@D-backs 3, Marlins 1: Another late-game Snakebite. Locked in a scoreless duel, Jose Fernandez had allowed just 3 singles through 7. But he walked the first man in the 8th — a 9-pitch battle with Jason Kubel — and another with one down, so when Eric Hinske was announced to hit, Jose gave way to southpaw Mike Dunn. Cue the lefty-slayer, Cody Ross.
Dunn’s 1-2 slider and Ross’s career .930 OPS off lefties both got a jolt from his 5th pinch-hit HR in 63 ABs. Heath Bell had his usual rough time tending that 3-0 edge in the 9th, scored upon for the 4th straight game on his 5th HR allowed, then walking Giancarlo to put the tying runs aboard with no outs.
- Arizona’s other hero was Josh Collmenter, with 6 near-perfect innings when Trevor Cahill went down after the 1st. There’s just one longer shutout-relief outing in club history, and who else would hold an Arizona pitching?
- First 3-run pinch-HR for the D-backs since April 2011.
- Bell, League and Rodney are closers with WHIP over 1.50.
- Fernandez took the loss, but has a 2.43 ERA in his last 8 starts, 3.05 in 80 IP for the year. He’s 20 years old. Here’s your last qualifier that young with an ERA below 3.50. Fernandez made just 27 starts in the minors, none above high-A, but you can see the promise there. Who was the last SP with big-league success and no time at even double-A?
@Giants 4, Padres 2: With a 2.26 ERA in his past 9 games and a 2-hitter last time out, Eric Stults was working on another close win when the tying run got on with 1 out in the 7th. Luke Gregerson came in, threw 7 pitches and gave up 4 straight hits; the biggie was a turnaround 2-run triple by Gregor Blanco — his second 7th-inning go-ahead hit in as many games. Madison Bumgarner reaped the benefit with 7 strong innings, despite a tiebreaking HR in his last inning.
- It’s the second 4-hit blowup in Gregerson’s last 5 games, and his first time allowing 4 hits without retiring anyone. Eight hits in 24 IP through May, but 17 hits in 8.2 IP this month.
- The Giants (23-12 at home) will look to sweep on Thursday. They haven’t won 3 straight since May 10-12.
@Blue Jays 5, Rockies 2: Adam Lind‘s 3-run HR in the 1st put Toronto on the road to their 8th straight win. The Rox had lots of chances off Mark Buehrle (8 LOB through 5 IP), but 4 Blue Jay relievers were barely touched. Toronto’s 12-4 this month, best in the majors, climbing within a game of .500 and 4-1/2 games from a wild-card spot.
- Brett Cecil: 1.46 ERA, 0.73 WHIP in 37 IP. Lefties are 7 for 69 with 1 walk; righties only 10 for 55.
- J.P. Arencibia was so shaken by his 7th base on balls, he took off for 2nd and got thrown out stealing.
- The first 2 months of this comeback year for Lind were all about regaining control of the strike zone: 21 walks balanced 23 strikeouts, for a .309 BA/.404 OBP, but only 4 HRs. June has been attack mode: just 2 walks, but 5 HRs, 17 RBI in 16 games, with BA/OPS around .400/1.100.
- Batting 2nd for the first time in 3 years, CarGo smacked his 21st HR and 18th double. Like so many teams, Colorado’s been looking for a decent #2 hitter all year — .238 BA, .291 OBP, .623 OPS, 19 RBI. NL #2 men have a .317 OBP and the worst walk rate of any spot except the pitcher.
- Rough day for the rook: Nolan Arenado went 0-3, stranding 4, and his error in the 1st led to one of two unearned runs off Juan Nicasio.
- The Jays won 10 straight in 2008, no more than 7 in any other year this century.
Nationals 6, @Phillies 2 (11): One out from making Michael Young‘s 1st-inning HR stand up for the sweep and sole possession of 2nd place, Jonathan Papelbon couldn’t get it done. Jayson Werth’s single tied it, after a walk to LaRoche moved that run to 2nd, giving Pap his 2nd blown save of this series and of the season. The winning rally off Michael Stutes started with Ryan Zimmerman’s double and walks to LaRoche (intentional) and Werth (not), and Ian Desmond — whose strikeout ended their 9th with the lead run on 3rd — cashed them all with his first grand slam. After Young’s HR, the Phils didn’t get another man to 2nd until a pair of walks with 2 outs in the 9th.
- In extra innings this year, Desmond is 4 for 4 with 2 HRs and 3 go-ahead hits.
