The Blue Jays and the Royals have been around .500 all season, but they played very well yesterday. In a match-up between Jason Vargas and Dustin McGowan, you can never expect what is going to happen. There could be a lot of runs or runs could be scarce. Yesterday, the starters were decent, but one team's bullpen collapse turned out to be the difference in the outcome.
The scoring did not wait to start. The third batter of the game, Jose Bautista, took Jason Vargas yard, giving the Jays an early 1-0 lead. But then the Royals battled back, scoring two in the second, on a wild pitch and a Dioner Navarro throwing error trying to catch Alcides Escobar stealing. By the seventh, the Blue Jays retook the lead, scoring four runs to put them ahead 5-2. The Royals battled back and cut the deficit to one on a Salvador Perez two-run home run. Then, in the eighth, the Royals took the lead, scoring six runs, the bulk of which came on a two-run double from Perez and a two-run single from Omar Infante. The Royals would go on to win 10-7, after Edwin Encarnacion homered in the ninth off of Louis Coleman.
The Blue Jays' bullpen allowed seven runs, after McGowan allowed only three (two earned) over six strong innings. He struck out two and lowered his ERA to 5.87. Jason Vargas allowed five runs on 10 hits. He struck out five, and his ERA is up to 2.40. The Royals' bullpen only allowed two runs, both on Encarnacion's home run.
Royals 10, Blue Jays 7
With a great pitching match-up in Julio Teheran and Johnny Cueto, you know this would be a low-scoring affair. The Braves were looking for the sweep behind their ace, whom had posted a 1.80 ERA heading into his start against the Reds. Against the Marlins on April 21, Teheran pitched seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, while striking out eight. Cueto was coming off of his second straight complete game, when he allowed one run on three hits in nine incredible frames. Both pitchers, on hot streaks, delivered for their respective teams yesterday. But one team had to prevail.
The Reds came close to scoring in the fifth. After four frames where no runner made it to second base with less than two outs, Ryan Ludwick hit Teheran's second pitch of the inning to left field for a lead-off double. He advanced to third after catcher Brayan Pena flied out to right. Ludwick accounted for two of the five Reds hits. He could not come around to score. Both Zack Cozart and Johnny Cueto struck out swinging. The Braves also threatened in the fifth, putting runners on second and third with two outs. However, Jayson Heyward (you guessed it!) struck out swinging. Both pitchers tossed eight shutout innings, allowing three hits each. Cueto struck out 11 and Teheran struck out five.
They left it up to their bullpens. In the ninth, only Dan Uggla recorded a hit for either team, but after Andrelton Simmons flied out, he was stranded. It was not long in the tenth before the Braves succeeded to score. In the top half of the inning, the Reds put runners on first and second behind singles from Ryan Ludwick and Zack Cozart. The Braves brought in Ian Thomas to close out the inning. He got Roger Bernadina (the pinch-hitter) to pop out to Freddie Freeman. The Braves got two quick outs in the bottom of the tenth, but Jayson Heyward and B.J. Upton singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. Freddie Freeman became the first person to deliver, singling off of Manny Parra, and walking the Atlanta Braves off for the sweep.
Braves 1, Reds 0 (F/10)
Coming into 2014, Tanner Roark had only 53 2/3 innings pitched under his belt. He had only started five career Major League games. However, he went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA last season, showing that he could truly pitch for the Nationals. So, they decided to give him a starting role this season. Coming into yesterday's game, Roark was decent. He posted a 3.80 ERA in 23 2/3 innings pitched. His last start, against the Angels, Roark showed flashes of greatness. He struck out five over six and two-thirds shutout innings. He carried that momentum into his start against the Padres.
On the hill for San Diego was Andrew Cashner, who has had his share of great outings so far this season. However, the Nationals got to him early. Adam LaRoche singled to right field, scoring Anthony Rendon. Ian Desmond doubled to right as well, scoring Jayson Werth. And Danny Espinosa hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Adam LaRoche. On the opposite side of the ball, Roark was brilliant. He tossed five and one-third innings of perfect ball, striking out five. Although he lost both the perfect game and no-hitter on Rene Rivera's single to center field, Roark was still able to "settle" for a shutout, the first of his career. He struck out eight hitters, walked one, and allowed three hits over nine beautiful frames.
Ian Desmond led the Nationals with three hits, including his single in the first that drove in a run. For the Padres, Chris Denorfia, Jedd Gyorko, and Rene Rivera were the only players that tallied a hit off of Roark. Cashner pitched six innings for the Padres, allowing four runs on nine hits, while striking out five and walking only one.
