The Pirates looked dead in the water a week ago. After splitting a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, the club was 18-25, nine games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. But something happened this week – the Pirates got their game together. After losing game one of a two-game series with the Orioles, Pittsburgh has won four in a row to move to 22-26. A bad week from the Brewers has also helped Pittsburgh out, and they’re now just six games back of the division leaders. And hell, they’ve pulled to within a half game of the Reds in the division as well this week – rumors of the Pirates’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Game of the Day: Yankees 4, White Sox 3 (ten innings). On Friday night, it was the White Sox who rallied late to win against the Yankees. On Saturday, the shoe was on the other foot. John Danks was masterful for eight innings, and Ronald Belisario came into the ninth inning with a 3-0 lead. Belisario quickly got two outs, sandwiching them around a single by Jacoby Ellsbury. Then…things got hairy. Ellsbury scored on an Alfonso Soriano ground rule double, making it 3-1. No big deal. Then Yangervis Solarte singled in Soriano, cutting Chicago’s lead to a run. That could be problematic. After Kelly Johnson came in to pinch run for Solarte, Belisario intentionally walked Ichiro before pissing away the lead for good thanks to an RBI single by Brian McCann. We moved to the tenth, and in the top of the inning, Zach Putnam allowed a two-out solo homer to Ellsbury to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Adam Eaton tried to make something happen in the bottom of the inning, singling with two outs off of David Robertson and stealing second, but Robertson struck out Gordon Beckham to end the game.
Pitching Lines of the Day: In Chicago’s loss to the Yankees, John Danks allowed just three hits over eight shutout innings, walking none while striking out four. Corey Kluber dominated the Orioles in a 9-0 Indians victory, spinning seven scoreless innings while giving up five hits, striking out nine, and walking two. Ryan Vogelsong led the Giants to a 2-1 win over the Twins, allowing three hits over 6 2/3 shutout innings, walking one and striking out three. Juan Nicasio baffled the Braves in Colorado’s 3-1 win, allowing two hits in six shutout frames, punching out five and walking four. R.A. Dickey had a nice start for the Blue Jays in their 5-2 win over the A’s, giving up two runs on five hits in 8 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In Texas’ 12-2 win over Detroit, rookie second baseman Rougned Odor went 4/5 with a double, two triples, a run, and five RBI. George Springer had the finest game in his major league career as his Astros beat the Mariners 9-4, going 2/5 with a pair of homers and five RBI. Ben Revere snapped out of his offensive funk in Philadelphia’s 5-3 win over the Dodgers, going 4/4 with a double, three runs, and an RBI. In Tampa Bay’s 6-5, 15 inning win over Boston, Brandon Guyer went 4/7 with two doubles, and two RBI. Yoenis Cespedes had a nice day for the A”s in their loss to Toronto, going 3/4 with a triple and a solo homer.
Other Games: The Diamondbacks edged the Mets 3-2. The Marlins withstood numerous Brewers rallies and won 2-1. The Cardinals doubled up the Reds 6-3. The Pirates rallied late to beat the Nationals 3-2. The Royals outlasted the Angels 7-4 in 13 innings. The Cubs beat the Padres 3-2 behind the pitching of Travis Wood.
Today’s Games: Justin Verlander and the Tigers host the Rangers. Jimmy Nelson makes his season debut for the Brewers in Miami. Trevor Bauer gets the nod for the Indians in Baltimore. A.J. Burnett and the Phillies host Josh Beckett and the Dodgers. Doug Fister and Francisco Liriano will face off in Pittsburgh. Masahiro Tanaka will toe the rubber for the Yankees in Chicago. Jason Vargas will start for the Royals in Anaheim against Garrett Richards. Madison Bumgarner and the Giants host Ricky Nolasco and the Twins. Dallas Keuchel and Hisashi Iwakuma will face off in Seattle. Jason Hammel will start for the Cubs in San Diego against Ian Kennedy. Julio Teheran and the Braves host the Rockies. Adam Wainwright starts for the Cardinals in Cincinnati against Mike Leake and the Reds.
National TV: Red Sox-Rays (1:30 PM, MLB Network), Indians-Orioles (1:30 PM, MLB Network), Reds-Cardinals (8 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.