Felix Hernandez's perfect game against the Rays last week was one of the best sports moments of the year. One of the premier pitchers in baseball reaching hallowed ground? Yes please. Hernandez followed up his dominance last week with an oustanding performance last night, albeit one that wasn't perfect. In a 5-1 Mariners win over the Indians, Hernandez allowed just one run on seven hits over 7 2/3 innings, walking just one and striking out five. He actually went into the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied at one before Seattle's offense exploded and gave him some run support, and as a result, his 12th win of the year. Hernandez has suddenly given Justin Verlander some competition in the AL Cy Young race, and that's awesome. The best moment from last night however, was a crowd of 39,000 at Safeco Field wearing the Hernandez perfection shirts that were given away before the game and waving K signs throughout most of the game. It looked absolutely awesome.
Game of the Night: Padres 7, Pirates 5 (ten innings). If you look at TOC staffer Pat Lackey's Twitter page, you can tell that this game made him irate. The Pirates led 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, but a Will Venable groundout tied the game at three. Chris Denorfia hit a sac fly in the seventh to put the Padres in front (despite AJ Burnett having no business starting the inning for the Pirates), and veteran Chad Qualls (who has been awful all year) allowed a sac fly to Carlos Quentin to make it 5-3. However, the Pirates fought back, tying the game at five in the ninth on a two-run homer by Garrett Jones. In the bottom of the tenth, newly called up Daniel McCutchen made his inning count: he walked Venable, then allowed a walkoff two-run homer to Chase Headley. The Pirates are now clinging to the playoffs by just half of a game.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Adam Wainwright destroyed the Astros in a 7-0 Cardinals win, throwing a complete game shutout and allowing five hits, one walk, and a whopping 12 strikeouts. In the Royals ten inning win over the Rays, both starters were magnificent. Luke Hochevar allowed just one hit over eight scoreless frames, walking three and striking out ten. David Price threw eight shutout innings of his own, giving up three hits and striking out eight hitters without a walk. Brewers rookie Marco Estrada shut out the Cubs over six in a 5-2 Milwaukee win, allowing two hits, one walk, and striking out nine. In a 4-1 A's win over the Twins, Brett Anderson's first start back from Tommy John surgery couldn't have gone better: he allowed one run on four hits over seven innings, walking none and striking out six.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In that painful Pirates loss in San Diego, Garrett Jones went 3/4 with three RBI, a walk, and two homers, while Will Venable went 4/5 with three runs, an RBI, a walk, two doubles, and a stolen base. The Reds edged the Phillies 5-4, and Todd Frazier went 2/3 with two runs, a walk, a double, and a homer.
Other Games: Ricky Romero was embarrassing for the Blue Jays in a 5-3 loss to the Tigers. The Nationals dominated the Braves in a 4-1 win. The Angels toppled the Red Sox 5-3. The Rockies rallied late, and beat the Mets 6-2. The Orioles beat the Rangers 5-3. The White Sox beat the Yankees 7-3. The Marlins beat the Diamondbacks 6-5 in ten innings. Tim Lincecum was solid for the Giants in a 4-1 win over the Dodgers.
Today's Games: Five day games? I'll take it. James Shields starts for the Rays against the Royals. Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers host the Cubs. Jacob Turner makes his Marlins debut, and he'll take on Tyler Skaggs of the Diamondbacks, making his major league debut. Wade Miley starts game two of that doubleheader for Arizona. James McDonald starts for the Pirates in San Diego, and the Buccos desperately need a win. Kris Medlen looks to salvage Atlanta's series in Washington against Ross Detwiler. Jered Weaver starts for the Angels in Boston against Clay Buchholz. Chris Sale starts for the White Sox, hosting the Yankees. Matt Cain and Chris Capuano will duel in Los Angeles.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.