Both the Braves and Nationals had a chance to gain ground on the other on Saturday. Each team had a doubleheader against a less than solid NL team – the Braves took on the Phillies, while the Nationals battled the Cubs. At the end of the day when all the smoke had cleared and all the dust has settled, the teams were in the exact same position as they were 12 hours earlier – still tied at the top of the NL East standings. Each team swept their road doubleheader, Atlanta beating Philadelphia by a combined score of 15-4 and Washington smashing Chicago 10-2 over their pair of games. Through 81 games, both the Nationals and Braves sit at 43-38 in the division, and we’re going to need another half season of baseball to truly determine the better team.
Game of the Night: Reds 7, Giants 3 (11 innings). So, the Giants….they’re kind of collapsing in epic fashion here. San Francisco clung to a 1-0 lead heading into the ninth inning on Saturday, and then watched it evaporate thanks to a shaky performance by closer Sergio Romo. To lead off the ninth, Romo walked Joey Votto. He promptly followed that up by allowing a two-run, go-ahead homer to Brandon Phillips, blowing a win for Matt Cain in the process. In the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman followed with a meltdown of his own to start the inning. He allowed a single to Hunter Pence, walked Pablo Sandoval, and then gave up a game-tying double to Buster Posey. But both Sandoval and Posey died in scoring position, as no Giants hitter could hit the ball out of the infield in the rest of the inning. We moved into extras, and Cincinnati went bonkers in the 11th. Votto led off with a double, and Javier Lopez intentionally walked both Phillips and Devin Mesoraco around a sac bunt by Jay Bruce. After Jean Machi struck out Ramon Santiago for out number two, Zach Cozart singled in a pair to make it 4-2, Chris Heisey tripled in two more to make it 6-2, and Billy Hamilton followed up with a double to make it 7-2. The Giants plated a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-3, but Bruce Bochy had no bench left, and Machi grounded out to end the ballgame.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Great pitching reigns once again, and I’m leaving out a few of guys who threw quality starts on Saturday: Max Scherzer, Matt Cain, Marcus Stroman, Dallas Beeler, Erik Bedard, Brett Oberholtzer, Ervin Santana, and Jon Niese. The lines you’re about to see may be pornographic and nature, and reader discretion is advised.
Josh Tomlin threw a one-hit shutout in Cleveland’s 5-0 win over Seattle, striking out 11 without a walk. Yu Darvish dominated the Twins in a 5-0 Rangers win, allowing four hits over eight shutout innings, walking one and punching out ten. Gio Gonzalez cruised for the Nationals in game one of their doubleheader sweep over the Cubs, giving up two hits in seven shutout frames, striking out seven and walking a pair. Zack Greinke ran over the Cardinals as the Dodgers won 9-1, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings, punching out ten without a walk. Jon Lester and Masahiro Tanaka traded fireballs in Boston’s 2-1 win, with Lester allowing one unearned run on five hits in eight innings, walking two and striking out six, and Tanaka giving up two runs on seven hits in nine innings, punching out eight and walking one. Alfredo Simon pitched well for the Reds in their extra inning win over the Giants, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out four.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Logan Forsythe propelled the Rays to a 5-4 win over the Orioles, going 3/3 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI. In both games of Washington’s doubleheader sweep over Chicago, Anthony Rendon went a combined 4/8 with three runs, two RBI, a double, and a triple. Ian Kinsler helped the Tigers come from behind to beat the Astros 4-3, going 2/5 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. David Freese rolled in Anaheim’s 6-2 win over Kansas City, going 3/4 with a double, a run scored, three RBI, and a stolen base. Dayan Viciedo rallied the White Sox to a 4-3 win in Toronto, going 2/4 with a homer and three RBI. Eric Campbell had the same line for the Mets in their 5-3 win in Pittsburgh.
Other Games: The Brewers topped the Rockies 7-4. The A’s beat the Marlins 7-6 in 14 innings. The Diamondbacks beat the Padres 3-1, in case anyone cares about that sort of thing.
Today’s Games: Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays host Jose Quintana and the White Sox. Marlins rookie Andrew Heaney looks for his first career win, taking on the Athletics. Bartolo Colon gets the nod for the Mets in Pittsburgh. Alex Cobb and the Rays take on the Orioles in Baltimore. Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers host the Rockies. C.J. Wilson and the Angels battle the Royals. Kyle Gibson will toe the rubber for the Twins in Texas against the Rangers. Homer Bailey and Tim Hudson will square off in San Francisco. Felix Hernandez starts for the Mariners against the Indians. Shelby Miller and Clayton Kershaw will face off in Los Angeles. John Lackey and the Red Sox take on the Yankees.
National TV: Cardinals-Dodgers (4 PM, MLB Network), Reds-Giants (4 PM, MLB Network), Red Sox-Yankees (8 PM, ESPN, duhhhh),
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.