Nationals 4, Padres 0
C.C. Sabathia has been a great pitcher over his career. However, his 2013 season was not the best, as he allowed the most earned runs in the American League and posted a well below average 85 ERA+. This season, Sabathia hoped to improve his pitching by losing some weight. In yesterday's start against the Boston Red Sox, Sabathia almost looked back to normal. On the hill for the Red Sox was 26 year old Felix Doubront, who posted a 4.32 ERA in 162 1/3 innings pitched last season.
The Yankees jumped out on top early and never looked back. They jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Red Sox were able to get on the scoreboard. Their early run was capped by a two-run double by Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeria's first home run of the season. The Yankees scored five more in the seventh, when both Solarte and Derek Jeter had two-run hits. Jacoby Ellsbury singled in one in between both of them. By this time, it was pretty much over, as the Yankees lead 12-2. The Red Sox were able to score three more in the bottom of the seventh, on a passed ball, a sacrifice fly, and a double, but the Yankees rallied back with two more of their own to put them at 14 runs. The Yankees have not scored 14 runs since August 13, 2013.
Sabathia tossed six innings of two run ball, lowering his ERA to 4.78. Of his 106 pitches thrown, 71 were for strikes. While this is a quality start (by MLB standards), it does not seem that Sabathia is back to his old form. Maybe he will never get back to his old form. Felix Doubront only pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs on six hits, but only three runs were earned. Ellsbury lead the Yankees with three hits. Xander Bogaerts lead the Red Sox with two hits.
Yankees 14, Red Sox 5
The Chicago Cubs celebrated the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field yesterday, by "replaying" the first ever Major League game at Wrigley, between the Chicago Federals and the Kansas City Packers, whom the Arizona Diamondbacks were wearing. They played the first ever game at then Weegham Park on April 23, 1914. During the recap, I will be using the names of those teams.
The Packers took the early lead on a Chris Owings force out that scored Miguel Montero. Then, the Federals came back and scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, on a sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly, and a groundout. Then, after the Packers scored again, the Federals got a two-run home run from Justin Ruggiano. But, even after having a three run deficit, the Packers were not done. After scoring two runs to tie the game in the ninth, Aaron Hill hit a two-run triple, making it a 7-5 game.
Although the Diamondbacks ruined Wrigley's birthday by taking a win away from the Cubs, the festivities were really large. The Cubs hosted former players (excluding Sammy Sosa) and they also added two Bears who played at Wrigley. They had a really big birthday cake of Wrigley outside the stadium, and the ushers wore blue jackets with "Weegham Park" on the back. This was a celebration of the century.
D-Backs 7, Cubs 5
Albert Pujols came into yesterday's game with 498 home runs. Nobody knew when he would hit his 500th; all they knew was that it was coming. He has been one of the hottest hitters to open the season, and after hitting no. 500 yesterday, he leads the league in home runs. He and the Angles took on the Washington Nationals, who have not been the hottest to start the season, going 11-9 in their first 20 games.
Pujols opened up the scoring in the first, by hitting a three-run home run to left field. Just three batters into the game, Albert Pujols had hit his 499th career home run. He was only one tater away from reaching one of the rarest clubs in all of baseball. The Nationals scored runs on both Danny Espinosa's and Ian Desmond's at bats, but neither were credited with a run batted in. That would be the first and last time the Nationals had their chance to win the ballgame. In the top of the fifth, Albert Pujols hit a mammoth shot to left-center field for number 500. That would put the nail in the coffin for the Nationals.
The Angels were lead by three players with two hits. Their starter, Tyler Skaggs, went seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He now has a 3.21 ERA on the season. For the Nationals, three players, including pitcher Taylor Jordan, lead the team with one hit. Jordan pitched five innings, allowing six runs, four earned runs, and eight hits. He is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA on the season.
Angels 7, Nationals 2
The Milwaukee Brewers are the hottest team in baseball. Coming into last night's game, the Brewers had 14 wins, which was tops in the Major Leagues. On the hill was Wily Peralta, who had a 1.96 ERA coming into last night's start. Against him was the Padres' Andrew Cashner. He had been absolutely brilliant through his first four starts, in which he posted a 1.27 ERA. The Brewers wanted to slow Cashner down, and the Padres wanted to slow the Brewers hot starts.
