The Pittsburgh Pirates completed a sweep at home over the Kansas City Royals, edging the Royals 3-2 thanks to a three RBI game from Andrew McCutchen. When you combine that Pirates win with the Reds 7-6 loss to the Tigers…the Pirates and Reds are now deadlocked at the top of the NL Central. The Pirates are 7-2 this month, and have picked up 2.5 games on the Reds, who are just 4-4. Furthermore, the Pirates are the only team in the division with a positive run differential for the month, at +12. I don't think the Pirates are long for the top of the division, though. Despite their 32-27 record, the Pirates are still sitting at a -17 differential for the year. They're the only team in baseball to not score 200 runs yet this seaon.
Game of the Day: Nationals 4, Red Sox 3. This was a nice back and forth game, with the Red Sox taking a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on a David Ortiz solo homer. With a possibly gassed Jon Lester on the hill in the seventh, Danny Espinosa stepped in and doubled in a pair of runs to give Washington a 3-2 lead. The Red Sox answered in the bottom of the innings off of Jordan Zimmermann, plating a run on a Scott Podsednik groundout. Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves came in for the ninth, and after walking Bryce Harper, allowed a double into the right field corner that scored Harper from first base to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead. Tyler Clippard struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to complete the sweep at Fenway for Washington.
Pitching Lines of the Day: After going two months without a win, Ryan Dempster picked up his second in a row in the Cubs' 8-2 blowout over the Twins. Dempster threw eight shutout innings in Minnesota, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out six Twins hitters. The Dodgers beat the Mariners 8-2, and starter Chad Billingsley was a big reason why. Billingsley went seven and gave up one run two hits, walking three and striking out eight. After the first inning, Billingsley allowed just one hits. Not too shabby. Ubaldo Jimenez turned in a great start for the Indians in their 4-1 win over the Cardinals, allowing just the one run over seven innings on five hits, striking out seven hitters without a walk.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Mark Trumbo powered an insane Angels offensive output in Denver, where the visitors earned a 10-8 win. Trumbo went 2/3 with six RBI, two walks, and a pair of homers. His teammate Torii Hunter remains on an offensive tear as well, going 3/6 with three runs, three RBI, and a homer. On the other side of the diamond, Tyler Colvin went 3/4 with two runs, three RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. Colby Rasmus had a good game for the Blue Jays in their 12-4 win in Atlanta, going 3/6 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer. Jason Kipnis went 3/4 with what ended up being a game-winning three run homer for the Indians against the Cardinals, driving in the final three runs in the 4-1 win. Russell Martin went 2/4 with three RBI and two homers, with the second being a walk-off, in the Yankees 5-4 win over the Mets in the Subway Series.
Spotlight Series: The Rangers beat the Giants 5-0 win take the series, but the win came with a price. Starter Alexi Ogando threw three perfect innings, striking out two, but left in the fourth inning after straining his groin on a bunt attempt. Robbie Ross relieved Ogando, and threw four shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Tim Lincecum struggled again for the Giants, giving up five runs in 5 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out five. The Rangers got their runs off of Lincecum with a barrage of doubles. Adrian Beltre drove in Elvis Andrus for the first run with a third inning double, and Ian Kinsler followed in the fourth with a two-run double. Then in the sixth, all-world hitter Josh Hamilton doubled in two more to send Lincecum to the showers and cap the win for the Rangers.
Other Games: The Brewers edged the Padres 6-5, and despite their rash of injuries, are only 4.5 games out in the NL Central. The Rays beat the Marlins 4-2 after a solid start from James Shields. The Orioles beat the Phillies 5-4 in ten innings, with a Matt Wieters double being the walk-off blast for Baltimore. The Astros beat the White Sox 11-9 in a slugest that saw the teams combine for seven homers. The Diamondbacks edged the A's 5-4 and are finally back up to the .500 mark. The Tigers rallied late against Aroldis Chapman, and beat the Reds 7-6.
Today's Games: Only four games on the schedule tomorrow. Edwin Jackson and the Nationals travel to Toronto to take on Brandon Morrow and the Blue Jays. The Red Sox travel to Miami to take on the Marlins, with former Marlins ace Josh Beckett taking on current Marlins ace Josh Johnson. The Braves welcome the Yankees to Atlanta, and will send Randall Delgado to the hill against Ivan Nova. Finally, we have the battle of the Los Angeles area between the Angels and Dodgers, and Garrett Richards versus Chris Capuano is the matchup on the docket.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.