There were a ton of late home run heroics yesterday. Let’s get at ’em! Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
White Sox 13, Astros 9: Big Late Homer #1: James McCann hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the eighth inning, Eloy Jiménez homered and doubled, and Tim Anderson had four hits. And with that, just as in 2005, the White Sox won the best of seven series from the Astros, 4-3. This one had lower stakes and they had to play all seven games — Chicago swept in 2005, you may recall — but this is inarguably one of the season’s highlights from the Pale Hose.
Brewers 6, Twins 5: Big Late Homer #2: The Twins led 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Trent Grisham hit a three-run homer off of Sergio Romo. It was only Grisham’s 11th game in the bigs. Mitch Garver, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sanó all homered for the Twins — and they tried to mount a rally in the ninth, loading the bases, but hey, hey, hey Maaaaaat Aaaallllbers got ’em out of it. Nah, nah, nah, the Brewers had a good time.
Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6: Big Late Homer #3: The Dbacks took a 5-2 lead in the sixth but Ryan McMahon hit a pinch-hit three-run homer to tie things up. Arizona took the lead again in the top of the ninth with a Ketel Marte RBI single but Nolan Arenado smacked a walkoff two-run shot in the bottom half to send the Rockies home winners. It was an absolute no-doubter too:
Athletics 9, Giants 5: Big Late Homer #4: The A’s nearly blew a 7-0 lead in the eighth inning, letting the Giants come to within two, but Matt Chapman came up in the top of the ninth and gave them some breathing room with his second homer of the day. The A’s got that lead thanks in large part to Homer Bailey of all people — note, I am obligated by all applicable style manuals to write “of all people” whenever I mention Homer Bailey doing anything good — pitched seven scoreless innings and singled twice. You ever wonder if the Reds still had him?
Nationals 17, Reds 7: Well, yesterday they probably did. As it was, they had Trevor Bauer throw his worst game as a big leaguer, allowing nine runs on eight hits in four and a third. Then Sal Romano came in to mop up but, apparently, someone put ink and ketchup and a crap-ton of other messy stuff in his bucket, because the mopup man dumped eight runs in two-thirds of an inning all over the floor, helping Washington put up a ten-spot in the fifth. Anthony Rendon, Kurt Suzuki and Adam Eaton each hit homers in that fifth inning and every non-pitcher in the starting lineup scored two runs. Fun part: Javy Guerra worked the final three innings in relief and was credited with a save even though (a) there was no way the Nats were losing this, thus nothing was really “saved”; and (b) despite allowing homers to Aristides Aquino and Freddy Galvis. Looooove that save stat.
Padres 7, Rays 2: Cal Quantrill allowed two runs while pitching into the sixth and contributed at the plate with a second inning RBI single that tied things up at two. San Diego would not look back after that, adding five more, thanks in part to a two-run double by Luis Urías and an Eric Hosmer homer. It was the first time the Padres had beaten the Rays in nine years. To be fair, this was only their tenth game in those nine years, but when you keep track of everything like they do in baseball everything is a potential milestone.
Rangers 7, Blue Jays 3: Danny Santana homered and doubled and drove in three and Elvis Andrus had four hits to help the Rangers avoid the sweep. Both Santana and Andrus used to be Braves. Why is it that, no matter how much water has flowed under the bridge and no matter how little they ever mattered to their original organization — and in Andrus’ case it’s been over 12 years and he never once appeared in a big league game for the Braves — I still always think of former players of the team I root for as “guys we let get away?” And it’s not even prospect hugging or regretting a bad trade as such. There have not been a ton of occasions in the last decade in which I wished Andrus still played in Atlanta. It’s just how they made impressions on you, I suppose. Am I alone in that? Are the dudes who were prospects in your organization and who got sent away for whatever reason who you still think of as “a former ___?”
Yankees 6, Orioles 5: And the Yankees, once again, sweep the Orioles. I can’t remember a season series beatdown as bad as this one was. Maybe when the Braves owned the expansion Colorado Rockies — and former Braves David Nied! — 26 years ago. God I’m old. As for this game, at least the O’s made it close, scoring three runs in the seventh. Gary Sánchez’s three-run homer was the big blast.
