Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mike Trout, Albert Pujols Power Angels Past A's; Nats' Stephen Strasberg Shuts Out Marlins

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Trout: 4-for-4, HR, 4 R
American League

With the Yankees getting swept three straight by Cleveland, dropping both ends of a Yankee Stadium doubleheader Wednesday, the AL wild card race has suddenly become a life-and-death affair for eight teams, all within five games of each other.

New York's lead as the top wild card has slipped to a single game over the Twins, but even they are not safe, despite winning three straight. The Angels are one game back and the Orioles won their seventh straight to end the day 1 1/2 behind the Twins and 2 1/2 behind the Yankees. The other teams in contention are Texas, Tampa Bay, Seattle, and Kansas City.

In LA, capped by Cliff Pennington's grand slam, the Angels rallied for five runs in the seventh inning, overtaking the A's for a 10-8 victory and a three-game sweep.

Pujols: 2 HR, 4 RBI
Albert Pujols socked a pair of home runs, scored three runs and drove in four. Mike Trout went 4-for-4, scored four runs, and drove in one with a first inning solo homer, his 27th. Pujols banged out numbers 20 and 21, tying Jim Thome for seventh place on the career HR list, at 612. At 37, Pujols has played 17 seasons. The six players ahead of him on the career list all played 22 seasons, except for Hank Aaron (755), who played 23. The LA slugger has an outside chance of catching Barry Bonds (762) for the all-time lead, but almost certainly will make the 700 club if he remains in good health.

With the sweep behind them, the Angels get a day off Thursday and begin a nine-game road trip Friday, starting with three games in Texas with the Rangers.

National League

The Miami Marlins were red hot entering their three-game series with at NL East leader, Washington. After being swept, including Wednesday's 4-0 shutout courtesy of Stephen Strasberg, they couldn't get out of town soon enough.

Strasberg Shuts Out Miami
Strasberg, who hurled the complete game shutout (first of the season), was largely untouchable, except for T.J. Realmuto, who had three of the six hits off the National's hurler, a single, double and triple. Strasberg threw 78 of 110 pitches for strikes, fanning eight and walking one.

The shutout left the Marlins tied with the Cardinals, 5 1/2 games back of Colorado for the second wild card spot, but Milwaukee is ahead of them, three games down to the Rockies. Arizona holds a three-game lead in the top position.

Sweeping the series also virtually ended any hope in the NL East, expanding the Nationals' lead to 15 games over Miami, with 30 remaining.

The Marlins head back to Miami for a three-game series starting Friday with the Phillies. Washington opens a four-game series with another contending team, the Brewers, in Milwaukee, Thursday night.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton Ties MLB HR Record; Baltimore Wins 6th Straight On Dylan Bundy's One-Hitter

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 29, 2017

American League

Bundy: 1-hit shutout
Baltimore's pitching has not been anywhere near the best this season - a 4.80 team ERA, 14th of 15 AL teams - but Dylan Bundy has been the most consistent, as he demonstrated with a one-hit, 4-0 shutout over Seattle Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Bundy allowed a bunt single by Kyle Saeger in the fourth inning, but other than two walks (both in the third inning), a hit batsman (Robinson Cano, 9th inning) and a pair of throwing errors by shortstop Tim Beckham (1st and 8th innings), the Mariners could not solve the 24-year-old right-hander.

The win was Baltimore's sixth straight and Bundy's 13th win against eight losses, his first career shutout and complete game and moved the Orioles to within 1 1/2 games of the Minnesota Twins, holders of the second wild card spot. With Boston winning and the Yankees rained out, the Orioles remained eight games behind the Red Sox, but picked up 1/2 game on the Yankees, trailing them by four in the AL East. The Yankees also hold the top wild card spot with a 2 1/2 game edge on the Twins.

Baltimore will be seeking its seventh straight and a sweep of the Mariners when their series concludes Wednesday at 3:05 pm ET.

