The San Francisco Giants have rarely made things easy for themselves this season. At one time, they had played their way well out of contention for the playoffs before roaring back into life. They haven’t been able to sustain that momentum, but they are a game above .500 and still clinging to hopes. Friday night’s game was a microcosm of their season. Twice in the late going the Giants led only to let the Diamondbacks get past them all over again. In a topsy turvy game, it was the grandson of Carl Yastremski, Mike, yet once more coming up with the goods.
He hit home runs in the third and seventh innings, plating three runs via that method. The second homer had them up 6-2, but they wouldn’t hold that lead. The Diamondbacks would force extras, and they just kept hanging in there, matching the Giants in the bottom of the eighth and tenth frames. However, Yastremski had the last laugh in the top of the 11th, homering to center field to eventually win it for the Giants 10-9. The win means they are still just 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
Bryce Harper’s start to life as a Philadelphia Phillie has been far from smooth for much of the season, but he has had his moments. On Thursday night, he certainly had one of those as he led his team to a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs at home. Chicago had jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead thanks to strong hitting from Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber and seven innings of fantastic work on the mound from Yu Darvish.
The starter went those seven innings while striking out ten and only allowing four hits in an almost flawless performance that saw him not walk a soul. In the eighth inning, the Phillies began their comeback, plating one run and having Rhys Hoskins thrown out at the plate for a second. But the ninth inning saw them knock in a couple of more runs to make it 5-3 before Harper strolled to the dish with the bases loaded. His grand slam ended the game, handing the Phillies a 7-5 win and leading him to call it of his ‘coolest moments’ ever. With the loss, the Cubs stayed locked into a tie with the Cardinals in the NL Central and are just a game above Milwaukee. The Phillies are still two and a half off of Washington for second in the NL East and eight behind the Braves. More crucially, though, is that the Phillies are only a game off the Cubs now in the Wild Card battle having taken the season series 5-2.
Surging Cardinals Blank Royals, Stave Off No-Hit Bid
Over the course of a 162-game season, it’s easy to lose sight of how important each and every game is. Some divisions are already all sewn up and have been for seemingly months. That’s not a luxury the St. Louis Cardinals have, however, and they continue to play great baseball as they look to win the NL Central. After their win on Wednesday night, the Cardinals are once again top of the division, albeit tied with the Chicago Cubs.
The two teams are only 1.5 games up on Milwaukee in what looks to be a race that could go all the way to the wire. It was first rookie Dakota Hudson that flourished on the mound against the Kansas City Royals, pitching six superb innings and allowing no runs on just five hits. His counterpart, though, had a chance at history but instead had it back fire in shocking fashion. Brad Keller had a no-hitter going into the seventh. Then the Cardinals started to decimate him, with five runs being plated in the frame after some ‘small’ ball. An inning later, Paul DeJong’s homer made it 6-0, completing the scoring and ensuring a sweep of the two-game series for the Cards as well as a fifth straight win for them.
Pujols Sets Foreign Hits Mark And Boost Angels To Victory
Albert Pujols just keeps on keeping on. The Los Angeles Angels’ man made history on Wednesday night as he went to #1 on the all-time hit list for foreign players. With two hits in the game, along with three RBIs and two runs scored, Pujols had his pulse all over it just like he’s had on the entire league for the last decade plus.
The 7-4 victory for the Angels does little to change the standings for either them or their visitors, the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it’s yet another feather in the cap of Pujols as he surpassed Adrian Beltre with his 3,167th hit. The Dominican Republic slugger now is also 15th all-time on the list regardless of country of origin. The 39-year old may not have the same pop he once had, but he’s still plenty capable, as he showed on this night.
The Boston Red Sox needed extra innings to defeat the Cleveland Indians 7-6 on Tuesday night, and despite them being very much outsiders for the postseason at this stage, that still didn’t stop them from making a little bit of history on the way to the victory. First off, it was starting pitcher Chris Sale that would make it. Sale, who came into the game needing five strikeouts to reach 2000 of them, did so after just three innings. In total he would end up with 12 of them on the night, enough to easily surpass Pedro Martinez in the number of innings it took him to rack up that number.
Sale, who has struggled throughout the season, didn’t have his best game, however, giving up five runs (only three of which were earned) in six and 2/3 innings. On the other side of the plate, Boston was aided by the consistently great hitting of Rafael Devers to record their win. Devers went 6-6 on the evening, which would make him the youngest player to do that in the modern era. The 22 year-old had four doubles in the game, including one in the tenth inning. He now leads the entire American League in batting average (.328) and unsurprisingly doubles (43). The Indians’ loss means they are a half game behind the Minnesota Twins in the tight AL Central race.
