Wednesday game notes: Not quite a Shamsky, but it plays
Cardinals 5, @Reds 4 (16 inn.) — The extra frames alone comprise an epic. Matt Adams homered in the 16th, his second in three innings, and this one stood up, leading St. Louis within a game of first-place Pittsburgh.
Adams came into the game in the 4th inning, after Allen Craig rolled an ankle rounding first base on an infield hit (and was tagged out for his pains). Adams had gone 0-3 before he found the range, leaving 4 men on base, including the go-ahead run on 3rd with 2 outs in the 8th. He had no prior career home runs in the 9th inning or later, nor any go-ahead or tying events that late in a game.
The Reds had leveled after Adams’s first clout, in the 14th, as another starring pinch-thief turn by Billy Hamilton was converted by Zack Cozart’s single through the middle, their only hit all night with a man in scoring position. (I think Hamilton touched home before the CF touched the ball.) Logan Ondrusek pitched out of trouble in the 15th, fanning Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran with a man on 2nd — merely two .300 hitters batting around .390 with RISP. A golden chance in Cincy’s half came down to Chris Heisey batting with 2 outs and Shin-Soo Choo on 3rd, after Joey Votto (0-for-7) couldn’t drive him in from 2nd, but … dammit, all I have is “S Choo caught stealing home, catcher to third to catcher.”
- Here’s the headline reference. I’ll try to find the last guy with two extra-inning homers in a game, but not tonight.
- It was the longest game between these clubs since 1966. (Miss a chance to plug Billy McCool? Never!)
- Hamilton’s the first player in the searchable database to pinch-run, steal and score in each of his first 2 career games. The first player known to have done that in his first game was … no, you’ll have to dig this nugget for yourself.
- Brandon Phillips stroked a tiebreaking home run off Shelby Miller leading off the 5th, to reach 100 RBI for the first time. He drove in 98 and 94 in prior seasons.
- Cincinnati’s first 2 runs were built on two soft singles, a sac, a groundout and a rare wild pitch by Miller. St. Louis has the fewest wild pitches in the majors, about half the average — another testament to Yadier Molina’s defensive prowess.
@Athletics 11, Rangers 4 — Oakland powered up on Yu Darvish and regained a tie in the AL West. Brandon Moss and Daric Barton hit 2-run homers, each after a 4-pitch walk, as the Texas ace passed 6 and allowed 5 runs in his least effective outing of the year. Barton’s first HR since 2010 with someone on base launched Oakland’s 6-run 6th inning that ripped open a 3-2 game. Robbie Ross relieved Darvish and gave 4 straight hits, capped by Josh Donaldson’s 20th HR, a 3-run shot, and in the 8th Coco Crisp capped the A’s assault and resumed his long-ball binge with another 2-run crank. Jarrod Parker enjoyed the unusual run support and worked 6 solid innings to win his 9th straight decision.
- Darvish threw 48 balls out of 100 pitches, matched his season low with 4 strikeouts, and lost consecutive starts for the first time since last July. He had fanned 75 over his last 7 starts. The A’s have hung him with 5 straight losses, some tough ones, as the Rangers totaled just 8 runs.
- Parker has 9 wins and 9 no decisions since May 28, with a 2.59 ERA and 6.8 IP per game.
@Red Sox 20, Tigers 4 — “Rick Porcello in Fenway” was never going to end well for Detroit, but then the question grew to, would it end at all? Did it, in fact, morph into something else entirely, a home-run derby merely masquerading as a baseball game? Boston tied their franchise record with 8 home runs (achieved once before), and tied an AL record of 7 different players going yard.
Detroit allowed 8 homers for the first time ever. Three came off Porcello, who was charged with 9 runs in 5+ innings, the last 3 on a slam served up by Al Alburquerque to Will Middlebrooks that put some air into a 6-4 lead. Daniel Nava started that 8-run frame with a walk, and capped it with a 3-run blast off Al-Al, the 5th Sox homer. The Sox scored 5 more in the 7th, with 2 home runs (one added via video), and tacked the last 2 runs up in the 8th, their seventh straight scoring inning. It was the first 20-run game since Oakland did it to the visiting BoSox last August 31.
