@Marlins 10, Indians 0 — Unstoppable force, meet No-Way Jose Fernandez. Miami’s precocious ace prolonged his coming-of-age party — his 21st game was his first at age 21 — with a gem more brilliant than the last one, throwing a 14-K roadblock in front of Cleveland’s 8-win streak.
Royals 7, @Twins 2 — Justin Maxwell left a team that went 11-29 in games he played this year and lent an instant hand to the hottest club around, with a hit, a walk, a run and a ribby. Two sac flies and three RBI groundouts punctuated K.C.’s 9th straight win, matching their best since 1994. This streak and that one both began on July 23, with a labor-management cloud hanging over baseball.
Who’s up for a Bucs-Rays World Series? I foresee great entertainment for real baseball fans, and weak ratings to frustrate the network — a win-win!
@Pirates 2, Cardinals 1 (1st game, 11 inn.) — After two Bucs got free passes, Alex Presley singled to win it, pushing the Pirates atop the NL Central with the nightcap pending. Presley’s hit came on a full count and glanced off the glove of rookie southpaw Kevin Siegrist, who’d allowed just 4 hits and a run in his first 14 innings and might have escaped with a DP had he let it go through. It was Pittsburgh’s 6th game-ending hit, each by a different player, and gave them the majors’ best record at 63-42.
Rays 2, @Red Sox 1 — In a game rescheduled by rain, 8th-inning showers stalled David Price’s bid for the first 5-win July in Tampa history, and twice his relief nearly blew the lead. But Fernando Rodney escaped his self-imposed jam by striking out Mike Napoli, and the Rays nipped back into 1st place by a half-game.
Four 1-0 games in one day?!? There was one other day this year with two such games. Last June 13 had three, as did 2010-09-11, 2009-07-01, 2004-09-19 and 2004-06-08. There were six in three days starting 2005-08-12. But if I’m not mistaken, the last day with four 1-0 games was 2001-09-02. (You’ll have to poke around to find which one of those was most memorable.)
Only the early precincts were tallied when Game Notes put the issue to bed.
Rays 10, @Yankees 6 — Rain ruined the rampaging Rays’ second head-to-head crack at 1st place on Thursday, but the indirect route proved just as rewarding. A 6-run eruption off CC Sabathia, plus Boston’s meek loss in Charm City, left them alone at the top for the first time since last June, riding the long crest of a 20-3 wave (2.33 ERA).
@Nationals 9, Pirates 7 — The Nats blew a 7-3 lead in the top of the 9th, putting a 7th straight loss in play. But Bryce Harper saved the day, blasting his first walk-off homer for their first game-ending hit of the year. Kurt Suzuki got the inning to Harper with a 1-out single. They’d grown the lead from 1 to 4 with an 8th-inning rough-up of Vin Mazzaro.