The NL Central is the best, most competitive division in baseball. Following Monday’s events, four of the five teams in the division are above .500. Milwaukee still holds a 4.5 game lead over the second place Cardinals, but the fourth place Pirates are just 3.5 games back of St. Louis for second in the division. And this week, things will get even more interesting – the Brewers are hosting the NL East leading Nationals, the Cardinals are taking on the struggling Rockies, the Pirates are battling with the hapless Tampa Bay Rays, and the REds get to feast on the last place Cubs. Maybe this race isn’t all locked up for the Brewers quite yet.
Game of the Night: Orioles 6, White Sox 4. When Chris Sale starts, the White Sox expect to win. And heading into the eighth inning, they led 4-2, and a win seemed to be in the cards. Hell, even after Zach Putnam allowed a solo homer to Caleb Joseph in the eighth, the 4-3 lead seemed safe. But uh…don’t trust Chicago’s bullpen. Ronald Belisario came in for the save, and immediately got into trouble. He first allowed a single to Steve Pearce, and then plunked Adam Jones. With none out, Belisario struck out Nelson Cruz to give the Sox hope. Then…Chris Davis came in to pinch hit for Delmon Young. Of course, the reigning AL homer champion parked a ball in the right field seats at Camden Yards to propel the Orioles to an improbable win and send Hawk Harrelson into a fit of silence.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Lance Lynn dominated the Rockies in the Cardinals’ 8-0 win, allowing three hits over eight shutout innings while striking out seven hitters without a walk. Blue Jays rookie Marcus Stroman shut down the Yankees in Toronto’s 8-3 win, giving up one run on three hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out seven. In his major league debut for the Padres, Odrisamer Despaigne led San Diego to a 6-0 win over the Giants, notching seven scoreless innings while allowing four hits, walking none, and striking out one. Gio Gonzalez willed the Nationals to a 3-0 win over the Brewers, tossing six shutout innings while allowing three hits, walking four and striking out five. Alfredo Simon stayed hot in the Reds’ 6-1 victory over the Cubs, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking one. In Pittsburgh’s 8-1 win over Tampa Bay, Edinson Volquez threw eight innings, walking two and striking out one while allowing one run on five hits.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Seattle thumped Boston 12-3, thanks to Logan Morrison going 4/4 with two homers, three runs, four RBI, and a walk. Kyle Seager helped out by going 3/5 with a double, three runs, and two RBI. In that Cardinals win over the Rockies, Matt Adams went 3/5 with two homers and six RBI. Adam Lind supplied the offense in Toronto’s win over the Yankees, going 2/4 with a homer, two runs, five RBI, and a walk. Caleb Joseph’s night for the Orioles was great, as he went 3/3 with a double and a solo homer. In the loss for the White Sox, Jose Abreu went 2/4 with a double, a homer, and three RBI.
Other Games: The Marlins shut out the Phillies 4-0. The Royals beat the Dodgers 5-3.
Today’s Games: Andrew Heaney starts for the Marlins in Philadelphia. Jose Quintana gets the nod for the White Sox in Baltimore. Scott Kazmir and Bartolo Colon will duel at Citi Field. Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays host the Yankees. Chris Archer starts for the Rays against the Pirates. Homer Bailey and Jake Arrieta will duel at Wrigley. Jordan Zimmermann and Yovani Gallardo will cross swords in Milwaukee. Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers in Kansas City against Danny Duffy and the Royals. Shelby Miller will take the hill for the Cardinals in Denver. Justin Masterson and the Indians take on the Diamondbacks. C.J. Wilson and the Angels host Kyle Gibson and the Twins. Tim Hudson and the Giants take on the Padres.
National TV: Tigers-Rangers (8 PM, MLB Network), Dodgers-Royals (8 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.