Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Elvis Andrus Drives In 5 As Texas Tops Tampa Bay; Robbie Ray Shuts Out Pirates For 3-0 Arizona Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Andrus: 3-run HR, 5 RBI

American League

Texas topped Tampa Bay, 9-5, remaining tied with the Angels for second place in the AL West, 11 games behind the Astros, winners of their sixth straight, a 7-2 win at Minnesota.

The play of shortstop Elvis Andrus was key to the Texas victory. Andrus started the Rangers off on the right path, following Shin-Soo-Choo's leadoff homer with a double, scoring on Nomar Mazara's single to right.

The Rays countered with four runs in the third and another in the fifth before Andrus tied the game at five with a three-run blast with two outs in the seventh inning, his seventh homer of the season. Texas tacked on two more runs in the eighth, and Andrus completed the scoring, singling home two teammates in the ninth. Andrus finished the game 3-for-5, with five RBI and two runs. Batting primarily from the two hole, Andrus is batting .288 with 27 RBI.

The Rangers had been gaining some ground through the middle of May when they won 10 straight, but ran into trouble on the road, dropping three in Boston and two of three in Toronto.

Back in Arlington, their Tuesday win evened the series at a game apiece, the rubber game scheduled for Wednesday at 8:05 pm ET.
Ray: 4-hit Shutout

National League

The race in the NL West is really heating up. With the Dodgers topping St. Louis, 9-4, for their sixth straight win, and Seattle clubbing Colorado, 10-4, the Dodgers have caught and passed the Rockies, leading the division by 1/2 game.

But, this is a three-team race. Arizona won at Pittsburgh, 3-0, Tuesday, on the strength of Robbie Ray's four-hit shutout at Pittsburgh.

Ray (5-3, 3.00) was solid throughout, out-dueling Pittsburgh's Ivan Nova, who kept the Diamondbacks scoreless until the sixth inning. Throwing 76 of 115 pitches for strikes, Ray fanned 10 without issuing a walk. An equal-opportunity hurler, Ray fanned all nine starters once each, excepting #8 hitter Gift Ngoepe, who struck out twice.

Ray upped his strikeout total to 84, tied for third in the NL with Jeff Samardzija and Zack Greinke. Max Scherzer leads the league with 89. The Mets' Jacob deGrom is second with 86.

Arizona, which dropped the first game of the series, looks to walk the Pirates off the plank in game three, Wednesday at 12:35 pm ET.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Carlos Beltran Caps 11-Run Rally By Astros; Robert Gsellman Works Out Win For Mets Over Brewers

Players of the Day for Monday, May 29, 2017

American League
Beltran keys rally

While the AL East and Central divisions are tightening and becoming more interesting every day, the Houston Astros are beginning to make a mockery of the AL West.

Winning their fifth in a row, the Astros manhandled Minnesota, the current resident of first place in the Central, by a score of 16-8. The three, four, and five hitters in the Astro lineup - Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Carlos Beltran - were a combined 10-for-15, with Beltran going 4-for-5, stroking three singles and a three-run homer, scoring three times and driving in three runs.

The amazing part of Houston's win was that they trailed the Twins, 8-2, going into the eighth inning, then erupted for 11 runs in the top half of the inning, finalized by Beltran's blast, plating himself, Altuve and Correa.

The Astros have found little in the way of competition as they've gotten off to a 36-16 mark, 11 games in front of the Angels and Rangers in the division. Though they lost three straight to Cleveland at the start of their most recent homestead, they finished up by taking three of four from Detroit and sweeping three from the Orioles. The win at Minnesota was the start of a three-game series and ten-game road trip that will take them to Texas and Kansas City.

Game two of the series at Minnesota resumes Tuesday, at 8:10 pm ET.

Gsellman: 7IP, 1ER, W
National League

Monday was a strange day for Mets' pitcher, Robert Gsellman.

First, he pitched seven innings in New York's 4-2 win over Milwaukee, giving up only three hits, but the Brewers scored two times against him, though only one run was earned.

At the plate, Gsellman's day was more weird. With the score tied at 1-1 in the fifth, the 6'4" right-hander lifted a sac fly to right, scoring Wilmer Flores from third. In the sixth, the Mets had forged a 3-2 lead, but loaded the bases on a walk, a single, and a hit batsman.

Up stepped Gsellman, who worked out a walk from Rob Scahill, adding an insurance run with his second RBI of the day, doing so without a hit.

After seven innings, walking two and striking out five, Gsellman left the game to the bullpen, which blanked the brewers the rest of the way.

Gsellman is 3-3 with a 5.75 ERA, batting .067, with one hit in 15 at-bats, but three RBI.

The win left New York tied for second with the Braves in the NL East, though both teams trail the Nationals by 8 1/2 games. Washington (31-19) is the only team in the division with a winning record. The Mets are 22-27. Despite the loss, Milwaukee holds first place in the Central by 1 1/2 over the Cardinals and Cubs.

Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET at Citi Field in New York.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Aaron Judge's Grand Slam Paces Yankees; Reds' Adam Duvall Homers Twice In Win Over Phillies

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 28, 2017

American League

Judge: Yankee Slammer
With Boston's winning streak ended at six by the Mariners, 5-0, and Baltimore's losing streak extending to seven games, being swept at Houston, 8-4, the New York Yankees padded their lead in the AL East to three games over the Red Sox, 4 1/2 over the Orioles with a solid, 9-5 victory over Oakland.