Once upon a time, the game was 4-all in the 5th, and individual events still mattered. Alex Avila’s wild throw on a steal sent Shane Victorino to 3rd, and Dustin Pedroia’s lineout to left scored him when Avila couldn’t make a short-hop swipe tag on a strong throw by Andy Dirks. Pedroia fouled off five 2-strike pitches before delivering; he was the only Boston starter who didn’t get at least one hit, but he would have had the “game-winning RBI,” if that stat still existed.
- Big Papi hit 2 HRs, but his double in between got all the notice.
- Quintin Berry, the former Tiger speedster, pinch-ran in the 6th, stayed in the game, and wound up with a line of 2-2-2-2. It’s the 14th searchable game in which a pinch-runner with just 2 times at bat had at least 2 hits, runs and RBI. Jacoby Ellsbury had one of those six years ago.
- Ellsbury’s now 7 for 10 with 2 HRs off Porcello.
- On the bright side for Detroit, the 16-run margin will dilute the notion that they’ve underperformed their Pythagorean projection.
@Indians 6, Orioles 4 — Manny Machado tied this rubber game with a 3-run shot off Zach McAllister, helping to knock him out in the 5th. But Yan Gomes put the Tribe right back on top with his 3rd hit, a long double with 2 aboard, scoring one and setting up the next to score on a wild pitch.
- Zach Britton was clobbered in his return from triple-A, with 4 runs in the 1st and only a home-plate putout preventing an even bigger inning.
- Gomes might be the best part-time player in the majors. With solid work behind the dish (50% CS) and an .850 OPS at this writing, Gomes began the night with 2.8 WAR in just 235 PAs — the 10th-best ratio among all with 200 PAs, and 3rd for those with less than 100 games (trailing Hanley and Yasiel). He’s hit both righties and lefties well, and is not in a platoon; he simply splits the catching chores, starting when Carlos Santana is at 1B or DH. Tonight he batted 5th, just his second start that high, and went 2-2 with RISP.
@Yankees 6, White Sox 5 — Mariano Rivera aced his first big stress-test since last month’s rough patch, and New York held on to sweep the White Sox. Mo entered in the 8th with 2 on, 2 outs and 4 runs in, picking up David Robertson with a full-count called strike three on Alejandro De Aza, then worked a clean 9th on 8 pitches for his 41st save. Of Mariano’s 649 career saves in the regular season, 117 have lasted 4 outs or more (18%) — but this was his first since July 2011.
CC Sabathia handed off to David Robertson a 6-1 lead and 2 men on base with 1 out in the 8th, but the setup workhorse threw a shoe. Four singles and a walk (three with 2 strikes) brought 4 across and Mariano to the rescue.
A sharp tag-team defensive play by Sabathia and Derek Jeter cut off Chicago’s opening rally at one run, after 2 CC walks. Robinson Cano tied it with a home run off debut starter Erik Johnson, and Sabathia settled in, allowing just 2 more hits through 7 innings. New York scored 4 on Johnson in the 4th, Lyle Overbay ripping a double on 3-and-0 after the hurler’s misfire put 2 on with no outs, and Brett Gardner split the gap for 2 more runs on his 9th triple (48th extra-base hit).
- The rookie Johnson arrived on the strength of a 1.96 ERA and 0.99 WHIP across the top two levels of the minors.
- Cano had 3 hits, reaching 26 HRs, 91 RBI and a .901 OPS, 7th among AL qualifiers.
- The strike-three call Mo got against De Aza reinforced one fact: Rank hath its privileges. (Sorry, no clip. But the ball was outside.)
Mets 5, @Braves 2 — The Mets strafed Kameron Loe in his first start since 2007, and finished their season slate with Atlanta on a positive note, as it had begun (if not so dramatically this time). Their two taters gave Loe 11 HRs allowed in 22 IP this year (plus a 2.23 WHIP). But they also left 10 men on base the first 5 innings, and then couldn’t touch Freddy Garcia, leaving Mets fans fearing another late comeback.
Dillon Gee rang up 2 strikeouts in the 1st, after an outfield error put the tying runs on the corners with 1 out. It was a big self-bailout for Gee, who walked the leadoff man after being given a 2-0 lead, then fell behind with two balls to the next man while the first was stealing second. Well, not entirely a self-bailout: “J Upton lined out to center” turned out to be another “out-of-zone” play by Juan Lagares.
