Friday, June 30, 2017

Ubaldo Jimenez Stops Jays In 2-0 Baltimore Victory; Clayton Kershaw 12-2 After Dodgers Down Angels

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 29, 2017

American League

Jimenez: 2-hits Blue Jays
Having fallen from first place to last from May through June, the Baltimore Orioles were on the verge of falling out of the AL East race in early fashion. Their pitching had fallen completely apart, with starters routinely being pounded and relievers unable to hold leads.

Recently, though, the O's have shown signs of life... and better pitching. They've taken their last two series - both on the road - over Tampa Bay and Toronto, culminating Thursday night with a dominating two-hit performance by Ubaldo Jimenez in a 2-0 victory at Toronto.

Jimenez, who went 19-5 for Colorado in 2010 and was considered one of baseball's brightest young stars, has had only two winning seasons since - 13-9 with Cleveland in 2013, and 12-10 with the Orioles in 2015. This season, his stats imploded. He entered the game with the Blue Jays with a 7.26 ERA and a 2-3 record.

For whatever reason, Jimenez turned in his best performance of the season, seemingly in the nick of time for the Orioles and possibly his career. All the Blue Jays could muster were a pair of doubles and a fifth-inning walk to Troy Tulowitzski over eight innings. Jimenez notched a season-high with strikeouts, throwing 71 of 98 pitches for strikes.

Brad Brach allowed a hit in the ninth, but secured the win with his 15th save, leaving the Orioles 5 1/2 off the pace in the division, the Blue Jays two games further back.

Baltimore heads home for a three-game series with Tampa Bay on Friday. Toronto remains home, hosting the Red Sox for three games, also beginning Friday.

National League

Clayton Kershaw improved to 12-2 as the LA Dodgers scored a 6-2 win against crosstown rival Angels, splitting the home-and-home, four-game series two games apiece.

Kershaw: 12-2, 2.32 ERA
As he has been for nearly the entire season, Kershaw was somewhat untouchable, allowing three hits, walking two, striking out 12. The run allowed in the fourth inning, which briefly tied the game, was unearned and scored on a fielder's choice.

The Dodgers took the lead for good in the fifth, on solo homers by Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley, and put it away, with their ace, Kershaw on the bump, on Joc Pederson's three-run blast in the sixth inning.

Kershaw set down the side in order in the seventh, turning the ball over to the Dodger bullpen. Luis Avilan was roughed up for a run, but Brandon Morrow got two outs in the eighth, setting up Kenley Jansen for his 18th save, going 1 1/3 innings without allowing a hit.

Kershaw has three more wins than his closest pursuers, which includes Max Scherzer, Antonio Senzatella, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Greinke, all with nine. His 135 strikeouts is second to Scherzer's 151, and his 2.32 ERA is also second to Scherzer (2.06). The win was Kershaw's eighth straight and fifth straight in June. He hasn't lost a game since a 4-3 loss to the Giants on May 1st.

With the win, the Dodgers opened a 2 1/2 game lead on Arizona, 10-4 losers to St. Louis, in the NL West. The Dodgers head down the coast to play the Padres in a three-game series beginning Friday.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

George Springer, Josh Reddick Power Astros; Stephen Strasburg Fans 13 As Nationals Club Cubs, 8-4

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Springer socks 24th HR
American League

On a breakneck pace (53-26) to win 108 or 109 games, the Houston Astros continued their domination of the AL West with an 11-8 win over visiting Oakland.

Houston, 9-2 against the A's this season, got plenty of offense from the top two hitters in their lineup, George Springer and Josh Reddick.

Reddick: 3 RBI, 2 SB
Springer lashed a pair of doubles and his 24th home run, drove in two runs and scored three times, while Reddick singled three times, drove in three runs, stoa pair of bases and scored twice.

Springer is second in the AL in home runs behind Arron Judge, who belted his 27th on Wednesday. Reddick is batting .305, well beyond his .259 career average.

The Astros have won seven of their last nine and evened their three game series with the visiting A's at a game apiece with the rubber game scheduled for Thursday, 2:10 pm ET. Houston leads the AL West by a staggering 12 1/2 games.

National League

Stephen Strasburg got plenty of help from his position players as the Washington Nationals doubled up on the visiting Cubs, with an 8-4 win, taking a 2-1 lead in their four game series.

9-2 Strasburg fans 13
Strasburg worked seven full innings, improving to 9-2 on the year, as his teammates built an early 6-0 lead off Chicago starter, John Lackey. The Cubs didn't get to Strasburg until the fourth inning, when Willson Contreras connected for a two-run homer. Strasburg would give up another run in the fifth, though it was unearned. Overall, he allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out 13.

At one point, Strasburg fanned six straight, putting down the Cubs in order on strikes through the second and third innings. The win tied Strasburg with teammate Max Scherzer, Arizona's Zack Greinke, and Colorado's Antonio Senzatella for at nine victories, all chasing LA's Clayton Kershaw, who is 11-2. His strikeout total for the season now stands at 122, one behind Kershaw, but well distant from Scherzer, who leads the league with 151.

The Cubs trail Milwaukee by one game in the central, while the Nationals continue to lead the NL East by 9 1/2 over the Braves. The series concludes Thursday at Nationals Park, first pitch scheduled for 4:05 pm ET.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

White Sox Top Yankees, 4-3 On Jose Abreu 2 RBI; Trea Turner's 4 SB Ties Nats' Record In 6-1 Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 27, 2017

American League

Abreu: Game-winner
Boston took over first place in the AL East with a 9-2 win over Minnesota, coupled with the Yankees losing at Chicago to the White Sox, 4-3, on Jose Abreu's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth off New York reliever Dellin Betances.

It was Abreu's second hit of the game, in five at-bats, and his first since his third inning double gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead. The Yankees seemed to have the game in hand when they scored three times in the top of the eighth, but the Sox returned the favor with a run in the bottom of the frame, setting up Abreu's heroics.

Having a solid, if unspectacular season, Abreu is batting .299 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI. He is on pace for his fourth straight season with more than 100 RBI, which he's accomplished every year he's been a major leaguer.

Trailing in the AL Central, the White Sox aren't exactly done for the season as they trial Cleveland by seven games. The division is competitive and unpredictable, and Chicago has a young team, making them dangerous.

The four-game series - now tied at a game apiece - continues Wednesday with game three at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Turner: 4 SB, Leads NL
Pitchers in the National League would be wise to keep a close eye on Washington's leadoff hitter, Trea Turner, who tied a team mark - Expos and Nationals - with four stolen bases in the Nationals' 6-1 win over the Cubs.