National League

Stanton: 18 HRs in August
Miami has lost two straight at Washington, losing to the Nationals 8-3 on Tuesday, but that hasn't stopped Giancarlo Stanton from setting records.

Stanton launched his 51st home run of the season and 18th in August, shattering the National League record jointly held by Sammy Sosa and Willie Mays (17) and tying the major league mark held by Rudy York of Detroit in 1937. No player has ever hit 19 home runs in any month except Sammy Sosa, who socked 20 in June of 1998.

Sosa's MLB record is tarnished by being made amidst the steroid era. He, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds set records for home runs in various categories, McGwire hitting 70 in one season, Bonds becoming the all-time home run champion, with 762. Despite putting up outstanding numbers and being eligible for years, none of that trio and other suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs have been admitted to the Hall of Fame. Sosa and Bonds played their final seasons in 2007, McGwire retired in 2001.

Players become ineligible for election to the Hall of Fame if he is listed on fewer than 5% of the ballots or fail to receive listing on the required 75% of all ballots for ten years of eligibility, which begins five years following retirement. McGwire was eliminated in 2016. Bonds and Sosa are still eligible, but have not made the grade.

Noting the above reference to the steroid era, it should be within the powers of major league baseball to nullify - or at least asterisk - all of the records set by players from that period. If that were the case, Stanton - rightfully so - would be recognized as the all-time NL leader for home runs in any month, and tied with York for the MLB record.

There are still two games remaining in August for Stanton and the Marlins, so it is not beyond consideration that the preeminent slugger in game today could sock a few more.

Game three of the series is scheduled for 4:05 pm ET at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Giants' Jeff Samardzija Tosses 3-Hit Shutout; Rays' Austin Pruitt Extends KC Scoreless Streak

Players of the Day for Monday, August 28, 2017

American League

Pruitt: 6 IP, 1 H, 6K
With a 12-0 shutout over the Royals, the Tampa Bay Rays extended the agony for Kansas City to 43 innings in which they have not scored a single run, five shy of the MLB record. It was the fourth straight game the Royals have been shut out.

Kansas City hasn't scored since the second inning of a 3-2 loss to Colorado last Thursday, and they were shut out over the course of a three-game series at Cleveland. The 1968 Chicago Cubs and the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics hold the major league record at 48 innings.

Rookie starter, Austin Pruitt, kept the Royals off the board for the first six innings, allowing just one hit and a walk, fanning six. Pruitt is 7-4 with a 5.27 ERA. His winning effort was in his eighth start of the season. Matt Andriese finished the job, allowing one more hit over the final three frames. Both hits were doubles by Lorenzo Cain.

Game two of the series is Tuesday, 8:05 pm ET in Kansas City. Alex Cobb (9-8, 3.69 ERA) will be looking to shut out the Royals for the first five innings, which would tie the major league mark.

The loss was the fifth straight for the Royals, sending them plummeting in the AL Central and wild card races. They are 10 games behind Cleveland in third place in the division and were passed by the Rays Monday in the wild card, three games behind the Twins for the second spot. Tampa Bay is 2 1/2 out.

National League

Samardzija: 3-hit Shutout
For the San Francisco Giants, the 2017 was a complete bust. The team that plays its home games near the West coast bay and Golden Gate bridge was supposed to be a contender in the NL West, but, a horribly slow start (12-24 through May 11), numerous injuries, a complete lack of hitting and inconsistent pitching have San Fran in last place in the division and hopelessly out of contention for the wild card at 53-80.

Jeff Samardzija put on a display Monday at San Diego, however, that was a reminder of how the season was supposed to be, throwing a three-hit complete game shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Padres.

Samardzija, who stuck out five and walked none, was solid throughout. Of the three hits, only one left the infield, an eight inning single to right field by Cory Spangenberg. At 9-12, Samardzija is one of the few San Francisco hurlers that has not been injured during the season. In 27 starts, Samardzija has struck out 175 batters in 176 2/3 innings, but carries an ERA of 4.43.

