Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Curtis Granderson, Yasiel Puig Power Dodgers Past Pirates; Adam Jones 2 HRs Lead Orioles

Players of the Day for Monday, August 21, 2017

Jones: 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI
American League

Adam Jones lifted a pair of home runs out of Camden Yards as the Orioles got back on the winning track with a 7-3 victory over the Oakland A's in the first of three.

Jones added two singles, going 4-for-4 on the night. His first homer was a solo blast in the fourth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie. The second came back-to-back with Jonathan Schoop's three-run belt, another solo shot in the fifth as the Orioles scored four runs.

Jones' homers were his 23rd and 24th of the year. He has 63 RBI and is batting .281. The Orioles are 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild card spot, but the field is loaded, with eight teams vying for that single spot. The Yankees continue to hold the first wild card by 2 1/2 games.

Game two of the series is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:05 pm ET.
Granderson: Grand Slam

National League

The Dodgers picked up Curtis Granderson from the Mets last week, and the veteran outfielder is apparently enjoying the cross-county move, socking a pair of home runs in his first three games in Dodger blue, the latest a grand slam in LA's 12-inning, 6-5 win at Pittsburgh.

Granderson's fifth inning slam put the Dodgers up, 5-3, but the Pirates - still fighting for contention in either the NL Central or the wild card race - came back to tie the game with two runs in the eighth.
Puig's HR won game

Neither team could come up with a run until the 12th inning, when Yasiel Puig launched his 22nd home run of the season, a solo shot that proved to be the game-winner. Ross Stripling, the eighth Dodger pitcher, gave up a hit and a walk in the bottom of the inning, but managed to keep the Pirates off the scoreboard, earning his second save.

The win left the Dodgers 20 1/2 games up on Colorado in the NL West with the best record in the majors, an amazing 88-35 (.715). At their current pace, the Dodgers would end the season at 116-46 and would clinch the division sometime around September 10.

Pittsburgh fell seven games behind Chicago in the NL Central and 8 games out of the second wild card.

The four-game series resumes Tuesday at 7:05 pm ET with game two.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bartolo Colon, Eddie Rosario Lead Twins To 4th Straight; Tyler Flowers Powers Braves With Grand Slam

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 20, 2017

Colon: Wins vs. All MLB
American League

In his extended, 20-year career, Bartolo Colon had notched at least one win against every team in the majors, except the Arizona Diamondbacks.

When he sat down on the bench after tossing a scoreless first inning in the final game of the Twins three-game series with the visiting Diamondbacks, he didn't know his teammates would make his rest between innings a lengthy one, scoring nine runs off Arizona starter, T.J. McFarland and reliever Braden Shipley.

The Twins had already scored five runs and batted around when Eddie Rosario came up for the second time in the frame, this time with the bases loaded. The left fielder responded with a grand slam, making Colon's task easier than expected.

Rosario: Grand Slam
With the huge edge, Colon, 44 years of age, went about his business, allowing four runs on seven hits over six innings, joining Max Scherzer and John Lackey as the only active pitchers to beat all 30 teams. Rosario went to the plate there more times, but came up empty, his damage already done in the 12-5 romp, completing the sweep. Rosario's homer was his 17th, the four RBI gave him 50 on the year.

As the Twins won their fourth straight, they improved in the AL Central to within five games of first place Cleveland, 7-4 losers at Kansas City, and remained tied with the Angels for the second wild card spot.

The Diamondbacks continued a game behind the Rockies in the second spot, but, their lead over Milwaukee was shaved to 2 1/2 games, as the Brewers won, 8-4, at Colorado.

On Monday, the Twins are in Chicago for a doubleheader with the White Sox, while Arizona travels to New York to begin a four-game series with the Mets.

Flowers: Grand Slam
National League

Trailing by 11 games for the second wild card spot and 19 games behind Washington in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves aren't likely to be playing in October, but since it's only August, they're still hopeful.

Tyler Flowers and the Braves made quick work of the Reds in the finale of their three game series with an 8-1 rout.

Already ahead 2-0 in the fifth, Flowers pretty much put away all doubt with a grand slam. The Braves tacked on two more runs in the inning, completing the scoring for the game. Starter Sean Newcomb blanked the Reds over five innings for the win, avoiding the sweep.

The Braves host Seattle Monday, beginning a three-game series.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Grand Slam By Scooter Gennett Lifts Reds; Rougned Odor 2 HR Lead Ranger Rout Of White Sox

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 19, 2017

Odor: 2 HR, 5 RBI
American League

Rougned Odor led a 20-hit assault by the Texas Rangers, as they hammered the visiting White Sox, 17-7, in the third of their four-game series.

Odor belted two home runs, giving him 26 on the year, and drove in five runs in the rout. The first of his two blasts capped a six-run third inning outburst by the Rangers and erased a 5-1 deficit. Odor's three-run homer came after the Rangers had already plated three in the inning.

Odor also homered in the fourth, a solo shot that added to the Texas lead, but, the real insult came in the seventh, when he walked with the bases full, giving him his fifth RBI of the game, upping his season total to 58.

The win put the Rangers at .500, with a 61-61 mark, and left them 1 1/2 games behind the Twins and Angels, presently co-owners of the second wild card spot. The Yankees have a good grip on they top wild card, with a 3 1/2 game lead.

The Rangers conclude their series with Chicago at 3:05 pm ET on Sunday.

National League
Gennett Slams Braves

Not probable as a playoff team this season, the Cincinnati Reds (53-71) will be in the midst of the teams trying to make it to October via either the NL Central title or the wild card route.

To that end, Saturday's 11-8 defeat of the Braves in Atlanta may be of instruction to teams that will be facing the power-laden Reds in the days and weeks ahead.

The Reds were taking it to the Braves pretty well, leading, 7-2, after Scooter Gennett knocked in Joey Votto on a sac fly.

Atlanta would not go easily, however, scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning to close the gap. In the ninth, Gennett again was at the plate with a runner on third - and ones on first and second as well - when he uncorked his 21st home run of the season, a grand slam that put the Braves up comfortably, 11-4.

Atlanta would score four more in their final at-bat and put the tying run at the plate. Cincinnati reliever, Michael Lorenzen, slammed the door shut to close out the game.

Gennett is one of the reasons other teams should beware when facing the Reds. He's having the best season of his five year major league career, driving in 75 runs with a .292 batting average, surpassing his seasonal home run and RBI numbers in fewer games than in any of his previous years, all of which, prior to this year, were with the Brewers.