Setting the tone early, rookie Aaron Judge mashed his 16th home run of the season, a third inning grand slam that put the Yankees up, 5-2. Judge's gavel-banger tied him for the home run lead in the majors with LA's Mike Trout. His .321 batting average is seventh-best in the AL and a total of 34 RBI is tied for sixth in the league with the Angels' Albert Pujols.

The Yankees took the three game series two games to one. Judge's grand slam was his first.

Baltimore welcomes the Yankees to Camden Yards on Monday, beginning a three-game series crucial to the Orioles, as they have been sliding badly since May 10, falling from first to third place, losing 13 of their last 16. Game one game time is 1:00 pm ET.

National League
Duvall: 2 HR, 5 RBI

With Milwaukee leading the NL Central by 1 1/2 over the Cardinals and Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, just 2 1/2 out, believe they have a legitimate chance to win the wide-open division, especially after their 8-4 rip at Philadelphia, taking the series, two games to one.

The Reds have good reason to be confident, as they possess a slugging lineup. Cincinnati belted five long balls in the win, one by Scott Schleber, tying him with Washington's Bryce Harper for the league lead with 15, two by rookie Patrick Kivlehan, and two by Adam Duvall, who socked his 12th and 13th - both two-run shots - and earlier singled in the Reds' first run in the first inning, going 3-for-4 with five RBI on the day.

Duvall tied Arizona's Jake Lamb and Colorado's Mark Reynolds for second in NL RBI with 43, trailing the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon (45).

Duvall's homers came in the third and fifth innings, the first tying the game at 4-all, the second giving the Reds the lead for good, at 7-4.

With all the booming bats in the Reds' lineup, Joey Votto's is surely not forgotten. Votto quietly has 12 homes and 39 RBI. Cincinnati's 67 homers is tied for fourth in the league with Colorado and the Mets.

Winners of three of their last four, Cincinnati heads North to Toronto for a three-game interleague series, starting Monday at 7:07 pm ET.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Boston's Brian Johnson Fans 8 As Sox Win 6th Straight; Strasberg Fans 15 Padres For Nationals

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 27, 2017

American League

Johnson: CG 5-hit shutout
It was a day for pitching across the MLB spectrum on Saturday. Five teams - Detroit, Seattle, San Diego, Colorado, and the Chicago Cubs - were shut out, though, in a sign of the times kind of way, only one of those shutouts was a complete game.

That was tossed by Boston hurler, Brian Johnson, the 26-year-old lefty rookie who was staked to a three-run edge in the first inning and more than made it stand up, limiting the visiting Mariners to five hits, fanning eight, walking none, in a 6-0 Red Sox triumph.

Johnson threw 85 of 109 pitches for strikes and was ahead 0-1 on 26 of the 32 batters faced. Now, 2-0, Johnson, since left-handers are such a prized commodity, may get more appearances as Boston has taken over second place in the AL East, two games behind the Yankees, 3-2 winners over Oakland on Saturday. However, with David Price due back to the rotation this coming week, Johnson may have to wait until another chance at a spot start appears.

While Baltimore has lost six straight, the Red Sox have won six in a row, moving past the Orioles, who led the division just two weeks ago. Baltimore is 3 1/2 out.

Boston will be looking for the sweep of the Mariners when they meet Sunday, 1:35 pm ET at Fenway Park.

National League

Strasberg: 15 Ks
Favorites to win the NL East and beyond, the Washington Nationals continue to plow through the schedule, now 8 1/2 games clear of second place Atlanta in the division, after Stephen Strasberg and crew shut down the Padres for a 3-0 win.

The flame-throwing Strasberg stuck out 15 Padres over seven innings, his highest K total this season. The two-time all star (2012, 2016) was also largely untouchable, giving up just three singles, protecting a one-run, third-inning lead until Michael Taylor stroked a two-run homer n the sixth for some breathing room.

Strasberg threw 108 pitches and surrendered only one walk. In 67 1/3 innings this season, he has 74 strikeout victims, tied for fifth with Arizona's Robbie Ray in the NL. Teammate Max Scherzer leads the league with 89 whiffers.

Now 6-1 with a 2.94 ERA, Strasberg may be looking at his best season in his eight-year major league career.

The Nationals have taken the first two games of the series in Washington from the Padres, and will be seeking the sweep when the teams take the field Sunday, at 1:35 pm ET.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Devon Travis Grand Slam Carries Blue Jays Past Texas; Charlie Blackmon, Anotonio Senzatela Lead Rockies

Players of the Day for Friday, May 26, 2017

American League

Travis' slam tops Texas
Opening a series with the visiting Texas Rangers, Toronto was happy to have Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki back in the lineup after both of them had spent more than a month on the DL.

As it turned out, it was an everyday player, second baseman Devon Travis, who propelled the Jays to a 7-6 win, going 3-for-4 with a single, double and second inning grand slam.

Generally not known as a power hitter, Travis took an A.J. Travis pitch into the left field seats, giving Toronto a lead they would never relinquish. The final score was much closer than the game was in reality, as the Rangers scored three runs in the top of the ninth on a Rougned Odor homer. With two outs in the inning, Roberto Osuna came on to strike out Mike Napoli to end the Texas threat.

While Donaldson and Tulowitzki had a hit apiece, it was the play of Travis that carried the day. After singling in the sixth, he scored on a wild pitch by Jeremy Jeffress to complete Toronto's scoring.

The win was important to the Blue Jays, as the Yankees were losing, 4-1, to Oakland, leaving Toronto still in last place, but just 6 1/2 games behind the division leading Yanks.

Toronto hosts Texas in game two of their three-game stint, Saturday at 1:07 pm ET.

