Saturday, July 29, 2017

Masahiro Tanaka Fans 14, Yankees Take 1st In AL East; Brent Suter Tosses 7 Scoreless As Brewers Top Cubs

Players of the Day for Friday, July 28, 2017

American League

Surging back into first place in the AL East with their fifth straight victory, the New York Yankees topped visiting Tampa Bay, 6-1, as starter Masahiro Tanaka held the Rays in check on two hits over eight full innings.

Tanaka: 14Ks
Tanaka's best performance of the season included a career-high 14 strikeouts, getting every Tampa batter except Adeiny Hechavarria on strikes at least once, fanning leadoff hitter Mallex Smith three times (David Robertson relieved in the ninth and got Smith again for the "golden sombrero").

Perfect past five innings, Tanaka yielded a single to Hechavarria with two down in the sixth and a seventh inning solo homer to Lucas Duda, playing in his first game for the Rays since being acquired from the Mets.

Tanaka (8-9, 5.09) finished strong, striking out the final three batters he faced to end the eighth, throwing 109 pitches and surrendering no bases on balls.

With Boston losing, 4-2, to Kansas City, winners of nine straight, the Yankees took a 1/2 game lead in the division and have taken the first two games from the Rays in their four-game series.

Game three is scheduled for a Saturday 1:05 pm ET start at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

National League

Suter: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R
Having relinquished first place in the NL Central to the Cubs earlier in the month, the Milwaukee Brewers took a step toward taking it back with a 2-1 victory over Chicago in the first of a crucial three-game series in Milwaukee.

Rookie hurler Brent Suter, a 6'5" left-hander out of Harvard, tossed seven shutout innings for the Brewers, improving to 2-1 in six starts. Suter allowed four hits and one walk, striking out five, while his teammates scored single run in the second and fourth inning off Cubs' starter, Jose Quintana.

Suter threw just 82 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Chicago finally got on the board after Suter left the mound in the eighth, on Javier Baez's solo home run off reliever Anthony Swarzek, but closer Corey Knebel picked up his 18th save, walking one and whiffing two in the ninth to finish what Suter started.

Milwaukee's win left them 1/2 game behind the Cubs in the division race with game two of the series set for Saturday at 7:10 pm ET.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bryce Harper's 2 HR Lead Nationals Over Brewers; Steve Pearce, Kendrys Morales Power Blue Jays

Morales: 2 HR, 2 RBI
Players of the Day for Thursday, July 27, 2017

American League

Kendrys Morales slugged a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game; an inning later, Steve Pearce rocked a walk-off grand slam as the Blue Jays came from behind to defeat the Oakland A's, 8-4.

Pearce: walk-off Slam
Morales, who also homered in the fifth, was walked immediately ahead of Pearce in the 10th. He has 20 homers on the year. Pearce's blast was his ninth.

The Blue Jays swept the series with the visiting A's, leaving them just 1/2 game behind the Orioles in last place in the AL East. The Jays have been in last place all season, but still have hope of winning the division, since they are only 7 1/2 games behind first place Boston.

Toronto has a slew of games left against teams in the division, including nine each with the Yankees and Red Sox, the two leaders in the division.

Hosting the Angels for three games starting Friday, Toronto hopes to extend their four-game winning streak.

National League

Max Scherzer was on the mound again for the Washington Nationals, and that meant trouble for the visiting Brewers in the rubber game of the three-game series.

Harper: 2HR, 4 RBI
While Scherzer was at his usual high level of efficiency, allowing one run on three hits over six innings, the major issue for Milwaukee came when he was on the bench and the Washington regulars were batting.

The Nationals banged out a total of 19 hits, scoring all of their runs in the first four innings in a 15-2 drubbing of the Brewers.

Of those 19 hits, 11 went for extra bases, including six home runs, two each by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman hit his 21st and 22nd, Harper's were his 26th and 27th, a two run shot in the first to open Washington's scoring spree, a solo belt in the third. Harper also ripped a double, driving in another run, in the fourth.

The Nationals' superstar - 2012 rookie of the year, 2015 NL MVP - is having another sensational season, with his team gliding toward the post-season, the win putting them 13 in front of the Braves in the NL East.

Harper is batting .338 and has 79 RBI. He's third in National League average, HR and RBI.

The Brewers fell 1 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and head home to face the division leaders in a three-game series starting Friday. Washington hosts the Rockies for three over the weekend.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Eric Hosmer 5-6, Grand Slam As Royals Win 8th Straight; Marcell Ozuna, Marlins Bury Rangers, 22-10

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 26, 2017

American League

Kansas City won its eighth straight game, a 16-2 thrashing of the Tigers, in which six Detroit hurlers allowed a total of 22 hits, though all but three of them were singles. Essentially, the Royals were all over the bases the whole game. Only in the sixth inning did Kansas City go down in order.

Hosmer: 5-6, Grand Slam
Slugging Eric Hosmer accounted himself well in the bloodbath, going 5-for-6, scoring five times and driving in six, thanks to having one of those three extra base hits, a grand slam in the seventh. The Royals scored nine times in the inning, Hosmer's blast making the score 13-1.

The rest of Hosmer's other hits were singles, raising his average from .310 to .319 during the course of the game. He's batting a robust .368 in July, part of the reason the Royals are fast on the heels of division-leading Cleveland, a mere 1 1/2 game out, despite the Indians winning six straight, including Wednesday's 10-4 mashing of the Angels. Hosmer has 16 home runs and 59 RBI.

Kansas City didn't come roaring out of the all-star break, losing four of their first five games, but they've gotten red hot of late, taking the final two games of an earlier four-game series with the Tigers on their way to consecutive sweeps over the White Sox and now the Tigers, in Detroit.

After a day off Thursday, the Royals head east on Friday, playing back-to-back three-game series in Boston and Baltimore.

National League

It was a tough night for You Darvish and the Texas Rangers - maybe even tougher for the 26,471 fans in Arlington - as the Miami Marlins took the rubber game of their three-game series by the football-ish score of 22-10.

The Rangers used six pitchers, though starter Darvish got the worst of it, allowing 10 runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings. Miami had the same number of hits as runs, 14 of them going for extra bases, including four homers.

Ozuna: 3-5, 4 R, 5 RBI
Marcell Ozuna didn't have a home run, but he did double twice and triple in five at-bats, scored four times and drove in five runs, giving him 77 RBI on the season, third in the National League.

Ozuna, batting .315 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI is putting up MVP-like numbers, despite playing on the same team as Giancarlo Stanton, who did hit a home run, his 33rd, which leads the majors.

