The AL Wild Card race is getting absurd. The front running Rangers have lost three straight. The "other" wild card Rays have lost two in a row. The Rangers have lost eight out of ten, and the Rays have lost seven out of ten. The Yankees have won two straight and are now just a game behind the Rays, and are even in the win column. The Indians and Orioles have both lost two straight, missing a nice opportunity to pick up ground. Meanwhile, the Royals have thrust their way back into the race after winning a pair, and the crunch is getting very real.
PIC OF THE DAY
Manny Machado, just chillin. (Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Red Sox 7, Rays 3 (ten innings). This loss was crushing for the Rays - simply crushing. Boston was clinging to a 3-1 lead heading into the late innings, but the Rays fought back to tie it, getting one run in the seventh after an RBI double from Evan Longoria and another on a solo homer by James Loney in the eighth. The game went into extras after each team's closer threw a perfect ninth, and Joel Peralta simply didn't have it for the Rays in the tenth, walking a pair of hitters around (sigh) a sacrifice bunt by Shane Victorino. Roberto Hernandez relieved Peralta and walked Mike Napoli (maybe not an awful move), and then proceeded to allow a vicious grand slam to Mike Carp. Well, that will cure all that ails for the Red Sox. Junichi Tazawa closed out the game to cut Boston's magic number to eight.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Dan Haren allowed one hit in six scoreless innings as the Nationals topped the Mets 3-0, striking out eight and walking one. Anibal Sanchez pitched the Tigers past the White Sox 1-0, giving up five hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings, walking four and striking out ten. Not to be outdone, Jose Quintana gave up five hits in seven scoreless frames, striking out six and walking two. James Shields pitched the Royals past the Indians 6-2, allowing two runs on four hits in eight innings, walking one and punching out seven. Cliff Lee helped push the Padres to the brink of elimination (and stave off elimination for another day for the Phillies) in Philly's 4-2 win, giving up two runs on five hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out nine.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Freddy Galvis powered the Phillies offense in their win over the Padres, going 3/3 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer. The A's pounded the Twins 18-3, with Jed Lowrie going 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, a double, and a homer, Stephen Vogt going 3/6 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer, and Brandon Moss going 3/5 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, and two doubles. Moises Sierra had a good game in Toronto's 5-4 loss to the Angels, going 3/4 with two runs, an RBI, a stolen base, two doubles, and a triple. Devin Mesoraco helped the Reds to a 6-0 win over the Cubs, going 3/4 with two runs and a homer.
Other Games: The Pirates completed a sweep of the Rangers, winning 7-5 in Texas. The Cardinals stayed ahead of Pittsburgh though, beating Milwaukee 5-1. The Marlins beat the Braves 5-2, but the main story post-game was Jose Fernandez pissing off the Braves. The Giants rallied late to beat the Rockies 4-3. The Yankees beat the Orioles 5-4. The Diamondbacks kept their heads above water, beating the Dodgers 4-1. The Astros swept the Mariners, winning 6-1.
What You Missed: Here's the post-mortems for both the Brewers and Cubs, and the hope for the hopeless for the Brewers and Cubs as well. Ryan Vogelsong blames the WBC for his struggles this year. Derek Jeter's season is over.
Today's Games: Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles host the Yankees. JA Happ starts for the Blue Jays against the Angels. Roy Halladay and the Phillies host the Padres. Jake Peavy starts for the Red Sox in Tampa. Jeff Locke and the Pirates host the Cubs. Matt Cain and Zack Greinke will face off in LA.
National TV: Red Sox-Rays (7 PM, MLB Network), Yankees-Orioles (7 PM, MLB Network)
MLB.tv Free Game: TBA
Pitching Matchup of the Day: Matt Cain vs Zack Greinke (Giants vs Dodgers, 10 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.