Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Dodgers 5, Astros 2: You don’t care about the score to this one. You care about the fireworks. And I have to say, they were pretty fun! So let’s briefly note that Carlos Correa homered and drove in another run in the first couple of innings to give the Astros an early lead and then the Dodgers scored five in the fifth after Framber Valdez allowed the first three batters of the inning to reach on singles, got yanked, and then reliever Enoli Paredes melted down walking a run in, an Alex Bregman error led to another, and then Paredes allowed two more run-scoring singles before the third pitcher of the inning — a dude actually named “Scrubb” — walked in a fifth run. The game, at that point, was effectively over, but then it got fun.
In the sixth, Joe Kelly threw a 3-0 fastball that sailed over Alex Bregman‘s head to the backstop. Everyone knows what that was about. Bregman eventually walked. Michael Brantley then grounded to first where Kelly was covering and Brantley stepped on Kelly’s ankle. Kelly would say after the game that he thought it was incidental contact, but at the time he lingered a bit staring at people, perhaps thinking Brantley was trying to spike him (if he had spiked him, it’d probably be Kelly’s fault, as his foot as on the front of the bag, not the side). Then, because there was no crowd you could clearly hear Astros manager Dusty Baker yell from the dugout, “just get on the mound little f**ker!”
Kelly then walked Yuli Gurriel. A wild pitch sent Brantley to third and Gurriel to second. That brought up Carlos Correa, to whom Kelly directed a curve ball at his head. Correa ducked out of the way, stared at Kelly and then at the Dodgers’ dugout, then spat. Correa eventually struck out and jawed at Kelly who jawed back and then the Astros dugout stared shouting at Kelly. At which point Kelly started making pouty faces and, according to this story in The Athletic, said “nice swing, b**ch” to Correa.
After which the benches cleared. Here’s everything:
Everyone seemed to realize that you can’t really fight in the age of social distancing so it was mostly a lot of posturing and staring at one another before people dispersed. Still, gotta give big points to Dusty Baker for style and, though I don’t approve of pitchers throwing at hitters, (a) the Astros probably had to know this was coming given the history; and (b) Kelly made up for the purpose pitches with some quality chirping and mugging, and there isn’t enough quality mugging in baseball.
Indians 4, White Sox 3; Indians 5, White Sox 3: The first doubleheader of the season goes to Cleveland. Glad this wasn’t a split, as those seem kind of depressing in even the best of times, what with six hours of baseball being played but with nothing being accomplished due to the two games cancelling each other out. In this season, with every single game worth 2.7 normal season games, a split double header would be like a week’s worth of games negating themselves! How horribly pointless!
But, no, Cleveland took both, with Francisco Lindor and Bradley Zimmer homering in the first game to back an effective Aaron Civale (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 9K) and Carlos Santana smacking a two-run homer, Lindor driving in another, and Adam Plutko giving up two runs over six. These are basically the platonic idea of Indians wins this year, by the way: decent pitching and the team’s couple of offensive superstars getting key hits. Cleveland has won four of five on the young season.
Blue Jays 5, Nationals 1: The juniors — Vlad Guerrero and Lourdes Gurriel — each homered and former Washington National Tanner Roark allowed only one run over five against his old mates. The Nats are 1-4 after dropping three straight games. And they’ve looked pretty bad in those losses.
Cubs 8, Reds 5: Javier Báez hit two homers — a solo shot and a two-run dong — and made a few slick plays on defense to power the Cubs to their fourth win in five games. Six total homers in this game — one by former Cub Nick Castellanos that briefly tied things up early — provide a good reminder of how much of a band box Great American Ballpark is in the dog days.
Rays 5, Braves 2: Braves starting pitching is definitely a problem. Kyle Wright loaded the bases on three walks, in the bottom of the third and then the Rays smacked three consecutive two out hits to chase him on their way to a five-run inning. Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a two-run single in the rally. Wright claimed after the game that the rules preventing pitchers from licking their fingers hurt him:
“I don’t want to make excuses, first off. I usually lick my fingers, can’t lick my fingers, but it’s the rules, figure it out. I’ve got to do a better job of doing that. I’ve had some issues in the past of finding a grip, but it’s time to get going, time to figure it out. I think it’s a good learning experience for me.”
