I normally don't feature the same game two days in a row, but this is a special circumstance. Last night, the Angels were up 8-0 on the Rays through four, and everything looked right with the world. Of course…this is the 2012 Angels we're talking about here. And quite frankly, you can't pin this loss totally on the bullpen, even though they had a large part to do with it. In the fifth inning, Angels starter CJ Wilson (you know, the ace who got a mammoth contract this offseason) seven runs on five hits and two walks, with the inning capped off by an Evan Longoria two-run homer. All of a sudden, an 8-0 game was 8-7. The Rays tied it in the sixth, and took a 10-8 lead in the eighth after a Carlos Pena two-run homer. That gave the Angels another absolutely heartbreaking loss. Also, I'll give the Rays bullpen a shoutout. They threw 6 1/3 scoreless in relief of Alex Cobb, allowing three hits, three walks, and tallying six strikeouts in the win.
Game of the Night: Mariners 3, Twins 2. Look at the Mariners, on a cute little four game winning streak with a run differential nearing neutral. A Joe Mauer fielders choice in the seventh gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead, but Seattle tied it up in the bottom of the inning after a Justin Smoak solo homer. In the ninth, Tyler Robinson loaded the bases without getting an out, and was pulled for Casey Fien, who allowed a walk-off sac fly to John Jaso to give the Mariners another solid comeback win.
Pitching Lines of the Night: In the Reds' 5-3 win against the Cubs in game two of a doubleheader, Johnny Cueto allowed two runs on three hits over eight, striking out eight wihtout a walk. The Mets won a pitchers duel 2-0 with the Nationals, but both starters had great games. Jon Niese went 7 1/3 scoreless, allowing five hits and striking out seven without a walk. His counterpart Edwin Jackson allowed two runs in seven innings on just two hits, walking one and striking out 11. A two-run homer by Ike Davis would prove to be the difference in that win.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Arizona clobbered Houston 12-4, and Chris Young of the Diamondbacks went 4/5 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a homer. The Dodgers used a barrage of homers to beat the Braves 6-1, and Hanley Ramirez went 2/4 with two of those homers and four RBI. In game one of that Cubs-Reds doubleheader, the Cubs came out victorious 9-7, but Ryan Ludwick of the Reds continued his impressive season, going 2/4 with three runs, three RBI, a walk, and a pair of homers.
Other Games: The Rangers edged the Blue Jays 2-1 thanks to a Nelson Cruz homer. Jon Lester controlled the Yankees offense in a 4-1 Red Sox win. The Orioles edged the Tigers 3-2. The Cardinals held off a late Pirates rally in a 5-4 win. The Royals offense went crazy in a 9-4 win against the White Sox. Despite three Indians homers, they fell to the A's 8-5. The Phillies edged the Brewers 4-3 behind Cole Hamels. The Marlins withstood a Rockies rally and won 6-5. The Giants nipped the Padres 8-7.
Today's Games: Chad Billingsley takes on Mike Minor in the rubber game in Atlanta. Wei-Yin Chen takes on Doug Fister in Detroit. Matt Harrison starts for the Rangers in Toronto. Mat Latos and the Reds will host the Cubs. Jose Quintana and the White Sox take on a rejuvenated Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals against the Mets. Matt Moore takes on Zack Greinke in Anaheim. Justin Masterson and Jarrod Parker will duel in Oakland. Jaime Garcia returns from the DL for the Cardinals against Jeff Karstens and the Pirates. Josh Beckett and Hiroki Kuroda will battle, and *of course* the game is on ESPN. Josh Johnson and Drew Pomeranz will go at it in Denver. Ryan Vogelsong starts for the Giants in San Diego.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.