Tuesday (early) game notes
@Red Sox 2, Tigers 1 — Jon Lester bested Max Scherzer on the bottom line and helped deny his 20th win, giving up 8 hits over 7 innings but just one tally. Ninth-place hitter Will Middlebrooks flipped Detroit’s 1-0 lead with a 2-out, 2-run single in the 5th. Scherzer had allowed a .189 BA this year with 2 outs, RISP, and Middlebrooks was 3-23 in those spots.
Stephen Drew’s double set the table, and Middlebrooks came through after David Ross whiffed on three straight swings for the 2nd out. Koji Uehara was perfect for a 6th straight outing, the last four being one-run saves. Lester fanned a season-high 9 with no walks in his 6th straight quality start (2.36 RA/9 in that span), while Scherzer (7 IP, 8 Ks, 5 hits) finally took his 2nd loss.
- With 2 outs in the top of the 5th, two singles to the outfield moved C Brayan Pena only from 1st to 3rd, and then Miggy bounced out on a 2-and-1 pitch. But they weren’t going to send Pena, not after this debacle. (Sacre!)
- Cabrera came in with ridiculous numbers against Lester, but then went 0-3 off him (missing two ribby chances) and 0-4 overall, after sitting out three games.
@Reds 1, Cardinals 0 — Michael Wacha dueled Homer Baily through six pitcher-dominated innings, but Cincy struck two quick hits off Seth Maness, separated by a pinch-steal in Billy Hamilton’s MLB debut, the ribby to Todd Frazier for hitting a nasty 1-and-2 sinker. Ballgame. St. Louis missed their opening chance, 2 on with no outs in the 1st, ending in Allen Craig’s 6-4-3 DP. Matt Holliday fanned in the 1st & the 3rd with men in scoring position, and they got just one man aboard after that, a 2-out walk in the 8th. Bailey lasted seven (2 hits, 8 Ks), and Aroldis Chapman whiffed Beltran, Holliday and Craig to close out their first 1-0 win against the Cards since 2006.
- St. Louis slipped 2 behind the Pirates, while Cincy stayed at 3.5 back. The Reds have been in 3rd place since June 21, but they’ve gained 3 games on St. Louis in just a week, winning 3 straight head-to-head, including two shutouts started by Bailey.
- Just 1,696 more runs and 913 more steals for Hamilton to catch his namesake.
- Cards lead the league in scoring by a solid margin, but they’ve been shut out 11 times, tied for 5th-most. They’re 15-15 in one-run games.
Pirates 4, @Brewers 3 — Travis Snider’s pinch-hit home run lifted Pittsburgh in the 9th, after they’d blown a lead the prior inning, and their 81st win clinched their first non-losing season since 1992. Mark Melancon allowed Scooter Gennett’s 2-out double, but he whiffed Khris Davis on a 3-2 pitch for his 10th save in 11 tries since Jason Grilli hit the D.L.
- Melancon’s 1.01 RA/9 (7 runs in 62.1 IP) would be the best ever by a Pirate with 50+ innings.
- Cutch scored 3 times, and got things started with his 100th homer.
- The Bucs are 81-57, one game ahead of the ’92 squad in clinching at least a .500 record. Just for fun, here’s that “clincher.” (Four walks for Spanky!)
- Jonathan Lucroy took over the RBI lead for catchers, with 75.
@Yankees 6, White Sox 4 — Chris Sale ruled into the 8th, leading 3-1 while owning the Yanks for the 3rd time in as many starts. But when he tired, all hell broke loose. Jeter lined a single, and Cano’s booming double on 1-and-2 finished Sale. Alfonso Soriano drove them in on 0-and-2 against Nate Jones, A-Rod’s full-count hit sent Sori to 3rd, and Curtis Granderson came off the bench to tie the game with a hit off lefty Donnie Veal. Mark Reynolds fanned, but Edwin Nunez doubled home the go-ahead runs off Matt Lindstrom, the 4th pitcher to allow a hit in the inning. And then came Mo.
- ChiSox leadoff man Alejandro De Aza had 3 hits with his 15th HR. Their #5-9 hitters went 0-19 with a walk.
- Alexei Ramirez tripled home 2 go-ahead runs in the 5th, but then flunked Baserunning 101 by getting doubled off 3rd on a liner to short.
- Through 7, New York had just 3 hits off Sale, and their 2nd-inning run (doubly unearned) came from Vernon Wells stealing home on a 2-out double-steal. (Too bad those last two clips omit Robin Ventura’s reaction.)
- New York’s last steal of home was in 2011, by … Mark Teixeira?! They also had Nick Swisher caught stealing home that year.
@Indians 4, Orioles 3 — Doubt if you want, but I say nothing kills a last-gasp comeback like a home run that still leaves you short. Chris Perez took a 4-0 lead and made it sweaty, serving up Nate McLouth’s 3-run blast before an out was made. Then he struck out the next two, and got Chris Davis on a 1-and-2 grounder. Cleveland scored in the 4th without a hit, a bunt and sac fly after opening walks by Chris Tillman, who set a 3-year high with 5 passes. Ubaldo Jimenez stranded 3 in the top of the 6th, ending his night with 6 scoreless stanzas. Two more walks factored in the Tribe’s 3-run 6th, with Asdrubal Cabrera’s second scoring flyout and a 2-run double by Yan Gomes.
