Sunday, April 30, 2017

Aaron Judge, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner Power Yanks Into 1st Place; Matt Kemp Socks Three Homers For Braves

Aaron Judge
Players of the Day for Saturday, April 29, 2017

American League

After Friday night's heroics by Matt Holliday and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees made it even more difficult on Saturday to choose a player of the day when they drubbed Baltimore, 12-2, taking the second straight from the Birds and taking sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Possibly overlooked in Friday's game were the aptly-named Aaron Judge's two homers, both line shots with plenty of power.

On Saturday, Judge could not be overlooked, as he homered once again, blasting a two run shot, his 10th of the season, in the seventh inning to complete New York's scoring. That gave Judge, the Yankee's full time rookie right fielder, the AL lead (tied with Oakland's Khris Davis) in the long ball department and boosted his team-leading RBI total to 20, tied for fourth in the league.

Judge managed to reach base every time he went to the plate, adding a single and two walks, going 2-for-2 with four runs, two RBI and a stolen base.

Brett Gardner
Austin Romine
Earlier in the game, Brett Gardner mashed his first two homers of the season, a solo shot to lead off the Yankee first and a three-run dinger in the second. In between Gardner's belts, Austin Romine knocked in one of his five runs with a sac fly, then singled in two more in the fourth and socked a two-run homer in the sixth.

All told, the Yankees seem to have captured lightning in a bottle with their mix of veterans and young players.They not only have the lead in the AL East, but the best record in baseball, at 15-7. They're 14-3 since their 1-4 start to the season and will look to sweep division rival Baltimore on Sunday at 1:05 pm ET at Yankee Stadium.

National League

After being traded from the Dodgers to the Padres and, after last season, to the Braves, Matt Kemp is quickly heating up, smacking three home runs in Atlanta's 11-3 victory over Milwaukee.

Kemp: 3HR, 5RBI
Going 3-for-5, Kemp hit two-run homers in the fifth and eighth innings, sandwiching a solo shot in the seventh. The homers were numbers four, five and six on the year and his five RBI gave him 15, exceptional because Kemp missed two weeks between April 7th and 20th, and has only had 52 at-bats. He's batting .327.

Over his last five games, Kemp is 8-for-23 with 11 RBI and has helped the Braves win four straight. Atlanta started the season 6-12, but is closing in on .500, at 10-12.

Atlanta will be looking for the sweep at Milwaukee when the two teams meet at 2:10 pm ET Sunday.

Honorable mention: Washington's Ryan Zimmerman went 3-for-4 and hit his 11th home run in a 5-3 losing effort against the Mets on Saturday, but Zimmerman leads the league in batting (.410) and RBI (27) and his 11 homers is tied for the league lead with Eric Thames, currently on the disabled list.

Ivan Nova tossed a three-hit shutout for the Pirates, walking none and fanning seven as Pittsburgh won, 4-0. Nova is 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Matt Holliday, Jacoby Ellsbury Spark Yankees Over O's; Travis d'Arnaud's Two Homers Power Mets Past Nats

Holliday: Walk-off HR
Players of the Day for Friday, April 28, 2017

American League

Rallying from a 9-1 deficit, the New York Yankees outlasted the Baltimore Orioles, tying them for first place in the AL East with a 14-11 win in 10 innings.

The game lasted three hours and 41 minutes, featuring 29 hits, eight home runs - two of which were grand slams - and a walk off three-run job by Matt Holliday.

Ellsbury: Grand Slam
Thanks to Mark Trumbo's grand slam in the top of the sixth, the Yankees were down 9-1 after 5 1/2 innings, but scored three in the bottom of the sixth, then added four more on Jacoby Ellsbury's grand slam in the seventh. Ellsbury knocked in another run in the ninth on a fielder's choice, and scored when Starlin Castro socked a three-run homer to tie the game at 11.

An inning later, Holliday delivered the final blow, a 414-foot blast to center with two aboard, completing one of the biggest comebacks in Yankee history (and there have been plenty of them). Ellsbury finished 1-for-5, but had five RBI and scored twice. Holliday was 3-for-5, with three runs and three RBI.

Now dead even at 14-7, the two teams tangle again at Yankee Stadium in game two of their three-game series, Saturday at 1:05 pm ET.

National League

d'Arnaud: 2 HR, 5RBI
The New York Mets could not have picked a better time nor place to snap their six-game losing streak, traveling to Washington, DC, for a 7-5 win over the first place Nationals.

Travis d'Arnaud belted a pair of home runs and drove in five runs to power the Mets past their NL East rivals in the opener of a three-game series of vital importance to the Mets.

While the Mets were busy losing six straight and ten of their last eleven, the Nationals had seized the lead in the NL East, going 11-2 over the same span, including a three-game sweep of the Mets in New York.

Now at 9-13, the Mets own last place in the division, 6 1/2 games behind Washington, but have hope that they can make up some ground during their head-to-head weekend series.

Game two is slated for a 1:05 pm ET start at Nationals Park on Saturday.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Matt Carpenter's Walk Off Grand Slam Lifts Cardinals; Masahiro Tanaka Shuts Down Boston In Yankee Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 27, 2017

American League

One of baseball's most-stried rivalries was renewed again on Thursday, as the Red Sox hosted the NY Yankees at Fenway Park.

Tanaka: CG, Shutout
Featuring a pitching match-up between Boston's Chris Sale and New York's Masahiro Tanaka, the game more than lived up to its billing, with New York's fourth-inning unearned run the difference through eight frames. The Yankees finally got to Sale in the ninth, adding two more for the 3-0 victory and a complete game for Tanaka.

New York's ace cruised through the Boston lineup, allowing three hits and no walks, fanning three while raising his record to 3-1. It was the first complete game for the Yankees since 2014, also by Tanaka.

Tanaka threw just 97 pitches for his fifth career complete game and second career shutout.

The Red Sox have scored four runs total in Sale's five starts this season, a primary reason why he's 1-2 with a 1.19 ERA.

