Friday MLB scores, highlights, updates, news: Rangers stay red hot with 10th straight win

Earlier on Friday, we handed out grades for all 30 MLB teams at the quarter point of the season. Make sure you check that out. Friday offered us a full 15-game schedule of baseball at the highest level, so let's dig right into our daily MLB recap ...  

Friday's scores

  • Milwaukee Brewers 6, Chicago Cubs 3 (box score)
  • Philadelphia Phillies  7,  Pittsburgh Pirates  2 (box score)
  • Baltimore Orioles  5,  Toronto Blue Jays  3 (box score)
  • New York Mets  3,  Los Angeles Angels  0 (box score)
  • Colorado Rockies  12,  Cincinnati Reds  6 (box score)
  • Tampa Bay Rays  5,  New York Yankees 4 (box score)
  • Texas Rangers  5,  Detroit Tigers  3 (box score)
  • Atlanta Braves  7,  Washington Nationals  4 (box score)
  • Cleveland Indians  5,  Houston Astros  3 (box score)
  • Minnesota Twins  4,  Kansas City Royals  3 in 10 innings (box score)
  • San Francisco Giants  6,  St. Louis Cardinals  5 (box score)
  • Oakland Athletics  3,  Boston Red Sox  2 in 10 innings (box score)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks  10,  San Diego Padres  1 (box score)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers  7,  Miami Marlins  2 (box score)
  • Chicago White Sox  2,  Seattle Mariners  1 (box score)  

Red-hot Rangers win again

The Texas Rangers are officially the hottest team in baseball. The Rangers won again Friday night, this time beating the Tigers in their series opener at Comerica Park. Texas has now won 10 consecutive games, and 12 of their last 15 games overall. Their overall season record is now 23-20.

Friday's win was made possible by young Joey Gallo , who is finally getting a chance to play everyday thanks to Adrian Beltre 's lingering calf injury. Gallo is a flawed hitter, no doubt about it -- he came into Friday's game hitting .187/.306/.500 with an MLB leading 61 strikeouts -- but when he connects, he hits the ball a mile. Check out Friday's blast against the Tigers:

That ball left Gallo's bat at 114.5 mph, making this the hardest hit home run by a left-handed batter against a left-handed pitcher of the StatCast era. StatCast launched back on Opening Day 2015. Yeah, he's going to swing and miss a ton, but few players in baseball can hit the ball as far and as hard as Gallo. He's a blast to watch. When he connects, anyway.

The 10-game winning streak has dug the Rangers out of their early season hole and put them back into the postseason picture, but here's the thing: the Astros have been playing so well lately that the Rangers have gained only two games in the standings during the 10-game winning streak. Two! That's better than none though. Texas is 6 1/2 games back in the AL West following Friday's game, so they still have a ways to go to catch Houston.

Battle of the AL's best in Houston?

A case can be made the two best teams in the American League are meeting this weekend in Houston. The Astros are hosting the Indians at Minute Maid Park for a three-game series. Houston went into the series opener game with baseball's best record at 29-12. The Indians are off to a bit of a slow start. They went into Friday's game in second place in the AL Central at 20-19.

Cleveland won Friday's game thanks to a two-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion , and solo shots by Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall . The Indians won even though George Springer was robbing base hits in center field.

Bryan Shaw , Andrew Miller , and Cody Allen combined to retire all 10 batters they faced out of the bullpen to close out the win for the Indians. 

Despite Friday's loss, the Astros still look very much like the best team in baseball. But for one game though, the Indians got the best of them. Could this be an ALCS preview? It wouldn't surprise me one bit. I think they're the two best teams in the league overall.

Benches clear at Dodger Stadium

Things between the Dodgers and Marlins got a little heated Friday night. Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger smashed yet another home run, his eighth in 23 games since being called up. That extended his team's lead to 7-0 in the eighth inning, putting the Marlins on the verge of yet another loss. They went into Friday's game having lost 18 of their previous 22 games. Yikes.

After giving up the home run to Bellinger, Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos plunked Brett Eibner , the next batter, with a pitch. Then, in the next inning, Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling retaliated by throwing a pitch behind the frustrated  Giancarlo Stanton . Both benches cleared, and at one point Marlins manager Don Mattingly and Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren were in each other's face:

No punches were thrown during the brawl. There was a lot of yelling before the two sides separated. A typical baseball brawl, basically. Geren, Mattingly, and Stripling were all ejected.

This is the second benches clearing incident this week for the Dodgers. They also had a small fracas with the Giants after Johnny Cueto threw up and in at Yasmani Grandal because he thought he was stealing signs.

Sale strikes out 10 batters (again)

Friday night against the Athletics, Red Sox ace Chris Sale tied an impressive major league record. A record he already owns. Sale struck out 10-plus batters for the eighth consecutive start, something only he and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez have done before.

