We are dangerously close to the worst nightmare for the Oakland Athletics – the Los Angeles Angels surpassing them in the AL West standings. The Angels are just a game behind the A’s, and while Oakland has the benefit of playing a sad looking Braves team this weekend, the Angels will be battling a Rangers team that gave up on playing competitive baseball in May. Could you imagine if after everything the A’s did this winter and season – from signing Scott Kazmir, to trading for Jeff Samardzija, to moving Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester – put them in just a Wild Card game? Talk about a disaster.
Game of the Night: Phillies 5, Giants 3 (ten innings). Madison Bumgarner laid waste to the Phillies offense through the first seven innings of this one, allowing just a Marlon Byrd solo homer. Cole Hamels pitched well for the Phillies, but the three-run homer he allowed to Michael Morse in the fourth remained the difference. But the struggling Phillies didn’t quit, tying the game at three in the eighth thanks to a two-run homer by Cody Asche off of Jeremy Affeldt. In the bottom of the eighth, Joe Panik singled in Pablo Sandoval, but Byrd gunned out the hefty third baseman by about 20 feet at the plate. The Phillies put the go-ahead run on third with two outs in the ninth, but couldn’t break through. In the tenth, though, they did. Asche led off with a double, and was bunted to third by Andres Blanco, who wasn’t thrown out by the Giants on the play. Ben Revere flied out, but not deep enough to score Asche, and Jimmy Rollins was walked to load the bases. Javier Lopez then plunked Chase Utley to bring in Asche and make it a 4-3 game. Ryan Howard followed up with a sac fly to make it 5-3, and Jonathan Papelbon got three ground balls in the bottom of the tenth to pick up the save.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Madison Bumgarner dominated the Phillies in the Giants extra inning loss (thanks, bullpen!), allowing one run on four hits in seven innings, punching out nine without a walk. Corey Kluber kept Klubin’ in Cleveland’s 2-1, 11 inning win over Baltimore, giving up one run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out ten and walking a pair. Wei-Yin Chen countered him by giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out six. Alex Cobb pitched the Rays to a 5-0 win over the Yankees, tossing 7 1/3 shutout innings while allowing six hits, walking one, and punching out eight. Johnny Cueto pitched the Reds to a 3-2 win in Denver, giving up two runs on six hits in eight innings, walking a pair and striking out six.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In the Angels’ 5-4 win in Arlington, Kole Calhoun went 3/4 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Robbie Grossman went 3/5 for the Astros in their 5-3, ten inning win in Boston, adding a double, a homer, and two RBI to his ledger as well. The aforementioned Mr. Asche went 2/4 with a double, two runs, and three RBI. Jose Abreu helped the White Sox beat the Blue Jays 11-5, going 3/5 with two runs and three RBI. Braves rookie Phil Gosselin went 2/4 in Atlanta’s 7-2 win over Oakland, hitting his first career homer, scoring twice, and driving in a pair. Starling Marte’s Pirates lost to the Nationals 5-4, though Marte did go 2/4 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI.
Other Games: The Mariners stayed hot, beating the Tigers 7-2. The Mets edged the Cubs 3-2. The Diamondbacks’ three first inning runs held up in their 3-2 win over the Marlins. The Cardinals doubled up the Padres 4-2. The Royals held on to beat the Twins 6-5. The Brewers rallied late to beat the Dodgers 6-3.
Today’s Games: Drew Smyly and the Rays host the Yankees. Tim Hudson and the Giants take on the Phillies. Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran will duel in Atlanta. Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles take on the Indians. Felix Hernandez and David Price will face off in an epic battle. Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals host the Pirates. Jon Niese starts for the Mets against the Cubs and Dan Straily, making his debut with his new club. Mark Buehrle starts for the Blue Jays against the White Sox. Yordano Ventura and the Royals take on the Twins. Henderson Alvarez returns for the Marlins against Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks. Shelby Miller and the Cardinals host Jesse Hahn and the Padres. Yovani Gallardo and Clayton Kershaw will tango at Chavez Ravine.
National TV: Yankees-Rays (4 PM, Fox Sports 1), Padres-Cardinals (7 PM, Fox Sports 1), Reds-Rockies (10 PM, MLB Network, joined in progress), Brewers-Dodgers (10 PM, MLB Networked, joined in progress)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.