@Phillies 7, Brewers 6: It was 1-1 through 5. Four HRs later, Cliff Lee was staring at a 1-7 record. But one bullpen acid flashback after that, Lee was off the hook, and the Phils were going home with a happy sense of deja vu.
- Manny Parra came in with a 6-1 lead, 1 out and a man on 1st. His first foe, PH Erik Kratz, had 2 hits this year, both HRs. On the first pitch from Parra, he made it 3 for 3. Parra proceeded to walk the next 3 men (the second night in a row that he issued 3 walks), and was sent to detention. On a 1-2 count, Carlos Ruiz knocked a 3-run double to tie it up (what, no “CHOOOCH!” chant?!?), and shortly came in on a Hunter Pence single.
- Just to be clear: No walks in 7 IP by Zack Greinke; 4 in 9 batters by Parra and Kameron Loe.
- Greinke became the first pitcher ever to hit a home run off Lee. Opposing hurlers had been 10 for 127 (.079) off Lee in his career, with hits by 10 different hitters, and 1 for 29 this year.
- It was Greinke’s 3rd career HR. This year, he’s 7 for 33 with 3 doubles and the tater.
- Of the 29 teams Lee has faced, Milwaukee is the only one he’s never beaten — he’s 0-1, 5.54 in 4 career starts. In 267 starts, this was just the 2nd time he’s allowed 4 HRs.
Athletics 7, Blue Jays 2: Um, didn’t we just see this movie, too? Yoenis Cespedes had fanned in his first 3 ABs. He batted in the 7th with the pillows stuffed, 2 down and a full count — and hit your basic everyday 3-run single. (But I guess he was too tired from his swing to take the unprotected base that was his for the asking when the throw went home.)
@Indians 3, Tigers 2: Cleveland kicked off this series hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s second-half fade, both in general and against Detroit specifically; the surging Tigers beat them 10 of 12 in the 2nd half. An early 2-run lead vanished in a flash, but the Tribe answered aggressively: Travis Hafner legged out a triple, arriving safely with a headfirst dive, and Aaron Cunningham – who replaced LF Johnny Damon for defense in the top of the inning when they had the lead – delivered their first successful squeeze since May 2011, and the first of his 5-year career.
- From there, it was a little Vinnie and a little Chris – their 28th Hold and Save, respectively — as Cleveland reached 15-6 in one-run games.
- In the 7th, down 2-0, Detroit had 2 out and none on, with an 0-2 count on Quintin Berry. It was a very bad time for Joe Smith to throw six straight balls. The last two put him in the hole to Miguel Cabrera, and Miggy spanked him with a tying rocket to CF. Career HR no. 301, and the 212th different pitcher rung up by Cabrera.
Cubs 5, @Pirates 1: Paul Maholm (4 hits, 7 Ks in 8 IP) beat his original team for the first time and won his 5th straight start, a personal best, allowing 1 run or less in each (3 runs in 37.1 IP, plus a scoreless relief inning). David DeJesus broke a tie in the 5th with a 2-run double off James McDonald, helping to break his 5-decision winning streak. Alfonso Soriano added a 2-run shot in the 6th.
- Three straight 5-run games have pumped McDonald’s ERA from 2.37 to 3.15.
- Cubs starters went 8 IP two days in a row, but the club remains one of 3 MLB teams without a CG.
Reds 4, @Astros 2: Uh-oh — Coco. Francisco Cordero‘s first save chance for Houston came in his first appearance against the team for whom he logged 150 saves in the past 4 years. The reunion joy was one-sided: Zack Cozart singled on a 3-and-1 pitch, and after 2 balls, Drew Stubbs popped one over the wall in LF for a 3-2 lead. More struggles ensued — 2 walks and then a full-count single produced an insurance run. Aroldis will get extra time to warm up — or even stand down — as Cordero has just been lifted.
- You can’t argue with (bad) results, but it must sting a little more when you’re yanked for the guy with the 6.38 ERA.
- Aroldis Chapman allowed an infield hit, then fanned the last 3, with 12 strikes in 14 total pitches. The dribbling hit was the only contact out of 8 swings. Chapman has broken (for now) the mythical 50% barrier: 89 Ks out of 177 batters faced. No pitcher facing at least 150 batters has ever whiffed 45%.
- Up: 6 straight and 13 of 15 for the rollicking Redlegs, now 2.5 games up on Pittsburgh.
- Down: 8 in a row and 21 of 23 for the comatose Astros, the first team this year to reach 30 games under (34-64). Average score in this stretch: 5.7 to 2.6.
@White Sox 11, Twins 4: A late outburst — 9 runs in the 7th & 8th — pulled Chicago back into a first-place tie. After Youk accepted a 4-pitch walk, Adam Dunn tied it up with #30, reaching that level for the 8th time in his last 9 years and leaving him 5 short of 400 HRs and (by game’s end) within 7 RBI of 1,000.
- Dunn (.210 BA) is on a pace for 50 HRs and 118 RBI. No one’s reached those marks below a .260 and a .243 BA, respectively.
- Nerks is hot again! After a long slump, he’s 15 for his last 28!! And with HRs in consecutive games after an 18-game drought!!!
- Once again, Josh Willingham carried on alone: 2 HRs, all 4 RBI and their only hit with RISP — a turnaround 3-run shot in the 6th.
- Share & share alike: Five Minnesota pitchers each allowed 2+ runs. That’s a first in over 2 years. Four relievers handled the last 2 IP: 17 batters, 7 hits, 5 walks, no strikeouts.
Red Sox 2, @Rangers 1: After dropping their first 3 Texas tilts by a combined 33-7, Boston rode a resurgent Clay Buchholz to stay close, then exploited a wild Joe Nathan to win it. Nathan had walked just 5 all year, no more than 1 per game, but he gave 2 in a row with 2 gone in the 9th, and Mike Aviles showed a little offbeat flare for the dramatic. That was the only one with RISP by either team.
- It’s a helpless feeling for an infielder: Reading “liner” off the bat, poised to leap, but then you recognize the humpback; too late to do anything but wait. Elvis Andrus did well to time his jump, but if he had known the trajectory, he could have taken two steps back and caught it flat-footed. Game of inches, indeed.
- Carl Crawford said he was fine with batting 7th. So I’m sure he was happy when Daniel Nava subbed into LF after Crawford’s 3 ABs, then started the winning rally with a 2-out walk. (No word yet on an injury to Crawford.)
@Cardinals 8, Dodgers 2: Clayton Kershaw tried to escape the 6th with a 1-run deficit by walking the #8 hitter to face Adam Wainwright with 2 out — even though Wainwright had driven in the first run with a 2-out double in the previous inning. This time, Kershaw walked him; and when the top of the order brought in 4 more, the CYA winner had let in 8 runs for the game — the 2nd-worst of his career.
- Wainwright scored twice for the first time in his career.
- Eight is enough: In the last 4 years, 140 other teams have had 8 hits, no HRs and 3 doubles in a game. The top score was 8 runs, done 3 times, including this one just a week ago with the same 6 BB and 5 SO as the Cards had tonight.
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