The victory gave the Reds a 2-0 lead in the series, which concludes Sunday at 1:35 pm ET. Atlanta has taken a severe blow to what slim playoff hope they may have had, falling 12 games out of the second spot over the past two games.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Manny Machado Grand Slam Lifts O's Over Angels; Chris Taylor Leads Dodgers To 5th Straight

Players of the Day for Friday, August 18, 2017

American League

Machado: 3HR, GS, 7RBI
Baltimore remained a serious contender in the wild card hunt with a wild, 9-7 win over the LA Angels on Manny Machado's dramatic, walk-off grand slam, his third home run of the game.

Machado socked a two-run homer in the third inning, adding a solo shot in the fifth, but his power display still wasn't enough, as the Orioles went scoreless in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, trailing the Angels at Camden Yards, 7-5.

In the ninth, Angel reliever Yusmeiro Petit got one out, but left with runners aboard first and second for Kenyan Middleton. After allowing a single by Tim Beckham to land the bases, Machado continued his mashing, sending the ball deep into the center field stands to the cheers of the partisan Baltimore crowd.

Machado, who drove in seven of Baltimore's nine runs, has been on a tear in August. Riding a six-game hitting streak, the Oriole third baseman is batting .360 for the month, with eight home runs and 28 RBI. He has 26 home runs and 81 RBI after a slow start.

The win put the Orioles two games behind the Angels, who are currently tied with the Twins for the second wild card. The Yankees lead the wild card standings by 3 1/2 games.

Baltimore can do itself more good in games two and three of their series with the Angels. Game two is scheduled for Saturday night, a 7:05 pm ET start.

Taylor: 4-for-5, 2 RBI
National League

Just in case the LA Dodgers need extra hitters in their already power-laden lineup, the team that's leading the NL West by a shocking 19 games activated slugger Adrian Gonzalez for the disabled list on Friday, where he's been since June 11.

In his first at-bat in his first game back, Gonzalez lashed a double and scored for LA on Chris Taylor's second inning double as part of a four-run rally that put the Dodgers on a path to an 8-5 win over the homesteading Tigers.

While Gonzalez went hitless the rest of the game, Taylor, batting from the leadoff spot, Taylor would produce three more hits, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of singles, two RBI, a run and his 14th stolen base of the season.

In his first full season with the Dodgers (traded from Seattle last season), Taylor has become the go-to utility fill-in, playing left and center field, shortstop, second, and third base at various times this year. On Friday, Taylor was at short for the fifth time this season. On the year, he's batting .310, with 17 home runs, 58 RBI and 69 runs.

The Dodgers, winners of five straight, play game two of the three-game series in Detroit Saturday at 4:05 pm ET.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Rookie Phillip Ervin Stars As Reds Top Cubs, 13-10; Yankees Sweep Mets On Gary Sanchez 5 RBI

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sanchez: HR, 5 RBI
American League

The Yankees completed the four-game sweep of the Mets in their home-and-home subway series with a 7-5 victory as catcher Gary Sanchez drove in five runs with his 22nd home run and a two-run single.

Sanchez gave the Yanks an early leg up with his first inning, three-run blast, then tacked on two more in the four-run fourth inning with his two-run single.

Luis Severino improved his record to 10-5 with 6 1/3 innings of work, allowing four hits and one unearned run, striking out nine. Former Yankee Curtis Granderson belted a ninth inning grand slam off Yankee reliever Bryan Mitchell to cut into the lead late.

With the win, the Yankees are four game behind the Red Sox in the AL East and hold a 3 1/2 game lead for the wild card. They head to Boston for the start of a three-game series Friday. Game time is 7:10 pm ET.

National League

Ervin: HR, 4 RBI
To get an idea of how competitive the NL Central is, consider the four-game series just concluded in Chicago between the first place Cubs and last place Reds. Taking the first and third games by scores of 15-5 and 7-6, the Cubs had the opportunity to take the series, three games to one, as the Reds won game two by a 2-1 score.

It was not to be, however, as the Reds pummeled starter Jon Lester for nine second inning runs. Though the Cubs would actually tie the game 9-9 in the fifth, Reds rookie, Phillip Ervin, stroked his second home run in as many days in the seventh, bringing home two and a lead the Reds would not relinquish en route to the 13-10 victory.

Ervin, in his first major league start, also singled and doubled, accounting for four RBI, and scored three times, including the final Cincinnati run, in the ninth. Other than the home run, Ervin's two hits both came in the nine-run second, singling in the second run and doubling home the ninth.

Apparently having seen enough of Ervin's batting prowess, Cubs' reliever Raisel Iglesias walked him to open the ninth. After moving to second on a sac bunt, Ervin scored on Jose Peraza's infield single.

With only eight at-bats in the majors, Phillip Ervin may be on his way to better things the remainder of this season and into next. The 25-year-old is sporting a .500 batting average with two homers and five RBI.

Having played with five minor league squads since 2013, Ervin is a hitter with power, socking 50 home runs with 259 RBI since 2013. He was recently promoted to the Reds from AAA affiliate Louisville in the International League.

The result of the game left the Cubs with a one game lead over the Brewers and 1 1/2 over the Cardinals. The Reds are in last place in the division, 13 games back. The Cubs host three games with Toronto over the weekend before taking to the road on Tuesday, the first stop, Cincinnati.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Elvis Andrus Leads Texas Past Tigers, 12-6; Trevor Story's 2 HR Power Rockies Over Braves, 17-2

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 16, 2017

American League
Anrdus: 3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI

Hopelessly outpaced in the AL West by Houston but still in the hunt for a wild card spot, the Texas Rangers took a step forward, improving to just a game below .500 (59-60) with a 12-6 win over Detroit, sweeping the three-game series at Arlington.

Elvis Andrus had a big night, contributing three of the 17 Texas hits with two singles and his 16th home run, a solo whack that snapped a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning. Previously, Andrus had walked and scored on Adrian Beltre's two-run, third inning homer. Andres singled in two runs in the sixth, then stole second and scored on Nomar Mazara's three-run homer. Finally, Andrus singled home another score in the seventh, tallying four RBI and scoring three times.

Texas completes the sweep at an opportune time, hosting a four game series with the slumping White Sox - losers of four straight - beginning Thursday. After that, the Rangers head to LA for a four-game set with the Angels, the current holders of the second wild card slot, just two games in front of Texas.

National League

Story: 2 HR, 6 RBI
With Arizona losing at Houston, 9-5, the Colorado Rockies took back sole possession of the first wild card position with a 17-2 mauling of Atlanta at Coors Field in Denver.

The Rockies exploded for 18 hits, nine of them for extra bases. Nolan Arenado increased his RBI by two, to 103, which leads the majors. Trevor Story measured the tale of the tape, going 3-for-4 with a single and two hoe runs (17 & 18), knocking in six runs.