- Kyle Kendrick and Gio Gonzalez each went 7+ on just 2 hits, the 5th such game this year and the second time for Kendrick.
- Domonic Brown went 0-4 with 3 Ks; 5 singles in 10 games since his last HR.
- Gio was glad to see April go; now he’d like some early runs to come. His ERA’s 2.26 in his last 9 games, but just one win for him.
@Yankees 6, Dodgers 4 (day game): No balm in the Bronx homecoming for Donnie Baseball. Also facing his former team for the first time, Hiroki Kuroda shut out LA into the 7th, and when it got close, Ronald Belisario packed a double-error and a HBP into a 4-pitch stint, pushing the Yanks towards the win. Four hits for Hanley, his 2nd HR of the year scoring Puig in the 8th; that comeback continued with two walks by Robertson to put the tying runs aboard, but there they died. Mo v. Puig I closed it out, and the kid picked the wrong time to finally take a pitch.
- Belisario’s bungle will lead the blooper reels for the next decade. After opting to let the floater fall, hoping for a DP, then kicking it, I’m not sure if his heave towards 2nd was to make a play or sheer “eff-me!” frustration.
- 3 hits for Ichiro, including his 107th HR (503rd XBH). His 241 three-hit games trails Jeter (283) for the active lead; 3rd is A-Rod (237).
Dodgers 6, @Yankees 0 (night game): Chris Capuano came off the DL and skunked the Yanks for 6, his first win against them, and LA’s first win in the Bronx since 1981. (No mysterious elevator confrontations have been reported yet.) Phil Hughes dug his team a hole straight off, as the first 4 men hit safely for 2 runs. New York’s 4th began with 2 hits, but Cano ran into the first out stretching, and no Yankee got a hit the rest of the way.
- Yasiel’s Yankee Stadium debut day: 4 for 9, 4 runs, a bunt hit, a HR to the cheapies, a hustle double, caught trying for another, a loud out, and why not try this?
@Indians 6, Royals 3: The first 2-HR game by Michael Brantley doubled his season total and led the Tribe to their 3rd straight series win and back over .500. Brantley’s first blast cut Cleveland’s deficit in half in the 5th, and KC starter Luis Mendoza walked in the tiebreaker on 4 pitches in a 3-run 6th. KC doled out 7 walks, and allowed their most runs this month. Lorenzo Cain fanned in all 4 trips, twice with 2 aboard, as the Royals made the least of their 12-7 edge in hits. The final out was the dumbest baserunning you will ever see — Hosmer, feeling his oats after an RBI double that capped his 3-hit, 2-steal night, tried to take 3rd after a groundout, down by 3 runs. Incomprehensible.
Angels 1, @Mariners 0: In the first 1-0 game this month, Mike Trout doubled in the 6th, moved up on a fly and scored on a wild pitch by Joe Saunders, who took the hard-luck CG loss. C.J. Wilson went 7 on 2 singles in his first scoreless outing in over a year, and the Halos claimed their first 1-0 win since a 2011 10-inning game against the M’s.
@Reds 2, Pirates 1 (13): Jeff Locke reeled off another 7 zeroes, but Jay Bruce, who robbed a HR in the 7th, caught up to a high fastball from Jason Grilli with 1 down in the 9th, the first HR and first blown save off Grilli. Brandon Phillips chopped the winner through the middle with 1 out in the 13th, after an IBB to Votto, and the Reds went to 26-13 at home.
- After a 2-out triple, Starling Marte scored when Bronson Arroyo couldn’t glove-save Russell Martin‘s slapshot, charged with his first error since 2011. But Arroyo got revenge, picking Martin off 2nd to end the 5th with 2 on.
- Just curious — what was Clint Barmes doing on the Phillips hit? Their only hope was to somehow turn a DP, and the only chance of that was if Barmes gloved it. But he seemed to let it go for Jordy Mercer.
Orioles 13, @Tigers 3: Jose Valverde’s 4-run 9th — 5 hits and Chris Davis‘s 2nd HR — meant little to the game, but it smells like the end of his comeback. Baltimore bashed 17 hits, at least one for each starter, and scored 2 more runs than any team had against Detroit this year.
Pirates 4, @Reds 0: Pittsburgh won despite striking out 17 times in regulation, the 25th such game in searchable history, and matching the low of 4 hits in such wins. All but one of those 25 in the expansion era; the exception was notable in its own way. (Hint: he didn’t quite strike out his age.)
- Bucs relievers retired the last 12 men, 8 by strikeout (one reached on SO/WP). They lead the NL in relief strikeouts, 2nd in ERA.
