The Tampa Bay Rays are officially contenders in the American League – well, as much as they could be without being above .500. Tampa Bay beat Boston again on Saturday to win their ninth game in a row and move to just 6.5 games back in the AL East and only 3.5 games back of the AL’s second Wild Card. If Tampa Bay wants to keep their heads above water over the next week and a half, it won’t be easy – once the Red Sox leave town, the Rays host the Brewers and Angels for three games apiece. After the homestand concludes, the Rays will head out on a ten game road trip that starts in Oakland. After coming back home, the Rays have the Yankees and Tigers for three, and then they go on the road for seven games in Toronto and Baltimore. If the Rays are going to make the playoffs, they’re going to need to go through a buzzsaw to get there.
Game of the Night: Diamondbacks 10, Phillies 6 (ten innings). I’m sorry to do this to you, readers, but I had no choice. The Phillies led this won 6-2 after three innings, and they let it slip away as Arizona scored one in the fourth, two in the sixth, and one in the seventh to tie the game at six. We moved into extras, and popular trade target Antonio Bastardo laid an egg in the tenth. After getting Nick Ahmed to pop up to lead the inning off, Bastardo allowed an infield single to Ender Inciarte and a double to Didi Gregorius to put men on second and third with one out. Martin Prado hit a sac fly to drive in Inciarte and give Arizona the lead, and Bastardo wisely walked Paul Goldschmidt to bring up pinch hitter Nick Evans. Yesterday morning, we thought Evans would be going to Japan. The rumor was unfounded (for now), and Evans was still a Diamondback. He promptly homered over the left field wall at Citizens Bank Park to make it a 10-6 Arizona lead, and that was curtains for the Fightin’ Phils.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Clayton Kershaw led the Dodgers to a 5-0 win over the Giants, tossing a two hit complete game shutout, striking out seven and walking one. Chris Sale, who is another good pitcher, dominated the Twins in the White Sox 7-0 win, allowing five hits in eight scoreless frames, punching out a dozen and walking two. In Seattle’s 4-3 win over Baltimore, Chris Young gave up two hits in seven shutout innings, walking three and striking out eight. Matt Shoemaker helped the Angels beat the Tigers 4-0, allowing five hits in seven scoreless innings, punching out five without a walk. Johnny Cueto and Gio Gonzalez had a great duel in Cincinnati’s 1-0 win over Washington, with Cueto allowing four hits in eight shutout innings, walking three and striking out nine, and Gonzalez giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, walking a pair and striking out eight. Rockies rookie Tyler Matzek pitched the team to an 8-1 win over the Pirates, allowing three hits in seven shutout frames, walking two and punching out three.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Martin Prado did it all in Arizona’s win in Philadelphia, going 3/4 with a double, a homer, five RBI, and a walk. Nolan Arenado jump started the Rockies offense in their win over Pittsburgh, going 3/5 with a homer and two RBI. In Toronto’s 6-4 win over the Yankees, Dan Johnson went 2/5 with a homer and four RBI. In the loss, Carlos Beltran went 2/3 with a homer, a walk, two runs, and two RBI. Matt Adams played well for the Cardinals in their 6-3 win over the Cubs, going 2/5 with a double, a triple, a run, and four RBI. Curtis Granderson stayed hot for the Mets in their 5-2 loss in Milwaukee, going 2/5 with a double, a homer, and two runs scored.
Other Games: The Royals beat the Indians 7-5. The Marlins topped the Astros 7-3. The Rays shut out the Red Sox 3-0. Atlanta beat San Diego 5-3. The A’s rolled over the Rangers 5-1.
Today’s Games: Doug Fister and Mat Latos will duel in Cinncinati. Chris Archer and the Rays host the Red Sox. Jacob deGrom starts for the Mets in Milwaukee. Adam Wainwright takes the hill for the Cardinals at Wrigley. Rick Porcello and the Tigers take on the Angels. Scott Kazmir will toe the rubber for the A’s in Texas. Jake Peavy makes his Giants debut as they host Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Dodgers. This is a terrible day for great pitching.
National TV: Blue Jays-Yankees (1 PM, TBS), Dodgers-Giants (8 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.