Story singled home a run in the third inning, then followed with a two-run blast in the fourth. In the seventh inning, he completed the Rockies' scoring for the game with a three-run shot to left. He has 56 RBI on the year.

Colorado leads the four-game series with the Braves, two games to one, with the finale scheduled for Thursday afternoon, at 3:10 pm ET. The Rockies hold a one-game lead in the wild card with Arizona second. NL Central contenders, St. Louis and Milwaukee trail the Diamondbacks by four and five games, respectively.

Streak Ended: While Miami was winning, 8-1, over the Giants, Giancarlo Stanton's six-game home run came to an end, though Stanton did single twice in four at-bats.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cleveland Tops Twins, 8-1, On Carlos Santana's 2 HR; Reds Top Cubs As Luis Castillo Throws 6 Shoutout Innings

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Santana: 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
American League

A crucial series began Tuesday in Minnesota as the Twins hosted the Indians in the first of three.

Cleveland starter, Danny Salazar, allowed a run in the second, but that was equalled in the fourth when Carlos Santana belted the first of his two home runs.

As Salazar steadied and continued to dominate, allowing the lone run over seven innings, the Indians continued to tack on runs, culminating in Santana's second homer of the game, a two-run belt in the ninth for the 8-1 victory and a six game lead over the Twins and Royals in the AL Central division.

Santana was on base all five times he appeared at the plate. He walked in the second and fifth innings, and singled in the seventh, scoring on Austin Jackson's three-run homer. Santana has 18 home runs and 63 RBI.

Minnesota will try to even the series on Wednesday when the teams take the field at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Castillo: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
If the Chicago Cubs wish to defend their World Series title, they'll have to start winning games in bunches, because the Cardinals and Brewers don't seem to be going away in the contentious NL Central.

Cincinnati got six innings of two-hit, shutout ball from starter, Luis Castillo, who took the win, as the Reds downed the Cubs, 2-1, in game two of their four-game series at Wrigley Field.

Castillo, a rookie, surrendered just two singles and a pair of walks, striking out seven for his second win against five losses. A trio of relievers finished up for the Reds, who are out of contention in both the division and the wild card.

The Cubs remained 1 1/2 in front of the Cardinals and Brewers in the division as St. Louis took a 10-4 loss at Boston and Milwaukee defeated Pittsburgh, 3-1, tying the Cardinals for second place.

Game three of the series is Wednesday, at 8:05 pm ET in Chicago.

STREAKING: Giancarlo Stanton homered in his sixth straight game, but the Miami Marlins fell to the San Francisco Giants, 9-4. Stanton's third inning solo shot off Madison Bumgarner was his 44th of the season, leading the majors. Stanton has 11 homers in his last 12 games, and 23 in the last 35 and is two games shy of tying the major league record, homering in eight straight games, held jointly by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987), and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).

Stanton has 94 RBI on the year, second in the NL to Colorado's Nolan Arenado (101).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Anthony Rizzo's 5 RBI Power Cubs, 15-5, Over Reds; Indians Down Red Sox On Edwin Encarnacion's Two HR

Players of the Day for Monday, August 14, 2017

American League
Encarnacion: 2HR, 4RBI

Cleveland continues to look like the team to beat in the American League.

Winning a makeup (from August 2) game in Boston, 7-3, the Indians won their fourth straight and hold a five game lead over Minnesota and Kansas City in the AL Central.

Edwin Encarnacion belted a pair of two run homers - in the fifth and sixth innings - the first breaking as 3-3 tie, the second producing the final, winning score.

Encarnacion's home runs were his 25th and 26th of the season and fourth in the past four games.

The game was a one-off, in the middle of a 10-game road trip for the Indians, which is now an 11-game tour. Cleveland will have ample opportunity to expand upon their lead in the division, as they travel to Minnesota and Kansas City in back-to-back three-game series this week.

The opener of their series in Minnesota is slated for an 8:10 pm ET start on Tuesday.

National League

Rizzo: HR, 5 RBI
Anthony Rizzo socked his 27th home run, singled twice and drove in five runs as the Cubs routed the Cincinnati Reds, 15-5, in the opener of a four game series at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Rizzo and the Cubs banged out 17 hits, getting an early 2-0 lead on Rizzo's two-run single in the first. In the fourth, Chicago broke the game open, scoring five runs, concluded by Rizzo's solo homer.

With the bases loaded in the seventh, Rizzo delivered another two-run single as part of the Cubs' six run inning.

The win gave Chicago a little breathing room in the NL Central. They lead the Cardinals by 1 1/2 and the Brewers by 2 1/2 games. Both St. Louis and Milwaukee were idle on Monday.

Game two of the series is Tuesday, 8:05 pm ET.

STREAKING: In the Marlins' 8-3 win over the Giants Monday, Giancarlo Stanton broke the Miami club mark of 42 homers set by Gary Sheffield in 1996, doing it in the Marlins' 117th game of the season.

Stanton has homered in five straight games, and 22 times in his past 34 games. Since July 17 he has 17 home runs and he has 10 home runs in August. He has 93 RBI, second in the National League.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Howie Kendrick Grand Slam Lifts Nationals in 11th; White Merrifield Cashes 5 RBI As Royals Trounce White Sox, 14-6

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 13, 2017

American League

Merrifield: 3-6, HR, 5 RBI
Whit Merrifield singled, tripled and socked his 14th home run, helping the Kansas City Royals to a 14-6 win over the White Sox with five RBI.

Merrifield was starting as the leadoff hitter for the Royals, and for good reason. The second-year second baseman has shown vast improvement over his rookie season. In 2016, Merrifield batted .283 in 81 games, with two home runs, 29 RBI and eight stolen bases. This year, in 100 games, he's at .299, with 14 homers, 56 RBI and 19 swipes.

Merrifield socked a three-run homer in the third inning, putting the Royals up, 8-0, adding two more RBI with his sixth-inning triple.

The game was the third of the series at Chicago, Kansas City taking two of three. Kansas City got off to a poor start for the month of August, losing eight of 10, but their back-to-back wins over the White Sox leave them in third place in the AL Central, five games behind Cleveland. Minnesota is in second place, 1/2 game better than the Royals. Both the Twins and Royals have legitimate shots at either the division or a wild card. They're 1/2 and one game behind the Angels for the second wild card. The Yankees lead, but only by 1 1/2 games after dropping two of three to the Red Sox over the weekend.

The Royals conclude their road trip with three games at Oakland beginning Monday. Game time is 7:10 pm PT.

National League

Kendrick: Walk-off slam
No Bryce Harper? No problem, judging by the standings and the time left in the season.

Washington's Bryce Harper suffered a bone bruise in his knee, but no ligament or tendon tears, the results of an injury caused by slipping on a wet first base in Washington's 3-1 win over the Giants on Saturday.