Unfortunately, the Marlins have little pitching to go with their awesome lineup of mashers. While Miami hits .268 as a team, third in the NL, their pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.72, 11th of 15 teams in the NL.

That's landed them at 46-53, 14 games behind the Nationals in the NL East, with the Braves and Mets between them and the division leader.

The Marlins return home Thursday, where they will host Cincinnati for four games. Texas gets a day off before hosting a three-game series with Baltimore Friday. The Rangers recently swept the Orioles four straight at Camaden Yards.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Edwin Encarnation Powers Indians Over Angels, 11-7; Willson Contreras HR Leads Cubs Past White Sox

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 25, 2017

American League

Encarnacion: walk-off GS
Kansas City has won seven straight, but they're still haven't caught the Indians, who lead by 1 1/2 in the AL Central, Cleveland winning their fifth straight in dramatic fashion Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

The Indians built a 7-0 lead in the second inning, started by Edwin Encarnacion, who doubled to lead off the inning and subsequently scored. As the Angels fought back to erase that lead, he would play a critical role in Cleveland's 11-7, 11th-inning victory.

LA scored four runs in the third, two in the fifth and one in the sixth to tie the game, their bullpen doing yeoman's work keeping Cleveland bats at bay.

Finally, the game reached extra innings, and, in the bottom of the 11th, Encarnation again appeared at the plate, this time with the bases loaded due to a pair of walks and a third intentional base on balls to Michael Brantley, loading the bases.

Big mistake.

Encarnacion took Bud Norris' offering into the center field stands, clearing the bases with a walk-off grand slam. It was Encarnacion's 21st home run, increasing to his RBI total to 59.

The Angels will try to shake off Tuesday's shining defeat and bounce back when the teams take the field for game two of the series, Wednesday at 7:10 pm ET.

National League

Contreras: 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Taking in the all-star break seems to have been a positive for the Chicago Cubs, as they've been red hot since, going 9-2 following the mid-summer classic and drawing to within 1/2 game of the NL Central leader, Milwaukee, with a 7-2 win over the White Sox

The Brewers haven't had such good fortune, winning on Tuesday for just the fourth time in the 11 games after the break with an 8-0 win at Washington, clinging to first place in the division.

Chicago starter John Lackey and four relievers got more than enough runs off the bat of catcher Willson Contreras, who got the Cubs going with a three-run homer in the opening inning at Wrigley, later adding a couple of singles, one of them driving in another run in the sixth inning.

The second year receiver is gaining attention as budding star in the NL. He's already surpassed last season's totals with 16 home runs and 56 RBI, and, since the all-star break he's been a major factor in the success of the Cubs, going 15-for-44 (.341) with six homers and 14 RBI.

He's also durable, playing in 89 of the Cubs' 99 games this season.

After splitting the series a game apiece, the Windy City squads take their interleague rivalry to the home of the White Sox, Guaranteed Rate Field, for another pair of games, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, the Cubs travel to Milwaukee for a three-game showdown with the Brewers.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jose Altuve 4-for-4 As Astros Thump Phillies, 13-4; A.J. Pollock Leads Arizona Past Braves, 10-2

Players of the Day for Monday, July 24, 2017

American League

Winning the opener of a three-game series in Philadelphia, 13-4, the Houston Astros improved to a MLB-best 36-12 record on the road.

Altuve's .365 leads AL
Putting that in perspective, no other team in the AL West and no teams in the AL East have winning road records. Only Cleveland (27-21) and Minnesota (26-18) are above .500 away from home.

Overall, the Astros have left the rest of the league in their dust, leading the division by a whopping 17 games with a record of 66-33 (.667).

At the heart of Houston's offense - they lead the league in runs scored (594) and scoring differential (+178) - is second baseman Jose Altuve, putting in a serious bid for league MVP.

In Monday's blowout win, Altuve went 4-for-4 scoring three runs and driving in three with a pair of doubles and two singles. Not only is Altuve leading the league in batting at .365, he's third in on-base percentage (.421), runs (71), and stolen bases (21) while on pace for well over 200 hits, currently with the league lead at 138, 20 more than Cleveland's Jose Ramirez.

With just over tow months left in the season, all that's left to determine from Altuve and the Astros is how many games they'll win on their way to the post-season.

Houston and the Phillies play game two Tuesday at 7:05 pm ET.

National League

Pollock: 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Arizona moved back into a tie for second place with Colorado in the NL West with a 10-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

While the Diamondbacks have faint hope of catching the Dodgers for the division crown, as LA has an 11 1/2 game lead, a win over the Braves was important since Atlanta also has wild card aspirations, trailing the Nationals by 12 1/2 games in the East. The Braves' loss sent them 9 1/2 behind in the wild card.

With Matt Greinke cruising to his 12th win against five losses, A.J. Pollock provided more than adequate offense, smacking two doubles and a two-run home run, driving in four runs in five at-bats.

Pollock is batting .303 but missed a substantial part of the season - half of May and all of June - on the DL. Apparently back in the groove, Pollock has hit safely in six of his last seven games, going 12-for-27 (.444) over that span.

The Diamondback and Braves play game two of the three game series Tuesday, 9:40 pm ET at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Corey Kluber Fans 14 As Indians Sweep Blue Jays; Mark Reynolds Belts 2 HR In Colorado 13-3 Romp

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 23, 2017

American League

Following the all-star break, the Cleveland Indians played six straight games on the road and didn't look like the team that last season represented the American League in the World Series, losing five of six.
Kluber: 14 Ks

Since returning to the friendly shores of Lake Erie, however, the Indians have rolled to three straight wins, to the dismay of the Toronto Blue Jays, who were dismantled in the series by a combined score of 23-5.

Capping off the sweep was a dominating performance by Cleveland's ace, Corey Kluber, who allowed five hits an one lonely run in an 8-1 triumph at Progressive Field.

Kluber walked two and struck out a season-high 14 batters, getting each and every one of the Toronto position players at least once, including three whiffs by Jose Bautista.

Kluber is 8-3 with a 2.74 ERA and an incredible 0.96 WHIP. Opponents are batting .199 against him over the course of 16 starts. He's thrown two three-hit shutouts - both on the road - April 21 against the White Sox and June 19 in Baltimore.

Cleveland's victory keeps them 1 1/2 games ahead of Kansas City, which moved into second place in the AL Central with a 5-4 win over the White Sox while Minnesota dropped a 9-6 decision to Detroit.

