Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ervin Santana Keeps Twins In 1st With 2-Hit Shutout Of O's; Anthony Rendon Blasts A Pair For Nationals

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 23, 2017

American League

Minnesota kept its edge in the AL Central, thanks to a sterling performance by starting pitcher, Ervin Santana, who twirled a two-hit, complete game, 2-0, shutout over the stumbling Orioles.

Santana: 2-Hitter
The Twins' ace allowed only singles by Wellington Castillo in the second and Jonathan Schoop in the fifth. He also issued walks to Shoop and Mark Trumbo, and fanned six. Once settle in, Santana was truly untouchable, retiring the final 14 Oriole would-be hitters in order.

Santana has been insanely good this season, a key reason that the Twins are doing so well. The win was his second complete game shutout of the season and he's joined Houston's Dallas Keuchel as the only seven-game winner in the AL.

At 7-2, Santana has already equaled the number of wins he had last season (7-11) and in 2015 (7-5), allowing just 31 hits in 70 innings. Opposing hitters are batting a mere .143 against him.

The result, combined with Cleveland's 8-7 win over Cincinnati, kept the Twins a game up on the reigning la champions. Detroit is four games out. Baltimore has remained in second place behind the Yankees in the East, 1 1/2 back, but having lost three straight and nine of their last 12, the Orioles have allowed the Red Sox to gain. Boston is 3 1/2 out, two behind Baltimore.

Minnesota will be looking for the sweep at Camden Yards Wednesday afternoon. Game time is 12:35 pm ET.

National League

Rendon: 2 HR, 5 RBI
Threatening to runaway in the NL East division, the Washington Nationals won their second straight with a 10-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners.

While Joe Ross was going eight innings for his second win without a loss, allowing just one Seattle run, Anthony Rendon was doing his thing at the plate, supporting his pitcher with a pair of home runs, a two-run shot in the second and a three-run bomb in the fourth. He also doubled to open the fourth, scoring on Matt Weiters single. Scoring eight runs in the inning, the Nationals sent 11 men to the plate. Along with Rendon, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper also homered.

Harper's home run was his 14th, tying him for the league lead with Atlanta's Freddie Freeman. Rendon's two shot gave him seven on the season; the five RBI upped his total to 28.

The Nationals lead the NL East by 6 1/2 over Atlanta. The Mets are 7 1/2 back.

The game was the first of three in Washington. The Nats and M's will go at it again at Nationals Park, Wednesday night at 7:05 pm ET.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Charlie Blackmon Pwoers Rockies Over Phillies, 8-1; Max Kepler Leads Twins' 21-Hit Attack Of Orioles

Players of the Day for Monday, May 22, 2017

American League

Max Kepler
Minnesota has been at or near the top of the Central division all season. After Monday's 14-7 bombing of the Orioles in Baltimore and Cleveland's 5-1 loss, the Twins ended the day with a one game lead over the Indians and a 1-0 lead in their series with the troubled O's.

Baltimore's issue is mainly with their pitching staff. Ubaldo Jimenez, who started for the Orioles, was touched up for six runs on nine hits over four-plus innings, relinquishing a 5-0 lead. Other hurlers didn't fare much better, as the Twins lashed out 21 hits.

Leading the barrage was Max Kepler, who singled, doubled and whacked a solo home run (his 5th) in five at-bats. Kepler drove in four runs, scored three times and reached on an error, which allowed Joe Mauer to score in the Twins' six-run sixth.

Kepler is in his second full season as the Twins' regular right fielder. Last year he hit 17 home runs, drove in 63 runs and batted .235. The nubers are improved this season, with five homers, 20 RBI and a .271 average.

Minnesota will try to hang onto first place in the division when they meet the Orioles at Camden Yards for game two of their three-game series, at 7:05 pm ET Tuesday.

National League

Charlie Blackmon
If Charlie Blackmon keeps playing the way he has so far this season, the Rockies will have to find another spot for him in the lineup. In Colorado's 8-1 torching of the Phillies, Blackmon went 2-for-5, drove in three runs, stole a base and scored twice, raising his average to .321 and upping his RBI total to 36, good for fifth in the National League.

This is not what leadoff hitters ordinarily do. They're supposed to get on base and score runs, not lead the team in RBI. Well, actually, teammate Mark Reynolds leads the Rockies - and the league - in RBI with 39, but Blackmon, who has nine homers as well, is closing in on him.

Not that Blackmon isn't scoring runs. He's crossed the plate 33 times, tied for fifth in the league. Meanwhile, the Rockies are rolling right along, with a 29-17 mark, two games up on Arizona in the NL West. While they're respectable, at 13-10, at home, the Rockies are an amazing 16-7 on the road.

Blackmon and his mates will look to improve on their road raging when they play the Phillies in game two of their four-game series, Tuesday, 7:05 pm ET at Citizens Bank Park.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Yan Gomes Leads Indians To Sweep Of Astros; Cubs Pound Brewers As Kris Bryant Smacks Two Home Runs

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 21, 2017

American League

While the Twins were splitting a doubleheader with they Royals on Sunday, the Cleveland Indians executed a hit job on the Astros, completing the three-game sweep in Houston with an 8-6 victory, tying Minnesota for first place in the AL Central.

Gomes: HR, 5 RBI
Doing all their scoring early - two in the second and three each in the third and fourth innings - the Indians were led by catcher Yan Gomes, who lashed a run-scoring double in the second, whacked a three-run homer in the third and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving him five RBI on the day.