Initially, it was feared the injury would be season-ending, but Harper and Washington's front office believe he'll return to the team before the end of the season. He's been placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Meanwhile, the Giants and Nationals had unfinished business on Sunday, a day-night doubleheader, with the Giants taking the opener, 4-2, before Washington came back with a 6-2, 11th-inning victory in the nightcap.

Matt Moore and Max Scherzer dueled through seven innings in a 2-2 tie, and the relief staffs took the game into extra innings before Howie Kendrick racked a grand slam with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th for the walk-off win.

Giants' reliever, Albert Suarez, didn't retire a batting in the winning inning. Murphy singled to center to lead off the frame, followed by Ryan Zimmerman's single to shallow center, sending Murphy to third. Anthony Rendon was intentionally walked, setting up Kendrick with the bases chock full.

Kendrick's homer was just his fourth of the season. The 34-year-old utility player spent most of the season with Philadelphia, acquired by the Nationals in late July. He spent half the season on the DL, but, he's batting .375 (15-for-40) since joining the Washington squad.

The Nationals should be all right without Harper, their star player. They have a 14 game lead over the Marlins in the NL East, and even though Miami has won three straight, there's almost no chance of them - or anybody else - catching the Nationals. Washington is 70-46, which is the second-best record in the league, after the Dodgers. The Cubs (61-55) have a one-game lead in the NL Central, so Washington is probably not in any danger of losing their position for the playoffs.

The Nationals get a day off Monday, and host the Angels for two games, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Red Sox Even Up With Yankees On Andrew Benintendi's 2 HR; Giancarlo Stanton Homers Again For Miami; St. Louis Streak at 8

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 12, 2017

American League

After blowing a 3-0 lead Friday night and eventually losing, 5-4, to the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York, the Boston Red Sox came back to even things up with a 10-5 shellacking of the Yankees on Saturday.

Benintendi: 2 HR, 6 RBI
Boston scored all of its runs in the third and fifth innings, scoring five times in each. Both bursts were highlighted by three-run homers from Andrew Benintendi, both home runs and all six RBI credited against Yankee starter (and supposed new "ace" according to radio announcer John Sterling) Luis Severino.

In what was likely his worst outing of the season, Severino lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing all 10 runs (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks. Benintendi's homers were his 15th and 16th of the season, to go with 65 RBI and a .280 batting average.

Thus, the Red Sox recovered their 4 1/2 game lead in the AL East with the rubber game in New York Sunday at 8:00 pm ET, broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The Yankees still appear to be Boston's only challenger, but they are also holding a slim, 2 1/2 game lead in the wild card race over the Angles, but the Rays, Royals, Mariners, Twins, and Orioles are all within 4 1/2 of the Yanks, making for what looks to be a spirited run to the playoffs the remainder of the season.

National League

Stanton: 41 HR leads MLB
Giancarlo Stanton is having an August that may end up in the record books.

In Miami's 4-3 win over the Rockies at Marlins Park, Stanton, singled, doubled, scored his major league-leading 41st home run and drove in three of the Marlins four runs. It was Stanton's third straight game with a home run and eight time he's homered in his last nine.

The slugger's August stats are already imposing: a .366 batting average (15-for-41), eight homers, and 16 RBI. With August not even half done, Stanton could be challenging the record for most home runs in any month (Sammy Sosa, Chicago, 20, June, 1998) or most home runs in August (also held by Sammy Sosa, 17, 2001, with Willie Mays, 1965).

Miami continues to make progress tow being competitive in the wild card race though they are still 9 1/2 back, but beating the Rockies two straight has produced a tie between Colorado and Arizona for the top wild card slot.

The Marlins will be looking for a sweep of the series Sunday afternoon. Game time is 1:10 pm in Miami.

Streaking: Suddenly becoming the hottest team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals won their eighth straight on Saturday, besting the Braves, 6-5, in St. Louis.

Coupled with Chicago's 6-2 loss at Arizona, St. Louis is now tied for first place in the NL Central with the Cubs, though they are by no means clear of the rest of the division. Milwaukee is a mere two games out; Pittsburgh, three back. Only the Reds are out of it, 12 games behind.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2-Hit Effort By Carlos Carrasco Leads Indians Over Rays; Giancarlo Stanton Belts 40th HR In Miami Win

Players of the Day for Friday, August 11, 2017

American League

Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco took a no-hitter into the seventh inning helping the Indians to a 5-0 victory at Tampa Bay.

Carrasco: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
Carrasco's bid for the record books was shattered when Logan Morrison singled with two down in the seventh. Carrasco finished with eight innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits and a pair of walks, striking out 10.

Perfect through four innings, Carrasco issued walks in the fifth and seventh, improving to 11-5 off the effort.

Tyler Olson worked the ninth for Cleveland to close out the shutout, the Indians maintaining their 3 1/2 game lead over the Twins in the AL Central. Minnesota has won six straight, including Friday's 9-4 win at Detroit.

The Indians evened their series with the Rays at a game apiece and will be looking to go one up when they play game three of four, Saturday, at Tropicana Field. Game time is 6:10 pm ET.

National League

Stanton: 40 HR Leads MLB
Giancarlo Stanton socked his major league-leading 40th home run as the Miami Marlins took the first of three from the visiting Rockies, 6-3.

Stanton's sixth inning solo blast measured 433 feet and got the Marlins to within a run of the Rockies, who were leading 3-1 entering the bottom of the frame. Miami eventually tied the game in the inning adding three more runs in the eighth to secure the victory.

Stanton has outpaced all contenders for the home run title, leading the National League by seven over the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger. In the AL, Aaron Judge has 35 to lead the league, with Kansas City's Mike Moustakas right behind, at 34.

Stanton's 86 RBI is sixth-best in the NL. Colorado's Nolan Arenado leads with 100. Arenado reached the century mark with his 26th home run, a two-run blast in the third inning.

Desperate to stay in the hunt for the wild card, the Marlins are 9 1/2 behind Arizona for the second spot, but trail the Nationals in the NL East by 14 1/2 games. Colorado is the leader in the wild card race and will look to keep it that way when they take the field in Miami, Saturday at 7:10 pm ET.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cardinals Win 6th Straight On Dexter Fowler Grand Slam; Trey Mancini Homers Twice As Orioles Down A's 7-2

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 10, 2017

American League

After making an errant throw in the first inning which led to an Oakland score, Baltimore first baseman, Trey Mancini, would eventually make up for his miscue, backing starting pitcher Wade Miley with a pair of solo homers in a 7-2 Baltimore win at Oakland.

