INTERLEAGUE (AL STADIUMS)
Atlanta Braves 4, New York Yankees 3
Jason Heyward and the Atlanta Braves made sure the New York Yankees weren’t about to win more than 10 in a row. Heyward, who is still having a solid if unspectacular season, went 2-3 with a triple, run scored, RBI, and walk in the Atlanta win. Tim Hudson allowed all three Yankee runs in five innings (though one was unearned) before giving way to four shutout innings from his bullpen. Atlanta got their fourth run off Hiroki Kuroda in the sixth and held on the rest of the way. Nick Swisher reached base three times and drove in a pair in the loss.
When the Indians rolled into Cincinnati last week, the Reds took care of business. The home team is once again dominating in the all-Ohio series, as the Indians have taken two straight against their state mates. The game went into extra innings tied at one before the Reds took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th and handed the game over to the nearly unstoppable Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was only able to record one out before surrendering a two-run shot to Asdrubal Cabrera to give Cleveland a walk-off victory. Mike Leake and Josh Tomlin each only allowed one run in over six innings of work.
The Tigers came out on top in this battle of underperforming teams. Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, as expected, were big reasons for the Detroit win. Verlander only allowed one earned run (and three total) in seven innings despite walking more than he struck out. Cabrera reached base three times, doubled, scored a run, and drove in a run. Austin Jackson also drove in two runs to help the Large Cats. Matt Holliday doubled, walked, and drove in a run for St. Louis.
Clay Buchholz ended his streak of recent dominance, but he and his team still wound up on the right side of the ledger. David Ortiz and Kelly Shoppach each hit two-run homers, while Cody Ross added a solo shot of his own. On the other side, the big performance belonged to Logan Morrison. Morrison, who always seems so close to busting out, went 3-4 with five RBI and his sixth home run of the season. Hanley Ramirez was also 2-4 with three runs scored.
Well, that’s two straight for the hapless Cubs over the division-leading White Sox. Jake Peavy tossed a complete game and only allowed one run for the White Sox, but an unearned run in the third inning wound up being the difference. Travis Wood only allowed one run across six frames, while David DeJesus had two hits and plated both Cubs runs. Tony Campana was picked off first base, thus temporarily putting on hold his quest to steal 1,000 bases.
Offense oozed from all over the Angels lineup in their bludgeoning of the Giants Tuesday night. Albert Pujols homered and drove in four, Mark Trumbo had three extra-base hits and drove in five, Mike Trout reached base five times, and Torii Hunter had two hits and two runs scored. The offense onslaught was enough to drive Barry Zito from the game early and make up for a sub-par night from C.J. Wilson. Melky Cabrera and Joaquin Arias each had three hits for the Giants in a lost cause. And yes, Melky Cabrera is still hitting .369.
Brandon McCarthy was stellar, going seven shutout innings and allowing only three baserunners in front of the home crowd. Aaron Harang was, um, not stellar. Harang didn’t escape the fourth inning and managed to walk eight A’s hitters along the way. It’s rather fortunate the final of this game wasn’t bloodier. Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes each drove in a run, while Coco Crisp had three stolen bases in the victory.
INTERLEAGUE (NL STADIUMS)
The Rays had all five runs they needed by the end of the third inning after getting to Chien-Ming Wang early and often. The biggest blow was a two-run homer off the bat of Carlos Pena, while B.J. Upton also had two hits and drove in a run. David Price kept his team in control by going seven innings and only allowing three earned runs. Michael Morse hit his first home run since returning from injury, while Ian Desmond also provided a solo homer for the losing Nationals.
As much as the game above was one between two exciting playoff hopefuls, this one was a contest between two teams just praying to keep their heads above water and not be abolished from baseball or something. (Yes, I know the Pirates are four games over .500, but it’s being done with a -17 run differential). Andrew McCutchen (!) and Clint Barmes (?) each had three hits and drove in runs to cue the Pirate victory. Kevin Correia pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings but had to leave the game once his pitch count got too high. Denard Span added a long ball for the Twins.
He didn’t throw a no-hitter or anything, but Johan Santana was still great on Tuesday night. Santana pitched six shutout innings and struck out five, while a two-run homer from Lucas Duda helped seal the deal in a game that was 1-0 through the top of the sixth. Jordany Valdespin‘s success of late continued with two more hits and two more RBI. Matt Wieters was able to reach base thrice in the loss, thus accounting for nearly half of his team’s on-base occurrences.
Luke Hochevar is such a frustrating pitcher. He seems to alternate getting completely lit up and doing things like this. Hochevar pitched 7 2/3 innings, struck out six, and didn’t allow a run. Billy Butler backed him by going 2-3 with a solo homer and a walk, while Alcides Escobar also drove in a run. On the Houston side, Carlos Lee reached base three times and Wandy Rodriguez threw a quality start in the loss.
Say what you want about the Blue Jays, but they know how to hit homers. The Jays hit six of them to edge out the Brewers and move two games over .500 on Tuesday. Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista each homered twice, while Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion each did the deed once. Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam for the Brewers, but it wasn’t enough in the end. Down 9-6 after the sixth inning, the Jays scored four times in the final three frames. With his performance Tuesday, Rasmus is now hitting .259/.319/.486 as a center fielder. I’m betting the Cardinals wish they still had that.
The Mariners and D-Backs headed into extra innings tied at nine, but Casper Wells had a pinch-hit single that drove in two in the top of the 10th and eventually won the game. Ichiro Suzuki had four hits (including the 2,500th of his career), while the Mariners also got long balls from Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak, and…Brendan Ryan. One night after hitting for the cycle, Aaron Hill kept his hot streak going with a double, a homer, and two RBI. Paul Goldschmidt and Gerardo Parra also went deep.
Things haven’t gone well for Scott Feldman this season, but there’s nothing like facing the Padres to cure what ails you. Feldman pitched six innings, allowed just two earned runs, and struck out five for his first win of the season. He got help from the return of Josh Hamilton, as the outfielder tripled, scored two runs, and drove in two runs. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz also contributed multiple hits and RBI to help the Rangers never trail past the second inning. Nick Hundley was 2-4 with a run and RBI for the Padres. The recently-extended catcher has never had trouble with the bat before, but this season has been a different story so far.
Cole Hamels picked up his 10th win with a dominant eight-inning performance against one of the top run-scoring units in the National League. Hamels only allowed two earned runs and struck out seven. He got support from the home runs of Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr. Ruiz is now hitting .358/.417/.585, and while he’s always hit for average, that power spike is something of a surprise. Is this going to be a Yadier Molina 2011 situation all over again in which a new element to an already valuable catcher’s game is found?