Attention early readers — there’s a bit of new stuff at the bottom.
Indians 4, @White Sox 3 / @Tigers 2, Royals 0: All you zombies, show your faces! The race that will not die staggers hungrily into the final week, seeking brains or anything else that can make sense of it all.
- Sound familiar? A couldn’t-quite-turn-it was the crucial play, leading to three Cleveland runs. Chicago got back-to-back HRs to start the 5th and another to begin the 9th, but as usual of late, their bats did nothing the rest of the game.
- Speaking of déjà vu … Adam Dunn and Vinnie Pestano reprised Monday’s 8th-inning, 2-down, game-on-the-line face-off, and the ledger got balanced at one apiece. Dunn’s whiff was his 3rd in a row and advanced his AL record to 210.
- Chris Perez dug himself a hole in the 9th, but retired Gordon Beckham with the winning run aboard for his career-high 37th save and 8th in a row.
And in the evening:
- Four weeks ago, Bruce Chen and the Royals cut in front of Anibal Sanchez and didn’t even say “excuse me.” Tuesday he turned the tables with a 3-hit, 10-K gem, the 17th game score of 90+ in MLB this year and the first since 2004 by a non-Verlander Tiger. Detroit led 2-0 after 5 batters, and though they wasted a golden ticket in the 2nd, Sanchez was up to the challenge. He parried a 2-out thrust in the 6th by fanning Royals’ RBI man Billy Butler on 4 pitches, starting a skein of 10 straight outs with just one out of the infield.
- When the mini-slumping Miggy missed the first chance to cash two leadoff hits, Prince came through for the game’s first run. He’s batting .338 with RISP, .358 with 2 or more aboard, and .345 in the 1st inning, that hidden clutch situation.
- From 1962-2008, no Tigers first basemen had a .300/30/100 season. Now Prince needs 2 dingers to make it 4 straight years for that position.
- For 2011-12, teams with 2 hitters at 100+ RBI and less than 100 strikeouts: 2011 Rangers (Beltre/Young); 2011 Tigers (Cabrera/Martinez); 2012 Tigers (Cabrera/Fielder). All other teams have combined for 7 such seasons.
- Detroit’s last shutout of KC was started by … no, I refuse to say his name!
Blue Jays 4, @Orioles 0: O’s lost consecutive games for just the 2nd time since Aug. 16-17; first time at home since July 27-28.
- Aaron Laffey logged this year’s 3rd SP win that featured neither strikeout nor walk, joining Tim Hudson and (you guessed it) Aaron Cook. Laffey’s 64 pitches were 3rd-fewest in a SP win this year.
- Darren Oliver would be the 9th pitcher in the Over-40, Under-2.00 Club (50+ IP for membership), founded in 1907 by Cy Young.
- Brett Lawrie hit 9 HRs in his first 35 career games, but has just 9 more in his last 125 games. His isolated power is next-to-last among qualified 3Bs this year.
- Toronto has done well to match the league average in scoring. Their 91 OPS+ and .308 OBP rank next-to-last, and only two regulars have OPS+ of 100 or better (and one of them missed almost half the year).
@Angels 5, Mariners 4: Zack Greinke left after 5 IP and 110 pitches, having fanned 13. It’s the first searchable outing with 12+ Ks in 5 IP or less. Previously, the shortest stints with 13 Ks or more were 5.2 IP, by Kevin Appier (also 13 Ks and 110 pitches) and Max Scherzer (14 Ks, 113 pitches).
- Thought doomed at 62-60 after they were swept in 4 at home by Tampa, the Angels have gone 23-9 and sit 2 games off the wild-card pace.
- Mike Trout tied Vladdy‘s franchise record of 124 Runs in a season.
- Kevin Jepsen, who got 4 big outs after Seattle cut the lead to a run, was sent to the minors in April with a 10.29 ERA, but has posted a 1.33 mark in 33.1 IP since returning.
- 1,000+ Ks within the last 5 years: Lincecum, Verlander, Sabathia, Hernandez, Greinke. Zach leads that group with 3.88 SO/BB.