Trey Mancini: 2 HR
While Miley was shutting out the A's on three hits over seven inning after the first-inning unearned run, Mancini was banging balls out of the park, each of his homers a part of a back-to-back set-up. In the fourth, Adam Jones sent one out to break a 1-1 tie (his 21st), with Mancini increasing the lead with his first bomb of the night. Again, in the sixth, Mancini went yard with his 20th, ahead of Mark Trumbo's solo blast (18th).

A pleasant surprise for the O's, Mancini is batting .296 and has driven in 60 runs.

The Oriole win kept them 8 1/2 behind Boston in the AL East. Boston won its eighth straight while the Yankees lost, 4-0, at Toronto, widening the Red Sox lead to 4 1/2 over New York.

Boston and the Yankees will play each other six times in the next ten days, starting with a trio of games in New York over the weekend. The schedule opens up possibilities for the Orioles or Rays, who are seven games back, to make up some ground or improve their position in the wild card race.

Baltimore plays the second game of the four-game series in Oakland, Friday, at 7:05 PT.

National League

Fowler: Grand Slam, 5RBI
Acquired by the Cardinals from the Cubs during the off-season, Dexter Fowler has provided some pop and solid play in center field for St. Louis, despite a couple of stints on the DL this season.

Since coming off the DL for the second time, Fowler has played in four games, going a combined 6-for-13 (.462), capped by his grand slam in the Cardinals' 8-6 victory over Kansas City, the second straight win for St. Louis over the visiting Royals. Fowler's bases-loaded bash in the seventh inning, unknotted a 3-3 tie. An inning earlier, Fowler doubled in the first run for St. Louis, as the Cardinals erased a 3-0 KC lead.

Finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and five RBI, Fowler led the surging Cardinals to their sixth straight triumph, overtaking Milwaukee, losers of five straight, for second place in the NL Central, one game behind the Cubs.

With what may be the best pitching staff in the division, the Cardinals may be able to do themselves more good when they open a three game series with Atlanta at Busch Stadium Friday. Adam Wainwright (11-5) goes to the mound for St. Louis, facing Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (10-6). Game time is 8:15 pm ET.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ryan Zimmerman Leads Nats With 2 HR In 10-1 Win; Justin Verlander Brilliant in Tigers' 10-0 Victory

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 9, 2017

American League
Verlander: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER

Detroit probably won't be seen in October, but they're still playing in August, racking up a 10-0 win over the visiting Pirates Wednesday night.

Justin Verlander didn't allow a hit until Pittsburgh's Josh Bell blooped a two-out double to left in the sixth inning, finishing with eight innings of one-hit ball, striking out six and walking three. Following Bell's two-bagger, Verlander (8-7) didn't allow another baserunner, setting down the last seven batters he faced in order.

Shane Green finished up the whitewash in the ninth.

Ian Kinsler singled, doubled, homered, drove in four runs and scored four times; Nicholas Castellanos singled twice, tripled and drove in five.

The Tigers and Pirates face off again on Thursday, 1:10 pm ET, at Comerica Park in Detroit.

National League

The Washington juggernaut rolls along.
Zimmerman: 2 HR, 5 RBI

Ryan Zimmerman singled, doubled, smacked a pair of home runs, scored four times, and drove in five runs in five at-bats, leading the Nationals to a 10-1 rip over Miami, their nearest rival in the NL East.

Zimmerman's two home runs gave him 26 on the year, to go along with his .310 batting average and 81 RBI. His home run total is his best since 2013, and the RBI number is his highest since 2012, when he drove in 95, and there are still 50 games left to the regular season.

Zimmerman has never batted higher than .307 for a full season, which he did in 2010.

So, it's safe to say that some of the success of the 2017 Nationals can be credited to Ryan Zimmerman having something of a career year.

As for the Marlins, while they are the team closest to the division-leading Nationals in the NL East, they are a distant 14 games back.

Washington leads the current four game series in the nation's capitol, two games to one, with the finale Thursday, at 7:05 pm ET.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Boston Wins 7th Straight Behind Chris Sale's 13 Ks; Jake Lamb Slams Dodgers In 6-3 Arizona Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 8, 2017

American League

Sale: 14-4, 2.57, 229 Ks
Boston won its seventh straight game, doing so behind their ace, Chris Sale, in a 2-0 win at Tampa Bay.

Sale was at his very best, allowing two hits and a walk over eight full innings, fanning 13, tying a season-high. Sale struck out 13 on two prior occasions, April 20 at Toronto and July 20, at home against the Yankees. Having struck out 11 in a May 7 win over Baltimore, Sale has double-digit strikeout games against all four AL East opponents.

Looking every bit like this season's Cy Young award winner, Sale leads the AL wins (14-4), ERA (2.57) and strikeouts, his 229 total a clear lead of 40 over Tampa Bay's Chris Archer.

Sale put down the first ten batters he faced, his perfect performance interrupted by a throwing error by third baseman Rafael Devers with one down in the fourth. He entered the fifth with a no-hitter, but Wilson Ramos singled with one out. Sale gave up the only other hit by the Rays in the sixth inning and issued a walk to open the seventh, but set down the next six straight, handing the ball over to closer, Craig Kimbrel, after fanning four of the last five batters he faced.

Picking up his 28th save, Kimbrel was equally impressive, fanning the three batters he faced in the ninth.

The Red Sox will be looking for their eighth straight win and a sweep of the two games at Tampa Bay when they face the Rays Wednesday night at 7:00 pm ET.

National League

Lamb: 25 HR, 90 RBI
Down 16 games in the NL West, Arizona opened their three-game series with the visiting first-place Dodgers the way they had to, with a 6-3 victory, slicing slightly into LA's overwhelming lead.

Jake Lamb did almost all of the Diamondbacks' damage, whacking a pair of home runs, a fourth inning solo shot and a seventh inning grand slam that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 advantage for the home team.

Lamb's homers were his 24th and 25th, closing in on his career-best total of 29 round-trippers in 2016. His five RBI in the game made him the second National Leaguer to reach 90, behind Colorado's Nolan Arenado, who leads the majors with 98.

Arizona improved to 64-48. Even though they still trail the Dodgers by 15 games, they do lead the wild card race, by 1/2 game over the Rockies. Both Arizona and Colorado have to continue their strong play as there are a trio of NL Central teams gunning for at least one of the wild card slots. Milwaukee, St. Louis and Pittsburgh are currently 6, 7, and 8 games behind the Rockies.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have two more games at Chase Stadium, with game two scheduled for Wednesday night at 9:40 pm ET.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Trevor Williams Allows One Hit In Pittsburgh Victory; Manny Machado's Grand Slam Fuels Orioles

Players of the Day for Monday, August 7, 2017

American League
Machado: Grand Slam

Manny Machado broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out, seventh-inning grand slam, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-2 victory over the LA Angels.