Blackmon: 45 RBI leads NL
National League

To say that Colorado leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon is having a good season would be the understatement of the year.

Senzatela: 7-1
Blackmon went 4-for-4 in the Rockies' 10-0 win over St. Louis in the opener of their three-game series in Denver, missing the cycle for lack of a double. His 45 RBI lead the league; he has 69 hits, 10 more than Ryan Zimmerman, who is second league-wide, and he's eighth in batting with a .337 average.

Blackmon drove in three runs with a triple in the second, a solo homer in the eighth, and an RBI single later in the same inning. Meanwhile, Colorado starter, Antonio Senzatela joined LA's Clayton Kershaw as the only NL hurlers with seven wins. In his rookie season, Senzatela is 7-1, with a 3.19 ERA after blanking the Cardinals for eight innings, allowing five hits, no walks, fanning three.

The win kept the Rockies in first place in the NL West, one game up on Arizona, while the Cardinals fell to third, though only one game behind the Cubs in the Central. Milwaukee is 1/2 behind Chicago.

Game two is scheduled for Saturday night, 9:10 pm ET at Coors Field.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Colby Rasmus, Matt Andriese Deliver In 4-0 Rays Win; Tommy Joseph Saves Phillies In 2-1 Win Over Rockies

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 25, 2017

American League

After losing the first two games of their four-game series with the visiting Angels, Tampa Bay got back to .500 (25-25) and dropped the Angels to an even 25-25 by winning the third and fourth games, 5-2 on Wednesday and 4-0 on Thursday.

Andriese: Strong 8 innings
While starter, Matt Andriese, was holding LA at bay for eight scoreless innings, Colby Rasmus was knocking in all of Tampa's runs, singling in a pair in the first and doubling home the same two guys - Cory Dickerson and Evan Longoria - in the fifth.

For Andriese (5-1, 3.24), the game was likely his best of the year thus far, scattering six hits and a pair of walks, fanning five. Another comparable performance for the 27-year-old righty was May 4, when he blanked Miami on seven hits over seven innings, walking three, striking out eight, in a 5-1 Rays victory.
Rasmus: 4 RBI

Andriese has picked up wins in four of his last five starts, without a loss.

The Rays are now five games behind the Yankees in the AL East and head to Minnesota on Friday, looking to extend their win streak to three games when they met the first-place Twins in the first of three at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

The Phillies finally figured out how to beat the Rockies, though it took them four games to do so.

Philadephia ended a for-game winning streak by Colorado and avoided being swept at home by the Rockies with a 2-1, 11-inning victory Thursday.

Their method was to use seven pitchers (even though starter Vince Velazquez pitched well enough to win - but got no decision - allowing one run over five innings) and make sure second-year first baseman, Tommy Joseph, got to the plate often enough.

Joseph keys Philly win
Joseph went 2-for-5 and drove in both of the runs for the Phillies, homering in the seventh inning to tie the game and delivering the game-winner with a single that scored Michael Saunders from second with one out in the bottom of the 11th.

Joseph's home run was his seventh and the two RBI for the game gave him 22 on the year. He's batting .255.

The Phillies ended the day tied with Miami for last place in the NL East, both teams 11 1/2 behind runaway leader Washington. Despite the loss, Colorado maintained first place in the NL West, though their lead over the Diamondbacks was trimmed to one game.

Philly stays put, opening a three-game series with the Reds on Friday, while the Rockies return home after a successful road trip (8-2) to play the Cardinals in three games over the weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ryan Goins' Grand Slam Lifts Blue Jays Over Brewers; Anthony Rizzo Socks A Pair In Cubs' Victory Over SF

Players of the Day for Wednesday, May 24, 2017

American League

"Grand Slam" Goins
Prior to opening day, what was considered to be the best division in the majors was the AL East, and, thus far, it hasn't really disappointed. What is making it all the more interesting is the emergence of the Yankee "Baby Bombers" youth movement, that has taken over first place in the division, and the poor start by the team favored to win it all, the Toronto Blue Jays.

While the Orioles have floundered of late, losing their last four and 10 of their last 13, the other teams are gaining ground on second place Baltimore. New York, Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto all won on Wednesday, tightening the noose around Baltimore.

Toronto, at 21-26, is a work in progress, but they won their third straight, taking down the Brewers in Milwaukee, 8-4. With Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki on track to return from the DL this weekend, the last place Blue Jays may be about to make things even more interesting.

In the meantime, Grand Slam Ryan Goins got the job done. The gritty shortstop socked a bases-loaded homer in the sixth inning that broke the game open. Goins' shot was one of four Blue Jay homers in the game.

The win trimmed Milwaukee's lead in the NL Central to 1/2 game over the Cubs and Cards, both winners on Wednesday. Toronto is still in last place in the AL East, but they're only 7 1/2 back with more than four months of baseball remaining.

On Thursday, the Blue Jays are headed home, where they will open a three game series with the Rangers on Friday. Milwaukee stays home and starts a four game set with Arizona.

National League

The Cubs are on the prowl.
Rizzo: 2 HR, 2 RBI

After winning their second straight over the visiting Giants, 5-4, Chicago is tied with St. Louis in second place, 1/2 game behind the Brewers in the NL Central Division.

Keying Wednesday's win was first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who belted a pair of home runs and singled in his only other official at-bat, going 3-for-3 and driving in two runs.

Both of Rizzo's solo shots tied the game, at 1-1 in the second inning and 2-2 in the fourth. The Cubs added single runs in the fifth, seventh and eight, before the Giants came back with two in the ninth, when Mac Williamson stroked a two-run homer of closer Wade Davis, who picked up his 10th save, nevertheless.

