With star center fielder Andrew McCutchen on the shelf, you’d expect the Pirates to wither away and die in the National League playoff race. Of course, that hasn’t happened. Since McCutchen last played on Sunday, Pittsburgh is 3-1, scoring 19 runs over that four game stretch. Then again, the Marlins and Padres aren’t exactly the Tigers and Nationals, who the club is matched up with next week. But it’s amazing that the Pirates have not only stayed above water, but have moved into the NL’s top Wild Card spot with the reigning NL MVP out of the lineup. If they can somehow get him back sooner rather than later, and not start falling apart, a return to the Postseason could be in the cards.
Game of the Day: Rays 4, Cubs 3 (ten innings). This was an interesting contest. The Cubs led 2-1 after six, but the Rays knotted it up at two after a Curt Casali fielder’s choice brought in Sean Rodriguez. In the eighth, the Rays took the lead thanks in large part to a wild pitch on strike three to Kevin Kiermaier, allowing him to reach base with one out and keep the inning alive. Two hitters later, Matt Joyce singled in Ben Zobrist to put the Rays in front. Brad Boxberger came in to save the game in the ninth, and struggled. Justin Ruggiano led off with a single, Arismandy Alcantara bunted him to second, and Ryan Sweeney singled in Ruggiano to tie the game at three. We went into extras, and three straight one-out singles in the tenth gave the Rays the lead once again, with Kiermaier delivering the decisive blow. Boxberger shut the door in the tenth to finish off his own win and bring the Rays a victory.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Nate Eovaldi dominated the Reds in Miami’s 2-1 win, tossing eight five-hit, shutout innings, walking one and striking out six. Bartolo Colon allowed one run on six hits in eight innings as the Mets beat the Phillies 5-4, striking out six without a walk. Vance Worley pitched the Pirates to a 2-1 win over the Padres, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings, punching out seven and walking one. Hisashi Iwakuma helped the Mariners top the White Sox 4-1, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings, walking none while striking out three. Diamondbacks rookie Chase Anderson led Arizona to a 5-3 win over the Rockies, giving up one run on four hits in six innings, walking one and striking out six.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Carlos Beltran shined in the Yankees’ 10-6 win over the Indians, going 2/5 with a homer, two runs, and five RBI. Robbie Grossman went a perfect 3/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, and a walk in the Astros’ 4-3 win over the Rangers. The Dodgers fell to the Brewers 9-3, but Adrian Gonzalez went 3/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, and a walk. Marlon Byrd stayed hot in Philly’s loss to the Mets, going 3/4 with a solo homer and two runs. Billy Butler helped the Royals to a 4-2 win over the Giants, going 2/3 with a homer and three RBI.
Hitting Lines of the Night, Orioles Magic Edition: Baltimore throttled the Cardinals 12-2, and several players shined. J.J. Hardy went 2/3 with two homers, three runs, four RBI, and a walk. Ryan Flaherty went 2/4 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI. Manny Machado went 2/4 with a homer and three RBI. Adam Jones went 2/3 with a solo homer, two runs, and a walk. Hell, every Orioles starter had a hit, and six of the nine starters both scored a run and drove in a run.
Other Games: The Braves held off the Nationals 7-6. The Tigers scored three in the ninth to beat the Blue Jays 5-4. The Red Sox doubled up the Angels 4-2. The A’s held on to beat the Twins 6-5.
Today’s Games: Corey Kluber and Brandon McCarthy will duel in the Bronx. Max Scherzer and the Tigers take on Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays in Toronto. Jake Odorizzi gets the nod for the Rays in Chicago against the Cubs. John Lackey and the Red Sox take on Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles. Cole Hamels and the Phillies host Dillon Gee and the Mets. Francisco Liriano and the Pirates take on the Padres. Tanner Roark starts for the Nationals in Atlanta. Tim Hudson and James Shields will duel in Kansas City. Zack Greinke gets the nod for the Dodgers in Milwaukee. Yu Darvish takes the hill for the Rangers in Houston. Alfredo Simon and the Reds host the Marlins and…Brad Penny?!?! Jorge de la Rosa starts for the Rockies in Arizona. Garrett Richards and the Angels host the Red Sox. Trevor May makes his major league debut for the Twins in Oakland against Jeff Samardzija.
National TV: Indians-Yankees (1 PM, Fox Sports 1), Cardinals-Orioles (4 PM, Fox Sports 1), Nationals-Braves (7 PM, MLB Network), Dodgers-Brewers (7 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.