The Washington Nationals have struggled a bit thisyear. But on Thursday night, their performance was vintage (well, vintage as of last year...which really doesn't make it vintage) in an 8-1 win over the Reds. The Nationals pitching staff gave up just one run on one hit, and short of a Joey Votto home, no Reds players reached second base all night. Combine that with their offensive outburst, and the you can't count the Nationals out yet, despite their 11-11 start.
PIC OF THE DAY
Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, and Chris Young all converge on a fly ball, but are unable to come up with it. (Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Day: Royals 8, Tigers 3 (ten innings). The Royals took advantage of Justin Verlander leaving the game after seven innings, They trailed 3-2 at the time, but as soon as he left the game, Lorenzo Cain tied the game up with a sac fly. The game went into extras and in the tenth, Phil Coke loaded the bases and walked George Kottaras to force in a run. He was replaced on the hill by Darin Downs, who proceeded to allow a grand slam to Billy Butler, pushing the Kansas City lead to five. Greg Holland didn't flinch in the tenth, and the Tigers fell.
Pitching Lines of the Day: In that aforementioned 8-1 win over the Reds, Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals allowed one run on one hit in eight innings, striking out seven while walking two. Hyun-Jin Ryu led the Dodgers to a 3-2 win over the Mets, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings, striking out eight while walking three. Jeremy Hefner opposed Ryu and had a solid start of his own, with the exact same statline as Ryu but with four fewer strikeouts. Clay Buchholz dominated the Astros in a 7-2 Red Sox win, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out ten and walking two.
Hitting Lines of the Day: A resurgent David Ortiz provided all the offense for the Red Sox, going 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, and his first homer of the year. Kyle Seager led the Mariners to a 6-0 win over the Angels, going 3/4 with three RBI and a homer. Danny Espinosa and Denard Span gave Gonzalez some backing, with Espinosa going 2/4 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a homer, and Span going 3/5 with three RBI, a triple, and a stolen base. Gaby Sanchez had a great game in the Pirates' 6-4 win in Philly, going 2/4 with three RBI and a homer.
Other Games: The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 5-3 after homering three times. The White Sox beat the Rays 5-2 behind Chris Sale. The Cubs edged the Marlins 4-3. The Rangers slipped by the Twins 2-1. The Diamondbacks dumped ice water on the Rockies, winning 3-2. The Orioles pounded the A's, winning 10-2.
What You Missed: Ian's latest column looked at the struggling Seattle Mariners, and when the plug should be pulled. Here's a gif of Yu Darvish throwing five insane pitches at once. Domonic Brown made an unreal catch on Wednesday night. Amanda Rykoff made her TOC debut, checking out the 2013 All-Star Game press conference in New York.
Today's Games: Paul Maholm and the Braves travel to Detroit to take on Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers. Jordan Zimmermann will start for the Nationals, hosting the Reds. Ryan Dempter will start for the Red Sox, hosting the Astros. Jake Peavy starts for the White Sox against former division rival Roberto Hernandez, now with the Rays. Brandon McCarthy gets the nod for the Diamondbacks against the Rockies. Josh Beckett will start for Los Angeles against the Brewers. Tim Lincecum will battle Andrew Cashner in San Diego. Wei-Yin Chen will start for the Orioles in Oakland. CJ Wilson and the Angels host the Mariners.
Nationial TV: Braves-Tigers (7 PM, MLB Network), Blue Jays-Yankees (7 PM, MLB Network [alternate])
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.