- Loe allowed 14 baserunners in 4.1 IP, including 3 walks with no strikeouts. Freddy Garcia stranded 2 inherited with 1 out in the 5th, and retired 8 of 9 men faced in his 2nd straight effective (mop-up) action.
@Rockies 7, Dodgers 5 — Don Mattingly tested the limits of his charmed summer, launching the Edinson Volquez Reclamation Tour backed by a lineup with Michael Young at cleanup (no Puig, A-Gon, Crawford nor Ethier). Or maybe Donnie just felt that Jorge De La Rosa is unbeatable in Coors Field. On the other hand, here they come again, chopping at a 7-2 deficit with 3 runs in the 8th, Young leading the charge…. But no — Rex Brothers closed it out with a 6-4-3 from Young, his 20th GDP this year and L.A.’s third of the game.
- De La Rosa (16-6, 3.31) is the first Rockies pitcher with two seasons of 16+ wins, and the first to reach that mark since 2010. He’s 10-1 at home this year, tying his own franchise record for starting wins. He’s the 7th pitcher born in Mexico to win 70 games in MLB.
Rays 3, @Angels 1 – Jeremy Hellickson stopped a personal skid (0-5, 9.00 ERA in 6 starts) with 5.1 scoreless innings, and Wil Myers drove in all 3 runs with 2 home runs off Jered Weaver, his first taters in 17 games. But the Rays missed several other chances against Weaver, which they might regret if the arrow falls amiss … Nope, he stuck the landing.
Mariners 6, @Royals 4 — Kendrys Morales broke a 9th-inning tie with a 2-run homer off of Aaron Crow.
I haven’t heard yet why Ned Yost didn’t use his best reliever, Greg Holland, once there was no chance of a save opportunity, but let’s assume it was because Holland had pitched 3 days in a row. Now, one reason often given why ace relievers aren’t more often used in crucial non-save moments, nor for more than 3 outs at a time, is that it could lead to overuse. But Holland’s 3 straight workdays included just one high-leverage game, on Tuesday. On Monday, he pitched the 9th with a 2-run lead, starting against Seattle’s 8th- and 9th-place hitters. Sunday he worked the 9th with a 5-0 lead, presumably because he had pitched just once in the past 6 days.
But Holland could have gotten his “stay-sharp” outing on Saturday, when K.C. lost, 4-2, on 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, the last two on 2-out, bags-full walks by Aaron Crow. Then he could have rested Sunday, when he obviously wasn’t needed, and thus could have been ready for more important occasions — like a tie game in the 9th inning. In the end, rote usage of relief aces is just as prone to overwork as usage governed by true need.
Rangers 5, @Athletics 1 — Even though Coco Crisp’s 1st-inning double wound up as the game’s only run in the first 3 innings, somehow the fact that it wasn’t a home run in his 4th straight game seemed to doom Oakland’s win streak.
Rays 7, @Angels 1 — Welcome back, Mr. Moore! Your run-support charm is just what Tampa needed to end their lumber’s slumber. But which-in-the-world “Roberto Hernandez” was that, coming out of the bullpen to rack up 7 Ks from just 11 batters, including the first five he faced?!? The guy I know hasn’t whiffed more than 7 in his last 62 starts, back to Sept. 2010. It’s the most strikeouts in 3+ years in a relief outing of 12 BF or less.
- Had Mike Trout missed the 1-and-2 pitch in the 8th inning, Hernandez might have been the first since 1981 (and 6th in searchable history) to strike out 8 out of 11 men or less in a relief appearance. (Game links: Ron Davis, Goose Gossage, Terry Forster, Tom Griffin, Bobby Shantz and Ryne Duren.)
- Joe Blanton stranded 2 inherited, and allowed just one run while getting the last 10 outs, but was charged with minus-0.002 WPA on general principles. Blanton snapped a 4-game string allowing 3+ runs in relief, the first such streak since 2004.
- With 2 doubles, Wil Myers matched his XBH output of the prior 15 games, in which he went 7-55 with 2 runs, 2 RBI.