In the first inning, Turner singled, stole second and third and scored on Brian Goodwin's infield single to tie the game at one. While Max Scherzer was holding the Cubs to one run through six innings, Turner was terrorizing Cubs' starter Jake Arrieta and catcher Miguel Montero.

In the third, Turner walked and again swiped second and third, scoring when Daniel Murphy was ruled safe on a throwing error by Chicago second baseman Tommy La Stella. The run put the Nationals up 2-1. Scherzer took care of matters after that, picking up his ninth win against five losses, allowing just two hits, fanning six. After a La Stella double in the third inning, Scherzer set down 10 straight before retiring.

Turner finished the game with 32 stolen bases, catapulting him into the NL lead, past Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton (31) and Miami's Dee Gordon (29). Turner's been caught just five times this season and has scored 51 times, tied with teammate Murphy, sixth in the National League.

The win kept Washington 8 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta in the East division, while the Cubs remained a game behind Milwaukee in the Central.

With the series tied 1-1, game three of the four-game set is slated for Wednesday night, 7:05 pm ET at Nationals Park.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lonnie Chisenhall Leads Indians' Comeback Over Texas; Zack Greinke 9-4 On 6-1 Arizona Win Over Phillies

Players of the Day for Monday, June 26, 2017

American League

Cleveland took back first place in the AL Central with a come-form-behind, 15-9 victory over the Texas Rangers.

Chisenhall: .390 in June
Together with Boston's 4-1 win over the Twins, the Indians took a 1/2 game lead in the hotly-contested division.

Winning the opener of their three game series with the visiting Rangers, the Indians fell behind 7-1 and 9-3 before rallying for 12 runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.

In the middle of it all was outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, a steady performer since returning to the lineup June 6.

Chisenhall was 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI. after an uneventful single in the second, Chisenhall's bases-loaded infield single in the fifth drove in the first run in the four-run frame. In the sixth, again with the bases chock full of Indians, he singled in a pair of runs, plating Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana, putting the Indians ahead, 10-9. He scored later on a sac fly for a 12-9 Cleveland lead.

June has been Chisenhall's month, batting .390 (23-for-59) with four home runs 18 RBI, and a .438 on base percentage. His solid play has coincided with Cleveland's rise to the top of the division. The Indians are 9-4 since June 15.

Greinke: 9-4, 3.08 ERA
Game two of the series starts at 7:10 pm ET at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

National League

Zack Grienke worked only five innings in Arizona's 6-1 triumph over the Phillies, but it was enough for the 2009 AL Cy Young award winner to notch his ninth win against four losses.

Throwing 102 pitches, Greinke limited the Phillies to three hits and three walks while fanning five. The lone earned run he allowed came with two outs in the fifth on a Daniel Nava single after Greinke had put two men on base via walks.

Unfazed, Grienke got the final out of the inning and headed for the showers. Arizona's bullpen took care of the final four innings, holding the Phils to just two hits.

Though the outing was the shortest for the season for Greinke, he still managed the win. Three times before he's gone just five frames, resulting in no decision, a loss, and a win.

Greinke is 9-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 102 1/3 innings.

The win came on a night in which both Colorado and the Dodgers suffered losses, LA snapping a 10-game winning streak with a 4-0 loss to the Angels. The Diamondbacks trail the Dodgers by 1 1/2 games in the NL West. Colorado has dropped 4 1/2 off the pace with their sixth straight loss.

Arizona concluded their series with the Phillies, winning three games to one. They remain home to start a three-game series with St. Louis on Tuesday. Game time is 9:40 pm ET.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cody Bellinger Blasts Two HR As Dodgers Win 10th Straight; Jose Bautista Leads Blue Jays Over Royals

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 25, 2017

American League

Bautista: Leading Man
Still three games under .500 (36-39) and in last place in the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves just five games out of first place in the division, currently shared by the Yankees and Red Sox.

Toronto's good fortune is only partly due to their play, since they're 4-4 recently and just avoided a sweep in Kansas City with an 8-2 win on Sunday. Mostly, the position in the standings is due to the Yankees having lost 10 of their last 12 and the Red Sox going 4-6 in their last ten. It also didn't hurt that Baltimore and Tampa Bay played each other over the weekend, with the Orioles prevailing, two games to one.

The Blue Jays re-jiggered their lineup in a most unusual way in their series-ending win at KC, putting one of their power hitters, Jose Bautista, at the top of the order, when he's most accustomed to batting third or fourth.

Toronto's move paid off in spades as Bautista tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth with a two-run homer, his 13th of the year. Drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the sixth, Bautista gave the Jays a 3-2 lead, and capped off his effort at the leadoff spot with an RBI single in the ninth, going 2-for-4 with four RBI.

Kansas City's loss dropped the Royals back to .500 (37-37), 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota, which took over the AL Central lead with a three-game sweep at Cleveland, including Sunday's 4-0 win. Kansas City hits the road for three games in Detroit on Tuesday, while the Blue Jays begin an important stretch Tuesday, starting with three games at home with Baltimore, followed by a three-game visit from the Red Sox. After that, they head to New York for a three-game series with the Yankees.

By all appearances, the AL East is about to become even more interesting.

National League

Bellinger: 25 HR leads NL
Less than a week ago, the NL West was about as tight as a division race could get, with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies all vying for the top spot.

Now that the Dodgers have won 10 straight, including a sweep of their three-game series with visiting Colorado, LA has opened a two-game lead over Arizona, dropping Colorado 4 1/2 back.

Completing the sweep emphatically with a 12-6 mauling of the Rockies, the Dodger bats were live, getting 13 hits off six Colorado hurlers. Rookie phenom, Cody Bellinger, socked a pair of home runs to enhance his National League-leading total to 25. Bellinger's shots were both of the two-run variety, pumping his RBI total to 55.

The Dodgers have now swept their last three series, taking three from the Reds and four from the Mets before shutting down the Rockies. Prior to a 12-5, June 12 loss at Cleveland - their last taste of defeat - the Dodgers had won six straight, so they're on a 16-1 run and are 18-5 in the month of June.

Next up for the Dodgers are a pair of two-game series with the Angels, with two hosted by the Dodgers before heading to Anaheim for the return dates. The home-and-home series starts Monday at 10:10 pm ET.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Oakland's Matt Olson Belts 2 HR, A's Down ChiSox, 10-2; Trea Turner, Michael Taylor Lead Nats' 18-3 Rout Of Reds

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 25, 2017

American League

Olson: 2HR, 4RBI
With a record of 33-42, and already 17 1/2 games behind division-leading Houston in the AL West, the Oakland A's may be thinking about the future, as in, next season.