The Giants got all of their runs on long balls, a fourth inning solo homer by Brandon Crawford and an eighth inning two-run belt by Joe Panik, with Crawford aboard.

Elsewhere, division leaders Washington and Chicago were both winners, the Nets shutting down Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami express, ending their four-game winning streak with a 11-2 win. The Cubs downed Pittsburgh, 6-1. The Dodgers, and much of the National League, were idle.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Giancarlo Stanton Ties HR Record As Marlins Win 4th Straight; Indians Shutout Sweep Royals With Yan Gomes Slam

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 27, 2017

American League

Gomes: Grand Slam
What was supposed to be a showdown series in Cleveland with the Royals turned into a laugher for the Indians as they swept Kansas City with three straight shutouts, culminating in a complete 12-0 humiliation of the now-wild-card-hopefuls.

After blanking the Royals in back-to-back 4-0 wins, the Indians sent starter Carlos Carrasco (13-6) to the mound, backing him with three runs in the first inning and nine in the second. Carrasco worked seven innings of shutout ball without a walk, allowing six hits and fanning eight. Craig Breslow and Zach McAllister each put in an inning of shutout ball, to complete the three-game whitewash.

In the second inning, he Indians got a two-run homer from Francisco Lindor, followed by Carlos Santana's three-run blast, capped off by a grand slam by catcher Yan Gomes. It was Gomes' ninth homer run of the season. The four RBI gave hm 44 on the year. Gomes had singled to lead off the inning and scored on Lindor's home run. He finished 2-for-4.

The win was Cleveland's fourth straight and improved their lead in the AL Central to 6 1/2 games over the Twins. Kansas City suffered its fourth straight loss and hasn't scored a run in 34 straight innings. They trail the Indians by nine games and fell behind the Orioles in the wild card standings. Baltimore swept three games from the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend and have won four straight. Baltimore trails Minnesota by two games for the second wild card spot. Kansas City fell to 2 1/2 back.

Fresh off the sweep, Cleveland heads to New York on Monday, opening a three game series with the Yankees, who took two of three from Seattle and are just 2 1/2 back of Boston in the AL East. The Yankees have a 3 1/2 game lead in the first wild card slot.

The Royals will try to score some runs when they open a three game series Monday in Kansas City with the Rays.

National League

Stanton: Ties HR Record
With four games still on tap for the month, Giancarlo Stanton socked his 17th home run of August, joining Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa for the National League record for most HRs ever in the month. The major league record is held by Rudy York, who hit 18 for Detroit in 1937.

In three at-bats, Stanton singled, doubled and launched his 50th home run of the season, a two-run rocket shot to center field which broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth, propelling the Marlins to their fourth straight victory, winning 6-2 and completing a three-game sweep of the visiting Padres.

The record for most home runs in any month is 20. That mark is also held by Sammy Sosa, who smashed 20 for the Cubs in June of 1998. If anybody in today's baseball is capable of socking three homers in four games, it would be Stanton, who has 50 on the year and has far outpaced the opposition. Cody Bellinger is stuck on 34 in the National League, second behind Stanton. Aaron Judge leads the AL with 37. Stanton added three RBI in the game, giving him 108 and tying him with Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the major league lead.

Somewhat overshadowed by Stanton's record home run month is Miami's meteoric rise in the standings. The Marlins have won 13 of their last 16, cut Washington's lead in the NL East down to 12 games, and, while they are unlikely to catch the Nationals, they have become a contender in the wild card race, now 4 1/2 behind the Rockies for the second wild card spot and six back of Arizona, which holds the top position.

