After Brett Anderson's last start with the A's on June 19th, Oakland was 33-36, 9.5 games out of the AL West lead and 4.5 games back of the Angels for the second wild card. Since then, the A's are 27-15, and went into last night's game with the White Sox 5.5 games behind the Rangers for the division lead, and a half game up on the Orioles and Tigers for the top wild card spot in the AL. McCarthy's start went relatively fine…aside from three pitches. In his six innings of work, he allowed six hits, three runs, one walk, and got four strikeouts. However, he allowed three homers…all solo shots, and that kept the White Sox in the game. In retrospect, sending McCarthy out in the seventh to face Dayan Viciedo was probably a mistake, as Viciedo led the inning off with a homer to tie the game, resulting in McCarthy getting pulled. Then, to end the game, little used White Sox outfielder Jordan Danks hit his first career homer off of Pat Neshek to give the White Sox a stunning, come from behind 4-3 win. Just an absolute crushing blow for the A's, who have now dropped to a half game behind Baltimore and Detroit in the wild card race.
Game of the Night: Astros 4, Brewers 3. The Astros are in a position where every win they get should be considered a surprise and a huge success. Last night, they had one of their best wins of the year. The team trailed Milwaukee 3-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, and catcher Carlos Corporan hit a solo homer off of Francisco Rodriguez to make it 3-2. Then in the ninth against on again/off again Brewers closer John Axford, the Astros completed the comeback. Axford walked Brett Wallace to lead the inning off, and pinch runner Tyler Greene (newly acquired from the Cardinals) stole second and moved to third on an Axford wild pitch. Steve Pearce singled Greene home to tie the game and moved up to second no a Carlos Gomez error. Pearce moved to third on a fly out by Scott Moore, and ended up scoring the winning run after a Brian Bogusevic single. Astros win! Astros win!
Pitching Lines of the Night: Paul Maholm's second start as a Brave went much better than his first. Maholm threw a complete game shutout in Atlanta's 4-0 win, allowing three hits and striking out five Mets hitters without allowing a walk. Clay Buchholz also threw a complete game as the Red Sox beat the Indians 3-2, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, walking none and striking out six. Roy Halladay dominated the Cardinals in a 3-1 Phillies win, allowing one run on two hits over eight innings, striking out eight without a walk. I'll also give a tip of the cap to Brewers rookie Mark Rogers, who allowed one run on three hits to the Astros in seven innings, striking out eight and walking two. However, Milwaukee's bullpen prevented him from getting his first career win.
Hitting Lines of the Night: The Padres battled back to beat the Pirates 9-8, and Chase Headley went 2/4 with five RBI and two homers. In a wild 10-8 Reds win over the Cubs, Ryan Ludwick went 3/5 with four runs, two RBI, a walk, a double, and his 20th homer of the year. Orioles rookie Manny Machado's second career game was a rousing success, going 2/4 with four RBI and his first two career homers in Baltimore's 7-1 win. Matt Joyce continued to roll since returning for the Rays in a 12-6 win over the Twins, going 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. Nationals rookie Steve Lombardozzi went 4/5 four runs scored and a triple in Washington's 9-1 win over Arizona.
Other Games: The Yankees creamed the Blue Jays 10-4. The Tigers scored the last six runs of the game in their 6-2 win over the Rangers. The Dodgers beat the Marlins 5-2, and Hanley Ramirez had two RBI in his first career game against his former team. Tyler Chatwood outdueled Tim Lincecum in a 3-0 Rockies win. The Angels beat the Mariners 6-5 on a walkoff wild pitch from Josh Kinney.
Today's Games: Matt Cain starts for the Giants against Drew Pomeranz and the Rockies. Jake Westbrook and the Cardinals will duel with Cliff Lee in Philly. Francisco Liriano looks to build upon a pair of great starts with the White Sox, hosting Tommy Milone and the A's. David Price starts for the Rays in Minnesota. AJ Burnett and the Pirates host the Padres. Justin Verlander and the Tigers travel to Texas to take on Derek Holland and the Rangers. Kris Medlen and the Braves take on Johan Santana and the Mets. Dan Haren looks to get SOMETHING going for the Angels against the Mariners. Joe Blanton starts for the Dodgers in a familiar place: Miami, where he'll face Ricky Nolasco. Edwin Jackson and the red hot Nationals take on Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.