One of their top prospects is 23-year-old right fielder, Matt Olson, who seemed to be rounding into major league form this season season with AAA Nashville in the Pacific Coast League.

In 58 games with the Sounds, Olson is batting .271 with 17 home runs and 43 RBI and has been up and down with the A's a few times this season.

In Chicago to play the White Sox, rookie Olson had a breakout game, socking his first two home runs, accounting for four RBI. Olson started and finished the scoring for the A's in their 10-2 romp, hitting his first two-run homer in the opening frame, then finishing off the Sox with another two-run blast in the seventh.

The win was only Oakland's 11th, against 25 road losses and dropped the White Sox to 15-14 at home. Oakland will be seeking the sweep of the three-game series on Sunday, when the teams meet at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, 2:10 pm ET.

Turner: 5-for-5, 4R, 2RBI
National League

What happens when the Washington Nationals run into a team with a weak and/or depleted pitching staff.

Maybe Washington's 18-3 win at Cincinnati can provide a suitable explanation.

The Nationals teed off on Reds' starter, Homer Bailey, who was making his first major league start of the year after Tommy John surgery in May 2015 and was limited to eight starts in 2016. Bailey lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, three walks and eight runs, all earned.
Taylor: 4-5, 2HR, 3RBI

Neither were the visiting Nationals particularly kind to the Cincinnati relief staff. They pounded three relievers for 13 more hits and 10 more runs in the blowout.

The Reds have the worst ERA in the NL, at the astonishing level of 5.27.

At the top of Washington's batting order, Trea Turner lashed five singles in five at-bats, scoring four times and driving in a pair, while #8 hitter, Michael Taylor, delivered the bigger blows, going 4-for-5 with a double and two home runs, driving in three, also scoring four times.

The win kept the Nationals nine games ahead of the rapidly-improving Atlanta Braves, winners of four straight and eight of their last 10.

Washington will be seeking a sweep of the the three-game series at Great American Ball Park on Sunday, 1:35 pm ET.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Evan Longoria, Logan Morrison Power Rays Past O's; Justin Turner 3-for-5 In Dodger Win Over Rockies

Longoria: 4 RBI
Players of the Day for Friday, June 23, 2017

American League

Persistence is a word best describing the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Red Sox and Yankees battle for the lead in the AL East, Tampa Bay has managed to claw their way to within 2 1/2 games of the division co-leaders.

While the Rays' record of 40-36 is not outstanding, the AL East is highly competitive, so 90 wins could take the division. Tampa took another step in that direction Friday night, working 176 pitches from Baltimore hurlers into a 15-5 victory at Tropicana Park.

Morrison: 22 HR, 54 RBI
The Rays only had 11 hits overall, but took advantage of eight walks and two Oriole errors. Evan Longoria was 1-for-3 and drove in four runs, singling in two in the first, knocking a sac fly in the second and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the fourth.

Logan Morrison homered (22), tripled, scored three times and drove in three runs as the Rays piled on the Baltimore pitching staff, the worst in the majors, with a cumulative 5.20 ERA. Starter Ubaldo Jimenez was touched up for nine earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Morrison's 54 RBI ranks third in the AL; he's second in homers behind New York's Aaron Judge (25).

The win was the third straight for the Rays, Tampa will be looking to send Baltimore to its fourth straight loss when the teams meet for game two of the three-game series, Saturday, 4:10 pm ET.

National League

Turner: .392 BA
Justin Turner keeps getting his reps and the LA Dodgers keep churning out wins.

Turner was 3-for-5 (two singles and a double), raising his batting average to .392, driving in a run and scoring one in support of Alex Wood, who allowed one run on three hits over six innings for his eighth win without a loss as the Dodgers won their eighth straight in a 6-1 win over Colorado.

Turner's impressive average won't show up atop the NL leader board because he's shy of the needed plate appearances for qualification. He needs 233 (3.1 per team game) and currently has 215. He keeps getting closer every day.

LA's home win increased their lead over the Rockies and Diamondbacks (6-1 losers to the Phillies) to 2 1/2 games. LA has the best home record in the majors, at 30-10.

Game two of the showdown series in LA is set for Saturday night, 7:10 pm ET.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Robinson Cano's 6 RBI Tame Tigers, Mariners Win, 9-6; Paul Goldschmidt Drives Home 4, Arizona Downs Rockies, 10-3

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 22, 2017

American League

Cano: 2HR, Slam, 6 RBI
With the Astros blowing away the opposition in the race to the AL West title - Houston won its 50th game Thursday, a 12-9 win at Oakland - there's growing attention to the wild card race. Essentially, any team with a .500 record, or close to that, is in the hunt, and that list includes the Seattle Mariners.

Seattle - 23-14 at home - stuck its head above breakeven with a 9-6 win over visiting Detroit. As the Astros are 12 1/2 ahead of the second place Mariners, the wild card has some appeal. At 38-37, Seattle is fourth, behind Boston, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota.

Robinson Cano was primarily responsible for Seattle's victory, socking a pair of home runs - numbers 12 and 13 - with six RBI. Cano belted a two-run shot in the third inning, putting Seattle up by a 5-1 score, but the Tigers clawed their way back, scoring a pair of runs in the fifth, cutting the Mariner lead to 5-3.

Cano put any thoughts of a comeback to rest in the seventh, when he slugged a grand slam, clearing the wall in right field. The Tigers scored three more, but Cabo's blasts were too much to overcome, sending Detroit to its sixth consecutive loss. The sweet-swinging second baseman - a career .306 hitter - is batting .284 with 48 RBI.

Seattle swept the four games from the Tigers and have won five straight as they prepare for a three-game visit from the Astros starting Friday at 10:10 pm ET.

National League

64 RBI leads NL
In the dogfight that is the NL West, Arizona took it to the home-standing Rockies for the second straight time, taking the series at Coors Field, two games to one with a 10-3 pasting of Colorado.

Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-5 with a pair of singles and his 17th home run, driving in four runs to take over the NL RBI lead with 64, displacing teammate Jake Lamb (61). Goldschmidt's 18th homer put the Diamondbacks up by a 9-1 tally in the fourth inning. The game was out of hand early as Arizona swamped the Rockies with a run in the second and four runs in the second and third innings.

A lock for his fifth straight appearance in the all star game, Goldschmidt is having an MVP season, batting .335 (4th in the NL). His home run total is tied with four other players, eighth overall.

The win was Arizona's 12th in their last 14 and tied them with the Rockies for second place in the division. The Dodgers lead by 1 1/2 after completing a four-game sweep of the Mets with a 6-3 win.

