Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Phillies 2, Nationals 0: I wrote this one up yesterday afternoon, but the upshot was that Aaron Nola was dominant, he out-pitched Max Scherzer and he threw a speedball by Bryce Harper, made him look like a fool. A big win for Philly, who risked falling even farther behind the Braves because . . .
Braves 5, Marlins 0: . . . they took care of their business against the Marlins in dominating fashion. Sean Newcomb allowed only two hits in six shutout innings. Charlie Culberson hit a two-run homer, Ender Inciarte went deep. Oh, and Ronald Acuña went deep against the Marlins again too — he just keeps doing that — and, of course, a Marlins pitcher plunked him again because they’re whiny baby-men who can’t stand it that a 20-year-old owns them like Chipper owned the Mets. I’d say if Acuña ever has kids he should do what Chipper did and name them after the Marlins’ park, but it’s such a sad sack franchise that the park isn’t named after anyone and doesn’t even have commercial naming rights. Just “Marlins Park,” which they had to do so people don’t show up at the wrong place.
Red Sox 7, Indians 0: After dropping two the Sox came back and win two to earn the split in the possible playoff preview. Six of Boston’s seven runs came in the fifth inning when three dudes — Blake Swihart, Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez — each hit two-run doubles. David Price, meanwhile, tossed eight shutout innings. He’s been pretty amazing lately, by the way, which probably kills a lot of Boston columnist’s ideas about playoff previews with headlines like “should Price be on the postseason roster?” or “David Price: weak link,” because from what I’ve seen they love to kill Price in Boston.
Tigers 7, White Sox 2: Matt Boyd with the classic Number of the Beast game, allowing six hits and striking out six while tossing six shutout innings. The Tigers lineup certainly made James Shields Run to the Hills, lighting him up for seven runs on ten hits, with Nick Castellenos, Mike Mahtook and Ronny Rodriguez all going deep.
Giants 3, Mets 1: Madison Bumgarner and Jacob deGrom faced off and they did not disappoint. The former outdueled the latter, allowing one run on five hits over eight innings while the latter allowed two — one earned — on four hits over six. Bumgarner also hit an RBI double and Evan Longoria homered.
Rockies 4, Padres 3: San Diego took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth and had Kirby Yates on the mound trying to close it out. He didn’t. After striking out Nolan Arenado and allowing Trevor Story to reach on a single he got Gerardo Parra for out number two. Then up came Ian Desmond who deposited Yates’ second pitch — a splitter that didn’t split — over the left field wall for a walkoff homer.
Rays 4, Royals 3: Another walkoff win, this one via a bases-loaded grounder which Ryan O’Hearn threw away while trying to get the lead runner at home. Royals gonna Royal. That means 4-0 sweep for the Rays and a 7-0 season series sweep against Kanas City. It also gives the Rays the same record as the Los Angeles Dodgers. Which, in my view, says a whole lot more about the Dodgers right now than the Rays, but you wouldn’t know it from my Twitter mentions, which I woke up to discover were laden with Rays fans taunting me because they think I was one of those people who thought Tampa Bay would lose 100 games or something this year.
Welp, sorry to disappoint you, Rays fans. Here’s my Rays preview from March. As with most teams, I noted that if things went sideways things could be ugly, but I also assessed the team as having a chance for a low-80s win total. At the moment they’re on pace for 85 wins. How very, very hater-like of me! So much doomsaying!
Eventually they’ll either tire of bugging me or else they’ll figure out that my actual criticism of the Rays was criticism of ownership for cutting payroll and playing for the future rather than add to what was a decent team last year in an effort to make them a truly competitive team this year. As it is, they’ve played over their heads and are still nine games out of a Wild Card slot. Maybe a move or two would’ve had them in the playoff picture. I don’t think that’s too much for any fan to ask.
Cubs 7, Reds 1: Cole Hamels tossed a complete game, giving up only one run on eight hits, and Javier Baez hit a homer that went nearly 500 dang feet while going 3-for-5 and Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer and knocked in three. Hamels has a 0.79 ERA in five starts as a Cub, by the way. Everyone cited his weird home/road splits when he was with Texas and I tend to be skeptical of that being a thing that predicts future success or failure, but maybe he really did just hate pitching in Arlington.
Twins 6, Athletics 4: A two-run, pinch-hit double by Mitch Garver put Minnesota up 4-2 in the fourth inning, Joe Mauer added an RBI single to knock Garver in and the Twins didn’t look back. Well, Max Kepler homered, but he was probably looking ahead of him when he did that. It’s hard enough to homer as it is, you know. The A’s lose their second game in a row, which has not happened to them very much lately.