Rizzo's home runs gave him 11 on the season, along with 28 RBI.

The Cubs and Giants conclude their four-game series on Thursday at Wrigley Field with the Cubs leading, two games to one. Getaway game time is 2:20 pm ET.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 23, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Monday, May 22, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 21, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

Bryant: 2 HR, 4 Runs
National League

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 20, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Friday, May 19, 2017

American League
Castillo Tears Up Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Jose Berrios Dominates Rockies As Twins Win; Javier Baez Grand Slam Boosts Cubs Over Reds

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 18, 2017

American League
Berrios Blanks Rockies

Jose Berrios didn't allow a hit through four innings, going on to blank the Colorado Rockies over 7 2/3 innings in the finale of the four-game series in Minnesota.

The Twins avoided being swept at home with the 2-0 win, thanks to Berrios' savvy mound control and timely hitting which produced single runs in the first and fourth.

Despite holding the Rockies hitless in the opening innings, Berrios actually got himself into a little trouble, plunking Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond in the second. Desmond advanced to second on a balk by Berrios, and took third when the 22-year-old hurler uncorked a wild pitch. However, Berrios escaped the inning by fanning Pat Valaika, one of his 11 strikeout victims on the night.

Berrios (2-0) was called up from AAA Rochester on May 13th after going 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 39 strikeouts with the Red Wings. He dazzled the Indians in his first start, also lasting 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits in a 4-1 win. Thus far, in two starts, Berrios has allowed just four hits and one run over 15 1/3 innings, with 15 strikeouts and two walks. Opposing hitters are batting .082 against the dominating youngster.

Hailing from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the right-hander was taken by the Twins in the first round of the 2012 draft and appears to be ready to become a fixture in the Minnesota rotation.

The win came after the Rockies won game one of the doubleheader, 5-1, leaving both teams where they began the day, in first place in their respective divisions. Minnesota leads the AL Central by one game over Detroit and Cleveland. Colorado holds a two-game edge over the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the NL West.

On Friday, the Twins (20-17) host the Royals in the first of a three-game series; the Rockies (26-16) head to Cincinnati to begin a three-game series with the Reds at 7:10 pm ET.
Baez: Grand Slam

National League

The NL Central is a paradox, with the Milwaukee Brewers in first place by a game over St. Louis and the world champion Chicago Cubs two back. Chicago second baseman, Javier Baez, tried to make some sense of it all when he belted a grand slam in the first inning of the Cubs' runaway 9-5 win over visiting Cincinnati, who ended the day 19-21, four games out.

The Cubs scored five times in the opening frame and were ahead 9-0 before the Reds finally got on the board.

Baez finished 3-for-3 with five RBI, driving in another run with a single in the fifth, later scoring the Cubs' ninth run on a Ben Zobrist single.

The slam was the sixth homer of the season for Baez, who now has 19 RBI on the year, along with a .248 batting average. Last year, Baez was a steady contributor, hitting 14 home runs, driving in 59 runs.

Completing the three-game sweep of the Reds, Chicago welcomes the first-place Brewers to town on Friday for three games, all of which purportedly will start at 2:20 pm ET.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw Stops Giants; Tyler Collins Belts A Pair, Leads Tigers Over O's

Players of the Day for Wednesday, May 17, 2017

American League

Collins: 2 HR, 4 RBI
In four at-bats, Detroit's Tyler Collins doubled and homered twice, the second of which chased Baltimore starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, in the fifth inning, the tree-run shot turning the game around and erasing the Orioles' 4-2 advantage.

Following the turn-around blast, the pitching took over and neither team scored again, producing a 5-4 Detroit win and improving starter Michael Fulmer's record to 5-1, despite allowing 10 Baltimore hits and three earned runs over seven innings. After that, the Wilson boys took over - Alex and Justin (unrelated). Alex hurled a perfect eighth, but Justin got his third save only after throwing 30 pitches, allowing a hit and a walk, but fanning two.

Collins also belted a solo shot in the second off Jimenez. His two homers gave him four for the season, the four RBI upping his total to 14.

Baltimore's loss was their fifth in the last six outings, dropping them 1 1/2 behind New York in the AL East. Detroit attained breakeven at 19-19 with the victory, leaving them in third place, 1 12 games behind Minnesota in the Central. Cleveland trails the Twins by one game.

Detroit will host game three of the three-game series with an afternoon getaway game starting at 1:10 pm ET at Comerica Park.

National League

Kershaw Leads NL at 7-2
Having won the NL Cy Young award in 2011, 2013, and 2014, Clayton Kershaw is looking good to add a fourth trophy to his collection, becoming the first NL pitcher to reach seven wins this season with Wednesday's 6-1 win over the Giants.

Kershaw allowed just three hits over seven innings, walking none while striking out five. The Giants got their only run of the game off reliever Sergio Romo in the ninth, on an Edwardo Nunez solo homer, his first of the season.

The workmanlike performance for Kershaw consisted of 89 pitches, 63 of which went for strikes. He also calmly ignored a bench-clearing in the third inning, heading right to the mound to take his warm-up throws.

The win stopped the bleeding for LA, as the Gaints had taken the first tow games of the series at AT&T Park in San Francisco. A sellout crowd of 41,588 saw Kershaw improve to 7-2 (2.15 ERA), besting Johnny Cueto (4-3)

With Colorado rained out at Minnesota, the Dodgers picked up 1/2 a game and trail by 2 1/2. San Francisco dropped nine back.

