I feel like I’m talking a lot about the Baltimore Orioles lately, but they deserve it. The team is 16-8 in the second half, beating the pants off of a schedule that has been one of the toughest in baseball since the All-Star Break. They haven’t played one game against a team under .500 so far, and may not until next week against the White Sox (depending on whether or not the Indians can stay at or above .500 over the next couple of days). Baltimore has lost just one series since the Break, a three-game set in Oakland in their first games back. They’ve taken four out of six from the Angels, five out of seven from the Mariners, two out of three from both the Cardinals and Blue Jays, and single games (so far) against the Nationals and Yankees. They’ve opened up a six game lead in the AL East that is the largest division lead in all of baseball, and their coronation seems inevitable over the next six or so weeks.
Game of the Night: Twins 4, Astros 2. When nothing is going on, I defer to the ninth inning victory. The Twins and Astros were tied at two going into the ninth, and Josh Fields struggled for Houston after three marvelous innings in relief by Jake Buchanan. Fields struck out Edwin Escobar to lead off the inning, then walked Jordan Schafer. After a Danny Santana pop-up, Schafer stole second and Fields walked Brian Dozier to bring up Joe Mauer. Mauer showed a flash of his old self, singling in Schafer and Dozier to make it a 4-2 game. Kennys Vargas struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done. Glen Perkins allowed a one-out single to Jake Marisnick in the bottom of the inning, but got a pair of ground outs to end it.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Drew Smyly pitched the Rays to a 7-0 win over the Rangers, allowing three hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, walking three and striking out nine. Felix Hernandez trucked the Blue Jays in an 11-1 Mariners victory, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings, punching out eight without a walk. Yovani Gallardo allowed one run on six hits in seven innings, punching out six without a walk in Milwaukee’s 3-1 win over the Cubs. Kevin Correia shined in his Dodgers debut, giving up one run on four hits in six innings, walking one and striking out five as Los Angeles beat Atlanta 6-2.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Travis Snider shined in Pittsburgh’s 11-6 win over Detroit, going 3/5 with a double, two homers, three runs, and four RBI. Teammate Starling Marte also helped out, going 2/4 with a triple, two runs, three RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. In Miami’s 6-5 win over St. Louis, Giancarlo Stanton went 2/3 with a pair of homers, three RBI, and a walk, while Christian Yelich went 3/4 with a double, two runs, an RBI, and a stolen base. Matt Holliday went 4/4 with two doubles, a run, an RBI, and a walk in the loss for the Cardinals. Robinson Cano went 2/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, two RBI, and a walk in Seattle’s win over Toronto, while Mike Zunino went 2/3 with a triple, two runs, two RBI, and a walk.
Hitting Lines of the Night, Orioles Magic Edition: The Orioles pasted the Yankees 11-3, scoring ten straight runs after going down 3-1. Nelson Cruz went 2/2 with a homer and three RBI. Rookie Jonathan Schoop went 2/4 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Chris Davis went 2/3 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI. Adam Jones went 3/5 with two doubles, a run, and two RBI. Baltimore is now threatening to run away with the AL East.
Other Games: The Mets beat the Phillies 5-3. The Royals edged the A’s 3-2. The Padres beat the Rockies 4-3, and no one even noticed.
Today’s Games: Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles host the Yankees. Mat Latos and the Reds take on the Red Sox. Doug Fister starts for the Nationals in Flushing. Adam Wainwright gets the nod for the Cardinals in Miami. Wily Peralta takes the hill for the Brewers at Wrigley. Jon Lester will start for the A’s in Kansas City. Collin McHugh and the Astros host the Brewers. C.J. Wilson and the Angels host the Phillies. Chris Sale and Ryan Vogelsong will duel in San Francisco.
National TV: Dodgers-Braves (7 PM, MLB Network), Tigers-Pirates (7 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.