The Yankees return home Friday to host the first-place Orioles in the opener of a three-game series beginning at 7:05 pm ET.

National League

Carpenter: Grand Slam
After a rough start (3-9), the St. Louis Cardinals got back to .500, taking two on Thursday from the visiting Blue Jays. Thanks to a walk-off grand slam by Matt Carpenter in the 11th inning of the first game, St. Louis recorded an 8-4 victory over Toronto and took the nightcap, 6-4, evening their record at 11-11.

Carpenter launched his third homer off Toronto's seventh pitcher of that first game, J.P. Howell, 409 feet into the right field stands. The Cardinals trailed most of the game, but tied the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth on Randall Girchuk's two run belt.

The momentum carried over to the second game, as the Cardinals scored all of their runs in the first four innings for a 6-4 win.

The pair of wins put the Cards just 1 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the contentious NL Central where all five teams are within three games of the lead. Pittsburgh is in last place with a 9-12 record.

St. Louis looks to extend their winning streak to three straight when they host the Cincinnati Reds Friday night at 8:15 pm ET. St. Louis is 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Grand Slam Night: Ryan Rua Goes Yard For Rangers; Maikel Franco Clears Bases For Phillies

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 26, 2017

American League

Rua's Slam Lifts Rangers
Blowing open the game with an eight-run eighth inning highlighted by Ryan Rua's grand slam, the Texas Rangers avoided being swept at home by the Minnesota, taking game three of their series by a score of 14-3.

Rua's belt was his second hit of the game, going 2-for-5 wiht four RBI. A part-time player, Rua only has 34 at-bats this season. The homer was his first of the year. He hit eight last season in 99 games with the Rangers.

The Rangers' win got them a game closer to AL West leader, Houston, losers to Cleveland Wednesday night, 7-6. After a slow, 5-10 start, the Rangers are 10-12 winning five of their last seven, 4 1/2 games back, but only 1/2 game out of second place in the division.

Texas will complete a ten-game home stand with a three-game series against the Angels starting Friday. Game one is slated for an 8:05 pm ET start.

National League

Maikel Franco Fuels Phils
Philadelphia took the first of a two-game series with the Marlins Wednesday night, topping Miami, the 7-4 win fueled by Maikel Franco's grand slam, a 407-foot blast that cleared the wall in center field, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

The Phillies padded their edge with a run in the sixth and two more in the eighth, tying Miami for second place in the NL East, four games behind Washington. All of Philadelphia's runs came via the long ball.

For Franco, it was his fourth homer of the season, boosting his RBI total to 20 for the season.

The Phillies have won five straight and will be looking to extend their streak when they host the Marlins Thursday afternoon at Citizen's Bank Park. Game time is 1:05 pm ET.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ian Kinsler 4-for-5 In Detroit's 19-9 Rout Of Mariners; Trea Turner Hits For Cycle In 15-12 Washington Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 25, 2017

American League

Kinsler: 4-5, 4 runs
While the Astros were taking down the Indians, 4-2, the Detroit Tigers were wreaking havoc on Seattle pitching, scoring nine times in the fifth on their way to a 19-9 romp over the West division visitors.

Having already led off the Tigers' half of the first inning with a double and scoring, and singling in the second and scoring again, Ian Kinsler was a main cog in the wheel that sent 13 Tigers to the plate. Kinsler singled with a man on and no outs, later scoring on a single by Nicholas Castellanos, then singled again in the latter part of the inning, driving in two runs.

Kinsler finished 4-for-5 with two RBI and four runs, taken out for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. A veteran with 12 years of major league experience, Kinsler is in his fourth year as a Detroit Tiger. Always a run-scoring machine, Kinsler has crossed home safely 16 times this season and has had six seasons in which he scored 100 or more runs.

With the win and Cleveland's loss, the Tigers took over sole possession of first place in the AL Central, a game to the good over both the Inidans and White Sox.

Detroit hosts Seattle again on Wednesday in game two of their three-game series at 7:10 pm ET at Comerica Park.

National League

Turner Hits for Cycle
It was nothing short of an old-fashioned slug-fest in Colorado Tuesday night as the Nationals and Rockies, leaders of their respective divisions, banged out 29 hits, eventually settling matters in favor of the Nationals, 15-12.

Of those 29 hits four of them came off the bat of Trea Turner, the 23-year-old Washington shortstop, who became the third player in Nationals' history to hit for the cycle.

Turner singled in the first, smoked a two-run double in the second, cracked a two-run homer in the sixth and finished up with a bases-loaded triple in the seventh, in the process of entering his name in the records books, driving in a career-high seven runs, also the most RBI for a player in a single game this season.

Turner's effort was the first for the Nationals since Cristian Guzman hit for the cycle in 2008.

Washington's win evened the series at a game apiece. Game three of the four-game series will be hosted at Coors Field by the Rockies at 8:40 pm ET on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Matt Davidson, Miguel Gonzalez Boost White Sox; Eric Thames Continues Home Run Barrage For Brewers

Players of the Day for Monday, April 24, 2017

American League

Rookie slugger Davidson
Matt Davidson hasn't had many at-bats this season (38), but he's making people stand up and take notice.

In an eight-run sixth inning, Davidson had two hits and three RBI. The White Sox DH set a career high with three hits and tied his single-game best with four RBI. Davidson started the scoring in the big inning with an RBI double and ended it with a two run single. Earlier, he launched a solo shot in the second, his fourth home run of the season, to give Milwauke a short-lived 1-0 lead. He's batting a solid .368 with 14 RBI after yesterday's show.

The decisive inning in the White Sox's 12-1 rout of Kansas City was Chicago's highest-scoring inning in five years.

Gonzalez: 3-0
Starter Miguel Gonzalez had more than enough support to get to 3-0. He threw eight innings of two-hit ball, giving up a sole unearned run in the third, on a booted ground ball by third baseman, Todd Frazier.

Gonzalez was cruising, at one point setting down 12 straight Royal would-be hitters. He struck out five and issued one walk.

