Going into today, there were a pair of matchups featuring two playoff teams against one another. The NL West leading Giants traveled to wild card (#2) leading Atlanta, and the wild card (#1) leading Angels traveled east to wild card (#2) leading Detroit. Things did not go as expected for the home teams in each of these games. In fact…they did not go well at all. The Angels destroyed the Tigers and Jacob Turner 13-0, while the Giants ravaged the Braves and struggling starter Jair Jurrjens 9-0. Turner allowed seven runs for the Tigers over two innings, while Jurrjens made it through 3 1/3, and allowed eight runs. Each starter struck out just one hitter, and they were outmatched by their opposition. Garrett Richards threw seven shutout frames for the Angels, while Barry Zito did the same for the Giants. I know these games were outliers for both losing teams, but man did they ever look ugly.
Game of the Night: Nationals 5, Mets 4 (10 innings). I don't even know what to make of this game. The Nationals led 2-0 going into the ninth after a dominant performance from Ross Detwiler, and Tyler Clippard looked to shut the Mets down and send everyone home happy.. Of course…Clippard allowed singles to the first two batters he faced in the ninth, and allowed a three-run, pinch-hit homer to Jordany Valdespin to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. The blown save was just Clippard's second of the year. Bobby Parnell came in to close it for the Mets…and HE blew the save, allowing a game-tying single to Danny Espinosa to knot the game at three and continue the dance. A Josh Thole RBI double in the tenth off of Mike Gonzalez put the Mets on top, and now, it was Tim Byrdak's chance to close the game out. After a single and a sacrifice, Bryce Harper stepped in…and yeah, he tripled home Jhonatan Solano to tie the game at four. With Harper on third, the bases were intentionally loaded for Adam LaRoche, who grounded into a fielder's choice to knock Harper out at the plate. Pedro Beato replaced Byrdak….and promptly threw a wild pitch with Tyler Moore at the plate, allowing Ryan Zimmerman to score and the Nats to get a bizarre walk-off win.
Pitching Lines of the Night: In that Nationals' walk-off win, Jonathon Niese was excellent for the Mets, allowing one run over seven innings on three hits, walking none while striking out eight. Ross Detwiler was nearly as good, throwing seven scoreless innings while allowing five hits, no walks, and striking out four batters. Barry Zito threw seven shutout innings in the Giants' big win in Atlanta, allowing three hits, one walk, and striking out four. In the Rangers' 6-1 win over the A's, Roy Oswalt got back on the winning side after allowing one run over 6 1/3 innings on three hits, walking none and striking out six.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Mike Trout and Albert Pujols helped the Angels offense put a baker's dozen on the board in Detroit. Trout went 4/6 with three runs, two RBI, and his 13th homer of the year. Pujols went 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, and his 16th homer of the year. Good lord. Now, for non-Angels action…Yonder Alonso went 2/3 with two runs, three RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer in the Padres' 8-2 win over the Astros. Omar Infante and Carlos Lee powered the Marlins to a 9-5 win over the Cubs. Lee went 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, and a homer while Infante went 3/5 with three RBI and a homer. Finally, going back to the Giants' win in Atlanta, Buster Posey went 3/5 with two doubles and five RBI, but HE WAS STILL OUT.
Other Games: The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-1 in CC Sabathia's return to the hill. The White Sox beat the Red Sox 7-5 in Fenway, and Kevin Youkilis homered for the pale hose. The Reds shut out the Diamondbacks 4-0. The Rays beat the Indians 4-2. The Brewers edged the Cardinals 3-2, with Francisco Rodriguez returning to the closer's role for Milwaukee. The Mariners smoked (or should I say Smoaked?) the Royals and Ryan Verdugo, in his major league debut, 9-6. The Twins edged the Royals 6-4. The Pirates beat the Rockies 6-2, and Andrew McCutchen remains on fire. The Phillies used a late rally to beat the Dodgers 3-2 in Roy Halladay's return to the hill.
Today's Games: Six day games today. Cool. Ricky Romero takes on Hiroki Kuroda at Yankee Stadium. Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw will duel in Los Angeles. Colby Lewis and Travis Blackley will go at it in Oakland. CJ Wilson starts in Detroit against Doug Fister. James McDonald starts at Coors Field against…Jeremy Guthrie. Welp. Wandy Rodriguez takes on Clayton Richard, in what could be one of Rodriguez's last starts as an Astro. Jordan Zimmermann starts for the Nationals as they host the Mets. Potential trade target Kevin Millwood starts for the Mariners in Kansas City against Bruce Chen. Ian Kennedy and Mat Latos will take each other on in Cincinnati. Josh Johnson starts in Chicago against Jeff Samardzija.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.