MLB Saturday scores, highlights, updates, news: Paxton makes Mariners history

Here's our daily look around the league. On Saturday, we saw lots of tributes to Jackie Robinson (it's April 15, after all), some stellar pitching, weirdness from Carlos Martinez  and the Astros-A's game, continued excellence from Eric Thames , an un-JV-like outing from Detroit's ace and many other things. Now let's have a look. And be sure to check back throughout Saturday for updates ... 

Saturday's scores

New York Yankees  3, St. Louis Cardinals 2 (box score)
Philadelphia Phillies 4, Washington Nationals  2 (box score)
Toronto Blue Jays  2, Baltimore Orioles 1 (box score)
Cincinnati Reds  7, Milwaukee Brewers 5 (box score)
Minnesota Twins 6, Chicago White Sox 0 (box score)
Pittsburgh Pirates  8,  Chicago Cubs  7 (box score)
Astros 10, Oakland Athletics  6 (box score)
Boston Red Sox 2, Tampa Bay Rays 1 (box score)
Colorado Rockies 5,  San Francisco Giants  0 (box score)
Cleveland Indians 13, Detroit Tigers 6 (box score)
Atlanta Braves 4, San Diego Padres 2 (box score)
Royals 3, Los Angeles Angels 2 (box score)
Miami Marlins 5, New York Mets 4 (box score)
Dodgers 8, Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (box score)
Seattle Mariners 5, Texas Rangers 0 (box score)

Paxton makes Mariners history

The previous record for consecutive scoreless innings to open the season for a Mariners pitcher was 17 2/3 ( Mark Lowe , 2006), and James Paxton has breezed past that figure. 

james-paxton.jpg
James Paxton still hasn't given up a run this season. USATSI

On Saturday, the lanky lefty took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Rangers and essentially made them look silly all game. He would last eight more scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and a walk while striking out nine. His Mariners record is now 21 straight scoreless innings to start the season. In addition to his 0.00 ERA through three starts, Paxton also has a 0.57 WHIP and 22 strikeouts against only four walks. 

It's only three starts and there are roughly 30 to go for each pitcher if they can stay healthy, but right now it's fair to say that James Paxton has been the best pitcher in all of baseball in 2017. 

For those curious, the MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings is 59, set by Dodgers great Orel Hershiser in 1988. The record to start the season is held by Brad Ziegler , who went 38 straight scoreless innings to start the 2008 season. Thirteen starting pitchers have allowed zero runs through their first three starts -- the most recent being Jordan Zimmermann last season -- but none have gone four in the modern era. The largest inning total among that group is 27, by the great Luis Tiant in 1966.

Next time Paxton takes the ball -- it should be Thursday in Oakland -- pay attention. He has several shots at history. 

Twins ride Santana's gem

The Twins didn't notch their seventh win last season until April 26, but they grabbed number seven on Saturday to move to 7-4 on the young season. The offense did its part early, putting a five-spot on the board in the first inning, thanks in part to doubles from Robbie Grossman and Miguel Sano in addition to a two-RBI triple from Max Kepler

And then starting pitcher Ervin Santana did the rest. 

The right-hander needed only 107 pitches to throw a one-hit shutout, striking out eight and walking just one. The White Sox never got a baserunner to third base and Santana was perfect after the fourth inning. 

Santana has been brilliant all year so far, going 3-0 in three starts with a 0.41 ERA and 0.45 WHIP. 

Chatwood nearly matches Santana

Santana's shutout wasn't the only one Wednesday afternoon. Tyler Chatwood of the Rockies took a no-no into the middle innings in AT&T Park, stifling the Giants for a two-hitter. He worked with soft contact all game, only needing four strikeouts in his shutout. What he did was put the game in the very capable hands of his infield defense, inducing a whopping 17 ground outs. 

This was the best outing of Chatwood's career. He previously only had one complete game, but that was a tough-luck, eight-inning, complete-game loss. This time around, his teammates took care of him as he spun an absolute gem. 

The Rockies move to 8-5, while the disappointing (so far) Giants are 5-8. 

Verlander rocked, Ramirez goes off

Here's how cruel the small-sample data can be in April. Justin Verlander entered the game with a 1.35 ERA. He left and it was sitting at 5.71. 