Dodgers 7, @Rockies 4 — Ricky Nolasco ran his scoreless string to 20 innings before a 2-out rally in the 5th, the run knocked in by Jhoulys Chacin. Some more stuff happened, but in the end, L.A. won their 6th in a row, edging over .600 at 83-55. They remain just ahead of the Miracle Braves, the gold standard for coming back in a season all but lost:
- 1914 Braves: from 30-41 to 82-56, a 52-15 interval.
- 2013 Dodgers: from 30-42 to 83-55, a 53-13 interval.
Ah, but now the pressure really mounts, because those Braves had just begun a(nother) 9-game streak that brought them to 90-56 before coasting in at 94-59, winning the pennant by 10.5 games. (These Dodgers, by the way, will have a 13.5-game lead unless the D-backs rally late.)
@Braves 3, Mets 1 — Kris Medlen fanned 9 over 7 walk-free innings, and two Atlanta HRs in the 7th wiped out a New York lead, as the Braves tore another page off their count-down calendar. Their magic number is 10 to clinch the NL East.
Carlos Torres cruised to the 7th with a 1-0 lead, but he never could get Evan Gattis out. With 1 down in the 7th, Gattis homered on a 1-2 pitch — a high slider, after a “waste” fastball went much too high, and the 3rd straight hit for Gattis. Then Torres lost Dan Uggla from 0-2 to a walk, ending a walk-free string of 78 batters, and Andrelton Simmons laid into a 1-0 slider.
- … seen it a thousand times: In the top of the 7th, Terry Collins declined to pinch-hit for Torres with men on the corners and 2 outs. It was a defensible decision, ahead 1-0 and Torres still shy of 70 pitches, plus the bullpen got taxed the day before. But I wonder if there’s a psychic effect on pitchers who make the last out in those situations.
- Craig Kimbrel worked another scoreless 9th, as he’s done ever since July 4 — 26 straight zeroes, and 34 straight saves converted from May 9.
- Gattis’s shaky pursuit of Eric Young’s deep fly to left led to a triple and New York’s only run. Every time I see El Oso Blanco out there, I’m reminded of another critter.
- Brian Dozier’s lately moved to the #3 spot, responding with 2 HRs and a double in 3 games. Since August 1, Dozier has 8 HRs in 33 games, and an OPS around .900.
- It just occurred to me to check this, and sure enough — Brian Dozier‘s 17 home runs is a new high for a Twins/Senators second baseman. The old mark of 14 was shared by Rod Carew in 1975 (not his epic ’77, as he’d been moved to 1B by then) and Tim Teufel ’84. Dozier’s also had an impact on defense, making him the first Twins 2B since Chuck Knoblauch (1997) to notch 3+ WAR in a season.
Bonus Monday notes
Twins 10, @Astros 6 — After seven “love-of-the-game” seasons in the independent Can-Am Association, I’d imagine that just getting to the majors was gratifying enough for Chris Colabello. But a 2-HR game, capped with a decisive 2-out slam, is a day that he might never forget.
Colabello has ridden the Rochester shuttle four times this year. His MLB numbers so far are uninspiring, except the power output. But that power is 100% legitimate. Colabello has hit 31 home runs this year, majors (6) and minors together, despite playing in pitchers’ parks at both levels. Twenty-two of his 31 HRs were on the road, including all 6 in MLB. Let’s hope this year’s top hitter in the AAA Int’l League gets a full year’s chance to prove his major-league ability.
P.S. Monday’s slam was the 2nd of 6 Colabello HRs that broke a tie in the 9th or later. All 6 HRs by the righty went to CF or RF, and 5 came off RHPs. Six of his 18 flyballs have cleared the fence.
- Is Jason Castro having the best year ever for an Astros catcher? He’s on the brink of Joe Ferguson‘s 1977 club record of 4.8 WAR. (Yes, Joe Ferguson — not bad for his only full season with Houston. Ferguson was dealt from L.A. to St. Louis in mid-’76 for Reggie Smith: thence to Houston at year’s end, for Larry Dierker and Jerry DaVanon; and after a year and a half with Houston, back to L.A. for the immortal Rafael Landestoy and Jeffrey Leonard.
- Our mascot, Andrew Albers, got knocked around, tacking an extra run onto his ERA — but gosh darn it, he still didn’t walk anyone. Hang in there, Andrew!
Marlins 4, @Cubs 3 — How good of a hitter is Henderson Alvarez, really? He looks hitterish on this 3-run homer: he takes his duty seriously enough to have a distinct stance and a timing leg-lift. As for results, he’s now 7 for 19 this year in MLB, with the HR and 2 doubles — and at AA-Jacksonville, 2 for 6 with a HR. Alvarez had just one professional at-bat before this year.
David Huff is the first since 2004 with 2 relief wins of 5+ innings each in one season.
2B Matt Carpenter has 45 doubles. Only 4 modern Cardinals have reached 50 doubles (Pujols, Musial, Slaughter, Medwick) — all corner players.
Worst batting average and OPS allowed in the 9th inning: The Baltimore Orioles.
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