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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: The White Sox extended their winning streak to three games on Saturday, bolstered by six solid innings from Mike Pelfrey and three home runs from Todd Frazier, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu. Frazier tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning, capitalizing on a fielding error by Josh Donaldson to put the Sox up 4-2, while Yolmer Sanchez delivered a sac bunt for the fifth and final run of the game.

Indians 9, Twins 3 (Game 1): The Twins relinquished first place to the Indians, tying their division rivals at the top of the AL Central standings after their first loss of Saturday’s doubleheader. Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer combined for eight of the Indians’ nine RBI, a performance that was highlighted by Ramirez’s first-inning home run off of Adam Wilk and Zimmer’s line drive double in the third.

Indians 6, Twins 2 (Game 2): After a short break between games, during which the Twins kept busy by signing first-round draft pick Royce Lewis, the Indians cemented their first-place status with another win. Mike Clevinger went 4 1/3 innings before the teams entered a one-hour rain delay, distributing two hits and a run and striking out four of 15 batters. At the plate, the Twins struck first on a Joe Mauer double in the third inning, but the Indians responded in full force, lashing four home runs to gain a four-run advantage.

Rockies 5, Giants 1: Sometimes, it’s not the quality of hits that matters, but the quantity. The Rockies racked up 13 singles and one double during their five-run rout of the Giants, forcing opposing starter Matt Cain to exit after just five frames, nine hits and two runs. Kyle Freeland, meanwhile, went a full six innings for his eighth win of the year, and survived a scary moment when he took a line drive off of his left forearm in the third inning:

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 1: Jerad Eickhoff was having a pretty good night, all things considered. He outlasted the Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley, tossing six frames on five hits and one run, and appeared to be in line for his first win of the season. That all changed in the seventh inning, when the D-backs pounced on relievers Edubray Ramirez and Casey Fien for a four-run lead that proved insurmountable. With the loss, the Phillies are now just 1-10 in their last 11 games.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Ryon Healy may not be drawing the same kind of attention lavished on sluggers like Aaron Judge or Eric Thames, but he’s creeping up on their home run totals after completing his third multi-homer game of the month. He went 3-for-4 on Saturday, connecting twice for his 16th and 17th blasts of the season.

His first home run came courtesy of a 1-2 cutter from Masahiro Tanaka, knotting the score 2-2 in the second inning:

His second, a 3-2 solo shot in the fourth, propelled the A’s past the Yankees with a one-run lead:

Orioles 15, Cardinals 7: Adam Wainwright didn’t stand a chance against the Orioles. The Cardinals’ right-hander issued back-to-back runs to Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo in the first inning, which looked like child’s play compared to the seven-run spread that awaited him in the second inning. Baltimore lost little time establishing a lead, collecting five hits, two walks and seven runs off of Wainwright before he was forced off the mound. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the bullpen fared little better in Wainwright’s absence, handing over another four runs before the game’s 15-7 conclusion.

Dodgers 10, Reds 2: The Reds are 5-13 against NL West opponents this season, thanks in no small part to their current eight-game losing streak against the Dodgers and Rockies. Saturday’s game was the worst of the eight losses, led by a five-run third inning and a rare two-homer effort from Yasiel Puig. With the win, the Dodgers maintained their second-place status in the division, just on the heels of the 45-26 Rockies.

Braves 8, Marlins 7 (10 innings): The Freeze rebounded for another win on Saturday night, an omen of good luck as the Braves stormed back from a 7-5 deficit to clinch their 30th win of the season in extras. More exciting than Matt Adams‘ four-RBI night, Nick Markakisgame-tying double and Brandon Phillipswalk-off base hit in the 10th? This postgame interview with the Marlins’ Dee Gordon, who discussed a potential race against the Braves’ racing phenom… even one without the standard 200-foot head start.

Padres 7, Brewers 5 (11 innings): The Padres prevailed in extras for their 28th win of the season, capping an impressive start by rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Lamet fired 12 strikeouts over six innings, allowing four hits and three runs — one of which was an inside-the-park home run by Brewers’ shortstop Orlando Arcia.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Lamet pitched his way into the history books, becoming just the 22nd rookie hurler to set down 12+ strikeouts within his first five career games in the majors.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: A pitcher’s duel can have only one victor, as the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer discovered the hard way on Saturday. He went toe-to-toe against the Rays’ Chris Archer for four scoreless frames, but lost some of his edge in the fifth inning, surrendering an RBI base hit to Daniel Robertson and allowing another two runs in the seventh on Robertson’s second RBI single and a go-ahead base hit from Mallex Smith.