The Indians knocked Verlander around the yard pretty much from the get-go, as Jose Ramirez clubbed a three-run homer in the first, Carlos Santana hit a two-run job in the second, Lonnie Chisenhall added a two-run shot in the third and Santana singled home Verlander's last two remaining runs in the fifth, after Verlander had been chased. 

The final line for the 2016 Cy Young runner-up? 4 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR

Previously, only four times in Verlander's career had he worked five innings or fewer with eight or more earned runs. He had never, before Saturday, given up nine runs in a single outing. So it's fair to say this was the worst start of Verlander's illustrious career. 

On the Indians' end, Jose Ramirez was 4 for 4 with two three-run homers. Here's the second one, which put the game out of reach: 

Astros-A's was all kinds of wild

Through five innings, the A's had a 5-0 lead and hadn't allowed a hit. Through six, they still hadn't given up a hit, though the Astros had scored two runs. The Astros would end up scoring 10 runs. To reiterate: They had zero hits through six innings. 

It was more than that. A's pitchers walked eight batters. The Astros stole five bases. The Astros actually ran out of position players and had to use Mike Fiers to pinch run in the ninth inning. He scored a run and, funnily enough, it was the first run scored in his career (he has 103 career plate appearances but has only been on base seven times). 

When the Astros went back out for the ninth, they had lost their DH and needed to reshuffle the defense. Josh Reddick took first base, for the first time in his career (in his 757th career game). With the DH gone, Luke Gregerson was inserted into the lineup and it just happened to be at the cleanup spot. Had the game gone extras, the Astros pitchers would have been in the cleanup spot without any other alternatives to pinch hit. 

Further, Astros catcher Brian McCann reacted as if the game was over ... at the end of the eighth inning. 

There were two errors -- both on the A's -- but several misplays in the field by both teams, notably Nori Aoki for the Astros. 

In all, this will go down as one of the more funky games this season. 

Marlins' power overcomes deGrom's strikeouts

Mets staritng pitcher Jacob deGrom has been filthy this season. On Saturday, he tied a career high with 13 strikeouts and his ERA now sits at 1.89. Of course, he's also 0-0, still, after three starts. 

In this one, deGrom had 97 pitches through seven innings and Mets manager Terry Collins elected to remove him in favor of Fernando Salas , who had been great so far this season. He just wasn't on Saturday. 

Budding Marlins star Christian Yelich hit a game-tying, two-run shot off Salas and was followed with a laser to center for Giancarlo Stanton . Just like that, back-to-back jacks made it a Marlins win, as A.J. Ramos shut the door in the ninth for the home team. 

The Stanton go-ahead shot: 

The Marlins scored all five runs via the homer. Yelich had the two-run shot while Stanton, Justin Bour and Marcell Ozuna hit solo shots. Ozuna has five on the year, by the way. The Marlins move to 6-5 while the Mets drop to 7-5. 

So far, so good for Brewers' Thames

This past offseason, the Brewers signed slugger Eric Thames to a three-year deal that guaranteed him more than $15 million. They did this despite Thames' being 30, having failed to stick in the majors the first time around, and having enjoyed success only against lesser competition in hitter-friendly Korea. It's not a huge investment, of course, but it's a risky one for the smallest of small-market teams. 

Yes, it's ludicrously early in the 2017 season, but so far the Thames flyer is looking sage. Thames entered Saturday's tilt against the first-place Reds with a slash line of .367/.441/.767 with three homers in nine games. Then he went out and homered not once but twice in Cincy (video of those homers can be found here and here). As a result of that 2-for-4 day (plus a walk), Thames is now hitting .382/.462/.912 on the young season.

Like the man said: so far, so good. 

Jays get much-needed walk-off

Toronto has of course endured a miserably slow start to the season. They opened play on Saturday with a 1-9 record and 6 1/2 games back of the Orioles in the AL East.

They got a crack at those same Orioles, and thanks largely to some excellent pitching by Marco Estrada they carried a 1-0 lead into the ninth. However, closer Roberto Osuna blew the save, and the two teams were tied 1-1 in the home half of the ninth. New Jays DH Kendrys Morales led things off ... 

Every team can use something like that, but a 1-9 team can really use something like that. We'll see if this leads to better results for Toronto moving forward. 

