Kansas City is really taking a step forward in their attempt to win the AL Central and reach the playoffs for the first time since 1985. The Royals are now three games up on the Tigers in the division, and have rolled their way to a 24-10 second half record – including a 17-4 mark in August. And it’s not as if they’ve got a murderer’s row schedule the rest of the way – six against the Tigers, six against the Indians, four against the Yankees, and the rest is just chaff. Unfortunately for them, the Tigers have a similarly weak schedule – seven with the Indians, six with the Royals, three with the Yankees, three with the Giants, and chaff of their own. This race is going to go down to the wire, but the Royals aren’t fading.
Game of the Night: Rockies 5, Marlins 4 (13 innings). There was lots of action early on in this one, and Colorado led 3-1 after three. Miami battled back to tie it at three in the fifth, and took the lead in the ninth thanks to an RBI infield single by Adeiny Hechavarria. That lead didn’t last long, because Steve Cishek allowed a game-tying homer to Corey Dickerson with one out in the ninth. The Rockies put two more men on in the inning, but couldn’t cash in to win the game. After an uneventful tenth, the Marlins put two on with none out in the 11th, but Nick Masset escaped without allowing a run. The Rockies moved the winning run to second with one out in the 12th, but couldn’t cash in. Finally in the bottom of the 13th, Nolan Arenado led off with a double, and Dickerson doubled him in to end the game.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Mike Leake outdueled Ervin Santana in Cincinnati’s 1-0 victory over the Braves, allowing two hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings, walking three and striking out six. Santana allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out seven. Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals beat the Rangers 6-3, giving up one run on five hits in eight innings, walking one and punching out a pair. Jon Lester pitched the A’s to a 2-1 win over the Angels, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one. Jordan Zimmermann shined for the Nationals in their 6-2 victory over the Giants, giving up two runs on seven hits in eight innings, punching out eight without a walk. In Arizona’s 5-2 win over San Diego, Vidal Nuno allowed two runs on two hist in 7 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out four.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In Pittsburgh’s 10-2 win over Milwaukee, Pedro Alvarez went 2/3 with two homers, four RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. Teammate Russell Martin went 2/4 with a double, a homer, two runs, three RBI, and a walk, while Neil Walker went 3/4 with a double, two runs, three RBI, and a walk. In the Dodgers’ 7-4 win over the Mets, Adrian Gonzalez went 2/3 with a homer, two runs, and five RBI. Corey Dickerson carried the Rockies in their win over the Marlins, going 4/6 with a homer and two RBI.
Other Games: The Yankees beat the White Sox 5-3. The Blue Jays walked off on the Rays 5-4 in ten innings. The Cubs topped the Orioles 7-2 in a rain-soaked contest. The Twins and Tigers split a doubleheader, with Minnesota winning game one 12-4 and Detroit taking game two 8-6. The Mariners beat the Red Sox 7-3. The Cardinals edged the Phillies 6-5 in 12 innings. The Indians walked off on the Astros 3-2.
Today’s Games: Chris Sale starts for the White Sox in New York. Chris Archer and the Rays battle the Yankees. Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals host the Giants. Hisashi Iwakuma takes the hill for the Mariners in Boston. Justin Masterson starts for the Cardinals in Philly. Max Scherzer starts for the Tigers in Minnesota. Jason Vargas and the Royals take on the Rangers. Bartolo Colon and the Mets battle the Dodgers. Ian Kennedy gets the nod for the Padres in Arizona. Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir will duel in Oakland.
National TV: Giants-Nationals (1:30 PM, TBS), Angels vs Athletics (8 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.