The New York Yankees have rampaged this season, even with a plethora of injuries to account for throughout the campaign. As capably as they have gone about things, the Baltimore Orioles have gone about them as poorly. That, unsurprisingly, continued on Monday as the Yankees swept a doubleheader as you would expect them to do so. In the afternoon affair, the Yankees hit four home runs in an 8-5 victory. Didi Gregorious, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, and Cameron Maybin all went yard as they once again beat the helpless Orioles.
In the nightcap, they again plated plenty of runs, taking their 15th consecutive win over their AL East foes by a score of 11-8. Torres excelled yet again, hammering two more home runs, one in the fifth and one in the sixth, to help them gain another win. That accounted for 6 RBIs, paving their way to the eventual ‘W.’ On top of that, it was his 13th of the season against the beleaguered O’s. He trails Lou Gehrig by one now, and you have to like his chances to surpass the record. Half of his 26 homers have came against the same opponents. They are now even further ahead of Tampa Bay and look all but assured of winning the division barring a major collapse.
Mike Minor has had one of the most eye catching seasons in all of baseball on the mound, especially given the way that the league has gone this year. On Sunday, he and his Texas Rangers were able to avoid a sweep against the Milwaukee Brewers largely due to his pitching. The pitcher improved to 11-6 on the season by going eight innings and giving up no runs in a narrow 1-0 victory.
Jordan Lyles, his losing counterpart, only surrendered a solitary run, on a sac fly by Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The showing by Minor is all the more impressive when you consider what he had done in the game prior. He still hasn’t given up a run in August, and even if it only started that means he’s gone 15 innings without giving one up. That’ll leave teams wishing they had made a bigger move for the Rangers lefty, even if they had to give up a lot to get him.
The New York Mets came back to win in dramatic fashion on Friday night. And apparently they enjoyed it so much that they decided to try it out again on Saturday night at Citi Field as they once again broke the hearts of the Washington Nationals by taking a 4-3 win to record their eighth consecutive victory.
It was also six wins in a row over the Nats, who are now 6.5 off the pace of Atlanta for first in the NL East and only half a game ahead of their hosts. Early on, it was the Juan Soto show. The second-year star put Washington up 2-0 in the top of the first with a two-run home run. Two homers from the Mets in the fourth evened it up before Soto once again hit a homer, this time a solo shot, to give the Nats a 3-2 lead. But it wouldn’t last, as the Mets rallied once more, only this time doing so in the bottom of the eighth. Luis Guillorme would level it up with a home run before a sacrifice fly from JD Davis drove in what proved to be the winning run.
Aquino Hits 3 Home Runs To Keep Up Impressive Start While Alvarez Does The Same
We’ve seen a number of impressive and ridiculous starts to careers in Major League Baseball before, but the one that Aristides Aquino has made through his first ten games is downright frightening. After Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds slugger has seven home runs in his first ten outings as a big leaguer. He got three of them against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, doing so in the second, third, and fourth innings as he helped lead them to a 10-1 win. He’s only the 12th player to hit a homer in three straight innings now and only the second to ever hit three home runs in a single game in his first ten.
Houston Astros man Yordan Alvarez, another rookie, was able to accomplish the same thing as well on
Saturday. The rookie had half of their home runs as they clobbered the Baltimore Orioles 23-2, making it the highest-scoring game in the history of their franchise in the process. It may be harsh to call them the worst team in MLB history, but this Orioles team has to be called the most noncompetitive, don’t they?
It’s not been often that a team has been able to down the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, as their gargantuan 17-game NL West lead over their visitors, the Arizona Diamondbacks, indicates. But the Diamondbacks got one over them on Friday night, taking a 3-2 victory after coming from behind. The Dodgers had plated a couple of early runs in the third inning and looked set to cruise from there as Walker Buehler went six innings while allowing just four hits.
He would pass the ball on, and that form continued, with the Dodgers mowing down the Diamondbacks. But when closer Kenley Jansen got handed the ball, it all changed. With a runner on board in the top of the ninth, Carson Kelly hit a home run to tie the game up at two apiece. Two innings later, it was the same man that stepped up to deliver the go-ahead run with another homer. Archie Bradley then would cause a highly tense moment, finishing off the game but running afoul of the Dodgers by doing so. The benches cleared at the way he celebrated, showing perhaps why the Dodgers are just so good: they care so much, that even this loss bothers them greatly.