Arizona should have every opportunity to continue their red hot play. The team heads home Friday for a 10-game home stand, playing four with the Phillies, followed by three with St. Louis and three with Colorado before heading to LA for three games against the Dodgers, starting July 4.

The Rockies open a three-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angles Friday night, 7:10 pm PT.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Salvador Perez Grand Slam Propels Royals Past Red Sox; Brandon Drury's 6 RBI Lead Arizona's 16-5 Romp At Colorado

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 21, 2017

American League

Perez: Grand Slam
Boston's hold on first place in the AL East didn't last very long. In fact, it was just one day.

When the Red Sox topped Kansas City, 8-3, on Tuesday, the Yankees were losing their seventh straight, in an 8-3 loss to the Angels. That put Boston in first place by 1/2 game. Wednesday night's results were the opposite, with the Yankees ending their skein with an 8-4 win over LA, while Boston was losing to the Royals, 6-4, giving the Yankees a 12 game edge.

What turned out to be the biggest issue for the Red Sox in their road loss to KC was the inability to successfully retire Royals' catcher Salvador Perez.

Perez was 3-for-3, but really didn't do much damage until the eighth inning. In the second, he singled, moving Eric Hosmer to third, but was thrown out at second base on a double play as Hosmer scored. Perez walked and was left stranded at first in the fourth inning, and singled again in the seventh, eventually advancing to third, but the Royals ended the inning with the bases loaded, failing to cut into a 4-2 Boston lead.

After three consecutive walks to open the bottom of the eighth, Perez came to the plate with the bases full. Perez made a huge impact, launching his 15th home run of the season, a 412-foot left field grand slam that put the Royals ahead for good, 6-4.

The leading vote-getter at catcher in the American League all star balloting, Perez will likely be the starter. He has more than a 400,000 vote lead over Houston's Brian McCann and the Yankees' Gary Sanchez and will be making his fifth straight all star appearance when the two leagues meet July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.

Kansas City's win kept them in third place, 3 1/2 behind the Indians in the AL Central. Minnesota is second, 1 1/2 back. The Royals took the series, two games to one. Since their 10-20 start, the Royals have gone 25-16 and will have a chance to reach .500 when they host Toronto Friday at 8:15 pm ET in the opener of a three game series.

Boston heads home for a seven game home stand, beginning Friday against the Angels.

National League

Drury: 4-for-6, 6 RBI
The Dodgers won their sixth straight game to take over first place in the torrid NL West as Arizona did the LA boys a favor, ending Colorado's six-game win streak in a 16-5 rout.

Coupled with LA's 8-2 win over the Mets, LA has a 1/2 game lead over Colorado. Arizona is 1 1/2 back.

What made the difference for the Diamondbacks in the second game of the three-game series in Denver was, significantly, Colorado's pitching. Arizona hammered four Rockies' hurlers for 20 hits, a relentless attack spearheaded by second baseman Brandon Drury who was 4-for-6 and drove in six runs.

After Mark Reynolds gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the second, the Diamondbacks responded, putting up a 10-spot in the fourth inning. Drury got the scoring started with a two-run double and ended the inning's tally with an RBI single. 14 players went to the plate in the frame, which included nine hits (three doubles) and a pair of walks.

Drury was far from done. however, singling home a run in the sixth and two more in the ninth.

In his third year with Arizona, Drury is on pace for a solid season, batting .304 with eight homers and 36 RBI.

Arizona and Colorado meet in the rubber game of the three-game series, Thursday, 3:10 pm ET. Later, the Dodgers will be going for a sweep of the Mets in their four-game series. Game time is 10:10 pm ET.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Corey Seager Blasts 3 HRs As Dodgers Bury Mets, 12-0; Manny Machado Homers Twice As O's Drop Tribe

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 20, 2017

American League

Don't count the Baltimore Orioles out just yet. There's still plenty of games to be played, the Yankees have surrendered first place to the Red Sox by losing seven straight, and the O's have one of the most potent lineups in either league, as evidenced by the eruption off Manny Machado's bat in Baltimore's 6-5 victory over Cleveland.

Machado: 2 HR, 4 RBI
Like the Orioles - 13-25 since May 9 - Machado himself has been in something of a funk, batting just .227, including Tuesday's 4-for-4 effort. His solo homer in the first inning was his 14th and his 15th - a three-run shot - tied the game at 5-5 in the sixth. Machado also scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the seventh, doubling to lead off the inning and scoring on Adam Jones' double down the first base line.

His four RBI gave him 34 on the season, so, if the all star third baseman gets on a roll, he can challenge last season's 37 home runs and 96 RBI.

Tying the series at a game apiece, the Indians saw their lead in the AL Central chopped to 1 1/2 over Minnesota, while the Orioles find themselves at .500 (35-35), 4 1/2 back of Boston in the East.

Game three of the four-game, Camden Yards series is scheduled for Wednesday, at 7:05 pm ET.

Seager: 3 HR, 6 RBI
National League

Another day, another Dodger hero.

While Cody Bellinger hit his league-leading 22nd home run, Corey Seager smacked three out of the park as the Dodgers won their fifth straight, whipping the Mets, 12-0.

Seager socked a two-run homer in the first inning, a solo shot in the fourth, and a three-run belt in the sixth as the Dodgers completely outclassed the fading Mets. For good measure, the LA shortstop added his 19th double, going 4-for-5 with six RBI.

Seager is batting .293 with 12 homers and 38 RBI. The Dodgers are 27-10 at home.

The win didn't matter in the standings for the Dodgers as the first place Rockies won their sixth straight, a 4-3 win at Arizona. The good news for LA is that they are only 1/2 game behind Colorado in the NL West, with the Diamondbacks now two games off the pace.

Leading the series at Dodger Stadium two games to none, Los Angeles will try to extend their winning streak to six on Wednesday, when they host the Mets in game three at 7:00 pm PT.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Corey Kluber's 3-Hit Shutout Lifts Indians Over O's; Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger Power Dodgers

Players of the Day for Monday, June 19, 2017

American League
Kluber: 3-hit shutout

Now that they've taken over the lead in the AL Central, Cleveland has found their mid-season stride, winning their sixth straight on the arm of Corey Kluber's three-hit shutout and seven doubles by the Indians in a 12-0 rout of the Orioles in Baltimore.

Kluber, who was sidelined most of May with lower back strain, notched his third straight win since his return to action and his second shutout of the season.

