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Dugout Digest – picking up ground in the Central

What’s the best way to pick up ground on the division leader? Well, beating them head to head, of course. The Cleveland Indians needed to pick up some ground on the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, and they’ve done just that since the All-Star Break. On Friday, the Tribe won 9-3. On Saturday, the Indians picked up a pair of games by sweeping a doubleheader, winning game one 6-2 and game two 5-2. And just like that, the 7.5 game deficit at the All-Stat Break is down to 4.5 games, and the Indians have beaten both Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer. With a pair of series coming up with the Twins and Royals, and the Tigers going to visit a Diamondbacks team one could call “plucky” before visiting the Angels, this division could look a lot different in one short week.

Game of the Night: Pirates 3, Rockies 2 (11 innings). Things are starting to tighten up in the *other* Central division too, thanks to the Pirates’ winning ways. Pittsburgh was clinging to a 1-0 lead early on in this one, but Charlie Morton allowed a two-run homer to Carlos Gonzalez in the seventh inning to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Brett Anderson exited the game entering the eighth, and the Rockies bullpen struggled. After Rex Brothers got Gregory Polanco to line out for the first out, Adam Ottavino walked both Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen, then gave up an infield single to Russell Martin, loading the bases for Neil Walker. Tommy Kahnle then allowed the game-tying single to Walker, and it was only the arm of Gonzalez that prevented it from being a go-ahead single. We moved into extras, and the Pirates snuffed out a Rockies threat in the top of the 11th. In the bottom of the inning, Chad Bettis gave up a single to Walker to lead the inning off, and Chris Stewart bunted him to second. After intentionally walking Pedro Alvarez, Jordy Mercer smashed a ball into the gap to score Walker and end this one in favor of the home team.

Pitching Lines of the Night: It’s another pesky “good pitching Saturday”. My apologies to the following who had quality starts: Joe Kelly, Brandon McCarthy, Tanner Roark, Aaron Harang, Rubby de la Rosa, Charlie Morton, Tim Hudson, Wade Miley, Danny Duffy, and Hector Noesi.

David Price allowed four hits over eight shutout innings in Tampa Bay’s 5-1 win in Minnesota, striking out nine without a walk. Garrett Richards and Felix Hernandez had one hell of a duel in Anaheim as the Mariners beat the Angels 3-2 in 12 innings, with Richards allowing one run on three hist in eight innings, walking one and striking out seven, and Hernandez allowed one unearned run on two hits in seven innings, walking four and punching out nine. Marcus Stroman led the Blue Jays to a 4-1 win over the Ranger, tossing seven scoreless frames while giving up four hits, walking none and punching out five. Cole Hamels led the Phillies to a 2-1 win in Atlanta, giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out nine without a walk. Brett Anderson pitched well for the Rockies in their loss to in Pittsburgh, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one and punching out eight. Tyson Ross carried the Padres to a 6-0 win over the Mets, giving up four hits in seven scoreless innings, walking three and striking out six. Corey Kluber starred for Cleveland in game one of their doubleheader win over the Tigers, allowing two runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out ten.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Paul Goldschmidt led the Diamondbacks to a 9-3 win over the Cubs, going 3/3 with a double, a homer, three runs, three RBI, and two walks. Adam Jones had a nice night for the Orioles in their 8-4 win over the A’s, going 2/4 with a homer, two runs, five RBI, and a walk. Steve Pearce chipped in by going 3/4 with two doubles, two runs, and a walk, while Chris Davis went 2/4 with a double, a homer, a walk, and two RBI. Chris Dickerson powered the Indians to the win in game two of their doubleheader with the Tigers, going 2/3 with a pair of solo homers and a walk. Sean Rodriguez gave Price and the Rays all the offense they needed in Minnesota, going 2/4 with a homer and three RBI. Mike Napoli pushed the Red Sox to a 2-1 win over the Royals, going 2/3 with a homer, two runs, and a walk.

Other Games: The Yankees battered the Reds 7-1. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 4-2. The Nationals used a five-run first inning to beat the Brewers 8-3. The Giants topped the Marlins 5-3. The White Sox edged the Astros 4-3.

Today’s Games: Johnny Cueto starts for the Reds in New York against Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees. Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays host the Rangers. Tim Lincecum gets the nod for the Giants in Miami. Yovani Gallardo and Gio Gonzalez will duel in Washington. Alex Wood and the Braves host the Phillies. Jon Lester and the Red Sox take on Yordano Ventura and the Royals. Jeff Locke starts for the Pirates against the Royals. Chris Archer gets the nod for the Rays in Minnesota. Zack Wheeler gets the nod for the Mets in San Diego. Jake Arrieta and the Cubs take on the Diamondbacks. Kevin Gausman and Sonny Gray will duel in Oakland. Clayton Kershaw will take the hill for the Dodgers in St. Louis.

National TV: Royals-Red Sox (1:30 PM, TBS), Dodgers-Cardinals (8 PM, ESPN)

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.