Red Sox 5, Indians 1: Rafael Devers was 6-for-6 on Tuesday and he got hits — a homer and a single — in his first two at bats in this one. Eventually the Indians got him out. Eventually everyone is put out. Baseball is a game of failure, even if you’re not failing at the moment. Xander Bogaerts isn’t failing much either. he went deep twice. For the Red Sox, this was their 34th game in a 34-day span. Last night they flew home and — unless they’re a weirdo like me — they are currently sleeping in their own beds. Today they rest.
Phillies 11, Cubs 1: J.T. Realmuto hit a grand slam and Bryce Harper went deep twice as the Phillies rattled off 13 hits and plated 11. I know it doesn’t work like this, but for the hell of it, let’s credit new hitting coach Charlie Manuel, in the dugout for his first game since being given the gig, for this beatdown. At the very least, if you’re John Mallee, and you just got fired for Philly’s disappointing offense, you were probably throwing stuff at the TV wondering where the hell this was before yesterday. Cole Hamels — who Manuel knows pretty well — surrendered most of the damage.
Tigers 3, Mariners 2: The venerable Edwin Jackson allowed two runs on four hits in five innings to win his second straight start. On the other end of the experience spectrum, young catcher Jake Rogers threw out two base runners, with one being picked off of first base when the Mariners threatened in the late innings. He’s had trouble catching the dang ball — he has four passed balls in only 12 games — but he’s got a cannon back there.
Oh, a reader reminded me of something. Back on April 8, I wrote this in the recaps:
Well, it’s mid-August. Here’s Vogelbach last night, commenting on how the Mariners have lost 9 of 11:
“In baseball, you go through skids, but this one is lasting longer than we want.”
It’s a long season, y’all, and everything seems to find its level.
Dodgers 9, Marlins 1: Clayton Kershaw was fantastic, striking out ten guys — including the first seven batters he faced — and allowing only two hits in seven shutout innings. It was his 165th career win, which ties Sandy Koufax on the Dodgers’ all-time win list. Both of them pitched/have pitched for 12 seasons. Koufax needed 397 games pitched/314 started, Kershaw 339/337. Koufax tossed 2,324.1 innings, Kershaw 2,233.1. Koufax had a 131 ERA+, Kershaw a 158 ERA+. Koufax struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings pitched, Kershaw, 9.7. Choose your fighter.
Edwin Rios hit two homers — his first two in the bigs — while Justin Turner went 3-for-5 with a home run and Corey Seager homered and had three RBI. The Dodgers have outscored the Marlins 34-2 in the past three games. They have to play again today. Seems unfair.
Braves 6, Mets 4: Steven Matz and Dallas Keuchel had a nice little pitchers duel going, with the former allowing one and the latter allowing zip through six innings. Keuchel came out of the game to start the seventh and the Mets scored two to take the lead. It was a brief lead as Seth Lugo came in for the Mets in the bottom half of the seventh and coughed up five. Four RBI singles and a fielder’s choice, too, so it was like death but a thou–, er, five cuts. New York plated two more in the ninth against the Braves’ shaky pen but it wasn’t enough.
Angels 7, Pirates 4: Albert Pujols had two hits and three RBI and, in the process, set the major league record for hits by a foreign-born player, passing Adrián Beltré. That’s 3,167 hits in all for those scoring and home, which you do not have to do because, as I said above, baseball keeps track of everything. And even if they didn’t, Sean Forman and the Elias Sports Bureau and Fangraphs and all of those guys do too. Really, it’s covered. Just enjoy the game.
Cardinals 6, Royals 0: Dakota Hudson threw blanks for six innings and three relievers completed the five-hit shutout. On the Royals side of things, Brad Keller threw blanks for six innings — indeed, he no-hit the Cardinals for six innings — but, unfortunately, came back out for the seventh and surrendered three runs without recording an out. As I said yesterday, life comes at you pretty fast.