After allowing a single to Adam Jones in the first inning, Kluber didn't give up another hit until the sixth, setting down 15 Orioles in a row before surrendering a single to Seth Smith. Hyun-Soo Kim's single with two out in the eighth inning was the only other hit. No Baltimore baserunner advanced past first base as Kluber dominated, striking out 11 without a walk, fanning the side in the ninth to finish with flair.

Improving to 6-2, Kluber dropped his ERA to 3.58. His 11 strikeouts are a season high for the Cleveland ace.

Having swept the Twins out of first place, the Indians extended their lead to 2 1/2 games as Minnesota was idle on Monday. Kansas City has moved into third place, just 3 1/2 out. The Royals dumped Boston, 4-2.

The Indians meet the Orioles in game two of their four-game series Tuesday, at 7:05 pm ET.

National League

Turner: .399 BA
Justin Turner went 4-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, and Cody Bellinger socked a pair of home runs to take over the NL lead with 21 as the LA Dodgers defeated the Mets, 10-6.

It was LA's fourth straight win, pulling them to within 1/2 game of idle West division-leading Colorado.

Turner, who added a fourth-inning, two run homer to his three singles, drove in four runs and ratcheted up his batting average to .399. He's batting an astounding .485 (16-for-33) in June. Turner missed about 20 games from the end of May through early June, so he doesn't have the requisite plate appearances to qualify as a leader. A player needs 3.1 plate appearances per game that his team has played to qualify. At present, Turner needs 220. He has 202. Thus, if he keeps playing regularly, he should qualify within a few weeks.

Bellinger: 21 HRs lead NL 
Bellinger, the West coast's answer to New York's Aaron Judge, became the league leader in home runs and the first player in MLB History to hit 21 home runs in just 51 games. Bellinger started the season in the minors and first got into a game on March 25. He's been a regular ever since, and has recently been tearing it up. In his last nine games, Bellinger has socked nine homers and driven in 16 runs. He also drove in four runs in the Dodger victory, giving him 48 on the year. He added a single, going 3-for-5.

The loss dropped the Mets 10 1/2 games back in the NL East, behind Washington. The four-game series continues in Los Angeles on Tuesday when the teams meet for game two, at 7:00 pm PT.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rockies' Nolan Arenado Hits For Dramatic Cycle; Xander Bogaerts Leads Boston To 6-5 win At Houston

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 18, 2017

American League

Bogaerts: 3-4, 2HR, 4RBI
With the Yankees losing their sixth straight, dropping a 4-3 decision at Oakland, the Boston Red Sox have finally caught them for first place in the AL East. The two teams are .002 apart, with the Yankees at 38-29 and the Sox at 39-30.

Boston got a big game from Xander Bogaerts Sunday night in their 6-5 win at Houston.

Bogaerts hit two home runs and singled in what would prove to be the difference-maker in the seventh inning, going 3-for-4 with four RBI. The first homer was a first inning solo shot, followed by a two-run belt in the fourth that gave Boston a 3-2 edge.

In the seventh, Bogaerts singled home Mookie Betts, giving Boston a 6-4 advantage, but Houston rallied for a run in the eighth when Carlos Beltran singled with one out, plating George Springer. Jose Altuve was thrown out at home by Andrew Benintendi.

Boston took the series two game to one, and heads to Kansas City Monday for a three-game series with the Royals. Houston remains atop the AL West by 11 games. They begin a seven-game road trip Monday, with four at Oakland and three at Seattle. The Yankees will try to stop their slide when they return home Tuesday for a three game series with the Angels.

National League

The NL West continues to amaze, with Colorado continuing to lead Arizona and the Dodgers by one game, the teams now having combined for 15 straight wins.

Arenado hits for cycle
The Rockies did their part by winning their fifth straight on Sunday, as Nolan Arenado hit for the cycle in Colorado's 7-5 win over the Giants.

Hitting for the cycle is a mighty feat, but the way Arenado did so was dramatic, bordering on the surreal. After tripling in the first and singling in the fourth, there was still no score, but that changed when Carl Crawford hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth for the Giants. Arenado countered with an RBI double in the sixth, but Colorado still trailed, 2-1.

Afgter taking a 3-2 lead in the seventh, Arenado struck out to end the inning, but that would not be the last the fans at Coors field would see of their all-star third baseman.

The Giants rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth, setting the stage for Arenado, who stepped to the plate with two men aboard, and a run already in. Completing the cycle in the most dramatic way imaginable, Arenado sent a blast to left, homering for the walk-off, 7-5 win.

Arenado finished the game 4-for-5 with four RBI, and is creeping up on the leaders in offensive categories with a .299 average, 15 homers (tied for 16th) and 55 RBI (tied for 3rd).

It was the eighth cycle in Rockies history and the 17th at Coors Field. It also was the first walk-off cycle in the majors since Carlos Gonzalez did it July 31, 2010, against the Cubs.

Colorado gets a needed day off before hosting the Diamondbacks for three games at Coors Field beginning Tuesday. Then they play three in LA with the Dodgers over the weekend.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jose Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall Power Indians To 1st In AL Central; Yasiel Puig Displays Power In Dodger Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 17, 2017

American League

Ramirez: 2HR, 4 RBI
Last season's AL entrant into the World Series, the Cleveland Indians, have gone on a roll, winning four straight, including the sweep of Saturday's doubleheader at Minnesota, winning 9-3 in the first game and continuing with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap. The result of winning the first three games of their four-game series (Friday was an 8-1 Cleveland win) landed the Indians alone in first place in the AL Central, with homesteading Minnesota a game back in second.

Winners of four straight, the Indians are putting it all together while Minnesota has given up control of the division, dropping three straight.

In the opener, Jose Ramirez pretty much won the game all by his lonesome, socking a two-run double sandwiched by a pair of solo home runs. Ramirez his home run number 10 in the first innings, doubled in two runs in the fourth and sent home run #11 over the right field wall in the sixth inning. The Twins were never in the game, as Cleveland built and early 4-0 lead and never was challenged. Ramirez is batting .306 with 19 doubles, 11 homers and 34 RBI this season.

Chisenhall: 2HR, 4RBI
The nightcap saw Lonnie Chisenhall in right field, and the part-timer responded with another sensational game, slugging a pair of home runs for four RBI. In the fourth, Chisenhall poked his 9th - a solo shot - which broke a 1-1 tie. Later, in the sixth inning, Chisenhall smashed his 10th homer with two aboard, putting Cleveland up, 5-1, essentially putting the game away.

Chisenhall has been on a tear recently, slugging three home runs and driving in 11 runs in his last four games. Appearing as a pinch-hitter in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, he was 0-for-1. With that, he's 6-for-12 in the last four.

