, who was charged with the game’s only run when Stephen Piscotty hit a go-ahead RBI sac fly off reliever Luis Avilan in the bottom of the eighth. It was Piscotty’s first major league RBI.
St. Louis will try to sweep Atlanta on Sunday afternoon behind 24-year-old righty Michael Wacha.
That rough series in Pittsburgh just before the All-Star break already seems like a distant memory. The Cardinals dropped three of four and their once-massive lead in the National League Central standings had shrunk to 2 1/2 games. As it stands currently, that lead is back up to seven games.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Tigers 5, Red Sox 1
Phillies 5, Cubs 0
Athletics 1, Giants 2
Blue Jays 8, Mariners 6
Orioles 5, Rays 1
Nationals 9, Pirates 3
White Sox 10, Indians 3
Astros 1, Royals 2 (10 innings)
Yankees 8, Twins 5
Dodgers 2, Mets 15
Braves 0, Cardinals 1
Reds 5, Rockies 2
Brewers 0, Diamondbacks 2
Marlins 1, Padres 3
Rangers 7, Angels 6
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.