The Sox evened their record at 9-9 and are just a game behind AL Central co-leaders, Detroit and Cleveland. Chicago hosts the Royals for game two of their three-game series at 8:10 pm ET Tuesday night.

National League

Eric Thames is absolutely crushing it this season for the Brewers.

Thames: 10 HRs leads majors
Thames socked a pair of home runs, improving upon his major league lead in the dinger category. Thames has ten. Nobody else has more than seven. He's batting .373 and has 17 RBI since returning from a two year stint in Korea where he had 105 homers in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Previously, the slugger played two seasons (2011, 2012) in the majors, with Toronto and Settle.

While the Brewers were piling up 10 runs over the first four innings, Thames was doing his part with a solo shot in the first and a two-run blast in the second as the Brewers went on to whip the Reds, 11-7, in the first game of their three-game set in Milwaukee.

The two squads will be back at it again Tuesday night for game two of the series. Game time is 8:40 pm ET.

Monday, April 24, 2017

John Hicks Powers Tigers Into 1st Place Tie; Nationals Sweep Mets On Daniel Murphy's Slam

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 23, 2017

American League

Looking once again like a legitimate contender in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers took the final game of their series at Minnesota with a very efficient 13-4 victory, banging out the same number of hits as runs produced.

Hicks: 3-5, HR 5RBI
Playing in just his second game this season, rookie John Hicks drove in five runs, going 3-for-5 with two singles and a three-run homer that capped the scoring for Detroit.

In his limited major league experience, Hicks has played only 20 games in three separate seasons, likely owing to the fact that he's a first baseman, playing behind the likes of Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera.

The win gave the series to the Tigers, two games to one, and moved them into a tie for first place with the Indians, both teams at 10-8. Detroit opens a ten-game home stand on Tuesday, when they host the Seattle Mariners in the first of three games.

National League

Murphy: Slammin'
Daniel Murphy's first inning grand slam was just enough for Max Scherzer (3-1), who allowed three earned runs over eight innings as the Washington Nationals completed the three game sweep of the Mets at New York's Citi Field with a 6-3 win.

Murphy teed off on Mets' starter Zak Wheeler, who had loaded the bases in the opening frame, getting only one out before Murphy arrived at the plate. Having traded Murphy to the Nationals following the 2015 season, the Mets' brass have to live down the bonehead move as Murphy blossomed into a textbook high-average hitter, batting .347 for the Nationals in 2016, second best in the National League.

The sweep help expand the Nationals' lead in the NL East to three games over Miami while sending the Mets to an 8-10 record, 5 1/2 games back. Washington has the best record in the majors, at 13-5. They travel to Colorado Monday to open a three-game series with the red-hot Rockies (13-6), who completed a sweep of their own over the weekend, taking three straight from the Giants. The Rockies hold a 1 1/2 game lead over Arizona in the topsy-turvy NL West.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Carlos Carraso Sharp As Indians Blank White Sox Again; Wilson Contreras Grand Slam Leads Cubs

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 22, 2017

American League
Carrasco: 8IP, 3H, 0R

In 2016, Carlos Carrasco played a pivotal role in getting the Cleveland Indians to the top of the AL Central. Though the Tribe would eventually arrive at the World Series, Carrasco was lost to injury in mid-September and missed the post-season.

Now, with Carrasco healed and the Indians already in first place, the future looks bright, especially after the Venezuelan righty tossed eight scoreless innings in a 7-0 whitewash of the White Sox, Saturday night in Chicago.

Carrasco (2-1, 1.65) threw 73 of 106 pitches for strikes, fanning eight, allowing one walk and just three hits as the Indians stretched their scoreless streak against the Pale Hose to 18 innings. Corey Kluber threw a three-hit shutout against them on Friday. In their last three games - all losses - Chicago has scored exactly one run, falling to 7-9, 2 1/2 behind the division-leading Indians.

The series wraps up Sunday, 2:10 pm ET. The Indians will be looking for their sixth straight win.

National League

Contreras: Grand Slam
Winners of four straight, the Chicago Cubs have surged to the lead in the NL Central and are starting to play like the world champions that they are.

As Cincinnati hurlers walked eight batters, the Cubs responded with nine hits, outscoring the Reds, 12-8, in the second of their three-game series in Cincy.

The two squads combined for six homers, including Wilson Contreras' second inning grand slam, which provided a three-run cushion and a lead the Reds could not overcome.

Contreras also doubled and singled in four at-bats, scoring three times. The effort was the best so far for the second year catcher, who seems to have settled into the starting role ahead of Miguel Montero. In 15 games, Contreras is batting .275 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

The Cubs go for the sweep Sunday, at 1:10 pm ET at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Corey Kluber Sinks ChiSox; Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon Power Rockies Over Giants

Players of the Day for Friday, April 21, 2017

American League

Kluber: 3-Hit Shutout
Corey Kluber had his Friday night good stuff working and the reigning AL champion Cleveland Indians are back in first place in the AL Central after hanging the White Sox out to dry, 3-0.

Winners of four straight, 9-7 Cleveland holds a one-game lead in the ultra-competitive division where even last place Kansas City is a mere two games out at 7-9. Kluber tossed a three-hit shutout at the visiting Sox in the opener of a three game weekend series at the dreadfully-named Guaranteed Rate Field in Cleveland.

Cleveland scored a run in the third and two in the fourth and that was more than enough for the 2014 Al Cy Young award winner, who walked two, struck out nine, a season-high.

It was Kluber's first complete game and shutout of the 2017 season. His 27 strikeouts in 23 innings places Kluber fourth in the whiff department among AL hurlers.

The two teams meet again on Saturday at 7:10 pm ET. Sunday's series finale is a day game set to start at 2:10 pm ET.

Charlie Blackmon
National League

Story: Grand Slam
Staked to an early 3-0 lead, San Francisco's Johnny Cueto couldn't make the most of his good fortune as the Colorado Rockies scored all of their runs in the fourth inning en route to a 6-5 home win.