Minnesota will have an opportunity to stem the tide and re-tie the Indians for the top spot in the division when the two teams meet in game four, Sunday, 2:10 pm at Target Field.

National League

Puig 2 HR, 3 RBI
There's no disputing that the liveliest race in the National League is in the West, where the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers have the three best records in the league, with Colored at 45-26, and LA and Arizona a game back at 43-26.

Colorado has won four straight, Arizona six straight and the Dodgers took their second straight at Cincinnati, hammering the Reds, 10-2, Saturday.

After building a 7-2 lead through five innings, Yasiel Puig finished off the Reds with a pair of tape-measure home runs in the sixth and eighth innings and a sac fly to complete the scoring in the ninth.

Puig's homers were solo shots, the first traveling 413 feet, the second going 423. The flamboyant right fielder from Cienfuegos, Cuba, has 12 homers on the year, with 37 RBI.

The win kept the Dodgers in the mix, with the series finale set for Sunday, 1:10 pm ET at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The Dodgers begin a none-game home stand on Monday, beginning with the Mets for four games, then a three-game series with the Rockies, followed by two with the Angels.

The Reds have lost a season-high eight straight, dropping to last place, 6 1/2 games out in the NL Central division.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Melky Cabrera Delivers 5 RBI As White Sox Thump Blue Jays; Alex Wood Stifles Reds In 3-1 Dodger Win

Players of the Day for Friday, June 16, 2017

American League

After one of the worst starts to a season at 6-17, the Toronto Blue Jays gave gotten better, but still can't seem to find the degree of consistency necessary to put themselves into contention in the AL East.

Cabrera: 2B, HR, 5 RBI
Entering Friday night's home game against the White Sox, the 32-33 Jays had the chance to reach .500, a level they have not attained all season. They began June at 26-27, but after Friday's 11-4 drubbing by the Sox, they're 6-7 on the month.

Chicago, which was 13-10 at the end of April, is similarly under .500, at 30-36, the win was their 15th on the road against 24 road losses.

Melky Cabrera made certain of the Blue Jays demise, socking a double and a home run for five RBI, scoring three times in four at-bats. Cabrera walked and scored in the first, doubled in a pair of runs and scored again in the second, and belted a three-run homer in the fifth to complete the scoring for the White Sox. Cabrera is batting .280 with seven homers and 40 RBI.

Toronto starter, Joe Biagini, was treated with particular rudeness, allowing seven runs on eight hits, pulled when he failed to retire a batter in the second inning.

The two teams will renew rivalries in the second of the three-game series, Saturday, 1:07 pm ET at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

National League

Wood: 7-0, 1.90 ERA
A 26-year-old left-hander who played college ball at Georgia, Alex Wood isn't exactly a household name yet, but he's gaining notoriety by performing with excellence this season, racking up his seventh win without a loss in a 3-1 Dodger win at Cincinnati.

Wood worked eight innings, allowing four hits and one run, striking out five without walking a batter. The only run allowed was an eighth-inning solo homer by Reds' catcher Devin Mesoraco, coming after Wood had singled in the Dodgers' third run in the top of the frame.

Throwing 69 of 89 pitches for strikes, Wood got out of a few jams thanks to excellent play by the Dodger infield, including shortstop Corey Seager gunning down Eugenio Suarez at the plate in the second inning.

Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his 15th save.

In 12 starts this season, Wood has given up just 42 hits in 61 2/3 innings, with 72 strikeouts against 15 walks. His ERA is a phenomenal 1.90, having surrendered a mere 15 runs and only two home runs all season.

The victory left the Dodgers in second place in the NL West, tied with Arizona a game behind Colorado. The loss was Cincinnati's seventh straight. The Reds have fallen to last place in the NL Central and will try to end their slide in game two of the series, Saturday at 4:10 pm ET.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lonnie Chisenhall's 5 RBI Lift Indians Over Dodgers; Colorado Aided By Nolan Arenado's 3 Doubles, 4 RBI

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 15, 2017

American League

An interleave match-up that featured two potential World Series participants was won by the LA Dodgers, two games to one, but the Cleveland Indians avoided being swept at home with a 12-5 victory in the series finale.

Chisenhall: HR, 5 RBI
Cleveland had an early 5-0 lead, but the Dodgers closed to within 5-4 in the fifth inning, until Lonnie Chisenhall stepped in to pinch hit for Austin Jackson with two aboard in the bottom of the frame.

The lefty swinger hooked a three-run shot to over the right field wall, and all of a sudden it was 8-4. Chisenhall was not done, however, getting to the plate again in the following inning with the bases loaded, delivering a single to right, plating two more.

Chisenhall, who finished 2-for-3 with five RBI, plays part-time, platooning in the outfield and pinch-hitting, his left-handed swing often resulting in key moments. He's batting .275 with eight homers and 29 RBI in just 109 at-bats this season.

Snapping a six-game Dodger winning streak, the win for the Indians kept them two games behind AL Central leader, Minnesota. LA's loss left them tied for second with Arizona in the contentious NL West, a game behind the Rockies.

The Dodgers head to Cincinnati on Friday for a three-game series; Cleveland travels to Minnesota for a four game series beginning Friday night, with a double-header set for Saturday.

National League

Arenado: 3 doubles, 4 RBI
Colorado blew a 9-1 lead, but got a game-winning single from Ramiel Tapia for the eventual 10-9 win over the Giants, putting the Rockies back in first place in the NL West as the Dodgers lost and Arizona was idle.

Tapia's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth wasn't the only highlight in the slug-fest which featured 32 hits and 12 pitchers. Nolan Arenado lashed three doubles in five at-bats, scored three times and drove in four runs for the hit-happy Rockies.

Arenado's 24 doubles tops the National League, and his 50 RBI has him tied for seventh in the league with Washington's Bryce Harper. The free-swinging third baseman has a .289 batting average and 14 homers, looking to make his third consecutive all-star team. He trails Chicago's Kris Bryant in balloting for third base.

Colorado's home win came in the opener of a four game series with the Giants which resumes Friday at 8:40 pm ET.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Mookie Betts 4-for-5 In Red Sox Victory Over Phillies; Braves Top Nationals, 13-2, Brandon Phillips 4-for-6

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 14, 2017

American League
Betts: 4-5, 2 HR, 4 runs

Literally, the Red Sox offense starts with Mookie Betts.

The Boston leadoff hitter socked a pair of late-inning home runs, but he did more damage in Boston's 7-3 win at the Phillies earlier in the game.