The Indians welcome in Cincinnati Monday for a make-up game from May 25. After that they host the Angels for three games starting Tuesday.

National League

Reynolds: 2 HR
After the first of their three-game series in Colorado, the Pittsburgh Pirates appeared to be on their way to the top of the NL Central, going 7-1 since the all-star break. With two losses - including Sunday's 13-3 drubbing by the Rockies - the Pirates lost some of that momentum, dropping back under .500 (49-50), but find themselves still three games behind NL Central co-leaders, Chicago and Milwaukee.

The pressing issue for Pittsburgh is that they probably will have to win their division to make the playoffs, since the Rockies are leading for the first wild card at 58-42, with Arizona one game back. Pittsburgh is 7 1/2 off the wild card pace while the Rockies and Diamondbacks chase the runaway Dodgers, 10 1/2 ahead of Colorado.

Sunday was a showcase for Mark Reynolds, who parked a pair of home runs - his 20th and 21st - driving in three runs. He also singled, going 3-for-4 on the day.

Pittsburgh continues its nine-game road trip on Monday, heading to San Francisco for three games with the Giants. Colorado also hits the road. They start a three-game series in St. Louis on Monday.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Danny Salazar, Francisco Lindor Produce 2-1 Cleveland Win Over Jays; Ryan Braun Powers Brewers To 9-8 Victory

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 22, 2017

American League

The Al Central is turning out of be one of the best divisional races in the majors as the Cleveland Indians - hoping to repeat their 2016 run to the World Series - lead the Twins and Royals by 1 1/2 games.

Salazar: 7IP, 1H, 0ER
All three contenders were winners on Saturday, with the Indians taking a 2-1 win in 10 innings over visiting Toronto.

Cleveland got the best from starter Danny Salazar, who one-hit the Blue Jays through seven innings, after Kevi
n Pillar singled to open the third inning, Salazar induced a double play from the next batter, Ryan Goins, then proceeded to retire the next 13 batters he faced, striking out eight in the process and issuing no bases on balls.
Lindor: Game-winning HR

No Toronto runner advanced to second base while Salazar was throwing, but in the eighth, Andrew Miller served up a home run ball to Justin Smoak, tying the game with the Blue Jays' only run.

On the offensive side, Francisco Lindor scored both of Cleveland's runs, scoring on an Edwin Encarnacion ground out in the fourth inning and belting a game-ending, solo homer (his 15th) to lead off the bottom of the 10th, served up by reliever Danny Barnes.

Cleveland will be seeking a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays Sunday. Game time is 1:10 pm ET.

National League

Braun: 3-3, HR, 4 RBI
Ryan Braun went 3-for-3, scoring three times and driving in four with a single, double and his 15th home run, stole a base and scored from first on errors by Tommy Joseph and Howie Kendrick as the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 9-8 victory at Philadelphia.

For the most part, the game was not as close as the final score indicates. Milwaukee blew an 8-1 lead in the seventh inning as the Phillies rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh and three more in the eighth, tying the game, before Domingo Santana knocked in Hernan Perez with the winning run in the top of the ninth.

Braun's fifth inning home run was his 12th, a two-run belt. The 33-year-old left fielder missed nearly a month of playing time due to injury, but has been in the lineup regularly since late June.

Milwaukee's win evened the series at a game apiece and kept the Brewers one game in front of Chicago in the Central division, which has tightened recently. The Pirates are three back, with the Cardinals 4 1/ games off the pace.

The rubber game of the series is Sunday, 1:35 pm ET at Citizens Bank Park.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Josh Bell, Andrew McCutchen Lead Pirates 13-5 Rout; Edwin Encarnacion Leads Indians Past Jays, 13-3,

Players of the Day for Friday, July 21, 2017

American League

In the offseason, the Indians picked up Edwin Encarnacion to add some power to their lineup. The 34-year-old slugger has done just that and he made his former team take notice in the opener of a three-game series in Cleveland against the Blue Jays with a four-RBI performance in the Indians' 13-3 rout of Toronto.

Encarnacion: HR, 4RBI
After Toronto had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, Encarnation cut it in half with his 20th home run of the season, a mammoth, 421-foot blast to center. In the fifth, Toronto added another run, but, in the bottom of the inning, the Indians plated four, capped by Encarnacion's double, which sent two runs home and a 5-3 lead for the home team.

Capping off his 3-for-4 effort with an RBI single in the seventh, the rest of the tribe piled on, adding six more runs to complete the whipping.

The result improved Cleveland's lead in the Central to 1 1/2 games over Minnesota and Kansas City. Detroit is 5 1/2 back, while Toronto remains alone in last place in the East division.

The two teams go at it again on Saturday, with game two scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.
McCutchen: 3-4, 3R, 3RBI

National League

Flying just under the radar most of the year, the Pittsburgh Pirates have awakened and are the hottest team in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh won its sixth straight on Friday, swashbuckling past the Rockies, 13-5, in Denver. Since the all-star break, the Pirates are 7-1 and 12-2 since the fourth of July.

Bell, 4-6, 4 RBI
Leading the barrage of 18 hits against five Colorado pitchers were Andrew McCutchen, who was 3-for-4 with three runs, three RBI and a pair of walks, and Josh Bell, 4-for-6 with a double, three singles and four RBI.

The 2013 NL MVP, McCutchen is having another solid season, batting .294 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI. He generally hits out of the three-hole, in front of second year first baseman, Bell, who has strikingly similar numbers, .248, 17 HR, 52 RBI.

The win left the Pirates just two games off the lead in the division. Milwaukee leads the Cubs by one, with Pittsburgh another game back.

Game two of the series is at 8:10 pm ET, Saturday in the Mile High city.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Justin Smoak Homers Twice In Toronto Win Over Red Sox; Jake Lamb's 2HR, 6RBI Power Arizona

Players of the Day for Thursday, July 20, 2017

American League

Smoak: 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
It's too late in the season for the Toronto Blue Jays to complain about their poor start to the season. Too many games have been played and the Jays have had ample opportunity to get themselves back into the AL East or wild card race.

The Blue Jays find themselves nine games behind Boston, in last place in the division, even after outlasting the Red Sox at Fenway, 8-6, Thursday, finishing the four-game series tied at two games apiece. That's fine for the Red Sox, but not for Toronto, in need of making up ground.

One bright spot for the Blue Jays is the all-around excellent play of Justin Smoak, the all-star first baseman, who socked a pair of solo homers and drove in another run with a single, going 3-for-5 with three RBI.