Trevor Story took Cueto downtown with the bases loaded and three batters later, Charlie Blackmon socked a two-run inside-the-park homer to pad the Rockies' lead.

The round-trippers were the third of the season for Story; Blackmon's was his fourth.

Colorado's win in the series opener at Coors field kept the Rockies 1/2 game in front of Arizona in the NL West while dropping the Giants to 6-11, the worst record in the league and good for last place in the division.

Cueto was touched up for eight hits and all six earned runs, suffering his first loss of the season (3-1).

Colorado hosts the Giants on Saturday for game two, with the first pitch slated for 8:10 pm ET.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ryan Zimmerman Homers As Nats Sweep Braves; Steven Souza Jr. A Single Short Of Cycle For Rays

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 20, 2017

American League

Souza Jr: Single Short
Normally, when one comes close to hitting for the cycle, it is the triple or home run that's the elusive part.

For Steven Souza Jr., a simple single kept him out of the record books in Tampa Bay's 8-1 trouncing of the Detroit Tigers.

Batting in the leadoff spot for the Rays, Souza countered Ian Kinsler's leadoff homer for the Tigers in the first inning by doubling and scoring in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1. He followed up by tripling in a pair of runs in the second, putting the Rays ahead, 3-1.

After flying out in the fourth and striking out in the sixth, with a 5-1 lead, Souza wasn't likely thinking about the cycle, but he managed to come as close as one can by socking a solo homer in the eighth inning to complete the scoring for the Rays. He finished 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBI.

Souza ended the day batting .349 with three homers and 15 RBI.

Ryan Zimmerman
Sweeping the three-game series from the Tigers, the Rays are 9-8 and remain home for a three-game set with Houston, starting on Friday night at 7:10 pm ET

National League

Thanks largely to the effort of Ryan Zimmerman, Washington's Stephen Strasberg pitched just well enough to win his second game without a loss and keep the Nationals the clear leader in the NL East.

Strasberg allowed six hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out 10, but Zimmerman's two-run homer in the sixth inning - his fifth of the year - off Atlanta's R.A. Dickey helped give Strasberg the 3-2 win, sweeping the Braves three straight, while leaving the Nationals atop the NL East by two games over the idle Miami Marlins. Zimmerman also doubled in the second inning, scoring the Nationals' first run on a sac fly by Michael Taylor. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.

Zimmerman, a stalwart at either first or third base for the Nats since entering the majors in 2005, is batting .389, with six doubles and 13 RBI and is yet another reason the Nationals are looking more and more like the class of the National League.

With the sweep, the Nationals have the best record in the league at 10-5, and begin a three-game series with the Mets on Friday. Game time is 7:10 pm ET.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bryce Harper Powers Nationals Over Atlanta; Mitch Haniger Leads Seattle Past Miami

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 19, 2017

American League

Haniger: Hot Rookie
As the Houston Astros attempt to reach escape velocity and zoom away from the rest of the AL West, the four chasing teams are doing what they can to keep pace and somehow catch the 10-5 leaders.

Seattle's gotten off tho a rocky start at 7-9, but they got a boost from rookie outfielder, Mitch Haniger, who supplied most of the gusto in a 10-5 Seattle victory over Miami.

The winning effort gave Seattle the series, two games to one, as they prepare to embark on a ten-game road trip, taking them to Oakland, Detroit, and Cleveland.

Haniger, who has been batting in the #2 spot for most of the season, was 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, scoring three times and driving in four runs. His two-run single in the second put Seattle up 3-2, and his fourth-inning, two-run double put the Mariners ahead for good.

The 26-year-old California native is having a solid season thus far, batting .323 with four home runs and 15 RBI.

The Mariners open an important four-game series at division rival Oakland on Thursday. Game time is 7:05 pm PT.

Harper: GS, 5RBI
National League

This is what most people were expecting from the Washington Nationals, favorites to win the NL East.

Washington assumed a 1 1/2 game lead in the division over Miami and the NY Mets on the strength of a 14-4 tour de force at Atlanta Wednesday night.

The Nationals banged out 20 hits against Atlanta starter Julio Teheran and four relief pitchers, a fifth of those hits off the bat of superstar Bryce Harper, who, in four at-bats, socked a grand slam, a solo homer, singled, doubled, scored three times and drove in five runs.

Harper, the 2012 Rookie of the Year and 2015 league MVP, is off to a blazing start to the 2017 season, batting .404 with six homers and 18 RBI. He's fourth in batting and second in both home runs and RBI.

Winners of three straight, Washington will be looking to complete a sweep of the Braves on Thursday before opening a serious series on Friday in New York with the Mets, considered by many to be the Nationals' primary contender in the division.

Game time Thursday in Atlanta is 7:25 pm ET.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wei-Yin Chen No-Hits Seattle Over Seven; Miguel Gonzalez, White Sox End Yankee Streak At Eight

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 18, 2017

American League

The streak is over.
Miguel Gonzalez

Miguel Gonzalez and the Chicago White Sox ended the longest winning streak in the majors this season - eight straight - with a decisive, 4-1 win over the New York Yankees at the Yankee stronghold in the Bronx.

Regarded as one of the best young teams in the majors, the "Baby Bombers" started the season 1-4 before embarking on the streak, which included three-game sweeps of visiting Tampa Bay and St. Louis. All bu the first win were at Yankee Stadium.

A six-year veteran, Gonzalez was just short of magnificent in earning his second win of the season for the 7-6 White Sox, taking a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning before surrendering a single to pinch-hitter Chase Headley and walking Brett Gardner to put runners on first and second with out out. He was lifted for reliever David Robertson, who walked in the only run scored by the Yankees before getting out of the jam, leaving the bases full of Yankees at the end. The run, however, was credited against Gonzalez, who has thrown only one complete game shutout in his major league career.

Gonzalez was a model of efficiency, throwing just 88 pitches, fanning four and issuing the lone walk in the ninth. Gonzalez has an ERA of 2.84 after 19 innings of work.