Betts, who went 4-for-5, started the contest off with a single and scored Boston's first run when Zander Bogaerts doubled him home. In the second, Betts doubled in a run and scored again as Boston built a 5-0 lead.

The pair of homers by Betts came in the fourth and ninth innings, capping a big day for Boston's right fielder.

With the win - Boston's third straight - the Red Sox moved to within two games of the Yankees for the AL East lead. New York was downed for the second straight game in LA, as the Angels rallied from a 4-0 deficit for a 7-5 win.

Boston plays at Philadelphia in the second of their brief two-game interleave series Thursday at 7:05 pm ET.

National League

Phillips: 4-for-6, 3 RBI
A wild series wrapped up Wednesday at Nationals Park as the Atlanta Braves took the series finale, 13-2, taking two of three from NL East leader, Washington.

The three games saw a total of 51 runs scored, though the closest game was the opener, an 11-10 thriller, won by the Braves. The Nationals took the middle game, 10-5, but the Braves had their way in the end, roughing up Washington starter Tanner Roark, who allowed seven earned runs on nine hits over five innings.

The first three batters in Atlanta's lineup were a combined 10-for-16, with second baseman and number two hitter Brandon Phillips going 4-for-6 with two singles, two doubles, three runs and three RBI.

A 16-year veteran, Phillips - who spent most of his career with the Reds - was picked up by Atlanta after the 2016 season and their decision seems to be paying benefits. A lifetime .276 hitter, Phillips is batting .306 in 54 games.

Despite losing, the Nationals are still leading the division by 8 1/2 over the Mets. Miami is 9 1/2 out and the Braves trail by 10. Atlanta has Thursday off and heads home to open a ten-game home stand, starting on Friday with three against the Marlins. Washington begins a four-game showdown series with the Mets on Thursday in New York. Game time at Citi Field is 7:05 pm ET.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Eddie Rosario Socks 3 HRs, Twins Batter Mariners, 20-7; Ryan Zimmerman Socks Two HRs In Nationals' Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 13, 2017

American League
Rosario: 3 HR, 5 RBI

After dropping the opener of their four-game series with the visiting Mariners by a 14-3 score on Monday, the Minnesota Twins delivered some payback in game two on Tuesday, setting a franchise record with 28 hits in a lopsided, 20-7, romp.

All of the starters had at least one hit, and all but Joe Mauer had at least two. Kennys Vargas was 4-for-6, Eduardo Escobar was 5-for-6, Jason Castro was 4-for-5, but Eddie Rosario, batting in the ninth spot in the order, went 4-for-5 with three home runs, three runs and five RBI.

The game took only 3:04 to play, though it was completely out of hand by the third inning, when the Twins had established an 11-3 lead. Seattle starter, Christian Bergman, lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on 10 hits.

Minnesota, with the victory in hand, continues to lead the AL Central by two games over the Indians. Game three of the series, which has already seen 44 runs scored, starts Wednesday, 8:10 pm ET at Target Field.

National League

Zimmerman Leads NL
in AVG, HRs
Starting with his .372 batting average, Ryan Zimmerman is having a stats-busting season.

Not only is the Washington first baseman leading the league in batting by 20 points over Buster Posey (.352), but he leads the league in home runs after belting a pair in the Nationals' 10-5 win over the Braves.

Zimmerman socked a solo homer in the first and a two-run shot in the sixth, the second belt giving the Nats a 6-5 lead. In the seventh, he singled and scored on Daniel Murphy's double. Zimmerman went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI. He is fifth, league-wide in RBI, with 52. Arizona's Jake Lamb leads with 57.

Washington increased its lead in the NL East to 9 1/2 games over the Mets, as the Cubs downed the New Yorkers, 14-3.

The rubber game of the Atlanta-Washington series is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, 4:05 pm ET.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Aaron Judge Homers To Lead Yanks Over Angels; Matt Adams Powers Braves Past Nats, 11-10

Players of the Day for Monday, June 12, 2017

American League

After winning their fifth straight at home Sunday, the Yankees packed their bags and headed West, opening a three-game series with the Angels in Los Angeles on Monday.

Judge: No jet lag
Jet lag didn't seem to affect New York's best player - and maybe the best in the majors - Aaron Judge, as the rookie right fielder mashed his major-league-leading 22nd home run, breaking a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning with a two-run shot.

With the 5-3 win, the Yankees maintained their four game lead over Boston in the AL East. The Red Sox slipped by the Phillies, 6-5, in 11 innings.

Starting the day leading all three triple crown categories, Judge went 2-for-4, scored three times and drove in two runs, but Nelson Cruz drove in four as Seattle whacked Minnesota, 14-3, dropping Judge to second in RBI. Judge has 49; Cruz, 50.

The Angels dropped into a three-way tie with Texas and Seattle for second place in the West, 12 games behind the Houston Astros.

Game two of the series between the Yankees and the Angels is scheduled for Tuesday, 7:07 pm PT.

National League

Adams: powering Braves
With a 10 1/2 game lead in the NL East, the Washington Nationals probably aren't worried about being caught by other teams in the division, but maybe they should be a little concerned.

After the Mets beat the Cubs, 6-1, on Jacob deGrom's five-hit complete game, and the Braves outlasting the Nationals, 11-10, Washington lost its fourth straight game while the Mets won their fourth straight.

Meanwhile, the Nats have to deal with the Braves for two more games in Washington with a tired bullpen. Atlanta wore out Washington pitching on Monday, scoring six runs on seven hits off starter Stephen Strasberg. Though Strasberg struck out 10, he lasted just five innings. Washington's bullpen blew a 9-6 lead in the final two frames, as the Braves piled on for five runs and the win.

Leading the way was Atlanta first baseman, Matt Adams, who slugged a pair of home runs, going 3-for-4 with three runs and four RBI. After socking a three-run homer in the third, and a solo shot in the eighth, Adams walked and scored the go-ahead run in the ninth on Tyler Flowers' three-run belt.

Traded from St. Louis to Atlanta earlier this year, Adams has provided some pop to the Braves' attack, batting .270 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 22 games.

The Braves and Nationals play game two of the series Tuesday at 7:05 pm at Nationals Park.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Aaron Judge Leads League In AVG, HR, RBI As Yankees Storm AL; Corey Seager's Slam Delivers Dodgers

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 11, 2017

American League

With Boston losing to Detroit, 8-3, the New York Yankees expanded their lead in the AL East to four games with a 14-3 rip against the visiting Orioles.

Judge: Triple Crown?
It was the second straight game in which the Bombers put up double digits on the Birds, whacking them by a 16-3 score on Saturday. The Yanks completed the sweep, having won Friday night's contest, 8-2. The win was the fifth straight for New York, having taken the last two from Boston on their visit to the Bronx.