After the game was seemingly out of reach at 8-1 in the fourth, Houston finally got started in the home half, with a two-run Jose Altuve home run. Houston scored all of its runs on homers, by Carlos Beltran, Marwin Gonzolez and Alex Bergman.

Houston's three straight losses left them still with a comfortable cushion in the AL West, 5 1/2 ahead of the Rnagers, winners of 11 of their last 12.

The Astros remain home this week, hosting the Tigers for four games and then welcoming in the Orioles for a three-game weekend series. Cleveland begins a four-game home and home series with the Reds starting Monday in Cincinnati.

Bryant: 2 HR, 4 Runs
National League

After losing to the Brewers on Friday night, 6-4, having the second game of the series rained out Saturday, the Chicago Cubs came out swinging Sunday at Wrigley Field, belting out 15 hits in a 13-6 romp over Milwaukee.

Scoring in every inning but the second, the Cubs swamped starter Chase Anderson for six runs in four innings. Every Cubs' position player had at least one hit. Third baseman and 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant had three, a single and two solo homers - his ninth and 10th - driving in two runs and scoring four times.

Bryant's sluggish start is one of the reasons the Cubs haven't taken hold of the division lead thus far, but the 25-year-old is beginning to hit mid-season form, batting .303 with 10 home runs and 22 RBI.

Sunday's results leave the Brewers on top in the division, with the Cardinals in second place, 1 1/2 back and the Cubs two out.

Chicago will host the Giants for four games starting Monday. 25-19 Milwaukee heads home Tuesday, with two games against the Blue Jays followed by a four-game series with the Diamondbacks.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Avisail Garcia Drives In Six In White Sox Rout Of Seattle; David Peralta 4-for-5 In 9-1 Arizona Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 20, 2017

American League

After evening their four-game series in Seattle at a game apiece with Friday night's 2-1, 10-inning win, the Chicago White Sox stepped up their game with a 16-1 blowout win over the fading Mariners, losers of seven of the last 10.

Garcia: 2 HR, 6 RBI
Heading the frontal assault on Seattle pitching was Avisail Garcia, who was 4-for-5, with two doubles and two home runs, driving in six and scoring three times.

Garcia's homers - numbers seven and eight - came early in the game off Seattle starter, Antonio Gallardo, who lasted a mere 3 2/3 innings, allowing 10 runs on nine hits and two walks. Garcia smashed a three-run homer in the first inning, adding a solo shot in the third.

In the fourth, Garcia doubled in two more, and in the seventh, he doubled again and scored.

Garcia's .357 batting average leads the National League. His six RBI are second in the NL behind Seattle's Nelson Cruz.

Peralta: 4-for-5
Chicago is mired in the Central division battle, 3 1/2 games behind the Twins, with the Indians and Detroit sandwiched in between. The series concludes Sunday at 4:10 pm ET.

National League

Arizona's David Peralta stroked four singles in five at-bats, scored three times and boosted his batting average to .315 as the Diamondbacks picked up a game on Colorado with a 9-1 win over San Diego.

Arizona has won five straight and stand alone in second place, one game behind the Rockies in the contested NL West. They've taken the first two games in San Diego and will be seeking the sweep of the Padres when the two teams square off in the series finale, Sunday at 4:40 pm ET.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Baltimore's Wellington Castillo Crushes Blue Jays; Jake Lamb, Arizona Tear Up Padres' Jered Weaver

Players of the Day for Friday, May 19, 2017

American League
Castillo Tears Up Toronto

In the off-season, Baltimore fans wondered how Wellington Castillo would fare as a replacement for longtime catcher Matt Wieters, who was released and ended up down the highway in Washington.

Castillo endeared himself to many a skeptic Friday night as he belted a pair of home runs, each of them critical in Baltimore's 10-inning, 5-3 victory over Toronto.

Acquired from Arizona after the 2016 season, Castillo socked a two-run home run in the sixth inning which tied the score at 3-3, then delivered the game-winner in the tenth, another two-run blast. Both times, Mark Trumbo was on base when Castillo drove the ball out of the park.

The homers were Castillo's second and third of the season. He's batting .356 with 13 RBI in 20 games.

Baltimore was in need of a win, as the Yankees were losing at Tampa Bay, 5-4, and the Orioles had lost six of their last seven heading into the three-game series with the visiting Blue Jays. At the end of the night, the Yanks held a 1/2 game lead on Baltimore. Toronto, beset by injuries, is eight back.

Toronto will try to even things up when they meet the O's at Camden Yards, Saturday at 7:35 pm ET

National League

Lamb: 2HR, 5RBI
There was a time, not long ago, that Jered Weaver was one of the best pitchers in the majors. From 2009 to 2014, Weaver compiled a record of 96-50, going 20-5 in 2012. A three-time all-star, it's safe to say that the 34-year-old's best days are behind him.

Evidence of his demise occurred Friday night as the Arizona Diamondback bombed him for five hits, two walks and seven runs in just 2/3rds of an inning en route to a 10-1 romp. His shortest outing of the season left Weaver at 0-5 with an ERA of 7.44.

Chief among the Arizona protagonists was Jake Lamb, who opened the scoring for the Diamondbacks with a three-run homer and finished Weaver's stint by walking, forcing in the seventh run of the inning. Lamb was far from finished, socking a solo homer in the sixth to complete Arizona's scoring, finishing with five RBI for the game and 11 home runs with 34 RBI (5th in NL) for the year.

Arizona's win opened a three-game series in San Diego and left them tied for second place in the NL West with the Dodgers, two games behind Colorado. The win was Arizona's fourth straight and they'll look for number five when they meet the Padres Saturday at 7:10 pm PT at Petco Park.