Matt Moore is now 15-3, with 126.2 IP. Assuming a steady rotation, he’d get 5 more starts, including the season finale. If he maintained his current average of 5.8 IP per start, he’d finish the year with 155-2/3 innings — but he could also have up to 20 wins. (If you prefer, Moore is averaging 6.5 IP in his wins; winning the last 5 at that rate would give him 159 IP.) The fewest innings ever for starting pitchers with these win totals:
- 20 wins — 188.2 IP, Jered Weaver, 2012
- 19 wins — 169.1 IP, Storm Davis, 1989
- 18 wins* — 167.2 IP, Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2008
- 17 wins** — 163 IP, Paul Abbott, 2001
- 16 wins*** — 154.2 IP, Ken Hill, 1994 (short schedule)
* Reliever Roy Face had 18 wins in 1959, with just 93.1 IP.
** John Hiller and Bill Campbell each won 17, in 1974 (150 IP) and 1976 (167.2 IP), respectively.
*** SP Freddie Fitzsimmons won 16 in 1940 with just 134.1 IP over 20 games, but he had one relief win. As a starter, he was 15-2 in 130.2 IP.
With 2 more victories, Moore would be just the 2nd Ray with 17 wins in a season.
Blue Jays 10, @Diamondbacks 4 — Unsheath the fork: At least we can put one pretender out of mind. Losing 5 of 6 to also-rans has left the Snakes 8 games out of a wild card, with none to play against the Reds, and 7 against the Dodgers.
- Edwin Encarnacion has 36 HRs and 57 strikeouts (7 HRs & 6 Ks in his last 26 games). In the last 20 years, the fewest strikeouts in an AL 40-HR season is 69, by Rafael Palmeiro, 1999.
- Among the handful of hitters with more walks than strikeouts in the last 2 years combined, only Encarnacion has even 20 home runs. And regardless of walks, he’s the only one in 2012-13 with homers totaling at least half his strikeouts (78, 151).
- In 37 ABs with men on 1st & 2nd, Martin Prado has 10 hits, and 7 GDPs.
We know that Jose Reyes had a horrible ankle injury this year. But how much of his diminished baserunning value is traced to that injury, and how much to simple aging? At age 30, Reyes in 71 games has just 13 steals (5 CS), zero triples, and zero WAR Runs from baserunning. In 9 prior seasons, Jose averaged 15 triples per 162 games, and had triples for 7.5% of his hits, at a fairly steady clip; last year he had 12 triples out of 184 hits (6.5%). His base-stealing had already declined from his 70-steal peak, but he swiped 40 last year. His WAR Runs/baserunning are currently at 0; for 2004-12, he ranked 3rd overall with 41 Rbaser.
Reyes has missed only 2 games since returning from the ankle sprain in late June, which tends to suggest that the ankle is no longer a serious issue. But in his last 40 games, Jose has just 3 steals, with 4 CS.
@Padres 3, Giants 2 — Far from madding playoff chase, Huston Street ran his scoreless string to 20.1 innings, one short of his best. His 228 saves through age 29 are 3rd-most ever. K-Rod had 291 through 2011, 13 since; Rod Beck had 250 by age 29, the year he saved 51, but only 36 thereafter. Mariano Rivera had just 129 saves through age 29, Trevor Hoffman 135; for age 30 onward, Mo has 519, Hoffman had 466.
- Angel Pagan was the first in 2+ years with no runs scored despite a triple, a double, a single and a steal. All three hits came leading off an inning, but Bruce Bochy followed the convention of using a lousy hitter in the #2 hole, in this case Tony Abreu (0-5 here, .250 BA and .280 OBP in 200 career games). Pagan’s leadoff triple in the 7th, in a tie game, was the WPA “play of the game,” but the Jints couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.
- Heath Hembree: Discuss.
Random stuff from Minnesota 9, @Houston 6:
- Chris Carter aiming for the windows.
- Brandon Barnes caught stealing home.
- Trevor Plouffe‘s first 4-hit game, career game #327.
- Josmil Pinto‘s first 4-hit game, career game #2 (both multi-hit affairs).
- A go-ahead wild pitch in the 12th.
- And this I’ve never seen before.
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