Overall, the Yankees are absolutely putting the rest of the division to shame. In their five game run, they've outscored Boston and Baltimore by a combined score of 55-9.

Sunday's rout featured another home run barrage, including a three-run belt by Gary Sanchez, a two-run jolt by Starlin Castro, and a pair of bombs - one of which traveled 495 feet, the longest recorded this season - by rookie sensation Aaron Judge, who has been completely off the charts of late.

Judge was 4-for-4 in the game, including the two bombs, a single, and a double, four runs and three RBI. The effort put the rookie right fielder in Triple Crown territory, leading the league in batting (.344), home runs (21) and RBI (47).

As if batting .303 in April and .347 in May, Judge is blistering at a .421 pace in June.

The Yankees, who were expected to "possibly" make the playoffs by many preseason pundits, now appear the team to beat in the American League, leading in runs (353), home runs (102) and RBI (335). They're second in batting, at .275, as they head off to the West coast Monday for a seven-game road trip, playing three with the Angels and four at Oakland.

National League

Seager: Grand Slam
Beating the Reds, 9-7, the LA Dodgers completed the series sweep, 3-0, and gained a game on West division leader, Colorado, 7-5 losers at the Cubs on Sunday.

Winning was far from assured throughout the game, as the Reds built a 7-3 lead on home runs by Adam Duval, Scott Schebler, Joey Votto, and Devin Mesoraco. LA countered with a six-run uprising in the eighth inning, highlighted by Corey Seager's grand slam, which provided the ultimate margin of victory.

Cody Bellinger started the inning with a solo homer, his second long ball of the game and 15th overall. After loading the bases, Chase Utley walked, but the Dodgers were still down, 7-5. Seager, who had doubled earlier in the game, got a pitch he liked and hammered it over the center field wall, securing the win.

With their fourth straight win, the Dodgers finished the weekend trailing the Rockies by 1 1/2 games, with Arizona looming, two out. Arizona pounded Milwaukee Sunday, 13-1. Paul Goldschmidt was 3-for-4 with his 14th homer, a grand slam.

The Reds head down the coast to San Diego, starting a three-game series with the Padres Monday, before returning home on Thursday.

The Dodgers have a tough, six-game road trip beginning Tuesday, with three games in Cleveland and then a return trio at Cincinnati.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lorenzo Cain's Grand Slam Boosts Royals Over Padres; Cardinals Whip Phillies, 7-0, On Carlos Martinez 4-Hit Shutout

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 10, 2017

American League

Cain: Grand Slam, 5 RBI
With Minnesota holding the rest of the Al Central division at bay, the Kansas City Royals - 6 1/2 back - need every win they can get, so their 12-6 score at San Diego Saturday was a step in the right direction.

Of particular notice was the live bat of Lorenzo Cain, who was 3-for-5 with a pair of homers, three runs and five RBI.

A player who generally hits for a good average, Cain has picked it up of late, batting .333 in June, with four homers and ten RBI. He's hit safely in four straight games, a kind of consistency the Royals need throughout their lineup.

Cain belted a solo shot in the sixth, but the big inning for the Royals was the nine-run eighth, which Cain began with an infield single, scoring on Eric Hosmer's sixth home run of the year. With Kansas City players circling the bases, Cain delivered the decisive blow, a grand slam that put the game away. An inning that started with a 5-3 San Diego lead, ended with the Royals up 12-6, as the Padres could only respond with a single run in the bottom of the frame.

With the series tied at a game apiece, the teams will play the rubber game, Sunday at San Diego's Petco Park, 1:40 pm PT.

National League

Martinez: 4-hit shutout
After going 0-7 on their road trip to Chicago and Cincinnati, the St. Louis Cardinals were sorely in need of some relief, and they may have found it by returning home to host the Phillies for three games.

At 21-39, the Phillies have the dubious distinction of being the worst team in the majors, and the Cardinals aren't enhancing their reputation, taking two straight, including Saturday's 7-0 whitewash.

The Cardinal regulars didn't do much, as they didn't have to, but they put together seven runs on six hits while starter Carlos Martinez was twirling a four-hit shutout.

At 25, Martinez is considered an up-and-coming star, clearly pitching up to his potential by striking out 11 Phillies and evening his record at 5-5. Martinez threw 107 pitches and walked just one, never allowing a baserunner past second.

The win left the Cardinals in fourth place, but just 3 1/2 games behind Central division leader, Milwaukee. St. Louis will be seeking a sweep of the Phillies when they take the field at Busch Stadium, Sunday, 2:15 pm ET.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ervin Santana Goes Distance As Twins Blank Giants, 4-0; Tyler Moore Belts A Pair In Marlins Win At Pittsburgh

Santana: 4-hit CG Shutout
Players of the Day for Friday, June 9, 2017

American League

A primary reason the Minnesota Twins are in first place in the AL Central division is the continued excellence of ace starter, Ervin Santana, who notched his eighth win against three losses Friday as the Twins whipped the Giants, 4-0.

The win was in the opener of a three-game weekend series in San Francisco. Santana was brilliant, hurling his third complete game shutout of the season, allowing just four hits and needing a mere 91 to tame the San Francisco lineup.

Striking out five and walking one, Santana set down 13 of the first 14 batters he faced and set down the final eight in order.

With an ERA of 2.20, Santana is a solid prospect to be a one of the starters chosen for next month's all-star game. The most glaring statistic in his repertoire is the .154 batting average he allows opposing batters. In 90 innings, Santana has given up just 47 hits.

Moore: 2 HR, 4 RBI
Minnesota's victory kept them 1 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland, 7-3 victors over the White Sox on Friday.

Game two of the series at AT&T Park is Saturday, 1:05 pm PT.

National League

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 16th home run of the season and Tyler Moore put a pair of balls in the stands as the Miami Marlins out-slugged Pittsburgh, 12-7.

After delivering a sac fly in the second inning to get the Marlins on the board, Moore belted a two run homer in the third and launched a solo shot in the seventh as Miami built an insurmountable lead. The Pirates made the score more respectable by scoring a run in the eighth and two in the ninth.

Moore also singled, finishing 3-for-4 with four RBI.

Moore, who missed half of April and the first nine days of May, has just recently found his best groove, going 7-for-12 in his last three games, raising his batting average from .175 to .269.

The win was the third straight for the Marlins, who are 11 games behind Washington in the NL East. Pittsburgh hosts Miami in game three of their four-game set Saturday, 4:05 pm ET.