Chen: No hits over 7
The win tied the series at a game apiece, with the result leaving Chicago a game back of Detroit in the AL Central and the Yankees tied with Baltimore and Boston for first place in the East. The rubber game is set for a 7:05 pm ET start on Wednesday.

National League

Full of surprising starts by teams like Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Arizona and Colorado, the Miami Marlins are making waves of their own in the East division, holding onto second place, just 1/2 game behind Washington after they topped the Seattle Mariners, 5-0, Tuesday night.

Their 8-6 record was put on a high note by starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, who not only blanked the Mariners for seven innings, but didn't allow a single hit before being lifted after throwing 100 pitches.

Chen set down every batter he faced with the exception of two walks he issued in the fourth and seventh innings, though neither base-runner proved a problem. He also plunked Nelson Cruz in the seventh, but managed to get the final two outs of the inning without further incident.

A pair of relievers came in to finish up for the Marlins. Kyle Barraclaugh surrendered the only Mariner hit of the game in the ninth. Chen got the win. He is 2-0.

The series is tied, 1-1, with the finale Wednesday at 12:40 pm PT in Seattle.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Aaron Judge Powers Yankees to 8th Straight; Eric Thams Homers In 5th Striaght As Brewers Top Cubs

Aaron Judge
Players of the Day for Monday, April 17, 2017

American League

Undertaking a thorough house-cleaning in 2016, the Yankees brought up some young players in their farm system and recruited a couple of thoroughbred free agents in the off-season. The moves by the front office must have been on the right track because the Yanks won their eighth straight Monday night, ripping the visiting White Sox, 7-4.

One of those free agents, Matt Holliday - acquired from St. Louis - got things going for the Yanks in the third inning, belting a mammoth (459 feet) three-run homer off Chicago starter Derek Holland, and one of those youths - rookie Aaron Judge - completed the five-run inning by legging out an infield single, scoring Chase Headley from third.

After showing off his legs, Judge showed off his prodigious power, smacking a two-run homer in the fifth to complete the scoring for the home team, driving the ball 405 feet to left center. It was Judge's 4th home run of the season and his three RBI in the game gave him 11 for the year.

The Yankees will be looking for their ninth straight when they host the White Sox Tuesday night in game two of their three-game series at 7:05 pm ET.
Eric Thames

National League

30-year-old Eric Thames is a thumper. He has always been a thumper, and will likely always be a thumper.

Thames, who strikes out far too often for most teams to take him seriously as an everyday player, tied a team record Monday by homering in his fifth straight game, a third-inning solo blast that gave the Brewers a 4-3 lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs.

The shot gave Thames seven homers on the season, which leads the majors. The journeyman also has 12 RBI and a .405 average as he also singled, doubled and scored three times in the win over the Cubs.

Milwaukee's win left the Brewers with an 8-6 record, 1/2 game behind NL Central leader, Cincinnati.

The Brewers and Cubs play game two of their three-game set at Wrigely Field at 8:05 pm ET Tuesday.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Baltimore's Trey Mancini Strikes Twice Again; Bryce Harper Walks Offs Phillies in Nats' 6-4 Win

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 16, 2017

American League

Mancini: 2HR, 4RBI
With their 11-4 win at Toronto, the Baltimore Orioles maintained their tenuous hold on first place in the AL East, 1/2 game ahead of the surging Yankees - winners of seven straight - and 1 1/2 clear of Boston.

Taking the series three games to one, the power-laden Orioles banged out 15 hits in the Sunday finale, led by Trey Mancini, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs on the strength of a pair of home runs, a three-run belt in the sixth and a solo shot in the eighth.

The Orioles scored five runs in each of the frames in which Mancini homered. It was the second time this season that the rookie has rocked the opponent with a dinger duo. He last did it against the Red Sox on April 12, resulting in a 12-5 Baltimore victory.

Mancini has four homers and nine RBI on the year, and is sporting a solid .364 batting average. MLB may want to check Mancini's seemingly-magical bats. He loaned them to teammates Craig Gentry and Manny Machado and both of them also went deep.
Harper slugs Game-Winner

Baltimore gets a day off Monday before heading to Cincinnati to open a three-game series on Tuesday, completing a nine-game road trip. The O's are 4-2 away from Camden Yards this season.

National League

As the Mets were losing to Miami, 4-2, the Washington Nationals took the initiative, topping the Phillies, 6-4, on Bryce Harper's three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Washington's victory tied them with the Marlins for first place in the NL East, with the Mets dropping 1/2 game behind.

Harper's heroics happened after the Phillies had scored the go-ahead run in the top of the inning, making the score 4-3, but Joacuin Benoit could not keep the Nationals off the bases in the bottom of the frame, walking Chris Heisey with one away, then allowing a single to right by Adam Eaton. After Anthony Rendon lined out to right, the stage was set for Harper, who delivered a crushing, 419-foot blast over the wall in center field.

It was Harper's second home run of the season, boosting his RBI total to 13, second in the NL behind Miami's Marcell Ozuna with 18.

On Tuesday, Washington will embark on a ten-game road trip, with stops in stops in Atlanta, New York (Mets) and Cincinnati.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Minnesota's Ervin Santana, Colorado's Tyler Chatwood Throw First Shutouts Of Season

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 15, 2017

American League

Ervin Santana
Jackie Robinson Day became a day of firsts in the majors, highlighted by the first two complete game shutouts tossed in each league.

In Minnesota, the Twins earned a tie for first place with the Tigers (13-6 losers at Cleveland) in the Central division with a 6-0 shutout of the White Sox courtesy of Ervin Santana's magical one-hitter.

Staked by his teammates to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, Santana improved to 3-0, allowed a third inning single to Jomar Narvaez and walked Avisail Garcia to open the fourth. After a wild pitch that sent Garcia to second, Santana settled in to sit down the next 18 would-be batters in order, finishing with the one-hitter and the first shutout of the season in the American League.

