Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Phillies 7, Dodgers 4: Yasmani Grandal hit two homers — he’s hitting .408/.525/.837 with five homers in the month of July — but a three-run Phillies rally in the bottom of the seventh capped by a Jorge Alfaro two-run homer tied this one and sent it to extras. Lots and lots of extras. It was a 16-inning game, in fact, which ended when a position player — Kiké Hernandez — walked two of the first three guys he faced and then gave up a walk-off home run to Trevor Plouffe.
On the one hand we can laud both teams’ bullpens for many, many scoreless innings here. The Phillies’ pen, in fact, tossed a final ten scoreless innings while L.A.’s tossed eight in between Philly tying things up and the walkoff. On the other hand we can ask why it is not possible for at least one or two pitchers to go longer than they did to prevent a situation in which a position player is on the mound in a tie game between playoff contenders.
Eight pitchers in this game threw one inning or less. Only one pitcher came out for a third inning (and left one out later). If relievers could even average a couple of innings, you don’t have a utilityman pitching in a walkoff situation. Or, as was the case here, one of your starters — Rich Hill — warming in the pen at one point to pitch in a save situation. I realize I’m putting on my old man cap here, but I honestly tell you, children, that there, once upon a time, was such a thing as a “long man” in baseball and that even the other relievers were capable, on occasion, of pitching more than an inning at a time.
Where this insane amount of position player pitching stuff is going to lead us is a 26th roster spot, which teams will use on another reliever and, because there are extra relievers, managers will feel free in the normal course to pitch any one reliever to even fewer batters, leading to more specialized, max-velocity dudes, fewer balls in play and more mid-inning pitching changes. Gotta love the direction the game is going aesthetically-speaking, y’all.
Yankees 4, Rays 0: Alternatively, teams can just sign old school dudes like Masahiro Tanaka who pitch complete game shutouts. A three-hitter with nine strikeouts, in fact, for Tanaka. “They don’t make ’em like this any more,” the old man says as he slaps the fender for his Studebaker, ignoring that the back bumper fell off as he did so because inhaling the fumes of toxic, leaded gas has killed off the parts of his brain where perception is centered.
Athletics 13, Rangers 10: The Athletics trailed 10-2 after six innings at which point they did not give up even another hit to the Rangers as they rallied for three in the seventh, four in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extras and then put up a three-spot in the 10th thanks to a Khris Davis three-run blast to win the dang thing. Marcus Semien and Jed Lowrie each drove in three as well for Oakland and Mark Canha, Lowrie, Stephen Piscotty and Davis all hit dongs. Just an absolute error-and-walk-filled collapse for the Rangers, who were already starting to grumble at one another before the game. The A’s are ascendant. The Rangers are cratering.
Marlins 9, Braves 3: J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run homer and drove in four in all as the Marlins picked up a rare home win against the Braves. My father-in-law is a Tigers fan, but a couple of weeks back he said that, due to their season being lost, he was going to pick up the Braves as his secondary rooting interest. Since then Atlanta is 4-6. I told him to to buy some stock so I know which equities to short.
Cardinals 4, Reds 2: For the second night in a row Eugenio Suarez hit a late homer to put the Reds back in the game — a two-run shot in the seventh here — but a later homer, by Dexter Fowler in the top of the 11th, won it for the Redbirds. Austin Gomber made his MLB debut as the Cardinals starter and pitched shutout ball until that Fowler dinger. Homer Bailey allowed two over six and two-thirds and struck out eight.
Orioles 7, Red Sox 6: Tim Beckham and Jonathan Schoop each homered and drove in three as the O’s won their first game since the All-Star break and Boston lost for only the third time in 18 games. This one was saved by Brad Brach, with Zach Britton sitting in the bullpen watching, due to his trade to the Yankees being finalized as the game wore on. That’s gotta be weird as hell.
Pirates 9, Indians 4: Make it 11 in a row for Pittsburgh. Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Josh Bell each hit two-run homers. Marte drove in three and extended his hitting streak to 17 games in the process. Shane Bieber of the Indians was called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game to make the start and he allowed seven runs in one and two-thirds innings. Must’ve stopped too long and bought too much at Grandpa’s Cheese Barn on the way up I-71. Can’t say as I blame him. The Cheese Barn is the Truth. I even have a t-shirt. Wish I was lying.
Mets 6, Padres 3: Devin Mesoraco hit a three-run double in the first to get the Mets off on the right foot and Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer. Zack Wheeler won his second straight start after going thirteen straight starts without a win.
Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 1: I keep forgetting Clay Buchholz is on the Diamondbacks. But he is, he was activated from the DL yesterday and he came out and allowed one on six hits while pitching into the seventh. He had to too, as it was 0-0 until the fifth inning. At that point the Snakes rallied for three to give him some breathing room.
Brewers 5, Nationals 4: Washington had a 4-0 lead after two and would not score again. A Christian Yelich two-run homer in the fifth brought the Brewers close, a Lorenzo Cain RBI single in the seventh tied things up and a Tyler Saladino sac fly in the bottom of the tenth walked it off. Fun times: Trea Turner was benched after Monday night’s lollygagging, but was inserted as a pinch runner for Washington in the 10th. He got picked off. He would really like to start the week over again. So would the Nats, who have lost five of seven.
Royals 5, Tigers 4: K.C. built up a 5-0 lead through six and then held on. Royals starter Burch Smith gave up just one hit and struck out six in six and a third innings to win his first game in five years. The two runs charged to him came by virtue of the reliever who took over for him giving up a three-run homer. Smith’s last win came as a rookie, late season callup with the Padres in 2013, after which he pitched in the minors in 2014 and didn’t throw a pitch in either 2015 or 2016 due to injuries. He pitched well in the Rays system last year but was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft last December and here he is.
Astros 8, Rockies 2: Gerrit Cole and Tyler Anderson dueled for six innings and change, each giving up two, and regulation play would end with things tied. The Astros made quick work of extras, however, putting up a six-spot in the top of the tenth thanks to a Tony Kemp RBI single, a Kyle Tucker two-run triple, a George Springer two-run homer immediately thereafter and then a final RBI single from Yuli Gurriel. Five of those runs, and the homer and the triple, were marked down in the ledger of Wade Davis.
White Sox 4, Angels 2: Carlos Rodon allowed two while pitching into the eighth. Yoan Moncada homered. The first and last runs of the game, the former by the White Sox the latter by the Angels, scored on bases-loaded walks. Bookends of futility.
Giants 4, Mariners 3: In the top of the ninth Pablo Sandoval hit a dribbler past the mound with a man on, Dee Gordon forced a bad throw, no doubt because he was panicking over the Panda’s blazing speed, and Steven Dugger scored from second base to give the Giants their eventual winning run. Hunter Pence homered and Chase d'Arnaud and Kelby Tomlinson hit RBI singles for the Giants.