The Dodgers return home Thursday to open a 10-game homestand, starting with a four-game series with the Marlins. San Francisco heads to St. Louis.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Chris Davis Homer Ends O's-Tigers Marathon In 13th; Charlie Blackmon Leads Rockies; Greg Holland Posts 17th Save

Davis Socks Game-Winner
Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 16, 2017

American League

Baltimore gave up a 7-1 lead, fell behind and tied the game with Detroit at 8-8 on a Mark Trumbo home run, scored three runs in the top of the 12th only to give up the same number to the Tigers in the bottom half.

Finally, Chris Davis ended the marathon in the 13th inning with a two-run homer and Richard Blier - the O's seventh pitcher - closed out the Tigers in the bottom of the frame for a 13-11 win, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Davis had homered earlier, in the 12th, putting the Orioles up 9-8, though the lead was not to last. The Baltimore slugger finished 3-for-5 with three runs and four RBI, raising his batting average to a respectable .266.

Detroit also used seven pitchers. Between the two squads, their pitchers threw 497 pitches. The game lasted well into the night, lasting 5:19.

The win left the Orioles 1/2 game behind the Yankees in the AL East, who earlier had won at Kansas City, 7-1. Detroit trails Minnesota by two games in the Central division.

Blackmon: .319 BA
That was just game one of the three-game series. The teams get back on the diamond Wednesday, 7:10 pm ET at Comerica Park.

National League

Before the Giants topped the Dodgers, 2-1, in San Francisco, the Rockies were doing their thing in Minnesota, whipping the Twins, 7-3, padding their lead in te NL West to 2 1/2 games over Arizona, dropping the Dodgers into third place, three games off the pace.

Holland: 17 Saves
Colorado got a dose of offense from leadoff hitter, Charlie Blackmon, who went 3-for-5, scored a run and socked his ninth home run of the season, a sixth-inning, two-run shot that put the game away as the Rockies broke a 3-3 tie with four runs in the frame. The Rockies' leadoff hitter is batting .319 and has 30 RBI.

Later, Greg Holland came in and threw four pitches, the last of which induced a Brian Dozier pop-up to second ending the game. Holland recorded his 17th save, which leads the majors by a bunch. In the NL Seung-Hwan Oh of St. Louis and Fenando Rodnay of Arizona each have 10. Boston's Craig Kimbrel leads the AL with 12.

Holland has been somewhat unhittable this season, posting a 1.04 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP in 17 1/3 innings. In 18 appearances, he's allowed nine hits and two earned runs, not allowing a hit in 12 of those outings. He's walked five and struck out 23.

The Rockies and Twins meet in game two Wednesday night at 8:10 pm ET. Both teams are in first place in their respective divisions, though Minnesota's edge over Cleveland is only 1/2 game.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Yuli Gurriel Grand Slam Paces Houston Past Miami; Hunter Renfroe's Walk-Off Homer Lifts Padres

Players of the Day for Monday, May 15, 2017

American League
Gurriel: Grand Slam


That's the winning percentage of the Houston Astros as MLB approaches the end of  the proverbial first quarter in the annual march to the pennants. At 27-12, the Astros have the best record in the majors and are on pace to run away with the AL West, with a record of 112-50.

Already eight games to the good over the Angels and Rangers, the Astros have led the division since being 7-4 on April 14 and appear poised to keep padding their lead for the foreseeable future.

In their 7-2 win at Miami - Houston's seventh win in their last eight games - another hero emerged for the night in the form of first baseman, Yuli Gurriel, who smacked a sixth-inning grand slam that erased a 1-0 Marlins lead and sent the Astros on their way to victory.

Technically a rookie, since MLB rules state, "A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues..." and Gurriel had exactly 130 at-bats last year for Houston, the 32-year-old Cuban is batting .293 with three homers and 14 RBI. He continues to get plenty of playing time and has become a regular contributor to the Houston offense.

Refroe: 2-run HR
Houston will be looking to take game two of their three-game interleague series when they take the field at Marlins Park on Wednesday at 7:10 pm ET.

National League

The Brewers lost a 6-5 heart-breaker in the opening game of their four-game series in San Diego as the Padres, after giving up a run in the top of the tenth inning, plated a pair for the win on Hunter Renfroe's walk-off two-run homer.

Renfroe, who finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, got the Padres started with a two-run double in the opening inning, but the Brewers came back to eventually tie the game at 4-4 and force extra frames. After Eric Sogard's solo homer gave the Brewers a lead in the top of the 10th, the stage was set for Renfroe after Erick Aybar singled leading off the bottom of the inning. Milwaukee's Oliver Drake didn't get anybody out, giving up both the single and Renfroe's blast, and took the loss, dropping the Brewers to 21-18, 1 1/2 games behind the streaking Cardinals.

A 25-year-old rookie, Refroe is batting just .217, but, he's socked seven home runs and driven in 17 for the 15-25 Padres, who have found their way to last place in the NL West, 9 1/2 behind the division-leading Rockies.

The teams meet again for game two at Petco Park on Wednesday. Game time is 7:10 pm PT.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pat Valaika, Jason Kipnis Each Homer Twice In Wins For Rockies, Indians

Kipnis Powers Indians
Players of the Day for Sunday, May 14, 2017

American League

On a day in which 15 teams scored six or more runs (plus the Yankees and Astros, which each did twice via their double-header) and a total of 190 runs were scored, including 52 home runs, some impressive numbers were put up, but Cleveland's Jason Kipnis outdid them all in the Indians' 8-3 win over Minnesota.