In near-complete control throughout, Santana threw 72 of 107 pitches for strikes, walked one and struck out eight, lowering his ERA to a minuscule 0.41 in the process.

Tyler Chatwood
It was the 17th career complete game for the 34-year-old righty, and his 9th shutout.

The White Sox and Twins play the rubber game of their three-game series at Target Field on Sunday, starting at 4:10 pm ET.

National League

Out in San Francisco, the Colorado Rockies took a slim 1/2 game advantage over the Dodgers and Diamondbacks when Tyler Chatwood threw the first shutout of his six-year MLB career, topping the Giants with a two-hit, 5-0, shutout.

Earning his first win of the season, Chatwood walked one and struck out four, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Chris Marrero dinged him for a clean single to right field.

Allowing another single to right to lead off the seventh by Joe Panik, Chatwood didn't allow another hit, issuing his lone walk to Dennard Span in the ninth without further damage.

Throwing 105 pitches in the complete game win, Chatwood hit the strike zone with 67, facing 30 batters, three over the minimum.

Leading the series two games to one, the Rockies will look to improve upon their 8-5 record when they finish up with the Giants at 4:05 pm ET at AT&T Park.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Jason Vargas 2-0 After Stifling Athletics; Travis d'Arnaud Delivers For Mets In 16th

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 13, 2013

American League

The AL Central is thus far wide open, which is good news for the Kansas City Royals, who got off to a horrible, 2-6 start, but improved to 3-6 with their 3-1 victory over the visiting A's Thursday night.

Vargas: 2-0
Leaving the Royals three games back in the standings at this juncture is acceptable, especially considering the performance of starting pitcher, Jason Vargas, who tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering four hits, walking one and striking out eight.

Now 2-0, Vargas didn't allow a runner past second base and was aided by a pair of KC double plays.

A lefty hurler, Vargas threw 66 of 98 pitches for strikes and now sports an ERA of 0.66.

Beset by injuries the past two seasons, Varg

as threw only 55 innings in 12 starts but is off to a promising start for the Royals this year.

Kansas City opens a series at home with the Angels starting Friday. Game time is 8:15 pm ET.

d'Arnaud: GW HR in 16
National League

Mets fans - and the players - are probably glad their 16-inning, 9-8 marathon win over the Marlins was played in the relative warmth of Miami, Florida.

Miami's Marcell Ozuna staked the Marlins to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a grand slam, but the Mets, despite using eight pitchers (the Marlins used nine), never gave up, even after taking the lead, 7-4, in the fifth, and giving it right back as the Marlins scored four in the bottom of the frame.

The Mets tied the game in the eighth when Michael Conforto doubled home Travis d'Arnaud, making it 8-8. Niether team would score again for another eight innings, and it was d"Arnaud who delivered the game winning with a solo homer to left.

Spending the entire game behind the plate, handling all eight different hurlers and 256 pitches, d'Arnaud still managed to go 4-for-6, score three times, and drive in four runs, including the game-winner five hours and 38 minutes after the first pitch.

He may get a day off Friday when the Marlins and Mets meet for game two of their four-game series at 7:10 pm ET.

At 7-3, New York leads the NL East by 1 1/2 games over Washington.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Orioles Swamp BoSox As Trey Mancini Belts A Pair; Stephen Piscotty Drives St. Louis Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

American League

On Tuesday, the Orioles were rocked by the Red Sox, 8-1, but, on Wednesday, they got their just desserts, hammering five homers out of Fenway Park in a 12-5 revenge win.

Mancini: 2 HR, 4 RBI
The five dingers, two of which were produced off the bat of rookie left fielder, Trey Mancini, all came in the first three innings as the O's built a 9-0 lead, mainly off knuckle-baller Steven Wright, who was victimized for eight earned runs on eight hits over a mere 1 1/3 of an inning.

In total, the Orioles racked up 17 hits against five Red Sox throwers.

Mancini keyed a five-run first inning via a three-run blast to center field, then completed the home run barrage with a solo shot over the Green Monster in the third. The rookie has played in five games for the O's this season and is currently batting .267. The homers were the first two of the season for the 6'4" right-handed slugger.

Piscotty: 5 RBI
The Orioles head to Toronto for a four game series beginning on Thursday, while the Red Sox host the Pirates in a make-up game from an April 6 rain-out.

At 5-2, the Orioles lead the AL East by one game over Tampa Bay.

National League

The St. Louis Cardinals got a little banged up the at the opening of the season, especially when they visited the Washington Nationals, losing the first two of their three-game series by scores of 14-6 and 8-3.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, life as a Cardinal got a little bit better as St. Louis took the final game, 6-1.

Starter Mike Leake threw seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and no walks, striking out seven en route to his first win of the season, but it was right fielder Stephen Piscotty who carried the day, going 3-for-5 with a single, double and a ninth inning three-run homer to cap the game off, driving in five of the six Cardinal scores.

Piscotty doubled in the first run in the first inning and singled home the third run in the fifth. The homer was the first of the year for Piscotty, who is batting .273, precisely what he hit in 582 at-bats last year.

The St. Louis win was their third of the season against six losses, placing them last in the NL Central division. Washington fell one game behind the Mets in the NL East. St. Louis heads to New York for a three-game series with the Yankees starting on Friday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Yoenis Cespedes Rakes Three Homers in 14-4 Mets Win; Christian Vazquez Helps Red Sox Hammer O's

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 11, 2017

American League

With the departure of Big Papi David Ortiz, there were a few question marks for the Boston Red Sox entering the 2017 season.

Vazquez: 4-for-4
Thus far, with a 4-3 record after bombing the Orioles, 8-1, the Sox appear to be on a fair scoring pace, averaging 4.28 runs per game.

To the end of scoring runs, catcher Christian Vazquez made his mark from the bottom of the lineup, going 4-for-4 with a triple and three singles, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs.

Vazquez, now 5-for-5 this season is still batting 1.000, making the Red Sox all the more content with their call-up.