Sale finished Friday's outing with 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed two runs. Here is the updated 2017 strikeout leaderboard:

  1. Chris Sale -- 85
  2. Max Scherzer -- 70
  3. Jacob deGrom -- 67
  4. Zack Greinke -- 66
  5. Chris Archer -- 65

Keep in mind Sale does not pitch in the NL like Scherzer, deGrom, and Greinke, so he doesn't get to pick up cheap strikeouts against the opposing pitcher. Sale has 20 more strikeouts than any other AL pitcher at the moment.

Of course, the highlight of Friday's Red Sox game was Jackie Bradley Jr.'s game-saving catch. He took a ninth inning walk-off home run away from Ryon Healy :

Alas, Bradley's catch only delayed the inevitable. Mark Canha swatted a walk-off home run in the tenth inning to give the A's the win.

Brewers beat Cubs for fourth straight win

Don't tell the Brewers they're supposed to be rebuilding. Friday afternoon, in their series opener at Wrigley Field, the Brewers rallied for two runs in the fifth inning and two more runs in the sixth to beat the Cubs 6-3. Domingo Santana 's two-run single was the biggest blow.

Milwaukee came back to win despite Kyle Schwarber 's defensive heroics:

The win is the fourth in a row for the Brewers, who have also won 10 of their last 12 games. They are 25-18 overall and seven games over .500 for the first time since September 5, 2014, when they were 74-67. The Brewers currently lead the NL Central by two games.

As noted by Dayn Perry, the Brewers are relying on a powerful offense that extends beyond Eric Thames . Others like Santana, Travis Shaw , and Jett Bandy are contributing in big ways on offense as well. Will this last for the Brew Crew? Who knows? What I do know is they are very fun to watch, and that according to FanGraphs, their postseason odds have climbed from 1.1 percent to 10.8 percent. It's not much, but it is something.

Rockies' offense explodes in yet another win

The season is still young, but the Rockies are starting to look like a bona fide postseason contender. Colorado improved their record to 27-16 with a win over the Reds on Friday, a win made possible by an eight-run sixth inning. Alexi Amarista , the club's light-hitting utility infielder, hit a two-run home run and a two-run single that inning.

The Rockies will have a devil of time holding off the powerhouse Dodgers in the NL West across the full 162-game season, but that doesn't mean this club isn't ready to contend. They have a strong offense, a quality young rotation, and a suddenly deep and effective bullpen. The Rockies are a team on the rise and a force to be reckoned with in the Senior Circuit.

Weaver gets hammered again for Padres

The rebuilding Padres signed veteran righty Jered Weaver over the winter simply to provide the team innings. He's been in serious decline the last few seasons, but San Diego wasn't necessarily looking for quality innings, just innings. They're in full blown tank mode. They just don't want to overwork their young arms.

Well, Weaver pitched to a 6.05 ERA in his first eight starts -- he also allowed a league high 14 home runs in 41 2/3 innings -- before getting blasted for seven runs in two-thirds of an inning by the Diamondbacks on Friday. He has now allowed 41 runs in 42 1/3 innings in 2017. Baseball Savant says Weaver's fastball averaged 83.5 mph Friday. His velocity has been slipping for a few seasons now, and he may have hit the point of no return.

Padres manager Andy Green has given indications the Padres won't give Weaver much longer to figure things out. The club isn't making much of an effort to be contend this season, but they're still not going to allow Weaver to go out and get hammered every fifth day. They at least want to give off the impression they're trying to be competitive.

If Friday's start is the end of the line for Weaver, he'll be remembered as one of the game's most dominant starters from 2010-13, when he threw 803 innings with a 2.84 ERA (135 ERA+) with the Angels. Weaver went to three All-Star Games and thrice finished in the top five of the AL Cy Young voting, including finishing second Justin Verlander in 2011.

Quick hits

  • Red Sox LHP David Price needed 65 pitches to get through two innings in his first minor league rehab start. The team has not yet announced the next step, though another rehab start is likely.
  • The Dodgers placed 3B Justin Turner on the 10-day DL with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, the team announced. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters Turner could miss several weeks.
  • The Cubs will activate OF Jason Heyward (finger) off the 10-day DL on Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. No word on a corresponding roster move yet.
  • The Cardinals have activated INF Jhonny Peralta (illness) from the 10-day DL, the team announced. OF Magneuris Sierra was sent down to clear a roster spot.
  • The Blue Jays have called up OF prospect Anthony Alford , but it's not certain how long he'll be on the active roster. In a related move, the Jays placed OF Darrell Ceciliani on the 10-day DL with a shoulder injury.
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Cardinals and White Sox are the favorites to sign free agent Cuban OF Luis Robert.
  • An errant Tim Tebow throw konked some guy in the biscuits
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