- Mark Trumbo‘s no-doubles streak reached 55 games (39 hits). Since 1982, there’s been just one longer one-year streak with 2+ PAs in each game: Edgar Renteria, 58 games in 2008 (47 hits). During the stretch, Trumbo has hit .189/.505, with 17 Runs.
- 2 HRs by Justin Smoak give him 14 on the road, just 4 at home (he has that many in 9 games in Texas). His dismal home stats projected to 650 PAs: 11 HRs, 38 Runs, 46 RBI.
- Guess who’s 2nd in WAR on the Angels? There are sixteen 4-WAR position players in the AL at present; three of them bat #1-2-3 for the Angels, and three bat #1-3-4 for the Tigers. The Angel trio accounted for 6 of their 8 hits and 4 of their 5 runs.
- At age 36, Hunter is closing in on his first season batting .300+. Those whose first .300 season came at 36 or older: Johnny Cooney (39), Bob Boyd (37), and Luis Aparicio, Lee Lacy, Marco Scutaro, Randy Velarde and Eric Davis (36).
- Seattle plays kingmaker in the final week, with their last 9 games against Anaheim (5 left) and Oakland.
@Reds 4, Brewers 2 / Cardinals 4, @Astros 0: Last year’s Central champs made a valiant run, but Milwaukee’s 15-4 September surprise hit a 1-3 sour patch just as the Cards were glutting on the division’s carcass. If the Cards win just 3 of their last 7, the Crew would have to win out just to tie.
- Aramis Ramirez‘s 26th HR gave him 78 extra-base hits for the year and 7 in his last 6 games. Nine XBH in the last 8 games would tie Chipper‘s 3B record. Two more would make him the 2nd third baseman with two 80-XBH years. (Pop quiz: Name the other guy.)
- That’s a bad time for a rookie baserunning gaffe, Jean Segura, especially when you’re already in scoring position as the tying run.
- Johnny Cueto is the first Reds hurler since Danny Jackson ’88 to reach 19 wins, and the first Red since Don Gullett to have 60 wins through age 26. He would be the the first Red since Jose Rijo ’93 to lead the league in pitcher WAR; the last before Rijo was Bob Purkey ’62.
- Four more St. Louis wins would knock out the Brewers and clinch at least a tie vs. LA. Tying scenarios for Milwaukee: Cards 0-7/Crew 5-3; Cards 1-6/Crew 6-2; Cards 2-5/Crew 7-1; Cards 3-4/Crew 8-0.
- On the down side, Rosario is just 4/5 of the way to his 30th career walk. And he leads the majors with 20 passed balls (even more than the Dickey-bedeviled Josh Thole) and 13 errors behind the plate.
@Braves 4, Marlins 3: Kris Medlen was going to lose a start at last, and the Braves would miss their first chance to clinch a playoff berth. But Freddie Freeman had never been involved in a Medlen loss — he sat out this May 26th when Medlen stumbled in relief — so instead of signing off, Freeman sized up Mike Dunn‘s fastball, took aim at an expedient landmark, and trotted off into Braves lore.
- Miami has lost 8 games they led in the 9th, more than twice the MLB average.
- Marlins 2B Donovan Solano had been homerless through 84 games and 280 PAs in his debut campaign. Then he went deep twice in three ABs — including a 2-run turnaround on an 0-2 count — against Medlen, who hadn’t given 2 HRs in a game this year, nor an 0-2 HR ever. Solano and Ryan Howard are the only guys with 2 career HRs off Medlen.
- The winning rally began with Chipper‘s 549th double, which lifted his career slugging mark against southpaws to an even .500. He’ll finish his career batting over .300 from both sides, with more walks than strikeouts, and never having fanned 100 times in a year.
- 3 runs off Medlen were more than he’d allowed in any of his prior 10 starts this year. His 10-game streak with 5+ IP and 2 runs or less was the longest in MLB this year and longest by a Brave since Maddux had 13 in 1995.
@Twins 5, Yankees 4: Boone Logan became the first Yankee to let in 3 inherited runners since last year’s famous finale. But it should not have been a shock when Denard Span doubled home 2 runs off Logan for the lead; the lefty Span is a career .294/.766 hitter off southpaws, .282/.734 against righties.