Last week, I was very complimentary towards the Baltimore Orioles in regards to their domination of the AL East. Of course, the Orioles got swept by the Cubs this weekend, and the Yankees swept the White Sox. Baltimore still has a healthy six game lead, larger than any division leader in baseball aside from the Nationals, but New York has clawed their way from the brink of irrelevance to possible contention over the past few days. So let’s go ahead and modify those earlier thoughts – the AL East race isn’t over quite yet, and the Yankees may make their two September matchups with the Orioles look much more relevant than they were just a short time ago.
Game of the Day: Yankees 7, White Sox 4 (ten innings). The White Sox led this game 3-0 in the sixth thanks to homers by Alexei Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie, but the Bronx Bombers began to fight back in the inning. An RBI double by Mark Teixeira made it 3-1, and a Chris Sale plunked Zelous Wheeler with the bases loaded to make it 3-2. Ichiro followed up the hit batsman by singling in Carlos Beltran and Francisco Cervelli, giving New York a 4-3 lead. That lead held until the ninth, but the dependable David Robertson allowed a leadoff homer to Avisail Garcia to tie the game at four. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play in the bottom of the ninth to kill a possible win, and we moved into extras. In the bottom of the tenth, Jake Petricka struck out both Martin Prado and Teixeira to start the inning. He then gave up a double to Beltran, and intentionally walked Chase Headley to bring up a pinch hitter in the form of a struggling Brian McCann. Of course, the move didn’t pay off – McCann took advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field and launched a walk off three-run homer to complete the sweep.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Tsuyoshi Wada pitched the Cubs to a 2-1 win over the Orioles, allowing one run on one hit in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out eight. Mike Fiers ran through the Pirates in Milwaukee’s 4-3 win, giving up two runs on two hits in seven innings, walking one and punching out seven. Trevor Bauer shined for the Indians in their 3-1 win against the Astros, tossing six shutout innings while allowing four hits, walking three, and striking out nine. Jerome Williams had a good start for the Phillies in their 7-1 win over the Cardinals, allowing one run on five hits over eight innings, walking three and punching out five. Alfredo Simon helped the Reds earn a 5-3 win and a series split with the Braves, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out six.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In the Mets’ 11-3 win over the Dodgers, Lucas Duda went 3/5 with two homers and five RBI. Victor Martinez helped the Tigers roll the Twins 13-4, going 3/6 with a homer and four RBI. Seattle beat Boston 8-6 thanks in large part to Dustin Ackley going 3/5 with a double, a triple, three runs, and an RBI. The Angels beat the A’s 9-4, and Josh Hamilton went 2/3 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer. Alberto Callaspo went 3/4 with a double and a two-run homer in the loss for Oakland. Bryce Harper helped the Nationals overpower the Giants 14-6, going 2/5 with a double, a homer, two runs, and two RBI. Teammate Jose Lobaton went 3/4 with a double, three runs, and RBI, and a walk, while Gregor Blanco went 2/5 with a triple, a solo homer, and two runs scored in the loss for San Francisco.
Other Games: The Rays beat the Blue Jays 2-1 in ten innings. The Rangers dodged a sweep by defeating the Royals 3-1. The Rockies topped the Marlins 7-4, while the Padres beat the Diamondbacks by the same score.
Today’s Games: James Shields and the Royals host the Yankees. Jake Odorizzi and Chris Tillman will face off in Baltimore. A.J. Burnett and the Phillies host Tanner Roark and the Nationals. John Lackey starts for the Cardinals in Pittsburgh against Francisco Liriano and the Pirates. Jeff Samardzija gets the nod for the A’s in Houston. Kyle Lohse and the Brewers take on the Padres.
National TV: Yankees-Royals (7 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.