The Mets and the Nationals are battling for the National League East. Let me repeat that: The Mets and the
Nationals are battling for the division crown in the NL East. With the Mets 2.5 games back entering yesterday’s contest, they sent knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the mound to try and avoid the sweep. And he did just that.
After the Nationals took the first two games of the series in convincing fashion, Dickey’s continued run of success knocked the Nats off their tracks. Dickey pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowed four hits, struck out eight, and didn’t give up a run. For those who track crazy things like wins and losses for a pitcher (come on now, some of you still do), Dickey is 9-1. His ERA dropped to 2.44 on the season, and he may be in the midst of the best run any knuckleball pitcher has ever seen – including Phil and Joe Niekro.
The Mets broke open the scoreless game in the top of the fifth with a two-run home run by Lucas Duda. Duda now has 10 home runs on the season. New York added a run in the seventh when Daniel Murphy singled home David Wright. The Nationals weren’t able to get on the board until Dickey had left the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Zimmerman homered off Frank Francisco. It wouldn’t be enough though, and the Mets took the game 3-1.
New York is now just 1.5 games back of the Nationals. The Braves are still ahead of the Mets in the standings as well, but not by much. The three teams are separated by just three games in the loss column. All three have 32 wins on the year. There is a lot of baseball left to be played, but not many would have predicted these three teams to be battling it out at the top of the division in early June. If you add Miami into the mix – and you should since they are just 2 games back – the NL East may be the deepest of any division in baseball. Only the American League East has more teams over .500 with all five teams cracking that threshold.
Cleveland – 5
Detroit – 7
Texas – 1
Oakland – 7
Texas’ struggles continued as the A’s won the series with a lopsided victory over the Rangers yesterday. Yu Darvish allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings and was out-pitched by Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy went seven and allowed just one run.
Tampa Bay – 7
New York – 3
David Price continued to show why he is an ace as he helped the Rays past the Yankees in the game and in the standings. Price went five innings and allowed just one run on three hits.
Baltimore – 0
Boston – 7
The Orioles couldn’t complete the three-game sweep as Clay Buchholz tossed a shut-out. Buchholz pitched a complete game and allowed just four hits. Kevin Youkilis went 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Adrian Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI.
Toronto – 3
Chicago – 4
Orlando Hudson, the much maligned second baseman/third baseman, has turned over a new leaf with the White Sox it would seem – at least he seems more inclined to come up with big hits. With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Hudson smacked a walk-off single to send Chicago past the Blue Jays.
Los Angeles – 8
Philadelphia – 3
The surging Dodgers completed their sweep of the sinking Phillies. The popular pick to win the NL East, the Phillies have failed to live up to expectation and were downed again by L.A. who improved their league-best record to 37-21.
Chicago – 3
Milwaukee – 4
The Brewers walked off winners after Norichika Aoki hit a tenth inning lead-off home run to win the game. It was his second home run of the day. Ryan Braun went 1 for 4 and Corey Hart added a pair of hits.
San Francisco – 8
San Diego – 3
The Giants scored in six out of nine innings and hit three home runs to help Matt Cain beat the Padres. Cain struck out nine and allowed three runs in seven innings. The loss drops the Padres to a Major League-worst 19-39 on the season.
Pittsburgh – 5
Cincinnati – 4
Aroldis Chapman finally gave up a run yesterday. The run came in the tenth with the game knotted up at 4-4. Michael McHenry laced the RBI double the finally gave Chapman a number to put in the ERA column – 0.30 – and the Pirates were able to hold the lead in the bottom of the tenth.
Atlanta – 8
Miami – 2
Jason Heyward hit two home runs for the Braves. Atlanta completed the sweep of the Marlins and moved into second place in the NL East. The Braves outscored Miami 21-3 in the series.
St. Louis – 14
Houston – 2
David Freese hit a grand-slam and a two-run home run in the game and finished the game with 6 RBI. Lance Lynn struck out 11 and allowed just two runs in six innings of work. It was the only lopsided victory of the series, but the Cardinals managed to take two out of three from the Astros.