Kris Bryant 's first homer should count twice

Reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant entered the Cubs' game against the Pirates Saturday hitting just .231 with no home runs in 39 at-bats. He tried to make up for the lack of power with one swing in the first inning:

Goodness. That one went 451 feet before bouncing off the scoreboard in left-center. The Cubs would score four runs in the inning to jump out to a quick lead that would eventually be blown. 

The Pirates would hit four home runs of their own, including three in a five-run seventh inning, to win the game, 8-7. Bryant did tack on a second home run, but it was only a solo shot to cut the Pirates' lead to one in the ninth. The Pirates hand the Cubs their first series loss of 2017. 

Baseball honors Jackie Robinson

Saturday, April 15, 2017, marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's history-making and history-shaking major-league debut with the Brooklyn  Los Angeles Dodgers . By breaking the color barrier at the highest level, Robinson altered not only the game of baseball but also all of society. As a result of his perseverance, personal courage, strength, and on-field excellence, Mr. Robinson is rightly regarded as a baseball legend and a genuine American hero. 

Needless to say, Robinson's legacy on Saturday was getting its proper respect all around baseball. You can find a sampling of the many ways in which teams and players paid tribute to the great Jackie Robinson on Saturday by clicking here. 

Martinez has two modes in New York: strikeout and walk

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez had one of the all-time weird performances in Saturday's start against the Yankees, and it was clear it would be a weird day after just one inning.

It took Martinez 37 pitches to get through the first, yet the Yankees were unable to put a ball in play. How is that possible? Take a look:

Martinez had plenty more walks and strikeouts before his day was through. You can read all about it here.

Should Finnegan begin again?

Given that young, high-ceiling lefty Brandon Finnegan was a key part of the 2015 trade that sent Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals , the Reds have hopes for him. He brought a sparkling ERA into Saturday's start against the Brewers, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

In his April 10 start against the Pirates, Finnegan walked five batters in two innings and spotted just 35 of his 69 pitches for strikes. Saturday against Milwaukee? Here's how that went ... 

Brandon Finnegan SP / Cincinnati (vs. MIL)
IP: 1 H: 1 R: 2 ER: 2 BB: 3 K: 1 Pitches: 26 Strikes: 10

It turns out that Finnegan was lifted because of a strained lat muscle. However, the bullpen was going while Finnegan was pitching in the first, which suggests that a quick hook may have already been in the works. After all, throwing just 10 strikes in 26 pitches will get you lifted in a hurry.

That he's also lasted a total of just three innings in his last two starts tells you that he's been ineffective and that manager Bryan Price may be losing patience. The Reds don't have a great deal of rotation depth (having Scott Feldman and Bronson Arroyo in the rotation in 2017 is not indicative of depth), so they need Finnegan to right himself.

While the bullpen has been excellent and Price has been highly creative in how he's deployed his best relievers, they need some volume from their starters. It's April, you know, and then pen simply can't sustain this workload. 

Beyond all that, Finnegan's an important part of the Reds' long-term future, and his development must be the priority. He has options left, so don't be surprised if he soon finds himself on a lower rung should his utter lack of command and control persist. All of that, of course, assumes this injury isn't a serious one. 

Quick hits

  • Houston Astros SS Carlos Correa , contrary to recent reports, says he's not necessarily opposed to a long-term extension in Houston. (Jake Kaplan via Twitter)
  • Speaking of Correa, he left Saturday's game in the ninth inning after being hit in the hand/wrist area with a pitch. He appeared to be in a great amount of pain, too. After the game, the Astros reported that X-rays were negative and Correa "only" has a hand contusion. Houstonians and Correa fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief. 
  • Yankees OF/DH Matt Holliday was scratched from Saturday's lineup with lower back tightness.
  • Twins 2B Brian Dozier didn't play Saturday because of what an MRI revealed was a right knee contusion.
  • A's starter Sean Manaea was lifted after five-plus no-hit innings and rightfully so.
  • Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his outing after just one inning due to hamstring tightness. He has been placed on the 10-day disabled list.  
  • Padres starter Clayton Richard committed the first balk in SunTrust Park history. 
  • Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe left the game due to hamstring tightness. 
  • The Marlins haven't had a starter record an out in the seventh inning this season, as Adam Conley was chased with no outs in the seventh on Saturday to keep the "streak" going. 
  • The longest winning streak so far in the young 2017 season? The New York Yankees, with a current six-gamer. 
  • On the flip-side, the Angels have now lost four straight. 
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