Miami heads to Washington Monday to begin a three-game series with the Nationals. Stanton and the Marlins hope to extend their winning ways.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Jays' Josh Donaldson Homers, Scores Game-Winner Over Twins; Anthony Rizzo Leads Cubs' Rout Of Phillies

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 26, 2017

American League

Thanks to the Yankees and especially the Toronto Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson, the AL wild card race has become tighter and more interesting.
Josh Donaldson

New York took game two of their series with Seattle in New York, 6-3, while the Blue Jays managed to hold on for a 10-9 win over the Twins, who are currently in possession of the second wild card spot. The Yanks hold the top position, with a 3 1/2 game bulge.

Donaldson was an integral part of Toronto's victory, going 3-for-5, swatting his 23rd home run and scoring what turned out to be the winning run, scampering home from third on a wild pitch.

Toronto had an 8-3 lead after six, but the Toronto bullpen - one of the worst in baseball - gave up a grand slam to Max Kepler in the eighth, and Roberto Osuna managed to pick up his 34th save, despite allowing two hits and two unearned runs in the top of the ninth.

What Toronto's win and Minnesota's loss did was 1) give the Yankees a larger lead in the wild card top position, 2) Enable the Angels and Orioles to gain ground. LA topped Houston, 7-6, and the Orioles shut out Boston, 7-0. The Angels are tied with Seattle, 1/2 game behind the Twins; Baltimore is just two games out, along with the Rangers. Tampa Bay is three games behind. In the middle of it all is Kansas City, who lost to the Indians, 4-0. The Royals are 1 1/2 behind the Twins.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has opened up a 6 1/2 game lead on Minnesota and is eight games up on the Royals, apparently on their way to a second straight AL Central crown.

The Blue Jays and Twins close out their three-game series Sunday at 1:07 pm ET, with plenty of other intriguing action across the league.

National League

Rizzo: 2 HR, 5 RBI
A three-game series in Philadelphia against a last place team is probably just what the Chicago Cubs would have wanted at this point in the season, and, so far, it's turning out all right as the Cubs pounded the Phillies, 17-2, smashing seven home runs in the process.

Both Tommy La Stella and Anthony Rizzo belted two bombs. Going 3-for-5 with five RBI, Rizzo smacked a three-run homer in the third, a solo shot in the fifth and reached on an infield single in the seventh, driving in another run.

Rizzo has 30 home runs on the year and upped his RBI total to 90, tops on the Cubs.

The win came in game two of the series after Chicago lost game one, 7-1, on Friday, but kept the Cubs three games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central and 4 1/2 better than the third place Cardinals. Both Milwaukee and St. Louis were winners Saturday.

Game three of the series is scheduled for Sunday, 1:35 pm ET at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Yonder Alonso's Pinch-Hit Homer Lifts Mariners Past Yanks; Giancarlo Stanton's 2 HRs Boost Marlins

Players of the Day for Friday, August 25, 2017

American League

As August is about to turn into September, teams are beginning to grind out the remaining schedule, some with no hope for the playoffs, others hoping to hold onto their advantages and still others needing to win as often as possible to reach the promised land of October.
Alonso: Pinch-hit HR

Two such teams met at Yankee Stadium Friday as the Yankees hosted the Mariners in the opener of a three game series. New York entered the game in second place in the AL East, 4 1/2 behind Boston, and with a 3 1/2 game lead over Minnesota as the top wild card.

Seattle started the night hopelessly mired behind the Astros in the AL West, 12 1/2 out, but contentious in the wild card, 1/2 game behind the Twins for the #2 wild card. At the conclusion of an 11-inning ordeal, it was the Mariners on top of a 2-1 score thanks to some timely situational pitching and a solo home run from Yonder Alonso, who sat out almost the whole game but was ready when called upon as a pinch hitter.

Alonso, picked up buy Seattle from Oakland, made his mark in his 15th game in a Mariner uniform, taking Yankee reliever Aroldis Chapman deep (a 413-foot shot to center) for the lead in the 11th. Closer Edwin Diaz walked one in the bottom of the 11th but secured the win with his 30th save.