Smoak's fifth inning home run padded a 5-3 lead. In the next inning, his single rap put the Jays ahead, 7-3. After the Red Sox plated three on a Dustin Pedroia home run in the seventh, Smoak landed on in the left field stands, giving the Blue Jay relief staff some breathing room.

At .298 with 26 home runs and 62 RBI, Smoak is having a career year. In his eighth year in the majors, Smoak has already surpassed his home run and RBI totals. His batting average is .066 better than his career average.

Roberto Osuna picked up his 24th save, pitching a perfect ninth, fanning two of the three batters he faced.

Toronto opens a three-game series at Cleveland Friday, while the Red Sox - maintaining a 2 1/2 game AL East lead over Tampa Bay - begin a six game westward swing, with three games at the Angels followed by three in Seattle.

National League

Lamb: 2 HR, 6 RBI
Arizona's Jake Lamb is proving to be a hot commodity at the hot corner.

The fourth-year third baseman whacked a pair of three-run homers, driving in six runs in Arizona's 12-2 pounding of Cincinnati Thursday night.

Lamb's power display - his 21st and 22nd home runs - has him trailing just Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the league lead in RBI. Lamb has 76; Arenado leads with 80.

Lamb got the rout started with a first inning blast and ended it with another round-tripper in the ninth inning, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 win of the three-game series at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.

The 26-year-old's stats are no fluke, nor is Arizona's contention in the National League, thanks largely to his contributions. Last season, Lamb belted 29 home runs and drove in 91 runs.

The win left the Diamondbacks tied with Colorado in second place in the NL West. Even though the Dodgers' 11-game winning streak was broken by the Braves in a 6-3 win, LA leads the division by 10 1/2 games. The Rockies and Diamondbacks have a 5 1/2 game edge over the Cubs in the wild card race.

Arizona hosts a three-game series with the Washington Nationals starting Friday.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nolan Arenado, 5-for-6, 3 HR Leads Rockies To 18-4 Win; Alex Meyer 1-Hit Over 7, Angels Top Nats, 7-0

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 19, 2017

American League

Meyer: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
In the two-game series featuring two of baseball's brightest young stars - LA's Mike Trout and Washington's Bryce Harper - game two went to the Angles and the spotlight was stolen by LA starter, Alex Meyer, a 27-year-old, 6'9" rookie.

Meyer took a perfect game into the fifth inning, and, after walking Anthony Rendon, took a on-hitter into the sixth, though it was spoiled by Nats' leadoff hitter, Brian Goodwin, who lashed a two-out double to right.

Meyer finished the inning and pitched a perfect seventh, taking a seat after throwing a mere 88 pitches. David Hernandez and Jose Alvarez worked the eighth and ninth, respectively, each putting in a perfect inning to finish up the 7-0 Angel's victory.

Meyer improved to 4-5, striking out seven. Harper was out of Washington's lineup for the day, but Trout managed to sock his 18th home run, a two-run jolt in the seventh.

The result was a 1-1 split in LA. Washington continues its Western swing road trip with three game in Arizona, beginning Friday. The Angels host Boston for three games, also starting Friday.

National League

Arenado: 3 HR, 7 RBI
In baseball's annals of great third basemen, the names Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, and Eddie Mathews come immediately to mind. Some day in the not-too-distant future, the name Nolan Arenado may become a staple on that list.

Wednesday in Colorado, Arenado put on a show of his magnificent swing, going 5-for-6 with two singles, a trio of home runs, four runs, and seven RBI, which vaulted him to the major league RBI lead with 80. In the National League, Bryce Harper has 73, Paul Goldschmidt, 72. Nelson Cruz leads the AL with 74.

Padres pitchers were unable to keep Arenado off the base paths as the Rockies completed the three game sweep with a 21-hit attack, humiliating San Diego, 18-4.

In the first and second innings, Arenado singled home Charlie Blackmon. In the fourth and fifth, Arenado led off the innings with solo home runs. In the sixth, he belted a three-run homer, his 21st of the season, putting the Rockies up by the gaudy score of 17-4.

Finally, Kirby Yates, the fourth and final San Diego hurler, managed to get Arenado to line out to left in the eighth inning.

The victory was Colorado's fourth straight. Combined with Arizona's 4-3 loss at Cincinnati, the Rockies hold a 1/2 game edge for second place in the NL West, though they trail division leader, Los Angeles by 11 games.

After a day off Thursday, the Rockies host the Pirates for three games. Pittsburgh also has won four straight and is in third place in the Central, four games behind Milwaukee.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Michael Wacha Tosses Complete Game, 5-0 Cardinal Win; Chris Davis Socks Two HRs In 12-1 Baltimore Romp

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

American League

In Baltimore, Shin Soo Choo led off game with a solo home run for Texas, but, as it turns out, that would be the only run the Rangers would score, as Baltimore amassed 16 hits and routed the AL West visitors, 12-1.

Chris Davis scorched a two-run homer in the middle of Baltimore's six run first, and belted a grand slam in the fourth to account for half of Baltimore's runs.

Davis: 2HR, Slam, 6RBI
Davis' homers were numbers 15 and 16, unusually low totals for the Oriole slugger, because he missed over a month - from June 12 to July 14 - on the DL. This was his fifth game back and first multi-hit game since June 6.

During his absence, the Orioles went into an extended tailspin, going 11-15 into the all-star break. Having Davis back is a plus, but it didn't seem to matter as the O's dropped three straight to the Cubs coming out of the break, though they've now taken two straight from Texas.

Dylan Bundy threw exactly 100 pitches, working six innings for the win. He's 9-8 on the year.

Having Davis back in the lineup regularly should be a boost to Baltimore's fortunes, though their pitching staff seems to be at the root of their problems. They trail the Red Sox by eight games in the AL East, where Tampa Bay is in second place, two games out and New York is 3 1/2 off Boston's lead.

The Orioles will try to make it three straight at Camden Yards when they meet the Rangers Wednesday night, 7:05 pm ET.

National League

Wacha throws first shutout
With the Dodgers winning their 10th straight with a 1-0 Clayton Kershaw gem Tuesday and the Nationals taking their sixth straight, LA and Washington lead their respective divisions by 10 1/2 and 11 1/2 games, leaving the Central as the only real race in the National League.

Milwaukee still leads the division by 2 1/2 over the Cubs, but they've dropped three straight while Chicago has won five in a row, the Cardinals two straight and the Pirates, given up for dead back in May, are on a three-game win streak and only five games off the pace.