Baltimore, which opened with four straight wins, has dropped two in a row and will try to stem the tide as they complete their 2-day stay in Boston on Wednesday. Game time at Fenway Park is 7:10 pm ET.

National League

Cespedes, 3 HR
When the Mets acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from Detroit (via Oakland, then Boston) in 2015, they knew they were getting a power hitter with plenty of potential. How great that potential might someday become, and how quickly it would be manifested were unknown, but it's probably safe to say the New York Mets' front office is pretty well assured they made a proper deal.

On Tuesday, some of Cespedes' magic was on display at Citzens Bank Park in Philadelphia, as the Mets cranked out seven homers in a 14-4 rout of the home-standing Phillies.

Cespedes accounted for three of the fence-clearing blasts himself, going yard in the first, fourth and fifth innings on a 4-for-6 night including a double, five RBI and three runs.

The barrage of long balls were instrumental for the Mets to keep pace with the Washington Nationals in the NL East. Both teams stand at 5-3, tied for first place. The Nationals continued their pounding of the Cardinals, with an 8-3 win.

Philadelphia dropped to 3-5, two games off the pace.

Yet to realize his full potential, Cespedes, who began his major league career in 2012, hit 35 homers in 2015 - 18 for the Tigers and 17 for the Mets - and 31 last season in his first full campaign in New York. So far in 2017, he's hit four, but one gets the distinct feeling that the 31-year old emigrant from Cuba is just getting started.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Michael Pineda Flirts With Perfection in 8-1 Yankee Win: Stephen Drew Helps Nats Deal Cards 14-6 Loss

Players of the Day for Monday, April 10, 2017
Pineda: nearing perfect

American League

Opening day is an American tradition like no other and there’s no place with more history than at one of baseball’s shrines, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

While the Yanks had thus far struggled to a 2-4 record on the road, Monday was the home opener for the Bombers, facing Tampa Bay in the first of a three game series.

Making his second start of the season, Michael Pineda took the mound for New York, facing Alex Cobb of the Rays. It wasn’t long before Pineda, a 6'7" righty, had the crowd on its feet, necks craning on every delivery, as he engineered a spectacular perfect game though six complete innings.

In the seventh, Pineda got the first two men, but Evan Longoria, forever the Yankee nemesis, lined a shot down the left field line and into the corner for a solid double, breaking up Pineda’s quest for perfection.

Unfazed, Pineda got Brad Miller for the final out of the inning and returned for the eighth. Maybe seven strong innings had been enough for Pineda, because Logan Morrison ended any contemplation of a shutout with a one-out solo homer to right field.

With the Yankees up, 3-1, Pineda was lifted after getting the next out, going 7 2/3 innings on two hits, one run, fanning 11 without surrendering a walk, having set down the first 20 batsmen in order.

Tyler Clippard threw one pitch to get out of the eighth inning. New York tacked on five more runs in their half of the eighth with Jason Shreve mopping up with a perfect ninth to win going away, 8-1.
Drew: Big day at plate

Both teams take a day off Tuesday before taking the field again on Wednesday for game two of the series, 1:05 pm ET.

National League

There's trouble in River City, that being St. Louis, and while trouble with a capital "T" might rhyme with "P" and stand for "pool," as the song from "The Music Man" suggests, the trouble in St. Louis starts with "O" which stands for "offense" and has lately been nil.

Starting off the season with a six-game home stand, the Cards went 2-4, scoring a total of just five runs in the losses, two of them shutouts by traditional rival, Cincinnati, not respected as a power-pitching team, but, nevertheless, capable of whipping the Cardinals in two of three games, just as the Cubs did to open the season in St. Louis.

On Monday, taking a trip to the nation's capitol to face the Nationals, it wasn't the offense so much as the pitching that plagued the Cardinals (yes, pitching starts with "P" and rhymes with "T") as six St. Louis hurlers combined to allow Washington to score more than a dozen runs in a 14-6 blowout for the Nats.

Bryce Harper lashed four singles in four at-bats drove in three and scored twice, but honors go to shortstop Stephen Drew, who doubled and singled twice in four at-bats, drove in four runs and scored thrice.

Drew joined the Nationals after the 2015 season, after short stints in Boston and with the New York Yankees. In his 13th year as a major leager, Drew carries a career .252 average but has always been a solid glove man, which is why the Nationals took up his contract.

As for the Cardinals, little has gone right thus far, but they'll try to make the best of a poor start when they face the Nationals in game two of the three-game set, Tuesday night at 7:00 pm ET.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Joey Gallo Drives In Five As Rangers Down A's; Starling Marte Delivers In 10th For Pirates

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 9, 2017

Joey Gallo: 5 RBI
American League

Managing to take two of three at home over the Oakland A's, the Texas Rangers got an 8-1 win to close out the series and the weekend.

Providing ample power for the Rangers was third baseman Joey Gallo, who got things underway with a three-run homer in the second inning, then added to the run total with a bases-loaded single in the sixth, driving in two more.

Technically still a rookie, Gallo saw limited action with the Rangers in both 2015 and 2016. His home run was his second of the season. He hit six in 108 at-bats in 2015 and is expected to be the Rangers' regular third baseman until Adrian Beltre Returns from the 15-day disabled list.

Marte: gamee-winning HR
Now 2-4, the Rangers head to Anaheim for a three-game series with their division rival Angels beginning on Tuesday.

National League

After Nick Markakis scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th, Pittsburgh came to the plate in the bottom of the inning still looking to sweep the three-game series from the visiting Braves.

Adam Frazier led off the frame with a solid single off reliever Jose Ramirez. Next up, Starling Marte deposited the offering from Ramirez into the seats in center field 408 feet away for the walk-off game-winner and a 6-5 victory.

Marte, who was 4-for-5 in the game with three singles, also scored a run for the Pirates in the fourth inning. A six year pro, Marte has spent all his time in the majors with Pittsburgh where he batted .311 last season.

Off to a solid start, Marte checks in with a .381 average. The homer was his first of the year and he has five RBI on the season.