On the year, Alonso is batting .272 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI. Since joining the Mariners, he's batting .302, with two home runs and nine RBI, none bigger than Friday's blast.

The win came in the opener of a three-game series, and reduced New York's margin in the wild card to just 2 1/2 over the Twins, 6-1 winners at Toronto. The Yanks remain 4 1/2 behind Boston as the Orioles hammered the Red Sox, 16-3 at Fenway Park.

Grinding its way to another win, Seattle stayed 1/2 back of the Twins, but their position is improving as they've won seven of their last nine. They'll look to get in even better position when they take the field against the Yankees in game two, Saturday at 1:05 pm ET.

National League

Giancarlo Stanton is having a memorable August. Maybe a monumental August would be closer to the truth as he mashed two more home runs in Miami's 8-6 win over visiting San Diego.

Stanton: 2 HR, 5 RBI
Stanton was 3-for-3 and drove in five runs. He and Mercer Ozuna, who hit his 30th homer with two aboard in the seventh, accounted for all of Miami's scoring. Stanton and Dee Gordon were on base when Ozuna launched what would be the game-winner.

Wasting no time in his assault at the record books, Stanton socked his first home run in the first inning with Gordon on base, then followed up with a solo belt in the third. With the bases loaded in the fourth, Stanton drove a double to left, plating two more for a 5-2 Miami lead.

The Padres rallied for four runs in the sixth to take a 6-5 lead, but it proved not to be lasting, when Ozone delivered an inning later.

Even if Stanton suddenly stopped hitting home runs, he'd be the long ball champ for the National League, at least. He has 49 homers, followed by Cody Bellinger's 34. The Yankee rookie, Aaron Judge, leads the AL with 37. With his latest home run barrage, Stanton now is within one of the NL record for homers in August, 17, shared by Sammy Sosa and the immortal Willie Mays. With six games remaining in the month for Miami, he's on the precipice of adding his name to the record books.

The two homers marked the ninth time this season that Stanton has hit two in one game. He's hit 23 home runs since the All Star break, is batting .364 in August and is within three of RBI leader, Nolan Arenado. Stanton's at 105; Arenado has 108.

Beisdes the incredible feats by Stanton, the Marlins have become the hottest item in the majors, winning 11 of their last 14, pulling to within 4 1/2 of the second wild card spot, currently in possession of the Colorado Rockies.

The Marlins will try to get even closer when they take the field in game two, Saturday night at Marlins Park. Game time is 7:05 pm ET.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Yandy Diaz Leads Cleveland Rout Of Red Sox; Giancarlo Stanton, J.T. Realmuto Power Marlins Past Phils

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 24, 2017

Diaz: 4-4, 2 2B, 3B, 4R
American League

With the Yankees and Tigers brawling in Detroit and the Twins losing again in Chicago - dropping three of five to the White Sox - the Indians took the opportunity to rough up Boston's ace, Chris Sale, taking the finale of their four-game series in Cleveland, 13-6.

Sale suffered one of his most-forgettable outings of the season, lasting just three innings, allowing seven hits, three walks and seven runs (six earned). The Indians leapt to a 7-1 lead after three, and didn't let up, stroking 11 more hits against four Boston relievers.

Yandy Diaz led the assault, going 4-for-4, scoring four times with two RBI on a single, two doubles and a triple.

Diaz, the starting DH, was called up, for the third time this season, on August 22nd. The four hits bumped his average from .186 to .230 in 74 at-bats.

The series ended in a 2-2 tie, as Boston heads home for a three-game series with the Orioles beginning Friday, while the Indians, having improved their lead in the division to 5 1/2 over the Twins, hosts third place Kansas City (six back) for three games over the weekend. With the Yankees and Red Sox both on the losing end Thursday, the Red Sox lead remains at 4 1/2 games in the East division.

