The Atlanta Braves went into this west coast road trip last week needing to string together some wines to keep pace with the Washington Nationals in the NL East. They got some help from the Marlins and Phillies, who each took two games from the 2012 division champs this past week. But the Braves did absolutely nothing to help their own case, getting swept in both Los Angeles and San Diego by the Dodgers and Padres, respectively. Three of those losses came in extra inning, walk off fashion. Atlanta is now just four games over .500 and is 3.5 games back in the NL East. They get a break this week with off days on both Monday and Thursday before heading to Washington for three with the Nationals, but if the Braves don’t win at least one game in Seattle this week, they could be a dead team walking heading into the nation’s capital.
Game of the Day: Padres 4, Braves 3 (ten innings). If you overlook Atlanta’s severe offensive deficiencies in this one, there was actually a pretty good game happening. The Braves plated a pair of runs in the seventh to tie the game at two, but San Diego took the lead back in the bottom of the eighth after a solo home run by Tommy Medica, who ate the Braves for lunch in this series. In the ninth, Joaquin Benoit allowed a lead off double to Jason Heyward, who scored the game-tying run after an error on Yangervis Solarte. The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Juan Jaime, but a Jedd Gyorko ground out ended the threat and moved the game into extras. The Braves went quietly in the tenth, but the Padres didn’t. Will Venable reached on an infield single, and David Hale followed that up by walking Alexi Amarista. Rene Rivera bunted into a double play to bring to Braves to the brink of escape, but Hale walked Chris Nelson, allowed Amarista and Nelson to pull off a double steal, and gave up a walk off single to Everth Cabrera, sending Atlanta to their sixth straight defeat.
Pitching Lines of the Day: It’s Sunday, so you know what that means…another Good Pitching Sunday. Apologies go out to the following pitchers who threw quality starts today, but won’t be mentioned below: James Shields, Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill, Mike Leake, Francisco Liriano, Kyle Gibson, John Lackey, Tyson Ross, Edwin Jackson (!!!), Trevor Bauer, Aaron Harang, and Jered Weaver.
And now, the cream of the crop. In the Giants’ 9-0 win over the Mets, Madison Bumgarner threw a complete game, two-hit shutout, walking one and striking out ten. In Detroit’s 4-0 win over Colorado, Anibal Sanchez allowed two hits over seven shutout innings, punching out a dozen without a walk. Stephen Strasburg dominated the Phillies in a 4-0 Nationals win, tossing seven scoreless frames while giving up three hits, walking one, and striking out ten. Cole Hamels allowed one unearned run on four hits in seven innings in the loss, punching out six and walking one. Chris Tillman pitched the Orioles to a 1-0 win over the Mariners, allowing four hits in seven shutout innings, striking out six without a walk. In the loss for Seattle, Hisashi Iwakuma gave up one run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out seven. Matt Garza had a great, although brief, start in Milwaukee’s 3-2 loss in St. Louis, giving up one hit in six scoreless innings, striking out four while walking none. Yu Darvish pitched like Yu Darvish in the Rangers’ 4-3, 12 inning loss to the Indians, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings, walking a pair and striking out eight.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In the Giants’ win over the Mets, Hunter Pence went 3/5 with a double, two homers, three runs, and four RBI, while Buster Posey went 4/5 with a double, a homer, two runs, and three RBI. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-7, thanks in large part to Brett Gardner going 3/4 with a double, a homer, three RBI, and a walk. Josh Reddick played well for the A’s in their 4-2 loss to the Royals, going 2/3 with a pair of solo homers. David Murphy helped out the Indians in their win over the Rangers, going 2/3 with a double, a homer, three RBI, and two walks. Chris Coghlan helped the Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Dodgers, going 2/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, two RBI, and two walks.
And now for something completely different, let’s focus on the Twins’ 16-3 shellacking of the White Sox. Danny Santana went 5/6 with a double, a triple, two runs, four RBI, a walk, and two stolen bases. Eric Fryer (of course) went 3/6 with a double, three runs, two RBI, and a stolen base. Oswaldo Arcia went 3/6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Chris Parmelee went 2/2 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI. So, that happened. This game was 4-3 after seven innings!
Other Games: The Reds beat the Marlins 7-3. The Angels topped the Rays 7-5. The Astros defeated the Blue Jays 6-1. The Diamondbacks beat the Pirates 3-2 in ten innings thanks to an awful call at second base to end the game.
Today’s Games: Tim Hudson and Dillon Gee will face off in Flushing. Max Scherzer starts for the Tigers in New York against Brandon McCarthy and the Yankees. Corey Kluber and the Indians host Alfredo Simon and the Reds. Kevin Gausman gets the nod for the Orioles in Washington against Tanner Roark. Garrett Richards and Zack Greinke will duel at Dodger Stadium. Alex Cobb takes the hill for the Rays in Oakland against Jeff Samardzija and the Athletics.
National TV: Giants-Mets (12 PM, MLB Network), Tigers-Yankees (7 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.