Nationals 7, Mets 4: After going 1-5 in their last two series, the Nationals are back on top with a three-game win streak against the Mets. Another three-home run effort solidified their lead on Saturday, powered by blasts from Trea Turner, Jose Lobaton and Adam Lind and a five-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg.

Rangers 10, Mariners 4: The Rangers may still be a distant second to the 46-23 Astros, but you wouldn’t know it by their dominant run this past week. They’re 7-1 against the Nationals, Astros and Mariners, putting up consecutive 10-4 wins in Seattle to stay one step ahead of the third-place Angels. On Saturday, they got things started with a five-run first inning, highlighted by Mike Napoli‘s two-out homer off of Yovani Gallardo:

The Mariners made a good-faith effort to catch up with an RBI double from Taylor Motter and Mike Zunino’s seventh home run of the year, but it wasn’t enough to overtake their rivals, who returned in the sixth with another five-run spread on three homers from Napoli, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo.

Astros 7, Red Sox 1: The Astros coasted to a much-needed win on Saturday, banking on six solid innings from rookie right-hander David Paulino. Paulino fanned four of 21 batters, holding the Red Sox to just three hits and one run to clinch his first big league win. Helping matters was the seven runs of support he received from a blistering offensive drive, featuring the Astros’ three-run first inning, home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran and a run-scoring double play by Norichika Aoki.

Altuve’s blast crowned the Astros’ impressive run, measuring an estimated 428 feet and ricocheting off the train in left field:

Pirates 4, Cubs 3: The Cubs took a tough loss to their division rival on Saturday night, one that Jake Arrieta later pinned on the high humidity at PNC Park. The heat caused Chicago’s ace to sweat profusely, making the ball too slippery to find consistency within the strike zone. He exited in the fifth inning after loading the bases on a hit by pitch, and issued two wild pitches during his abbreviated start.

It wasn’t all bad news for Arrieta and the Cubs, however. The right-hander struck out the side in the second, registering seven strikeouts before making an early exit. At the plate, he logged his second home run of the year off of opposing starter Ivan Nova, skying it 380 feet into the left field bleachers to put the Cubs on the board in the fifth:

Angels 9, Royals 0: Don’t look now, but Cameron Maybin has a pretty nifty streak going. The Angels’ outfielder has reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, bringing his season batting line to a comfortable .267/.375/.408 through 224 PA. He kicked things off on Saturday with a first-pitch home run off of Jake Junis in the first inning:

Maybin wasn’t the only Angel to earn recognition for his prowess at the plate. Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 against the Royals and smashed a two-run homer in the fifth inning, earning his 1,865th career RBI — good for tenth-most among all past and present major league hitters.

Noah Syndergaard on Mets extending Jacob deGrom: ‘Pay the man already.’

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March has marked contract extension season across Major League Baseball. Just in the last week, we have seen Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt sign extensions. Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola also notably signed extensions during the offseason.

One name strikingly absent from that list: Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom is earning $17 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2020 season. He will turn 31 years old in June, but is an obvious extension candidate for the Mets, who have built arguably their most competitive team since 2015, when the club lost the World Series in five games to the Royals. Thus far, though, the Mets and deGrom haven’t been able to get anywhere in extension talks.

deGrom’s rotation mate Noah Syndergaard is watching. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Syndergaard said, “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want them to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all the fuss and pay the man already.”

Syndergaard added that the recent extension trend around baseball — and deGrom’s lack of an extension to date — sends a message. He said, “I think so, yes, because of what you see in what’s going on in baseball right now. If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, then I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you see Chris Sale, Verlander getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one too.”

Part of the equation behind the recent rash of extensions is the stagnation of free agency. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel — two of baseball’s better pitchers — have gone through almost an entire spring training without being signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find new homes until late February. Free agents in their 30’s are largely being underpaid or otherwise forgotten about. Extensions represent financial security for young and old players alike. Syndergaard himself can become a free agent after the 2021 season, so if deGrom’s prospects improve, then so too will his, at least without knowing the details of the next collective bargaining agreement which will be put into place ahead of the 2022 season.