Batting from his usual spot atop the Cleveland lineup, Kipnis went 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs, doing most of his damage in the first three innings. To start things off, the scrappy second baseman led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer, giving Cleveland a lead they would not relinquish.

In the third, Kipnis belted homered with two aboard, completing the Cleveland scoring. Earlier in the inning, Carlos Santana also went yard. The two Kipnis homers were the first of the season. Kipnis had a breakout year in 2016, belting 23 homers and driving in 82 runs, both outstanding numbers for a player generally batting in the leadoff spot.

The win kept the Twins from sweeping the three-game series, though it did not prevent them from holding a one-game edge over the Indians in the AL Central.

Cleveland remains at home to open a three-game series with Tampa Bay, Monday at 6:10 pm. The Twins get Monday off and look to get back on the winning track Tuesday when they begin hosting a three-game series with Colorado.

National League

Valaika: 2-4, 2HR, 4RBI
The Rockies and Dodgers finished up their four-game series in Denver on Sunday, with nothing resolved as the two split the series, the Rockies taking the first game and Sunday's finale, 9-6.

The unlikely hero of the game was Colorado shortstop, Pat Valaika, who homered twice in four at-bats, each time with Carlos Gonzalez on base.

Valaika's four RBI came at opportune times for the Rockies. His first two-run belt came in the fourth, turning a 4-3 deficit quickly into a 5-4 lead for Colorado.

The second shot was in the eighth inning, with the Rockies clinging to a 7-6 lead. Valaika's homer provided the winning cushion.

A rookie, the home runs were his second and third. Having played in just 20 games (41 at-bats), Valaika is batting .268 and has nine RBI.

The victory put the Rockies back up by 1 1/2 games over the Dodgers in the NL West. Colorado heads for a three-game set in Minnesota starting Tuesday. LA opens a three-game series with the Giants in San Francisco Monday at 7:15 pm PT.

NOTES: There were 190 runs scored on Sunday,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jose Bautista Homers For 4th Straight Blue Jay Win; Bryce Harper's Walk-Off HR Keys Nationals Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bautista is heating up
American League

Toronto is beginning to find their groove, winning their fourth straight by taking down the visiting Mariners, 7-2, thanks to Jose Bautista's three-run homer.

Bautista came to the plate in the seventh with the score tied and two aboard for the Blue Jays, and promptly delivered his fifth home run of the season 438 feet away into the stands past center field.

The blow broke a 2-2 tie, propelling the Jays to their third straight over the Mariners. They will be looking for the series sweep when the two teams meet on Sunday, 1:07 pn ET at the Rogers Centre.

The fact that the Jays are winning and Bautista - a six-time all-star who led the AL in home runs in 2010 and 2011 - is heating up is no coincidence. His bat is essential to Toronto's attack, especially since trading Edwin Encarnacion in the off-season and extended injuries to Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki. Bautista has homered in three of his last four games, driving in eight runs.

Harper: Walk-Off HR
Off to a very slow start with just 17 RBI and a .185 batting average, "Joey Bats" may be finding his best stroke as the Jays struggle to get out of last place in the AL East, where they trail the Yankees and Orioles by seven games.

National League

Bryce Harper only had one hit in Washington's 6-4 win over the Phillies Saturday at Nationals Park, but it was a decisive one, a two-run, walk-off blast with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

The home run was Harper's 11th on the season, to go with 31 RBI, tying him for third in the NL with Colorado's Mark Reynolds. Teammate Ryan Zimmerman leads the league with 36 RBI and also leads in batting (.397) and homers (13, tied with Milwaukee's Eric Thames).

The win was the first over the Phillies in their three-game series. With Friday night's game rained out, the teams will finish up with a double-headed on Sunday, the first game at 1:35 and the second starting at 7:05 pm ET.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ervin Santana, Miguel Sano Lead Twins To 1st Place; Brandon Drury Powers Arizona Past Pirates, 11-4

Santana: 6-1
Players of the Day for Friday, May 12, 2017

American League

The Twins are in first place.

Yes, you read that right. After winning at Cleveland, 1-0, in the opener of a three-game series by Lake Erie, the Twins hold a one game edge over the reigning AL champions in the Central division.

Ervin Santana notched his sixth win against one loss, hurling seven innings of two-hit shutout ball at the Tribe. Santana clearly didn't have his nastiest stuff, throwing just 56 of 99 pitches for strikes, walking five and fanning four, but, looking like an elite pitcher, he worked out of self-made jams, worked the lineup and managed masterfully.

Sano: HR sinks Indians
His six wins tied him with Houston's Dallas Keuchel for the AL lead and with LA's Clayton Kershaw for the major league lead. Santana's effort was backed by Miguel Sano's 10th home run of the year, a first-inning solo shot off Cleveland starter, Josh Tomlin, who also pitched a whale of a game (six hits, seven Ks), but was tagged with the loss.

Minnesota's top slugger, Sano registered his 30th RBI, second in the AL to Seattle's Nelson Cruz (31).

Taylor Rogers and Matt Belisle got the Twins through the eighth and Brandon Kintzler pitched a perfect ninth inning preserving the win with his ninth save. The win was the 10th on the road for the Twins, against just four road losses.

The teams resume heir battle for the top spot in the division Saturday, 4:10 pm ET, at Progressive Field.

National League

At the start of the season, some baseball experts were saying that the Giants and Dodgers would fight it out in the NL West.

