Settling the Scores: Tuesday’s results

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The Rangers took a 4-0 lead in the first inning off of Collin McHugh, but coughed most of it back up in the second and all of it back up by the fourth when they took a 5-4 lead. But then Adrian Beltre doubled in Prince Fielder in the bottom half of the fourth and it was a whole new ballgame.

On to the ninth with Oliver Perez, pitching for the Astros to face the lefty Fielder, allowed the big man to reach on a single. Will Harris came in to pitch and promptly allowed pinch runner Drew Stubbs to make it to third on an Adrian Beltre single. Stubbs then came home on a Mitch Moreland sac fly. Watch the whole sequence and tell me that it doesn’t feel like playoff baseball has finally arrived, even if a bit early:

The Astros took over first place in the AL West on April 19 and held it until July 11. Then they returned to first place on July 29 and held it until last night. That’s pretty good for a club that lost 416 games over the previous four years. But ballplayers have short memories and, after the success they’ve had this year, not winning the division would have to feel like failure to them. So they had best hope they have a third surge to the top deep inside themselves someplace.

Here are the rest of last night’s results. Box scores here.

Rangers 6, Astros 5
Pirates 5, Cubs 4; Cubs 2, Pirates 1
Orioles 6, Red Sox 5
Nationals 4, Phillies 0
Royals 2, Indians 0
Braves 3, Blue Jays 2
Marlins 9, Mets 3
Rays 6, Yankees 3
Athletics 17, White Sox 6
Cardinals 3, Brewers 1
Tigers 5, Twins 4
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 4
Angels 4, Mariners 3
Rockies 5, Dodgers 4
Reds 9, Giants 8

Pete Alonso sets new NL rookie record with 40th home run

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With a ninth-inning solo home run off of Royals pitcher Jacob Barnes on Sunday, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso set a new National League rookie record for home runs in a single season. He now has 40 with 36 games left in the regular season.

Cody Bellinger, currently the home run leader with 42, hit 39 home runs in his rookie season in 2017, holding the record until today. The major league record is 52, set by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge also in 2017. Judge had broken Mark McGwire’s record of 49 hit in 1987.

Alonso went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI double, and three runs scored along with the homer. He’s now batting .271 with a .979 OPS with 40 homers and 95 RBI on the season.

With their 11-5 win over the Royals, the Mets improved to 64-60. They have the same exact record as the Phillies and Brewers, sitting 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card.