The decisive home run was Machado's only hit of the night, but it was his third home run and 10th RBI over the past four games. Opening their three-game series in LA with a win continues Baltimore's solid second half run. The Orioles have won eight of their last ten and improved to .500 (56-56) with the victory.

LA's Mike Trout delivered his 1,000th career hit with a double down the left field line in the fourth inning and later scored on a sac fly. Two innings later, he homered on his birthday for the fourth time in his six big league seasons, accounting for the Angles' only runs of the game.

Game two of the series is set for a 7:07 pm PT start on Tuesday.

National League

Williams: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
With almost no hope of making the playoffs via the wild card, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to hang close in the NL Central, where they are in fourth place, though just 4 1/2 games behind division leader, Chicago.

Following a rough patch of eight losses in ten games, the Pirates have won four of their last five, including the first of two against the visiting Tigers, a 3-0 victory on Monday.

Rookie hurler Trevor Williams delivered seven shutout innings, surrendering only a third inning single by James McCann and a pair of inconsequential walks for the win. Other than McCann, who eventually made his way to third base, no other Detroit batter advanced past first base.

Williams(5-4) fanned five, throwing 107 pitches.

Pittsburgh and Detroit will finish off their interleague meeting Tuesday, 7:05 pm ET at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Manny Machado 4-5, HR, 5 RBI in 12-3 Oriole Win; Hyun-Jin Ryu Throws 1-Hit Ball For 7, Dodgers Win 4th Straight

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 6, 2017

American League

Widely regarded as the most balanced division in the majors, four of the five teams in the AL East posted wins on Sunday, the lone loser, last place Toronto, in a 7-6 defeat by Houston.

Machado: 4-5, HR, 5 RBI
That left the standings unchanged for the top four teams. The Red Sox lead the Yankees by three games, the Rays by 5 1/2 and Baltimore by 7 1/2. Despite Baltimore handing the visiting Tigers a 12-3 defeat at Camden Yards, the Orioles failed to gain any ground, but they are just 2 1/2 out of the second wild card slot, so, with their powerful lineup and many divisional games upcoming, they bear watching.

Manny Machado spearheaded the Baltimore offense, going 4-for-5 with two singles, a double, a two-run homer, and five RBI.

After a horrible first half, Machado has apparently fixed whatever was wrong with his swing. He hit .327 in July, raising his average from .217 to .246, and thus far in August he's batting .423 (11-for-26) with three home runs and eight RBI. Sunday's four-hit barrage was his third multiple-hit game of the month.

Baltimore will have to improve on its 55-56 record down the stretch if the Orioles are to reach the playoffs. Upcoming is a ten-game road trip to the West coast, playing the Angels, A's and Mariners beginning Monday. If Baltimore can be successful on the road - they're 20-33 thus far - they may have a future in October.

National League

Ryu: 7 IP, 1 H, 0ER
No team appears capable of slowing down the inexorable march to the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leading the NL West by a whopping 15 1/2 games, LA won its fourth straight, defeating the NY Mets at Citi Field in New York, 8-0, as Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed seven complete innings of one-hit ball in the Dodgers' 8-0 whitewash.

Ryu, who improved to 4-5, was impressive, striking out the first three batters he faced and setting down the first six before Travis d'Arnaud singled to open the third inning. The hit didn't matter, as Ryu breezed through eh remainder of the inning, putting away the last 15 batters he faced in order.

Ryu struck out eight and did not allow a walk. Tony Cingrani and Kenley Jansen each pitched an inning in relief, neither allowing a Mets hit.

The Dodgers continue to outpace the entire league. Since the all-star break they are an astonishing 18-3, and they ride their winning streak into Arizona to play a three-game series with the Diamondbacks beginning Tuesday.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Drew Pomeranz Shuts Down White Sox, Boston Wins 5th Straight; Zach Davies One-Hits Rays In Milwaukee Victory

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 5, 2017

American League

Pomeranz: 11-4, 3.36 ERA
Tim Anderson launched a bomb to center field to lead off the game against Drew Pomeranz and the Red Sox, but his first inning home run turned out to be the only run the White Sox could muster off Pomeranz, as the 28-year-old lefty shut down Chicago after that, going 6 1/3 innings for his 11th win against four losses and the fifth straight win for Boston, a 4-1 victory at Fenway Park.

Pomeranz scattered six singles after Anderson's homer, walking one and striking out eight.

Boston scored two runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the second against James Shields (2-4) to give their starter a cushion and Pomeranz took full advantage.

The victory left the Red Sox three games to the good over the Yankees in the AL East. New York ended a four-game skid with a 2-1 win in Cleveland.

Boston has won the first three games of the series at Fenway and will try for the four-game sweep of Chicago, Sunday afternoon at 1:35 pm ET.

National League

By being one of the dominant teams in the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers have been a surprising team this season. Shortly after the all-star break, the Brewers lost six straight and relinquished first place to the Cubs, and the thinking was that Chicago would pull away from the pack.

Davies: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
That has not been the case, as Milwaukee has hung tough, winning three straight and four of their last five. With the Cubs beating Washington, 7-3, and the Brewers topping Tampa Bay, 3-0, Milwaukee remains just 1/2 game behind the reigning world champions.

Zach Davies was phenomenal for the Brewers in the road win, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, eventually leaving after seven with a one hit, scoreless performance.

Davies ran into some trouble in the fifth, when Brad Miller reached second on an error and then moved to third when Davies uncorked a wild pitch with two out. After walking Mallex Smith, Davies got Jesus Sucre on a fly out to right.

In the sixth, Lucas Duda broke up the no-hit bid with a one-out single, but Davies induced a double play ball from Evan Longoria to end the inning and put down the Rays in order in the seventh. Davies walked two and fanned a pair, improving to 13-5.

Jacob Barnes worked the eighth and Anthony Swarzac pitched the ninth, picking up his first save as a Brewer after being acquired from the White Sox in late July.

Milwaukee has taken the first two games of the series at Tropicana Field and will be seeking the sweep Sunday, at 1:10 pm ET.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Houston Hammers Toronto, 16-7, Tyler White 2 HR, 5 RBI; Yu Darvish, Dodgers Tame Mets, 6-0

Players of the Day for Friday, August 4, 2017

American League

White: 4-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI
As August began, the Blue Jays remained in last place in the AL East, and, starting a three-game series in Houston on Friday, this could be the series that ultimately defines Toronto's season, because Houston is heading to the post-season and, more than likely, the Blue Jays are not.