National League

Stanton: 47 HR, 100 RBI
Giancarlo Stanton socked his major league best 47th home run, became the third player to reach 100 RBI this season, and J.T. Realmuto ripped an inside-the-park homer as Miami overcame a five-run deficit, outlasting Philadelphia, 9-8.

Realmuto: HR, 3 RBI
Stanton 47th home run put him 10 ahead of Aaron Judge, who leads the American League, and even further in front of LA's Cody Bellinger, who is in second place in the NL home run category with 34. Stanton joins Colorado's Nolan Arenado (108) and Seattle's Nelson Cruz (100) in the 100-RBI club this season.

Stanton is batting .345 in August, with 14 home runs and 27 RBI. He has seven more games to attempt to tie or surpass the National League record of 17 home runs in the month of August, held jointly by Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa.

Entering the fifth inning, the Marlins trailed the homesteading Phillies, 8-3, but scored two on an A.J. Ellis homer, added another in the sixth on Christian Yellis' solo shot, and tallied two more in the seventh on Realmuto's inside-the-park belt. Realmuto finished the Miami scoring with a sac fly in the eighth, breaking the 8-8 tie.

Miami took the series three games to one, reached .500 (63-63) and are now a clear threat for the wild card. The Marlins have picked it up recently, going 13-8 in August and 10-3 over their last 13, taking series from Colorado, San Francisco, the Mets and Phillies. They are 5 1/2 out of the second wild card, but Arizona is currently in the top spot, a mere 1/2 game ahead of the Rockies. Milwaukee is 3 1/2 back of Colorado and St. Louis five out.

Miami heads home for a quick three-game set with San Diego, starting Friday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Dodgers' Rich Hill Loses Game, No-Hitter In 10th; Eric Hosmer Leads Royals 3rd Straight Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 23, 2017

American League
Hosmer: 3-4, HR, 4 RBI

Kansas City continues to play well enough to be in contention in both the AL Central and the wild card races. With their 6-4 victory over the visiting Rockies they picked up a game on Cleveland (losers to Boston, 6-1) and are tied with the LA Angels, 1/2 game behind division foe Minnesota for the second wild card spot.

The Royals third straight win was in doubt for much of the nine innings, the Rockies up 4-2 after six. In the seventh, Eric Hosmer got the Royals closer, singling home Whit Merrifield, and in the bottom of the ninth, still down a run, Hosmer came to the plate with the tying and winning runs on base, delivering a walk-off home run, taking the second of the three-game series with Colorado.

Hosmer's homer was his 21st of the season and his third hit of the game. Having a solid season, Hosmer is batting .319 and has driven in 73 runs. He's second in the AL in batting, though leader, Jose Altuve, has a safe advantage, at .358.

The loss was Colorado's fourth straight, endangering their playoff potential. Though they are just 1/2 game behind Arizona for the first wild card, their hold on the second spot has been slipping all through August, as the Brewers, Cardinals and Marlins are in the hunt, three, four and 5 1/2 games back, respectively.

The Royals will be seeking their fourth straight win and a sweep of the series in game three, Thursday, 2:15 pm ET.

National League

Hill's No-Hit Bid Spoiled
Taking the first two games of their four-game series in Pittsburgh, the LA Dodgers were looking good in game three, with starter, Rich Hill, cruising through eight innings with a perfect game. The problem, however, was that the Dodgers couldn't conjure up a run off Pittsburgh hurler, Trevor Williams, who had blanked the NL West leaders for eight full innings on seven hits.

Hill's perfect game disappeared in the ninth, when Mercer safe at first on error by third baseman Forsythe, but the Pirates couldn't break through, as Hill stiffened, getting the next three batters in order, taking a no-hitter into the 10th.

It was that extra inning that finally did Hill in, as Josh Harrison led off the frame with his 17th home run, a walk-off solo shot, ruining the night for Hill and the Dodgers, while sending nearly 20,000 Pirate fans home happy and with hope for the playoffs with the 1-0 victory.