St. Louis reached to within 4 1/2 games of the Brewers with a second straight win at Citi Field, topping the Mets, 5-0, on Michael Wacha's three-hit, complete game shutout.

The victory was a milestone for Wacha, his first complete game and first shutout of his five year major league career.

Wacha walked one and struck out eight. After allowing a two-out single to Yoenis Cespedes in the first, Wacha didn't give up another hit until Michael Conforto's one-out, sixth inning double. Conforto also singled to lead off the ninth, eventually reaching third base on a wild pitch and a Cespedes ground out, but Wacha ended the drama by striking out Jay Bruce to end the game.

The win was the fourth straight in as many starts for Wacha, who improved to 7-3, dropping his ERA to 3.71. In three July starts, the 6'6" hurler is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA.

St. Louis will try to make it three straight against the Mets when the teams take the field Wednesday at 7:00 pm ET.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stephen Strasburg Fans 10 In 6-1 Washington Win; Jake Odorizzi Allows One Hit In 3-2 Tampa Victory

Players of the Day for Monday, July 17, 2017


American League

Khris Davis launched a solo home run - his 26th - in the fourth inning, as the A's cut Tampa Bay's lead in half.

Odorizzi: 1-hit winner
As it turns out, that was the only hit the A's would get off Rays' starter, Jake Odorizzi, the 27-year-old righty going seven innings to improve to 6-4 as the Rays out-dueled the Athletics, 3-2, in the opener of their three game series in Oakland.

Odorizzi struck out five, walked two, and worked around a pair of errors - one by himself - throwing 103 pitches, 61 for strikes. Of the 15 outs made by balls in play, Ordorizzi registered just one by ground, but 14 on fly outs.

Evan Longoria grounded into force that provided a run in the third. He and Steven Souza Jr. each had solo homers for the three Tampa runs.

Tommy Hunter worked a hitless eighth inning for the Rays and closer Alex Colome gave up a leadoff double to Yonder Alonzo and allowed him to score on a wild pitch, cutting the Rays' lead to 3-2. Nonetheless, Colome picked up his 27 save as Tampa moved closer to the Red Sox, who lost, 4-3, to Toronto. Boston leads the AL East, and the Rays, by two games.

Game two is slated for 7:05 pm PT, Tuesday at the Oakland Coliseum.

National League

Question: What happens when the Washington Nationals stake Stephen Strasburg to a 5-0, first inning lead?

Strasburg: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R
Answer: Strasburg allows one run on four hits over seven innings, strikes out ten and improves to 10-3 in a 6-1 Nationals' victory, finishing off a four-game sweep of the Reds and their fifth straight win overall.

That was the scenario Monday night in Cincinnati, as Washington improved its lead in the NL East to 10 1/2 games over the Braves, as Atlanta dropped a 4-3 decision to the visiting Cubs.

Strasburg walked one and threw just 105 pitches. Joe Blanton and Matt Grace each pitched a perfect inning, getting the Nationals through the eighth and ninth, respectively.

The 10 whiffs gave Strasburg 139 on the year, fifth in the NL, but nowhere near teammate Max Scherzer, who leads the league with 183.

The Reds' only run came on a second inning solo homer by Eugenio Suarez. After that, all Cincy could muster were singles. After plunking Adam Duvall to open the seventh, Strasburg finished his stint by fanning the final three batters he faced.

With their fourth straight loss, the Reds have fallen 11 1/2 off the pace set by the Brewers in the NL Central. Washington heads West to play two games with the Angels, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Monday, July 17, 2017

David Price Shuts Down Yankees In 3-0 Boston Win; Nationals Win 4th Straight On Daniel Murphy's 2 HR

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 16, 2017

American League

Price: 8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER
After losing the first game of Sunday's double-header 3-0 to the Yankees, the Red Sox turned to David Price as the starting pitcher in the nightcap.

Responding with one of his best efforts of the season, Price blanked the Yanks for eight innings as Boston prevailed, 3-0.

Improving to 5-2, Price, who spent the start of the season on the disabled list and didn't get his first start until May 29, seemed to have found his best form against Boston's most consistent rival. Though he gave up seven hits, Price didn't walk anyone and struck out eight, throwing 75 of 107 pitches for strikes.

The Yankees didn't really connect well. Of their seven hits off Price, six were singles and no runner advanced past second base. Craig Kimbrel came on for his 24th save in the ninth.

The result of the series split, 2-2, left the Yankees and Red Sox where they started prior to the all-star break, with Boston holding a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL East, though Tampa Bay managed to slip past the Yankees into second place, three games behind the Red Sox.

Boston remains home to host Toronto for four games, starting Monday, while the Yankees continue their road trip, landing in Minnesota for a three-game series which also begins Monday.

National League

The Nationals took their third straight in Cincinnati and fourth straight overall, topping the Reds, 14-4, Sunday afternoon.
Murphy's .348 Leads NL

Getting to Cincy starter, Homer Bailey, early was the league's leading hitter, Daniel Murphy, who launched a two-run homer in the opening inning to get the Nationals on the board.

Washington built a 4-0 lead, but the Reds came back with a pair in the third, until Murphy again homered, this time with two aboard, for a 7-2 lead in the fifth. Adam Lind added a two-run homer in the same inning. In the seventh, Anthony Rendon parked a solo shot and Jose Lobaton landed a two-run homer.

Murphy went 3-for-5 on the day with five RBI, upping his average to .348. He leads San Francisco's Buster Posey, at .328.

Washington's win kept them 9 1/2 ahead of Atlanta in the NL East, as the Braves topped Arizona, 7-1, for their third straight victory.

The Nationals will be looking to sweep the Reds when the teams take the field Monday at Great American Ball Park. Game time is 12:35 pm ET.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Michael Fulmer, J.D. Martinez Star In 11-1 Tiger Win; Nationals' Anthony Rendon Slams Reds

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 15, 2017

American League

Martinez: 2 HR, 5 RBI
With the Tigers already up 2-0 against the Blue Jays in the third inning, J.D. Martinez stroked a bases-loaded single to left, plating two runs as Detroit romped past Toronto for an 11-1 victory.

Martinez finished 3-for-5, adding a double and an eighth-inning, three-run homer (15), driving in five runs. When the Tigers were on the field, starter Michael Fulmer was making hay against the Blue Jay lineup, allowing just two hits over eight innings, fanning three while issuing one walk.