@D-backs 3, Marlins 2: Paul Goldschmidt hit his first game-winning HR and the 29th in MLB this year, by 29 different hitters of 28 different pitchers. (As always, Carlos Marmol stands alone.) On the other hand, since 2012, Goldy’s tied for the lead with 7 tying or go-ahead shots in the 8th inning or later.
- Tied to start the 7th, Adeiny Hechavarria bounced one over the bag that trickled all the way to the wall, tempting him towards his 6th triple (from just 43 hits). But Jason Kubel led NL LFs with 13 assists last year, and he had other ideas.
- No win, no save, no hold for Brad Ziegler. But he kept the tie with a 1-2-3 8th against the top of the order (including Giancarlo), all on grounders. Unless you follow the Snakes, Ziegler’s probably been off your radar since his record-setting scoreless debut streak in 2008. But from then ’til now, his 2.41 ERA ranks 2nd among the 48 relievers with at least 300 innings. He’s 8th in reliever WAR and IP, and has a 79-51 edge in GDPs over the #2 man in that span.
- Placido Polanco has 9 RBI, 10 GDPs. More GDP than RBI has never been done by a qualifying batter. But Placido has competition: Michael Young has 15 RBI, 14 GDPs.
@Astros 10, Brewers 1: Could Jordan Lyles be that rare drafted-out-of-high-school pitcher who makes it in the Show? Still just 22, but with almost 800 pro innings and 50 starts in the bigs, Lyles has been improving quickly since his May recall. Outside of one big Texas whuppin’, he’s undefeated in 9 other starts, with a 2.14 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. He’s gone 7+ in 4 of his last 5, and has allowed 2 runs or less in 7 straight starts — tied for the best by an Astro since ol’ Nolan was sporting polyester in the Dome. His last time out was Houston’s first 10-K offering in over a year.
- The ‘Stros are 9-8 in June, with 8 games left this month against the Brewers, Cubs and Angels (and 2 against St. Louis).
- At last, a Houston game that I know instantly whether it’s intra– or inter-league! But that’s only ’cause I still think Milwaukee’s in the AL East. If you’re not chronologically anchored, this could be a matchup of AL West teams, NL Central teams, AL East vs. NL West, and possibly the Conn Smythe Division of the Clarence Campbell Conference. Let’s just call it Pilots vs. Colt .45’s.
Mariners 3, @Angels 2: In Topsy-Turvy-Land, Jeremy Bonderman — who has fanned over 200 in a season — is now a contact specialist, while Joe Blanton has two 11-K games this month (and 3 in his career).
- How long can Bonderman party like it’s 1899? In 4 starts (3 very good ones), he has 8 strikeouts and 7 walks in 24.2 innings, but a 3.28 ERA. Only two others this year have 2 games with 6+ IP, 1 run or less, and no more than 2 strikeouts.
@Red Sox 3, Rays 1: Andrew Bailey‘s last 4 games: 5 runs in 4 IP, 11 baserunners, 3 HRs, 2 blown saves and one skin-of-the-teeth conversion that started with a 3-run lead and finished with the tying run committing basepath suicide — and the Sox have won all 4. It’s good to have powerful friends.
But seriously, when do I get to see Alex Torres? He got 7 outs Tuesday to keep it close (6th through 8th), and he’s up to 18.1 shutout innings this year, with 9 baserunners and 24 strikeouts. This 5′ 10″ southpaw has held righty batters to 1 for 33 with 14 Ks. One thing that drives me nuts about MLB.com’s video posts is the knee-jerk focus on box-score moments truly important performances. A clip from June 15 is titled “Rodney slams the door.” Yeah — Fernando put the tying runs on base, threw a wild pitch, and survived with a save. Also in that game, Torres took over when Cobb was injured and retired 5 straight in the heart of the order, 4 on whiffs, in a one-run game — but no video honor.
On May 18, Torres began the 5th with the Rays down 2 runs and worked 4 near-perfect innings, ending with an 8-pitch mowdown of Baltimore’s top of the order. Tampa scored 6 in the 9th to make him a winner — yet Torres is nowhere among the 18 video clips from that game, not even the 2-1/2-minute recap, which jumps from Tampa’s 5th to their 9th, completely excising Torres.
At long last, here’s a minute’s worth of Torres from another 4-IP stint, retiring 12 of 14, with 6 strikeouts. Most interesting here, almost every pitch we see is up, and not blazing fast, but he gets swing-and-misses or weak contact.