Monday game notes
Rangers 2, @Astros 1 — Texas finished off a sweep, as Yu Darvish flirted with a no-hitter for the 2nd time against Houston this year, surrendering a first-pitch home run to Carlos Corporan with 1 out in the 8th. Darvish retired the first 17 Astros (with 11 Ks) before issuing a walk that led to catcher A.J. Pierzynski being ejected. He left after 8 innings, 115 pitches, yielding just those two baserunners, with a career-high 15 strikeouts. Joe Nathan finished neatly for his 35th save.
Yu benefited from a terrible strike-three call by umpire Ron Kulpa, on a full-count pitch to Matt Dominguez right before the home run. It was a curve that started way inside to the RHB, and was still clearly inside when it hit the glove. Who knows if Corporan still would have homered if the pitch had been called fairly, but a HR after a walk would have tied the game.
- Houston has at least 15 batter Ks in 5 games this year, 3 against Texas. They’re on pace to break the season team record of 1,529 by the 2010 D-backs
- Seventeen of 141 individual pitcher games of 10+ strikeouts this year were against the Astros, a 12% rate that’s almost 4 times their “fair share.” They already have 59 games with 10+ Ks (tied for 2nd in searchable history), 31 games with 12+ Ks (ditto), and 11 with 14+ Ks (same again). The 2010 Diamondbacks hold all three top marks.
- Darvish joined Herb Score, Dwight Gooden and Hideo Nomo with 200 strikeouts each of his first 2 seasons. Darvish now has 17 ten-K games within his first 52 outings, trailing only Gooden on that count.
- It’s the 2nd game ever for Houston with a HR as their only hit; the other was in 1995, by Jeff Bagwell off Greg Maddux. It’s the 3rd for Texas pitching; the others were in 1996 (Mark Lewis spoiling a perfecto by Roger Pavlik) and 1961 (the last of 5 career HRs by Joe Altobelli, hit against Dick Donovan, who led the AL with a 2.40 ERA that year but went 10-10, then got dealt to Cleveland and went 20-10 with a 3.59 ERA).
- Lost in the shuffle, the 3rd straight strong start by Brett Oberholtzer (2 R in 6.2 IP), all against good teams.
Reds 2, @Cubs 0 — Brandon Phillips broke up a scoreless duel with a 2-run HR in the 7th, and Mat Latos fanned 9 without a walk in his 2nd straight scoreless outing, using 94 pitches through 8 innings. Tough loser Travis Wood allowed just 4 hits and a walk in his first 8-IP game in two years. Aroldis Chapman punched out the side in the 9th for the 2nd straight day, raising his K rate to 43%.
- Latos and Wood have very similar stats: 24 starts each, 3.04 ERA in 154 IP for Latos (with 11 HRs), 3.00 in 153 IP for Wood (12 HRs). Wood contributes with the bat (.267, 3 HRs, 8 RBI), while Latos hits like a pitcher (.137, no HRs, 4 RBI). But Latos has a 12-3 record, while Wood is 7-9. The Cubs have scored 2 runs or less in 11 of his 24 starts, and 8 of his 9 losses.
@Twins 3, Indians 0 — Hello! Andrew Albers followed up a brilliant debut with a 2-hit, no-walk shutout, with no runner getting past 1st base. The 27-year-old Albers retired the first 11 before Jason Kipnis singled, set down 11 more before a Yan Gomes hit, and finished it with 5 straight outs. Cue the stats machine:
- Albers is the 6th searchable pitcher (and first since 1966) to break in with two scoreless starts of 8+ innings.
- He’s the first searchable pitcher to do that and allow 5 baserunners or less each game.
- No other pitcher since 1966 (Tom Phoebus) broke in with 2 scoreless starts including a shutout, regardless of the length of the other outing.
- It’s the Twins’ first CG on 2 hits or less since Francisco Liriano’s no-hitter in May 2011, and their first CG at all since last August.
- It’s their 3rd CG since 1980 with 2 baserunners or less. Eric Milton had a 2-walk no-no in 1999, and Scott Baker a 1-hit, 1-walk shutout in 2007.