Fulmer: 2 hits over 8 IP
Fulmer, 10-6, dropped his ERA to 3.06 (6th in the AL), giving up a lone run in the fourth inning. The 24-year-old hurler threw 61 of 101 pitches for strikes. After Kendrys Morales singled with one down in the second, Fulmer didn't allow another hit until Troy Tulowitzski beat out an infield single with one out in the eighth.

In his second season with the Tigers, Fulmer is approaching his win total from 2016 when he chalked up 11 victories and seven losses in 26 starts.

Alex Wilson pitched a perfect ninth inning for Detroit, sewing up the win, which kept the Tigers somewhat in contention in the AL Central. With the Indians losing their second straight in Oakland by a 5-3 score, Detroit is in fourth place, seven games behind Cleveland. Kansas City is three games out; Minnesota trails the Indians by 1 1/2.

The series tied, 1-1, Detroit will try to get an upper hand over the Blue Jays in the finale, Sunday, 1:10 pm ET at Comerica Park in Detroit.

National League

Anthony Rendon socked a two-run homer and a grand slam, leading the Washington Nationals to their third straight win, a 10-7 triumph over the Cincinnati Reds.

Rendon's two-run shot came in the fourth, giving the Nationals a 3-0 lead as Max Scherzer was cruising to his 11th win against five losses, tossing six scoreless innings on three hits, whiffing 10.

Rendon: 2 HR, GS, 6 RBI
In the seventh, Rendon capped a seven-run Washington outburst with his grand slam, completing the scoring for the visitors to Great American Ball Park. Rendon's homers were his 17th and 18th. He has 61 RBI on the season after driving in six on Saturday, adding a single for a 3-for-3 effort which raised his batting average to .315.

Washington's bullpen didn't do itself or Scherzer any justice, as the Reds scored two in the eighth and five in the ninth before Matt Grace came on to stop the bleeding, getting the three final outs of the game.

The Nationals kept their 9 1/2 game lead over Atlanta, 8-5 winners over Arizona, and will be going for third straight win over the Reds in game three of the four-game series, Sunday at 1:10 pm ET.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sonny Gray's 6 Innings Of Shutout Ball Lead A's Over Indians; Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper Lead Nats Past Reds

Players of the Day for Friday, July 14, 2017

American League

Friday saw the the major leagues finally back in action after the extended, four-day, all-star break and the activity was much the same as prior to the mid-summer classic.

Sonny Gray: 6 scoreless
All but one of the six division leaders were winners on the day, the except being the Cleveland Indians, who were stopped cold in Oakland by A's starter, Sonny Gray who improved to 5-4 in a 5-0 whitewash.

Gray did not go the distance, throwing exactly 100 pitches over six full innings of work. The 27-year-old right-hander issued one walk in the opening inning, and only got into a little trouble in the third, when he allowed the only two hits - both singles - the Indians would get off him.

With the score already 4-0 in favor of the A's, Gray took a seat and turned the ball over to the bullpen. Ryan Madsen, Sean Dolittle, and Santiago Casilla each tossed an inning in relief, allowing just two hits over the final three innings, fanning six while not allowing any walks.

The A's stand at 40-50, well out of the runaway race in the AL West. Cleveland remained in first place in the Central, 2 1/2 to the good over Minnesota, 10-5 losers at Houston.

Game two of the three-game series is slated for 6:00 pm PT, Saturday in Oakland.

National League

Gonzalez: 8 1/3 scoreless
Leading the NL East, the Washington Nationals finished the first half of the season on a high note, winning for the fifth time in seven games with a 10-5 victory over their closest pursuer, Atlanta, on Sunday.

Apparently, the four-day all-star break didn't hurt, as the Nationals opened the second half with a 5-0 shutout at Cincinnati.

Harper: 2 HR, 3 RBI
The Reds were stymied for 8 1/3 innings by Gio Gonzalez, who had his best outing of the season, giving up four hits and a pair of walks, striking out six. Improving to 8-4, Gonzalez is having a whale of a season, despite a lack of hitting support when he's on the mound. Six times this season, he's allowed one earned run or less and either took the loss or received no decision. Gonzalez has the third-best ERA in the NL, 2.66, and a 1.19 WHIP (11th).

On Friday, he had Bryce Harper to thank, as the all-star right fielder socked a pair of home runs (21, 22) scored three times and drove in three. Harper is tied with Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt with 68 RBI, third in the league behind Marcell Ozuna and Nolan Arenado, each with 70.

The Nationals retained their 9 1/2 game lead over Atlanta while the Reds dropped further behind in the NL Central, in last place, 10 1/2 games behind Milwaukee.

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Seattle's Robinson Cano Steals All-Star Show With 10th-Inning Home Run in 2-1 AL Win

Player of the Day for Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2017 All-Star Game

Cano: Game-winning HR
Heading into Tuesday's All Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami, the record since 1997 was American League 16, National League 3, with one tie (7-7, 2002).

Trends being friends, especially, in this case to the American League, mark up another win for the AL, as Robinson Cano's 10th-inning home run provided the difference in the 2-1 decision.

Cano's bases-empty launch to right field came with no outs in the top of the first extra frame, and it was too bad for reliever Wade Davis, who mowed down the next three batters in order. Hailing from the Seattle Mariners, Cano was chosen to play as a replacement for Yankees' second baseman, Starlin Castro, who is on the disabled list.

Despite a two out walk to Joey Votto, Andrew Miller finished the bottom of the inning for the save and the fifth consecutive win for the American League without allowing a hit.

Since the game has no impact on the anything other than player and team pride, the result has no impact on the future, as opposed to the last 14 years, in which winning the game meant home field for that league in the World Series.

The National Leaguers certainly had their chances, with with baserunners in every inning except the fifth and eighth, but the AL turned three double plays, largely keeping the senior circuit in check. The AL struck first when Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop doubled and scored on Miguel Sano's bloop single down the right field line in the top of the fifth.

St. Louis Cardinal catcher, Yadier Molina, homered in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game.

The regular season resumes Friday, July 14.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kyle Freeland Just Misses No-Hitter, Rockies Win, 10-0; Carlos Correa Homers Twice In 19-1 Win At Toronto

Correa: 4-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Players of the Day for Sunday, July 9, 2017

American League

In their last outing prior to the all-star break, the Houston Astros sent a reminder to the rest of the league that they are the team to beat on the road to the World Series.

Houston battered a total of seven Toronto pitchers in their 19-1 victory, splitting the four game series in Toronto, two games apiece, though the Astros dominated in their wins, taking Friday's game two, 12-2.