After game one, it became evident that the two teams on the field were not of the same caliber. While the Blue Jays have some solid hitters, Houston has more of them. In terms of pitching, it was no contest, as the Astros battered six Toronto hurlers for 18 hits and 7 walks in a 16-7 runaway.

Five different Astros had multiple hits and there were 10 extra base hits by Houston, including five home runs. Two of those home runs - in addition to a single and a double - were provided by first baseman, Tyler White, a player who's only been in eight games this season.

White was 4-for-5 with five RBI and three runs. His two homers were the first of the season for the 26-year-old, who spent most of 2017 in AAA with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .299 with 19 homers and 69 RBI in 91 games.

Called up the last week of July, White was not going very well (4-for-20, no home runs, 3 RBI) until hitting his groove on Friday. In Houston's nine-run fourth inning, he doubled and singled, drove in two runs and scored once. His two-run blast came in the sixth and White added a solo shot in the eighth to complete the rout.

Thanks largely to Toronto pitching, Houston snapped a three-game losing streak but still leads the AL West by 15 games. Game two of the series is Saturday, 7:10 pm ET.

National League

Darvish: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER
With Clayton Kershaw on the mend, the Dodgers went out and got themselves a little insurance prior to the trading deadline, and it appears that their choice of plucking Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers was a solid one.

In his first start in a Dodger uniform, Darvish was sparkling, allowing three hits over seven scoreless innings, as the Dodgers took game of of their three-game series in New York, 6-0 over the struggling Mets.

After giving up a single and a walk in the opening inning, Davish settled down, allowing harmless singles in the third and fifth innings, and putting down the last eight batters he faced in order. He struck out 10 and the first inning free pass was the only walk he issued. With a six-run lead and Darvish at 99 pitches, the bullpen took over in the eighth. Josh Fields and Luis Avilan each tossed a scoreless inning.

6-9 with the Rangers this year, Darvish looks like a keeper for LA, winning his first start and keeping the Dodgers 14 games in front of the Diamondbacks in the NL West. LA is 77-32, which is easily the best record in the majors.

Game two of the series at Citi Field begins Saturday at 4:05 pm.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Paul Goldschmidt Belts 3 HR, Arizona Drops Cubs, 10-8; Corey Kluber Goes Distance In Cleveland's 5-1 Win Over Yankees

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 3, 2017

Kluber 3-hit, CG Win
American League

Corey Kluber was in complete control, throwing his third complete game of the season - and 13th over the last four seasons - defeating the New York Yankees, 5-1, before 28,124 fans at Cleveland'sProgressive Field.

Kluber allowed just three hits, one a solo home run by Yankee DH, Gary Sanchez, a seventh-inning dinger that cut into the Cleveland lead only briefly. The Indians were leading 4-0, but added another run in the bottom of the inning for the final, 5-1 score.

Kluber walked one and fanned 11. It was the 11th time this season that the Cleveland ace has registered 10 or more strikeouts in a game. With 172 strikeouts on the year, Kluber ranks third among AL hurlers, behind Tampa's Chris Archer (182) and Boston's Chris Sale (216).

Other than the Sanchez homer, all the Yankees could muster offensively were a fourth inning double by Cliff Frazier and a fifth inning single by Ronald Torreyes. Kluber improved to 9-3, with a 2.77 ERA. Impressively, Kluber has a 0.95 WHIP over 123 2/3 innings, second only to Sale (0.91).

The victory kept Cleveland 2 1/2 games ahead of the Royals in the AL Central. The Yankees third straight loss dropped them two games back of Boston in the East as the Red Sox topped the White Sox, 9-5.

Game two of the four-game series is Friday, 7:10 pm ET.

Goldschmidt: 3 HR, 6 RBI
National League

Chicago Cub catcher, Willson Contreras, belted two home runs and drove in six runs, but, on the other side of the diamond, in the dugout of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt was getting the last laugh, as he socked not two, but three home runs, the final one breaking an 8-8 tie, as Arizona outlasted Chicago, 10-8.

Goldschmidt got the Diamondbacks off to a quick start with a three-run homer in the first, then blasted a two-run shot in the fifth, upping the Arizona lead to 6-1. Arizona's pitchers could not contain Contreras and the Cubs, eventually giving up the lead in the seventh, though the Diamondbacks regained it in the eighth and the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the inning.

In the ninth, Goldschmidt delivered his third homer - and 25th of the season - of the game, for a 9-8 lead. J.D. Martinez made it a back-to-back deal with his solo jam and a 10-8 lead. Goldschmidt finished 3-for-4 with six RBI and four runs.

Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for Arizona, giving up a pair of walks, but eventually fanning three for his 24th save.

Arizona's closed out the series at Chicago winning two of three and maintained their second place slot in the NL West, though they are 14 games behind the Dodgers. They lead the Rockies by 1/2 game in the division and the wild card race. Chicago lost their second straight but still lead the Brewers by 1 1/2 in the Central.

The Cubs remain home over the weekend, starting a three-game series with Washington Friday. Arizona heads to San Francisco on Friday for three games with the Giants.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Twins Win, 5-2, As Ervin Santana Tosses 5th Complete Game; Vance Worley, Dee Gordon Lead Marlins Past Nats

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

American League

There were not many runs scored on Wednesday, with 12 of 28 teams on MLB fields scoring two or fewer runs and six of those teams not scoring at all.

Santana's 5 CGs Leads MLB
Of all these low-scoring games, in only one did a starting pitcher go the entire distance, that being Minnesota's Ervin Santana, in the Twins' 5-2 victory at San Diego.

The complete game was Santana's fifth of the season, which is three more than any other pitcher in the league. While there are probably a couple dozen starters who could pitch a full nine innings, the nature of baseball in the age of numbers, studies, and career protection, few do. Santana is a throwback to the 60s, when complete games were the norm rather than the oddity.

In the win over the Padres, Santana allowed four hits and two runs, both of them coming off the bat of Jose Pirela, who socked a two-run homer in the fourth inning. That didn't faze Santana, who set down the first ten batters faced in order before surrendering a single prior to Pirela's homer.

After that, it was lights out for the Padres, able to muster only two hits and a walk the rest of the way. Santana finished with nine strikeouts on 110 pitches, 82 of which were strikes. At 12-7 with a 3.28 ERA, Santana is one of the leading causes for Minnesota's success this season. They've cooled off since the break (6-11), and trail Cleveland in the AL Central by six games.

Worley: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
The Twins head to home Thursday for the opener of a four-game series with the Rangers. Game one starts at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Even though the Washington Nationals lead the NL East by 12 games, the division race is far from over, according to the Miami Marlins.