The Brewers got off to a hot start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third. Scooter Gennett hit a triple that scored Wily Peralta. Ryan Braun hit a sacrifice fly that scored Gennett. The next batter, Aramis Ramirez hit a home run. The Brewers scored one more run in the fifth, on a Ryan Braun single that scored Carlos Gomez. That would be enough for Peralta, who allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, in six and one-third strong innings. Three batters lead the Brewers with two hits.
The Padres attempted to make a comeback run. Yonder Alonso singled in the fourth, scoring Seth Smith. The next batter, Chris Denorfia grounded into a force out, scoring Chase Headley. Then, in the top of the seventh, Denorfia delievered again, hitting a solo home run. Andrew Cashner allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings. He took his second loss on the year.
Brewers 4, Padres 3
Last night, the Red Sox honored Boston Marathon bombing survivors before the game against the Baltimore Orioles. On the hill, the Red Sox' Jake Peavy would be making his fourth start, coming in with a 1.93 ERA after a fantastic start against the White Sox. Opposing him would be Ubaldo Jimenez, who has yet to pitch really well this season for his new team.
The Orioles got off to a fast start. On a Nelson Cruz home run, a single, a sacrifice fly, a David Lough ground-rule double, and another single, the Orioles held a five run lead by the sixth inning. Then the Red Sox had their hurrah. In the bottom of the sixth, Jonny Gomes hit a three-run home run, instilling life in Boston. In the next inning, the Red Sox tied the game on a David Ortiz single and Mike Napoli reaching on an error.
The Red Sox got the chance to win the game in the ninth. Fan interference took away a home run from Dustin Pedroia and put him on second base. Then, three batters later, Mike Carp lined out to left field. David Lough, the left fielder, threw an errant throw home, scoring Pedroia, and walking the Red Sox off in a comeback win.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 5
Mark Buehrle has thrown a perfect game. He is a World Series Champion, a four-time gold glover, and a four time All Star. However, he has never led his respective league in ERA. Coming into yesterday's start, Buehrle was 3-0 with a minuscule 0.86 ERA. He allowed only six extra-base hits, all doubles, and only two runs to score in 21 innings pitched. On Saturday, Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians attempted to stop Buehrle's surge.
In short, they failed. You do not need to read any more. However, I will continue. Buehrle was fantastic, going seven strong innings, allowing no runs on just four hits, while striking out three and walking three as well. On a side note, the Blue Jays got All Star Jose Reyes back in the lineup, as he recorded his first hit and run batted in of the season. Reyes went 1-for-5 on the day. It turns out that Jose Bautista's single, scoring Melky Cabrera, was enough for Buehrle and the Jays. However, Dioner Navarro drove in three more. Jose Reyes drove in another. The Blue Jays played better than the Indians in all aspects of the game.
The one bright spot for the Indians was the bottom third of their order. Made up of Yan Gomes, David Murphy, and Mike Aviles, the bottom third of the Indians order combined to go 3-for-8, whereas the top six hitters combined to go 1-for-21. Core Kluber got hit around a bit, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits, while striking out and walking three. The Indians bullpen tossed one and two-thirds of no-hit baseball.
Blue Jays 5, Indians 0
In interleague baseball, you never know what may happen. The Miami Marlins, coming off of an off day, took on one of the offseason's biggest spenders, the Seattle Mariners. On the hill for Miami was Nathan Eovaldi, whom allowed four runs on seven hits in a no decision to the Philadelphia Phillies in his last outing. The Mariners had 35 year old Chris Young pitching; he tossed six shutout innings while earning a no decision in a Mariners 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics in his last appearance.
The Marlins got to Young early. In the bottom of the first inning, the Marlins scored twice on RBI singles from Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee. The Mariners quickly rallied back. Dustin Ackley singled in the top of the second to drive in Michael Saunders. Ackley came around to score on an error by Stanton, tying the game at 2. The see-saw was not done there. The Marlins scored twice more on a Marcell Ozuna sacrifice fly and a Jarrod Saltalamacchia home run. As expected, the Mariners came back themselves, on a RBI groundout from Brad Miller in the fifth and a Corey Hart single in the seventh. And, after loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton unloaded. He smoked a grand slam to left center field, winning the game for the Marlins.
Stanton and Christian Yelich led the Marlins with three hits. The Mariners were led by Corey Hart, Abraham Almonte and Kyle Seager with two hits. Nathan Eovaldi went six innings, allowing three runs and one earned run on seven hits, while striking out four. Chris Young went three innings and allowed four runs on seven hits, striking out none. Steve Cishek took the win with a scoreless ninth. Yoervis Medina allowed Stanton's grand slam and took the loss.
Marlins 8, Mariners 4