As in his debut, Albers fanned just 2, and this time it was not the worm-burner but the at-’em ball working for him, as 16 outs came on flies or liners. Minnesota got just 4 hits themselves and went 0-6 with RISP, but homers by Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe plated all 3 runs.
Phillies 5, @Braves 1 — Cole Hamels went the route and scored the first run after tripling, and Cody Asche broke it open with a 3-run shot in the 6th off Julio Teheran. Hamels came within an out of his 7th career shutout, but lost it on Chris Johnson’s double. He fanned 9 in his 4th straight strong start (5 runs in 31 IP), and won for the first time since July 9, despite
- Asche, a 3B and Philly’s 4th-round pick in 2011, hit just .195 in his first pro season, but reestablished himself by hitting .324 and .295 the last 2 years, with some power. He has 2 HRs and 2 doubles out of 9 hits so far in 40 ABs.
- Teheran fell to 9-6, 3.08. He had allowed just 3 runs over his last 4 starts.
Athletics 5, @Blue Jays 1 — Alberto Callaspo redeemed his costly error in the bottom of the 8th with a tie-breaking 2-run double in the 9th, leading the A’s to a 3-of-4 series win in Toronto and a split of their 6-game road trip. Oakland led 1-0 since Chris Young’s game-opening HR, after fouling off four 2-strike pitches from J.A. Happ. The southpaw allowed just 2 other hits and 2 walks over 7 IP, in his 2nd game since his skull was fractured by a line drive on May 7. Dan Straily worked into the 8th inning for the first time, but he handed off men at the corners with 1 away, and Jose Bautista ripped a hard grounder that Callaspo couldn’t handle. Bautista earned the tying RBI on the “can’t assume a DP” rule (despite a 95% chance of turning it). With Casey Janssen on in the 9th, Brandon Moss’s pinch-double put 2 in scoring position, and Callaspo’s hit followed an IBB to Josh Reddick.
@Yankees 2, Angels 1 — With Mariano getting a breather, Boone Logan and then David Robertson came on for the 9th to protect Hiroki Kuroda’s 2-0 lead. The Heir Apparent quickly painted himself into a corner — lead halved, bags full and 1 out — and then fireballed his way out, fanning Mark Trumbo on 3 pitches, and Chris Nelson swinging at a high full-count fastball.
Kuroda advanced his MLB lead with a 9th scoreless start, the 5th in his last 7 games, on 3 hits and a walk over 8 innings. Three left-side grounders stranded Josh Hamilton after a leadoff double in the 2nd, and Kuroda got a DP from Hamilton in the 7th after Mike Trout’s leadoff single.
- Brett Gardner broke the ice in the 3rd with a 2-out hit, and Curtis Granderson homered in the 7th. Alex Rodriguez singled his first time up, but was caught stealing on an apparent hit-and-run whiff, and he hit into DPs his other two trips.
- Robertson has retired 25 in a row with the bases loaded, with 18 Ks (14 swinging).
- Kuroda leads the AL in ERA+. He and Darvish began the day tied for 4th in AL pitchers’ WAR (4.4), with Kuroda also 4th in AL WAR over the last 2 years (9.9). The modern pitchers who’ve reached 5 WAR at age 37 and age 38: Cy Young, Babe Adams, Dazzy Vance, Lefty Grove, Phil Niekro, Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson.
@D-backs 7, Orioles 6 – Adam Eaton hit Darren O’Day’s first pitch beyond the wall in right-center, ending a roller-coaster game with his first walk-off hit ever and his first HR this year. The Snakes took a 5-4 lead with 3 in the 7th against Tommy Hunter, who relieved with a man aboard in the 7th and gave up a walk and 3 hits. The O’s tied it in their 8th on Chris Davis’s 43rd HR, off lefty Joe Thatcher, but Wil Nieves got the lead back with a leadoff HR in the bottom half. Nick Markakis cashed in a 2-hit rally with a tying sac fly, Baltimore’s 6th singleton run, before Eaton sent the home fans off with a smile.