Pittsburgh, now 3-2, hosts the 4-2 Reds in a three-game series beginning Monday night at 7:05 pm ET.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Kendall Graveman Shuts Down Rangers As A's Win; Howie Kendrick Stars As Phillies Pound Nats, 17-3

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 8, 2017

American League
Kendall Graveman

The Oakland A's aren't supposed to compete in the race for the AL West crown, but don't tell that to Oakland hurler Kendall Graveman, who held the Texas Rangers to one run on two hits over seven innings on the mound Saturday.

Graveman, in his third season as a starter, threw 85 pitches - 58 for strikes - as Oakland evened their three-game series with the Rangers at a game apiece with a 6-1 win.

Graveman walked one and fanned five, improving to 2-0 on the year. The only run allowed was on a solo homer by Mike Napoli in the seventh inning, after Graveman had set down 14 Rangers in a row. Once Graveman finished the inning and took a spot on the bench, Santiago Casilla and Ryan Madsen went to work, each throwing a perfect inning to close out the game.

The win got the A's to 3-3, while the Rangers dropped to 1-4. The two teams will complete the series on Sunday. Game time at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, is 3:05 pm ET.

National League

Howie Kendrick
Supposedly, the Washington Nationals have the best starting rotation in the league, maybe in all of baseball, but you couldn't tell by yesterday's mauling at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, as the Phillies hammered out 12 runs in the first inning en route to a 17-3 beat down of their NL East rivals.

Washington starter Jeremy Guthrie lasted just 2/3rds of an inning, allowing six hits, four walks and 10 runs. The main protagonist for the Phillies was left fielder Howie Kendrick, who socked a bases-loaded triple to highlight the opening inning.

The three-bagger was in Kendrick's second at-bat of the inning. He earlier singled and scored Philadelphia's second run. Coming up again in the seventh, Kendrick singled once more, driving in Cesar Hernandez, completing a 3-for-5 day with four RBI for the journeyman utility player.

A 12-year veteran, Kendrick spent nine seasons with the Angels and the last two with the Dodgers before being picked up by the Phillies in the off-season. In four games this year, he's batting .444 with 12 total bases.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Nomar Mazara Leads Rangers With Grand Slam; Yangervis Solarte Drives In 4 For Padres

Players of the Day for Friday, April 7, 2017

Mazara: GS, 6 RBI
American League

After dropping their first three games of the season at home to the AL champion Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers registered win numero uno with a solid offensive attack, defeating the visiting Oakland A's by a score of 10-5 Friday night.

Accounting for more than half of the Rangers' total runs scored was right fielder Nomar Mazara, who drove in a run on a ground out in the first, socked a grand slam in the second and finished up with an RBI single in the sixth inning to complete the scoring for Texas.

A second-year player for Texas, Mazara hit 20 homers and batted .266 last season, but is off to a blazing start this year, batting .588 after four games, going 10-for-17 with two doubles, a pair of homers and nine RBI. Mazara currently leads the majors in batting and RBI.

Solarte: 3-5, 4 RBI
The victory came in the first of a three-game series with Oakland. Game two is slated for an 8:05 pm ET start on Saturday.

National League

Predicted by many in the baseball punditry to be the worst team in the majors, the San Diego Padres and their youthful lineup may have plans to make those writers and broadcasters eat their words.

Opening a three-game home series with the Giants - considered the class of the NL West - the Padres racked up a 7-6 victory, thanks to a pair of solo homers by leadoff hitter Manuel Margot and a three-hit night by second baseman Yangervis Solarte.

A former Yankee farmhand, Solarte has spent the last two seasons with the Padres, batting .270 in 2015 and .286 last season, despite playing only 109 games in 2016.

In the win over the Giants, which improved the Padres to 2-3 on the season, Solarte singled twice and doubled in five at-bats, driving in single runs with both of his singles, and getting home two with his seventh-inning double, which put the Pardres ahead, 6-5. Later in the inning, Solarte scored what turned out to be the game-winner on a safety squeeze by catcher Austin Hedges.

Game two of the three game series between the Padres and Giants is slated for a Saturday start at 8:40 pm ET.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Francisco Lindor Lifts Indians; Reds' Brandon Finnegan Tops Phillies

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 5, 2017

American League

Defending AL champion Cleveland won its third straight without a loss, topping the Rangers, 9-6, to complete the opening series sweep at Arlington.

Lindor: 2HR, GS, 5RBI
The bulk of the offense was carried by shortstop Francisco Lindor, who belted a pair of homers and drove in five runs with a solo shot in the sixth inning of Cole Hamels and a grand slam in the ninth off Sam Dyson, which brought the Indians back from a 6-5 deficit, to victory.

Lindor got to the plate in the ninth with the bases chucked, after Carlos Santana had walked in the first run of the frame for the Indians. The third year shortstop lifted a ball into the right field stands and circled the bases, his teammates awaiting him at the dish with congratulations.

Lindor has played all of his major league games with the Indians, batting .313 as a rookie in 2015 and .301 with 263 total bases last season, making the all-star team.

After a day off Thursday, Cleveland will look to extend their winning streak when they open an interleague series in Arizona on Friday.

Finnegan: 1 hit over 7
National League

After a full season as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds in 2016, Brandon Finnegan figures to fit right in with the Reds for the rest of the 2017 campaign.

In his first start of the season, Finnegan was on fire, allowing just one hit over seven scoreless innings as the Reds evened their record at 1-1 by blanking the Phillies, 2-0.

Finnegan got off to a somewhat shaky start, walking Howie Kendrick and allowing a single to Maikel Franco. But, as it turned out, that was it for the punchless Phillies. Finnegan set down the next 18 batters in order before exiting after completing the seventh inning, fanning nine and throwing just 88 pitches.

The 23-year-old lefty was 10-11 with a 3.98 ERA in 2016.

The Reds and Phillies will complete their three-game series in Cincinnati with the rubber game Thursday afternoon. Game time is 12:35 pm ET.