I love how guys who are about to make an excuse first say “I don’t want to make excuses.” It’s like how guys who are about to lie say “quite frankly” and companies who don’t give a crap about their workers say “the health and safety of our workers is our top priority.” Either way, Yonny Chirinos pitched four effective innings for the Rays and he couldn’t lick his fingers. “Figure it out,” indeed.
Pirates 8, Brewers 6: It was tied at two, then Milwaukee scored four in the top of the seventh to take a 6-2 lead, then they promptly gave those four runs back to the Buccos in the bottom half and Adam Frazier hit a two-run jack in the bottom of the eighth to give Pittsburgh the win. The day before, Pittsburgh blew a four-run lead in the ninth and lost in the 11th, so this was atonement I suppose. Or payback. Depends on your religious or cosmic beliefs, I guess.
Tigers 4, Royals 3: Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer in the top of the third to start the game’s scoring but then Jonathan Schoop and Christin Stewart each hit two-run homers in the bottom of the third to end the game’s scoring. The other eight innings included action that was important in the moment but amounted to nothing that changed the overarching chronicle of the contest. In this those innings were like the whole of human activity apart from wars and conquests, which tend to animate the narrative of world history and which overshadow the mundane but far more important business of existence, warping our notions of what truly makes a civilization.
Mets 8, Red Sox 3: The Red Sox made a bold move in starting a baseball season without any pitching and, remarkably, it’s not paying off for them. They only gave up two to the Orioles on Opening Day but since then they have lost four straight, allowing 29 runs in those four games. J.D. Davis hit a two-run homer Robinson Cano hit an RBI double and Amed Rosario had a two-run single. Mets starter David Peterson made his big league debut, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out three.
Twins 6, Cardinals 3: A five-run second inning capped by a Jorge Polanco two-run homer shaped this one, and Josh Donaldson‘s solo shot in the fourth in his home debut was the cherry on top. Homer Bailey, also making his home debut, allowed two over five innings to get the W.
The game was paused at 8:46 PM for a moment of silence to honor George Floyd. The Twins have hung a Black Lives Matter banner and another one reading “Justice for George Floyd.” Manager Rocco Baldelli who, among others, knelt during the national anthem, said this:
“Everyone felt something in that moment. It definitely draws your attention to something other than baseball for a minute, and it was the right time to do so, in my opinion.”
Diamondbacks 4, Rangers 1: A two-run throwing error and a David Peralta RBI single gave the Snakes three in the first and a Stephen Vogt RBI double in the sixth made it 4-0. That was more than enough for Arizona starter Merrill Kelly, who allowed one run while pitching into the eighth inning. Who knew that starters could pitch into the eighth anymore?
Angels 10, Mariners 2: Anthony Rendon, who started the season on the IL, made his Angels debut and he hit a two-run homer and reached base three times. Albert Pujols homered too — his 657th of his career — as the Angels romped. Max Stassi hit a three-run homer, Shohei Ohtani had an RBI double and Justin Upton drove in two. A fun one if you played for the winners. A slog for the M’s.
Rockies 8, Athletics 3: Sam Hilliard homered, David Dahl drove in a pair, and Nolan Arrenado had a sac fly to give the Rockies their third win in four games. Antonio Senzatela pitched five for the win. He beat Daniel Mengden, which makes me sad, because I love watching that weird dude pitch with that old-timey windup of his. At least he used to have that. I didn’t see the video of this game yet. I always worry that, at some point, someone is gonna make him stop doing that.
Padres 5, Giants 3: Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a three-run homer in the third and Wil Myers hit a two-run drive in the fourth. Which answers the question the Giants have been having about whether Jeff Samardzija‘s spring and summer camp struggles would carry over into the season. Yup. Zach Davies made his Padres debut and struck out five over five innings and allowed two earned runs for the win. San Diego is 4-1.
Yankees vs. Phillies, Orioles vs. Marlins — POSTPONED