Hill still is credited with a nine-inning no-hitter, but also suffers the loss. The 33-year-old is 9-5 with a 3.32 ERA. The Dodgers are in no danger, having the best record in baseball, at 89-36, and a 21-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. Pittsburgh is eight down in the NL Central and 7 1/2 out of the second wild card.

The series concludes Thursday. Game time is 4:05 pm ET.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Padres Blast Cardinals, 12-4, on Yangervis Solarte's 6 RBI; Doug Fister Fires 1-Hitter As Boston Downs Cleveland

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 22, 2017

American League

After Boston scored a run in the top of the first inning, Cleveland leadoff hitter, Francisco Lindor, responded with a home run off Red Sox starter, Doug Fister.

While the run may have given the Indians cause for early confidence, as it turns out, Lindor's homer would be the only hit Cleveland would muster against the Boston as the Red Sox wrecked the Indians, 9-1.

Fister: 1-hitter
As the Sox piled up the runs, Fister tossed a one-hitter, allowing a couple of walks, issuing a free pass in the first to Edwin Encarnacion and another to Brandon Guyer, leading off the fifth. In the second, Fister hit Bradley Zimmer with a pitch, but in that case and in the fifth, he was bailed out by a double play.

Having sufficiently settled in, Fister didn't allow a baserunner after the fifth, setting down the last 13 Cleveland batters in order. The 6'8" right-hander needed 114 pitches for his eighth career complete game and the first this season, fanning six and facing two over the minimum. After such a solid performance, one can only question why the 33-year-old is only 3-6 with a 4.78 ERA.

Fister started the 2017 season with the Angels. The Red Sox acquired him off waivers in June to replace David Price in the rotation. He's started eight games for the Sox, with three appearances out of the bullpen. Recently, however, he has come around, winning three of his last four starts. He's 2-1 against the Indians over that span.

In his ninth season, Foster is 80-82 with a 3.64 ERA.

Boston's win evened the series between the division leaders, both up by 4 1/2 games, Cleveland over Minnesota and Boston ahead of the NY Yankees. Game three of the four-game set is Wednesday night at 7:10 pm ET at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

Solarte: 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI
National League

The St Louis Cardinals were dealt a blow to their playoff hopes by visiting San Diego as Yangervis Solarte led the Padres to a 12-4 rout at Busch Stadium.

In five at-bats, Solarte doubled twice and busted his 14th home run of the season, driving in six runs, more than enough for the five Padres pitchers used in the rout. Oddly enough, starter Clayton Richard worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, but Craig Stammen, who retired just one batter in the bottom of the sixth, received the win after the Padres exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh.

Prior to that, Solarte had provided all the San Diego runs, knocking in three in the third with a bases-loaded double and driving in another in the fourth, with his second two-bagger. His two-run home run in the eighth capped off his night and completed San Diego's scoring.

The Padres, completely out of it, 33 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West (it could be worse, the Giants are 40 1/2 back), pushed third place St. Louis to 4 1/2 behind the Cubs in the NL Central. Milwaukee is second in the division, 2 1/2 off the pace. The loss was the Cardinals' third straight, leaving them five games behind the Rockies for the second wild card, but only 1/2 ahead of the surging Miami Marlins.

St. Louis will attempt to stop the bleeding when they host the Padres in game two of the three-game series, Wednesday at 8:15 pm ET.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Monday, August 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 20, 2017

Colon: Wins vs. All MLB
American League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flowers: Grand Slam
National League

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 19, 2017

Odor: 2 HR, 5 RBI
American League

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

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

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

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

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

National League
Gennett Slams Braves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Friday, August 18, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sanchez: HR, 5 RBI
American League

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Monday, August 14, 2017

American League
Encarnacion: 2HR, 4RBI

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 13, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 12, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Friday, August 11, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

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

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 10, 2017

American League

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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