Hammering out 17 hits, four of them belonged to this year's AL all-star selection at shortstop, Carlos Correa.

Going 4-for-5, Correa drove in five runs with his 19th and 20th home runs, the latter a three-run delivery to center field in the seventh inning, the first a solo shot in the second. His other two hits were singles, bringing his average to a solid .325, fourth league-wide. His 65 RBI are third in the league behind Seattle's Nelson Cruz (70) and the Yankees' Aaron Judge (66).

Only 22, Correa isn't exactly new to the majors. In fact, he's in his third season, but has really broken out this year, his batting average more than 50 points higher than his 2016 mark of .274

The victory left the AL West much as it was prior to the game, with the Angels, Rangers, Mariners and A's looking up at runaway, 60-29, Houston, with a 16 1/2 game division lead. None of the other teams in the division have a winning record.

National League

Freeland misses no-hitter
Late June and early July haven't been a picnic for the Colorado Rockies. A combined 4-13 since June 21, the Rockies slipped to third place in the NL West as the Dodgers took off to lead the division.

In the final game before the all-star break, the Rockies got a much-needed shot of optimism in the form of a near no-hitter thrown by rookie left-hander, Kyle Freeland.

Not allowing a hit until Melky Cabrera spoiled the show with a clean single to left field with one out in the ninth, Freeland was within two outs of the record books as the Rockies routed the visiting White Sox, 10-0.

At the very least, the Rockies can take some comfort that their rookie hurler is 9-7 and that they took the series with Chicago, two games to one.

Having thrown 126 pitches, Freeland was taken out right after Cabrera's hit, receiving a warm ovation from the partisan crowd. Jordan Lyles got the final two outs in order in the ninth.

Freeland's grand outing came somewhat out of the blue. Suffering losses in his last three outings, he had allowed 14 earned runs in those games, in a total of 17 1/3 innings.

The Rockies go into the break 52-39, 9 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the division. Arizona is in second place, 7 1/2 out.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Julio Teheran, Nick Markakis Lead Braves In 13-0 Rout Of Washington; Alex Cobb Tames Red Sox; Rays Win 1-0

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 8, 2017

American League

Cobb stymies Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox might have recently pulled away from the rest of the teams in the AL East, but, thanks to a trip to Tampa, they're not expanding their lead in the division. On Saturday, the Rays took the measure of Boston, 1-0, as Alex Cobb tossed a scoreless 7 2/3 innings for his seventh win against six losses. All the other teams in the division also were winners on the day, including the Yankees, who enjoyed a three-run, bottom of the ninth inning homer by Clint Frazier to secure their 5-3 win over Milwaukee.

In the Tampa game, Cobb was touched for just two hits, but they were harmless two-out singles in the first and third innings. After that, he put down 11 straight Red Sox batters, until Mitch Moreland reached on an error in the seventh. Cobb got through that inning and worked into the eighth, leaving with a man aboard on the only walk he allowed - to Sonny Leon - with two down in the frame.

Alex Colome came on and retired the next batter, but ran into trouble in the ninth, eventually putting two on before getting Hanley Ramirez on strikes, then intentionally loading the bases to get Chris Young on a pop up for the final out and his 24th save.

Cobb threw 111 pitches, walked one and struck out three, lowering his ERA to a respectable 3.75 in the process.

Tampa's victory moved them closer to the Red Sox and on pace with the Yankees. Boston leads New York by 3 1/2 and Tampa by 4 1/2 in the hotly-contested division.

Now that Tampa Bay has taken two of the first three in the series, the Red Sox and Rays will take the field for game four at Tropicana Field, 1:10 pm ET. All teams break for the all-star game following Sunday's contests.

National League

While having possibly convinced many baseball reporters and writers that they are the best team in the NL East, the Atlantas Braves are not convinced that the Washington Nationals are so far superior in the division.
Markakis: 3-4, 4R, 2RBI

The Braves hammered the Nats, 13-0, Saturday at Nationals Park, taking a 2-1 edge in their four-game series.
Teheran: 7IP, 0ER, 2-2, 3RBI

While Julio Teheran, Rex Brothers, and Akeel Morris were keeping the Nationals off the base paths and the scoreboard, Braves batters were lighting up Stephen Strasburg and the Washington relief staff for 15 hits. Strasburg lasted only three innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits and a pair of walks. He did not strike out a single batter.

Nick Markakis had a field day, going 3-for-5 with a single, double and a solo home run, driving in two, scoring four times. The Braves right fielder seemed to be always on base, scoring in the second, third, seventh and ninth. His home run was in the seventh inning, his fourth of the season.

Teheran also pitched in at the plate, going 2-for-2 with three RBI. He worked seven scoreless innings, giving up four hits and two walks, fanning five. His record stands at 7-6.

With the win, Atlanta moved a game closer to the Nationals who now lead Atlanta by 8 1/2. With the all-star break following Sunday's games, the Braves will be looking to creep a little closer when the teams take the field at 1:35 pm ET.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Jesus Aguilar Knocks In 7, Brewers Bomb Yankees; George Springer Leads Astros In 11-2 Romp Over Jays

Players of the Day for Friday, July 7, 2017

American League

What the Houston Astros are doing to the West division and the rest of the American League is almost embarrassing.

After dropping the opener of a four game series in Toronto, 7-4, on Thursday, the Astros came roaring back on Friday night with an offensive outburst, plating eight runs in the first two innings en route to an 11-2 smackdown of the Blue Jays.

As has been the case all too often this season, leadoff hitter George Springer was at the center of the action, going 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs, five RBI and four runs.
Springer: 4-4, 2HR, 5RBI

Springer, who is averaging .307, led off the game with a single and scored on a Carlos Correa's home run to open what turned into a rout.

In the second, Springer launched a three-run blast - his 26th - as the Astros scored six runs in the inning. He doubled and scored on a single by Josh Reddick in the third, drove in another run with a sac fly in the fifth and capped off his perfect night at the plate with a his 27th home run, a solo shot to right center in the seventh.

The win left the Astros with an absurd 16 1/2 game lead over the Angels and Rangers in the West. Toronto remained tied with Baltimore for last place in the AL East, 9 1/2 games behind Boston.

On Saturday, the Blue Jays and Astros play game three, at 1:07 pm ET at the Rogers Centre.

National League

Extending their winning streak to five straight, the Milwaukee Brewers rolled into New York for a three=game series against the Yankees with their bats booming, taking game one with a 9-4 knockout.
Aguilar: 2 HR, 7 RBI

While the Yankees are being called the "Baby Bombers" the Milwaukee squad is also one of the youngest teams in the league, surprisingly leading the NL Central by 4 1/2 games over the Cubs.