Miami took the final two games of their three-game series with the visiting Nationals, winning the finale, 7-0, as Vance Worley made the most of his spot start, flinging seven innings of shutout ball on two hits for the win and leadoff hitter Dee Gordon went 3-for-4 with two singles, a triple, two stolen bases, three runs and an RBI.

Gordon: 3-4, 3 R, 2 SB
On Tuesday, the Marlins erased a 6-0 win to take the game, 7-6. Washington starter, Max Scherzer, went just one inning, but also homered in his only at-bat, belting a three-run shot. Scherzer didn't take the mound for the second inning, complaining of stiffness in his neck. He expects to make his next start and is set to see a chiropractor this week. Stephen Strasburg is already on the DL and the Nationals cannot afford to lose Scherzer as well for any extended period.

In Wednesday's series finale, Worley allowed a first-inning single to Howie Kendrick, but got out of the frame on a double play. After that, he allowed just one more hit and didn't give up any walks. No Washington batter reached second base with Worley on the mound.

Meanwhile, Gordon was running wild. He walked and scored in the first inning, singled and stole second in the third, tripled and scored in the fifth, singled in a run in the sixth, stole second and scored again.

Gordon is batting an even .300, has scored 71 runs, tied for fifth in the NL, and his 40 steals is second league-wide to Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton (44). Worley is 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 14 appearances, six of them starts.

The Marlins head to Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves starting Friday. On Monday, they'll open a four-game series in Washington. The Nationals open a three-game series with the Cubs in Chicago on Friday.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Christian Vazquez Walks Off Indians As Boston Wins, 12-10; Anthony Rizzo Powers Cubs' 16-4 Win Over D'Backs

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 1, 2017

American League

In a game which had all the trappings of playoff baseball, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians, 12-10, at Fenway Park when catcher Christian Vazquez ended the contest with a three-run homer to center.

Vazquez: HR wins game
The victory put Boston back in first place in the AL East, as the Yankees lost, 4-3, to Detroit, dropping to second place, 1/2 game behind the Red Sox. Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Toronto all were winners on the day, tightening the division race. All six teams are separated by just 8 1/2 games.

Vazquez, the hero of Boston for a day, at least, was 3-for-5, adding a single and double, scoring twice.

Boston starter, Chris Sale, had his worst outing of the season, surrendering seven runs on eight hits over five innings. Cleveland scored three in the first and two in the second before the Red Sox countered with five runs in their half of the second. Edwin Encarnation ended Sale's stay on the mound with a two-run blast in the fifth, but Boston rallied again, scoring four in the sixth.

After Cleveland took back the lead at 10-9 with a run in the eighth and two in the ninth, Cody Allen came on for the Indians to wrap things up, but allowed a single to Rafael Devers and, with tow outs, uncorked a wild pitch, striking out Mitch Moreland, who raced to first, representing the tying run. Allen threw another wild pitch, sending Devers and Moreland to third and second, prior to serving up the game winner to Vazquez, just his second home run of the season.

Boston has taken the first two games of the series and will be seeking the sweep when the teams take the field for game three, Wednesday at 7:00 pm ET.

National League
Rizzo: 2 HR, 3 RBI

Beginning to look like the reigning world champions, the Chicago Cubs won their third straight, winning 16-4 over Arizona, a potential wild card team.

Playing under the lights at Wrigley Field, the Cubs put on an impressive hitting and power display, banging out 17 hits, including five home runs, two of them by first baseman, Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo smoked a two-run homer in the second inning and blasted a solo shot in the seventh. In the Cubs' seven run sixth inning, Rizzo singled and scored prior to Javier Baez's three-run rip.

The homers were numbers 25 and 26 for the seven-year pro and the three RBI gave him 70 on the year.

With Milwaukee squeaking by the Cardinals, 3-2, Chicago remains 2 1/2 ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central. St. Louis is 5 1/2 back, Pittsburgh trails by 6 1/2. Sizzling since the all-star break, the Cubs are 14-3 in the season's second half and will look for their fourth in a row when they host the Diamondbacks in game two of the three-game series at 8:05 pm ET.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gio Gonzalez Takes No-Hitter To 9th For Nationals; Jake Marisnick's 2 HR, 5 RBI Power Houston's 14-7 Win

Players of the Day for Monday, July 31, 2017

American League

Just in case Josh Reddick isn't the clear choice in center field, Houston manager A.J. Hinch has a solid substitute at the ready in Jake Marisnick, a fifth-year outfielder acquired by the Astros from the Marlins in 2014.

Marisnick: 2HR, 5 RBI
It's not that the Astros need more hitters in their already packed lineup - they lead the majors with an incredible .292 team mark, the closest to them in the AL being the Yankees, at .262 - but they appear to have one in Marisnick, who belted a pair of home runs and a double, driving in five runs as Houston hammered visiting Tampa Bay, 14-7.

Houston had already taken a 4-2 lead in the third inning when Marisnick launched his first home run, a 414 blast to left, plating three. Houston scored five runs in the inning. In the fifth, Marisnick homered again, ripping a solo shot down the left field line. In the eighth, he doubled in another run and scored for the fourth time, finishing the night with an impressive line: 3-for-4, four runs, five RBI.

Marisnick is not exactly an unknown quantity, having his best year as a pro, with a .259 batting average, 13 homers, 31 RBI in 162 at-bats.

Houston has been pounding their opponents all season long, leading the AL in hits (1073), runs (623), doubles (234), home runs (172), total bases (1847) and RBI (593). Monday's win was the 17th time they've scored 10 or more runs and the seventh time in July. They lead the LA West by an insurmountable 16 games over Seattle, the only other team in the division with a winning record (54-53). Playing at their current pace, the Astros could clinch the division as early as September 10.

Game two of the three-game series in Houston is Tuesday at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Gonzalez: No-hitter thru 8
Washington's Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Miami, but surrendered a single to the leadoff hitter, Dee Gordon, and was relieved by Sean Doolittle to finish the 1-0 win for the Nationals.

Despite not giving up a hit for eight full innings, Gonzalez was far from perfect, walking batters in the first, second and seventh innings, and hitting Miguel Rojas with a pitch in the eighth. Still, no Miami baserunner advanced past first base, Gonzalez inducing a number of ground out fielder's choices to keep the Marlins on their heels. He was also assisted by one double play turned by the Nationals.

Gonzalez fanned five, throwing 67 of 106 pitches for strikes, improving his record to 9-5 on the year. Doolittle earned his fourth save in efficient manner, throwing nine pitches - eight for strikes - to four batters. He gave up one hit, but made quick work of the other three batters.

Washington's win came in the opener of a three game series in Miami, sending the Marlins back another game in the standings. Miami trails the Nationals by 14 games in the NL East.

Game two is scheduled for a 7:10 pm start on Tuesday.