Drury: 3-5, 3-run HR
Well, while it's still early, the Giants are in last place, 10 games behind Colorado. The Dodgers evened their series with the Rockies at 1-1 Friday with a 6-2 win and are 1 1/2 games back, but, the Arizona Diamondbacks are lurking, just two games off the pace after swamping the Pirates, 11-4.

The win was Arizona's third straight and second straight in the four-game series with visiting Pittsburgh. Banging out 16 hits, the Diamondbacks scored all of their runs in the second and third innings, hammering Pittsburgh starter, Tyler Glasnow, for seven runs on seven hits and pasting reliever, Josh Lindblom, for four runs in the third.

Going 3-for-5 was second baseman Brandon Drury, whose three-run homer capped the big third inning assault. He also doubled and singled in the game.

Following his first full season as a starter in 2016, Drury has become an integral part of the Arizona attack. Last season, he was solid, with a .282 batting average, 16 homers and 53 RBI. This year, in 32 games, he's batting .325, with three homers and 14 RBI.

The Diamondbacks are second in runs (182) and fifth in batting (.261) in the National League. Their 44 home runs and 172 RBI are among the leaders in the majors.

Arizona seeks its fourth straight win when they host the Pirates in game three, Saturday, 8:10 pm ET.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mike Napoli's Two Homers Blast Rangers Past Padres; Nolan Arenado Leads Rockies Over Dodgers, 10-7

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 11, 2017

American League

Everybody's chasing Houston the in AL West, including the Texas Rangers, who are in last place, 8 1/2 out, but just 1 1/2 out of second place (Houston leads Seattle by seven games).

Napoli HRs sink Padres
Given their lineup, Texas ought to be a contender, but, while their division rivals, the Astros, have blazed a path to prominence, the Rangers have struggled to a 16-20 mark, which gets you nothing but fan anger and finger-pointing.

The Rangers won their third straight on Thursday, defeating the Padres by a 5-2 score. The game was won almost entirely on the bat of DH Mike Napoli, who homered in the bottom of the eighth off Padre starter, Clayton Richard, with a solo shot to left center, halving San Diego's lead to 2-1.

In the ninth, Napoli again came plate-ward, this time with the score tied, 2-2, with one out, after Texas scratched out a run off reliever Brandon Maurer. The well-traveled slugger delivered a three-run, walk-off blast sending the Padres to their thrid straight loss and seveth defeat in their last eight games (San Diego is 13-23 and arguably the worst team n the majors).

Napoli's big, four-RBI game maight signal a breakout for both him and the Rangers. Napoli is batting just .178 with seven homers and 17 RBI, well shy of what is considered his career year, last season with the Indians, when he socked 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runs.

Having finished with three straight wins in the interleague games against San Diego, Texas continues its eight-game home stand on Friday with the first of three games, hosting the A's at 8:10 pm ET.

National League
Arenado key for Rockies

The Rockies continue to make converts to their cause in the NL West, the latest coming at the expense of the LA Dodgers, who helplessly watched Colorado pile up a 10-0 lead en route to a 10-7 victory, hiking their lead in the division to 2 1/2 games.

Pounding starter, Hyun-Jin-Ryu (1-5), for all 10 runs (only five earned), the Rockies took advantage of six walks and banged out eight hits in the first four innings. They scored two in the first, five in the second and three in the fourth before the Dodgers mounted a challenge in the latter stages of the game, eventually falling short.

Keying the run barrage was third baseman and two-time all-star, Nolan Arenado, who stroked a single and a pair of doubles in four at-bats, scoring three times and driving in a pair.

Arenado was a major contender for NL MVP last season when he socked 41 homers and drove in 133 runs. He's led the NL in home runs and RBI in each of the last two seasons and is currently riding a six-game hitting streak, batting .309 with eight dingers and 24 RBI.

The Dodgers will have a chance to redeem themselves Friday, when the Rockies host game two of the four-game series, starting at 8:40 pm ET at Coors Field.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Robinson Cano Leads Seattle To 4th Straight Win; German Marquez, Rockies Shut Out Cubs, 3-0

Players of the Day for Wednesday, May 10, 2017

American League

Cano: 8 HR, 28 RBI
Seattle has clawed its way back to .500 (17-17) and into sole possession of second base in the AL West, though they are still six games behind division-leading Houston, by taking two straight from the Phillies in Philadelphia, winning Tuesday by a 10-9 score and thumping the Phils, 11-6, on Thursday.

Aiding the Mariners' cause was Robinson Cano, who went 4-for-5 in Thrusday's blowout and was 6-for-8 in the two wins over Philly with two homers and five RBI.

In the 11-6 win, Cano belted his eighth home run - a two-run blast - in the third inning, walked in the seventh with the bases loaded to force in another run and added three singles during the game. He's batting .296 and has driven in 28 runs, tied for second in the AL, one behind teammate Nelson Cruz.

The Mariners have won four straight and head to Toronto Thursday for the start of a four-game series with the Blue Jays. Game time is 7:07 pm ET.

National League

Marquez: 8IP, 3H, 0ER, 8K
Proving they are a team with which to be reckoned in the National League, the Colorado Rockies finished their three-game series with the Cubs by dousing the visitors 3-0, to take the series, two games to one.

Masterful on the mound and at the plate was Rockies' starter, German Marquez, who throttled the Cobs on three hits over eight innings, striking out eight while issuing one walk. Marquez started the game striking out Cub leadoff hitter, John Jay, and ended his stint by getting Jay to ground out to third. In between he struck Jay out three times.

Marquez was economical, throwing 69 of 99 pitches for strikes, improving to 1-2 on the season. The start was his fourth of the year and just the seventh of his MLB career. He was 1-1 in three starts last year for the Rockies.

