Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – gaining separation

A week ago, all of the races in the National League were tied. Today…well, not so much. The Nationals have opened up a 1.5 game lead on the Braves in the NL East, thanks in large part to Atlanta losing three out of four games to the Marlins this week.The Brewers swept the Reds this week, and are now three games up on both the Cardinals and Pirates. In the West, the Giants have a 1.5 game lead on the Dodgers after each team had drastically different results in Pennsylvania. This weekend, the Dodgers and Giants will duel in a western showdown that could tell us something about the division the rest of the way.

Game of the Night: Marlins 3, Braves 2. Atlanta keeps finding new and interesting ways to lose ballgames, and that’s not good for them as a potential playoff team. This contest was knotted at two going into the ninth, and Craig Kimbrel came on to keep the game all square. Kimbrel struck out both Garrett Jones and Marcell Ozuna to lead off the inning, but Ozuna reached on a wild pitch. He then moved up to second on another wild pitch, and scored on a single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That’s right – a batter Kimbrel struck out scored what would go on to be the winning run. In the bottom of the ninth, Steve Cishek got Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, and Jason Heyward all to fly out to end the game and send the Braves to another gutwrenching loss.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Apologies to the following pitchers who had quality starts that won’t be mentioned today – Tyson Ross, Hector Noesi, Henderson Alvarez, Max Scherzer, Brandon McCarthy, Aaron Harang, Tim Hudson, and Colby Lewis.

In the Indians’ 2-1, 14 inning loss to the Royals, Corey Kluber allowed one unearned run on two hits in nine innings, walking none and punching out ten. Kansas City starter Danny Duffy as nearly as good, giving up just two hits over seven scoreless frames, striking out seven and walking a pair. Marcus Stroman dominated the Red Sox in Toronto’s 8-0 win, giving up just one hit over seven shutout innings, walking a pair and striking out seven. Matt Garza steamrolled the Mets in Milwaukee’s 9-1 win, allowing one run on two hits in eight innings, punching out four while walking one. Cole Hamels dominated the Giants in Philadelphia’s 2-1 win, giving up one run on six hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out ten. Wei-Yin Chen shut down the Mariners in Baltimore’s 4-0 win, allowing five hits in eight shutout innings, walking one and striking out three. Jeff Samardzija pitched very well in Oakland’s 13-1 mauling of Houston, giving up one run on five hits in eight innings, punching out six without a walk.

Hitting Lines of the Night: In Toronto’s win over Boston, Juan Francisco went 3/4 with a triple, a homer, two runs, and four RBI. Melky Cabrera chipped in by going 3/4 with three doubles, a run, two RBI, and a walk. Padres catcher Rene Rivera had a good night in San Diego’s 13-3 win over the Cubs, going 3/5 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Khris Davis went 2/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, two RBI, and a walk in Milwaukee’s win over the Mets. Brandon Moss went 1/3 with a grand slam, a walk, and two runs scored in the Athletics’ win over the Astros.

Other Games: The Yankees doubled up the Rangers 4-2. The White Sox defeated the Twins 5-2. The Tigers topped the Angels 6-4.

Today’s Games: Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees host the Blue Jays and Mark Buehrle. Jon Lester and David Price will square off in Tampa Bay. Wade Miley gets the nod for the Diamondbacks in Philadelphia. Alfredo Simon and the Reds host Tanner Roark and the Nationals. Alex Wood and the Braves take on the Padres. Jason Hammel will take the hill for the A’s in Texas. Yordano Ventura starts for the Royals against the Indians. Zack Wheeler and Yovani Gallardo will duel in Milwaukee. Dallas Keuchel starts for the Astros against the Marlins. Charlie Morton gets the nod for the Pirates in Denver. Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum will duel in San Francisco. Felix Hernandez and the Mariners host the Orioles.

National TV: Blue Jays-Yankees (7 PM, MLB Network), Red Sox-Rays (7 PM, MLB Network)

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.