One of those young stars is 27-year-old Jesus Aguilar, who broke out for a career high seven RBI, swatting a pair of home runs, adding a single to go 3-for-4.

Technically a rookie, Aguilar spent small parts of the last three seasons with the Indians, spending the bulk of this time with Colorado in the AAA International League. After getting just six plate appearances in 2016, the Indians dealt him to the Brewers, who brought him right up to the bigs at the start of the season, though he's platooned at first base with veteran Eric Thames, getting primary playing time against left-handers.

In the fourth inning, Aguilar put the Brewers up 2-1 with his first homer of the game, a two-run belt off Yankee starter, Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees made it 4-2 on Aaron Judge's 30th homer of the year in the fifth, but the Brewers tied it in the sixth when Ryan Braun scored on a wild pitch by Tyler Clippard and Aguilar brought home Travis Shaw with a sac fly.

In the seventh, Aguilar went to the plate against Clippard again, this time reaching the seats for a grand slam, his ninth home hun of the year, essentially ending the contest.

The Milwaukee bullpen held the Yankees scoreless the remainder of the game. Overall, New York totaled only four hits, although two of them were home runs, accounting for three of the four runs they scored.

The loss was the third straight for the Yanks, who have been absolutely horrible over the past three weeks, losing 17 of 23 since June 13. They trail the Red Sox by 4 1/2 in the AL East.

Milwaukee is headed in the opposite direction, winning eight of their last nine. Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 1:05 pm ET, Saturday afternoon in the Bronx.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Edwin Encarnacion Leads Indians Over Padres, 11-2; Domingo Santana Helps Brewers Roil Cubs, 11-2

Players of the Day for Thursday, July 6, 2017

American League

Encarnacion: 4-5, 4R, 2RBI
When the Cleveland Indians acquired Edwin Encarnacion from Toronto after the 2016 season, they figured he'd supply some pop to the middle of the lineup.

Perhaps the Indians got just what they wanted, more or less. In Cleveland's 11-2 win over the visiting Padres, Encarnacion mashed his 18th home run and drove in two runs to give him 47 on the year. His 4-for-5 effort left him right at .266, his career average. He also scored four runs.

Encarnacion set career marks last year with the Blue Jays, launching 42 home runs and driving in 127, which led the league.

With Kansas City taking a day off and the Twins getting past Baltimore, 6-4, the Indians maintained their tenuous hold on first place in the AL Central, a game to the good over the Royals and 1 1/2 ahead of the Twins.

The victory enabled the Indians to avoid being swept by the lowly Padres. The Indians are 6-7 recently and are hosting the Tigers in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7:10 pm leading into the all-star break.

National League

Santana: 4-5, 3R, 2RBI
Milwaukee continues to frustrate last year's world champions, whipping the Cubs again on Thursday, 11-2, at Wrigley Field.

The game was rescheduled from a May 20 postponement. Prior to the rout, the Cubs held a 5-3 lead in the season series.

Milwaukee right fielder, Domingo Santana, was the batting star for the Brewers, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two singles, scoring three times, driving in two.

The 24-year-old got things started early for the Brewers, doubling and driving in runs in the first and third innings, his first two at-bats. After singling again in the fifth, he was part of a double steal with Jonathan Villar, who scored as Cubs' catcher Willson Contreras threw the ball into the outfield. Santana scored on a single by Jesus Aguilar. Santana collected his fourth hit in the ninth, but was left stranded.

Having already set career marks for home runs (14), RBI (47) and batting (.288), Santana is one of the reasons the Brewers - not the Cubs - are leading the NL Central. Chicago is in second place, 4 1/2 games back.

The Cubs host Pittsburgh in a weekend series beginning Friday, while the Brewers - secure in the fact they'll be atop the division at the all-star break by virtue of winning four straight and seven of their last eight - travel to the Big Apple for a three-game series with the Yankees.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Salvadore Perez, Mike Moustakas Star For KC In 9-6 Win; Alex Wood 10-0 After 1-0 Win Over Arizona

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 5, 2017

American League

Perez: 11th-inning HR
Winning for the fourth straight time with a 9-6 win at Seattle in 11 innings, the Kansas City Royals have come all the way from last place in May to a half game out of first in the AL Central five days into July.

Salvadore Perez socked a two-run homer and Alex Gordon knocked in Mike Moustakas with the final run in the top of the 11th.

The Mariners couldn't muster a hit off Kelvin Herrera in the bottom of the frame, the KC closer picking up his 19th save.

Moustakas: 25 HR
Perez's home run was his 17th, the two RBI giving him 55, Moustakas had homered in the first inning with one aboard. He also singled twice, including his key hit in the 11th, going 3-for-5 for the game. His homer was his 25th, tying him with Houston's George Springer for second in the long ball category. He has 54 RBI.

San Diego dumped Cleveland, 6-2. The Indians lead the division by 1/2 game over Kansas City. Minnesota is just 1 1/2 back.

Following the three-game sweep of the Mariners, the Royals head south for a tough three-game meeting with the Dodgers, heading into the all-star break. Game one of the series is Friday at 7:10 pm PT.

National League

LA's Alex Wood continues to amaze, winning his 10th straight game without a loss this season in a 1-0 Dodger triumph over Arizona.
Alex Wood is 10-0

Wood worked seven complete innings, allowing three hits and a pair of walks, striking out 10. He threw just 85 pitches, 61 for strikes.

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers each totaled just four hits each, but LA managed to put two of those together for the game's only run when Chris Taylor singled and Yasmani Grandal doubled him home in the second inning.

Wood's first half odyssey began in the Dodger bullpen, when he threw two hitless innings against San Diego April 5th, but received no decision. His first win came in relief on April 15, when he held Arizona hitless for 3 1/3 innings.

After that, he was inserted into the rotation, but didn't get another win until May 2nd, in a 13-5 win over the Giants. That began a string of nine wins in his next ten starts, including Wednesday's seven inning gem which dropped his ERA to a stunning 1.67. Wood has only tossed 80 2/3 innings, but he's allowed a mere 50 hits, walking 22 while fanning 97.

LA's win was the second straight in the three-game series with visiting Arizona, boosting the Dodger lead in the NL West to 4 1/2 games over the Diamondbacks. LA will be looking for the sweep when the teams take the field at Dodger Stadium Thursday at 7:10 pm PT.