At the plate, Marquez provided all the runs he would need with a seventh-inning single that plated two runs. The Rockies scored their other run in the third on a sac fly. Greg Holland cam in for a perfect ninth for his 14th save, which leads the majors by a mile. Boston's Craig Kimbrel has 10, and, in the NL St. Louis stopper, Seung-Hwan Oh, has nine.

The win kept the Rockies 1 1/2 ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West. Colorado has won four of their last five and stays home on Thursday to open a crucial four-game set with the Dodgers at Coors Field. Game time for game one is 8:40 pm ET.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A.J. Griffin Shuts Out Padres In 11-0 Texas Rout; Mark Reynolds Keeps Rockies In 1st, Beating Cubs

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 9, 2017

American League

The Texas Rangers haven't been doing anything exceptionally well, but they may have gotten an emotional boost after Tuesday's 11-0 demolition of the Padres in San Diego.

Griffin: CG, 4-Hit Shutout
Ranger hitters scored 11 runs on just nine hits, thanks to seven walks by Padre pitchers. While the regulars in the lineup were scoring at will, starting pitcher, A.J. Griffin, improved to 4-0 with a complete game four-hit shutout, the first of each for the 29-year-old righty this season and his second (his first shutout was in 2013 with Oakland).

Griffin was on the mark throughout, throwing 71 of 104 pitches for strikes and getting first strikes on 23 of the 30 batters he faced. After getting out of the sixth inning with a double play, Griffin mowed down the final nine batters in order, finishing with four strikeouts while allowing one base on balls.

Griffin has been solid this season, with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP, fanning 27 while walking just six. Opposing hitter are batting a mere .183 against him in 29 1/3 innings.

The win marks the end of a nine-game road trip for the Rangers, in which they went 3-6. They remain in last place in the AL West, 8 1/2 games behind Houston, but return home Wednesday for two games against the Padres at 8:05 pm ET, starting an eight-game home stand.

National League

Reynolds: 12HR, 30RBI
After Monday's opener was rained out in Colorado, the Rockies took the first of a twi-night doubleheader over the troubled Cubs, 10-4, before dropping the nightcap, 8-1. In the first game, Mark Reynolds showed why Colorado is a team to watch in the NL West, which they lead by 1 1/2 over the LA Dodgers.

Reynolds completed the scoring for Colorado when he stroked his 12th home run of the season in the sixth inning after singling home runs in the third and fourth, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs. In the late game, Cubs' pitchers worked around Reynolds, walking him three times. Reynolds was 0-for-1.

A veteran of 11 seasons, Reynolds, 33, has found new life in the high air of Denver. Always a slugger, but generally with a low average, Reynolds hit a career-best .282 with Colorado last season and is belting at a .333 pace this season (39-for-117). He's tied for seventh in batting and is third in both homers (12) and RBI (30).

At 21-13, the Rockies have been steady, winning five of their last seven after the completion of Tuesday's doubleheader. The Cubs have not been sharp. Their win snapped a four-game losing streak and they are just 5-8 over their last 13 games.

With the series tied 1-1, the Cubs and Rockies will play the rubber game Wednesday at 3:10 pm ET at Coors Field in Denver.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Jed Lowrie's Walk-Off Homer Leads A's Past Angels; Cards' Carlos Martinez Wins At Plate

Players of the Day for Monday, May 8, 2017

Lowrie: 2HR, Game-winne
American League

The Oakland A's used the long ball to score all of their runs in a 3-2, 11-inning win over the visiting Angels, as both teams struggle to catch the runaway Astros, who lead the division by six games.

Jed Lowrie accounted for two of the A's runs, socking a solo shot in the fourth and the walk-off solo blast in the bottom of the 11th. In between, Trevor Plouffe added a bases-empty homer in the fifth.

Second baseman Lowrie returned to the A's in 2016 after spending a year in Houston. Though he's batting .295, he's hit four homers and has only eight RBI as he's not getting much help from his teammates.

The Angels, A's, and Mariners each trail the Astros by six games. Oakland hosts the Angels in game two of their three-game series at 7:05 pm PT at the Oakland Coliseum.

National League

St. Louis reached first place in the NL Central on Monday, whipping the Miami Marlins, 9-4, their fourth consecutive victory.

Martinez: Big Hitter
The Cardinals' rise to the top spot in the division can be credited partly to the New York Yankees, who took three straight from the Cubs over the weekend and Monday turned down the Reds, 10-4, leaving St. Louis 1/2 game better than Cincy and a full game ahead of slumping Chicago.

Credit is also due starting pitcher, Carlos Martinez, who wasn't exactly overpowering on the mound, but who absolutely terrorized Marlins' starter Adam Conley, doubling in three runs in the second inning and singling in another and scoring in the fourth. Conley lasted just 3 2/3 innings, as the Cards built a 7-0 lead.

Martinez worked six innings, allowing three runs on five hits, fanning seven with two walks, but his real value obviously came from when he was at the plate rather than throwing to it.

The 25-year-old righty is 2-3 with a 3.86 average. After a shaky start, the Cardinals have been playing much better of late. After dropping three straight to the Yankees in New York, they've gone on a 14-5 tear. They'll be looking to add to or keep their lead in the division when they play game two of their three-game series in Miami Tuesday at 7:10 pm ET.

Notable: Chris Taylor's first inning grand slam opened the floodgates in LA, as the Dodgers romped over the Pirates, 12-1. Taylor went 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs. He's batting .395 and the Dodgers are in second place, just two games behind Colorado in the NL West.