- Way back in the 2nd, Arizona tied it up the first time on a rare fielder’s interference, called against 3B Manny Machado after Gerardo Parra swiped 2nd and then 3rd base with 2 outs. Brian Roberts broke the tie with his 2nd RBI, a 2-out double in the 4th, and Matt Wieters homered. Aaron Hill homered to start the first comeback, and had the tying hit with 2 down in the 7th.
@Royals 6, Marlins 2 — Wade Davis was strong until letting go of a 2-0 lead in the 6th, but the Royals answered right back with 3 in their half. Their 17th win in 20 games pulled them into 2nd place, 6.5 games behind Detroit and 4 back of a wild card. Justin Maxwell and Alcides Escobar hit RBI triples, leadoff man David Lough reached 3 times, and fill-in 2B Chris Getz had 3 knocks.
- Royals pitchers have a 2.25 ERA during the hot spell — 2.80 for the starters, 0.87 for the relievers (6 ER in 62.1 IP).
- Maxwell with K.C. is 10 for 24 with 3 HRs, slugging .875.
@Dodgers 4, Mets 2 — Or, what it feels like when the rolling boulder crosses your path. Three plays the Mets should have made (two on one hit), plus a mishandled outfield throw, led to 3 L.A. runs in the 6th, wiping out a 2-0 hole against Jenrry Mejia. Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis started with “hits” that went off Daniel Murphy’s glove, the latter a soft liner that would have been a 9-6 forceout had Marlon Byrd cleanly handled the rebound. Ricky Nolasco allowed 2 runs on 4 straight hits to start the 2nd, but he escaped with a DP, and then set down 11 in a row from the 3rd into the 7th. An awful strike-three call saved Ronald Belisario from walking in the tying run with 1 down in the 7th, as Juan Lagares was punished for being a rookie who began towards 1st base before the pitch was called, and Murphy lined to Puig to end that threat. Closer Kenley Jansen whiffed the last out in the 8th with the tying runs on, then closed it out with 2 more Ks in the 9th.
- Mejia was lifted for a PH in the 7th, having thrown 62 strikes out of 85 pitches (no walks, 6 singles). He’s walked just 3 in 24.1 IP over 4 starts.
- The Dodgers are 6-1 in Nolasco’s starts.
- Jansen has fanned 2 or more in 6 straight outings, 15 of 20 batters. In 33 IP since June 1, he’s allowed 18 hits and 4 runs, with 50 Ks against 3 walks. His season SO/BB ratio is 87/9, the best ever for someone with his K rate and 50+ IP.
@White Sox 6, Tigers 2 – Down 2-0 after 2 innings, Chris Sale shut out Detroit the rest of the way for his 4th complete game, tying Adam Wainwright for the MLB lead. Sale allowed 9 hits, including Miguel Cabrera’s 37th HR, but he walked none and held the Tigers hitless in 6 RISP chances. Josh Phegley came in 6 for his last 43 and hit a DP grounder his first time up, but he delivered the tying hit in the 5th and another RBI later. Jeff Keppinger, having a truly miserable year, had 3 hits and 2 runs.
- No one can lose it faster than Doug Fister. After 10 outs from the first 10 men, he loosed two walks and two wild pitches that fueled the first run, then blew another tire in a 5-hit, 3-run 5th.
- Al (Shufflin’ Off to) Alburquerque put the game out of reach, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in his inning’s work. He went to the minors in May due to control problems. He made no progress there, and has been horrendous since returning — 18.1 IP, 15 runs on 21 hits and 14 walks. It can be argued that the Tigers have enough cushion in the race to give Albuquerque plenty of time to find himself, with an eye to the postseason and their shallow bullpen. But his postseason work has been lousy; even if he were to suddenly pitch well down the stretch, he’d still be a crap-shoot in a key spot.
- Cabrera and Chris Davis both have two 4-game HR streaks this year.
- Keppinger began the night with a 47 OPS+, worst since 1938 by a ChiSox with 350+ PAs.
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