It's officially the second half. Sure, we already passed the halfway point of the season, technically, but MLB calls the games after the All-Star break the "second half." So it's the second half now. Got it? Good! 

Let's break down the action from the first day of the second half. 

Friday's games

Nationals 5, Reds 0 (box score)
Dodgers 6, Marlins 4 (box score)
Pirates 5, Cardinals 2 (box score)
Mets 14, Rockies 2 (box score)
Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 (box score)
Blue Jays 7, Tigers 2 (box score)
Cubs 9, Orioles 8 (box score)
Braves 4, Diamondbacks 3 (box score)
Brewers 9, Phillies 6 (box score)
Astros 10, Twins 5 (box score)
Mariners 4, White Sox 2 (box score)
Rangers 5, Royals 3 (box score)
Athletics 5, Indians 0 (box score)
Rays 2, Angels 1 (box score)
Giants 5, Padres 4 (box score)

Puig your friend, Dodgers

After winning 26 of their last 30 heading into the break, the Dodgers seemed poised to lose one on Friday. It would've been forgivable. After all, the old cliche that "you can't win them all" definitely rings true, especially in a season with 162 games. 

Instead, with two outs in the ninth, no one on base and the Dodgets trailing the Marlins by one, Joc Pederson singled. Then Yasmani Grandal walked and Yasiel Puig hit one into the Home Run Sculpture. Just like that, it was 6-4. Here's the blast:

Three Kenley Jansen outs later and the Dodgers had won again. 

Puig homered earlier in the game, too, so he accounted for four of their six runs on two swings of the bat. With a pretty stacked 2-4 in the order set, the Dodgers only need to count on down-order production from Puig. Games like Friday night show his potential in doing so. 

Yankees blow it against Red Sox

Things have really gone south for the Yankees since June 12 and one of the major reasons has surprisingly been the back end of the bullpen. From that day until the All-Star break, the Yankees went 7-18 and blew eight saves. 

On Friday night, they led the Red Sox, 4-3, entering the ninth and -- you guessed it -- Aroldis Chapman blew the save. 

It all started so innocently on an infield single. Of course, that's the tying run so maybe it wasn't that innocent. Dustin Pedroia would also reach on an infield single before Xander Bogaerts reached on an error and the game was tied. 

As an aside, this is how the blown save can be a cruel stat. Without the error, maybe Chapman preserves this thing. 

Instead, he took the loss. 

With runners on second and third, the Yankees elected to load the bases and hope for some home-plate forceouts or strikeouts. Instead, Chapman walked Andrew Benintendi. It's a walk-off walk. Or in Internet parlance: Shrimp! 

Cubs survive wild one

The Cubs built an 8-0 lead thanks to some tape-measure homers. 

Like this three-run shot in the first inning from Willson Contreras

Kyle Schwarber would go back-to-back with Contreras. Ben Zobrist hit a two-run shot in the second inning. Then, believe it or not, Jason Heyward destroyed a two-run shot of his own. He was only the fourth player to hit it on Eutaw Street this year and it was the 92nd HR of all-time to reach the street. Heyward has already matched last season's home run total with seven and there are signs he's started to get things figured out after the 2016 debacle at the plate. 

So it was 8-0 Cubs through 2 1/2 innings. Somehow, they blew the lead. 

Some of it was Cubs manager Joe Maddon trying not to overwork his bullpen in the first game after the break. He ended up looking desperate in trying to get starter Mike Montgomery and lower-tier reliever Justin Grimm through the fifth inning. That led to a four-run Orioles' fifth and the lead shrinking to 8-6. 

Things would settle down once the Cubs got to their late-inning guys, temporarily, but then Koji Uehara in the eighth allowed just his second homer of the year and it was all tied. Mark Trumbo came through with the clutch blast. 

The Cubs could have easily deflated, but Addison Russell answered in the top of the ninth with a go-ahead shot to left. Wade Davis would close it down. 

Given the awful finish to the mediocre-at-best first half, the Jose Quintana trade and the 8-0 lead, that would've been an utterly devastating loss for the Cubs. They managed to salvage the win. We'll see if that matters moving forward. On the other side ...

Gausman is still terrible this year

Kevin Gausman, a former first-round pick of the Orioles, was very good last year. He had a 3.61 ERA (118 ERA+) with 174 strikeouts in 179 2/3 innings. He posted a 4.2 WAR. Heading into his age-26 season, he seemed like a possible frontline starter. 

After being the Cubs' virtual batting practice pitcher on Friday night, Gausman has a 6.39 ERA, 1.79 WHIP and leads the majors in earned runs allowed. 

He has good stuff, but location has been a major problem. The home runs he gave up Friday were mostly middle-middle (read: "right down the middle") fastballs. Even mid-to-high 90s, you just can't do that with little movement in this day and age. 

Brewers still slugging

The Brewers spotted the Phillies two runs in the first on Friday, but that's of little consequence to the Crew these days. They put up an eight-spot in the second inning. The big blow was a grand slam from the man who was a middle-of-the-order hitter on the last Brewers playoff team and hopes to repeat that feat in 2017: Ryan Braun

Fun fact on Braun's grand slams: 

Also, 22-year-old shortstop Orlando Arcia hit .368/.400/.592 with five doubles, four homers and 10 RBI in his last 22 games before the break. He clubbed a three-run homer on Friday. 

The Brewers maintain their 5 1/2 game lead over the Cubs in the Central. That's not a small margin. They've won 10 of their last 12. I'll keep saying it: The Brewers are for real. 

Gray deals at perfect time for A's

Right after the White Sox traded Jose Quintana, another trade candidate took the ball on Friday. Sonny Gray of the A's went out and tossed six innings of two-hit, zero-run ball. He struck out five and walked only one. His only blemish is that he wasn't efficient, but it was of no matter in this one as the A's rolled. 

One has to wonder whether Billy Beane will strike while the iron is hot now. Quintana is off the market and several suitors are known to covet Gray. He goes out and shuts down the defending AL champs. The time might be right. 

Harper homers twice as Nats roll 

We know Bryce Harper loves hitting homers on opening day. Maybe he thought of this one as a second opening day? Because he hit two homers. Here's the second: 

Obviously I kid about the second opening day thing. Harper hits homers a lot and doesn't really discriminate. He's up to 22 on the season with a .327/.434/.608 slash. 

Gio Gonzalez had a very good outing for the Nats as well. He worked 8 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking two. 

What the 5-0 win doesn't show is that the Nationals again found a way to make it interesting with a lead in the ninth. The Reds ended up loading the bases before the final out. There's a cushion with a five-run lead, obviously, but they've got to quit letting that happen. 

Still, the Nationals hold a 9 1/2 game lead in the NL East. 

Astros pick up where they left off

The best team in the AL by far (yes, I said "by far" -- you wanna argue?), scored at least 10 runs in four of their last six games before the All-Star break. 

What do you know, another 10-run game happened on Friday. They got eight in the second inning alone, thanks in part to a Brian McCann three-run shot. While we're here, a fun Brian McCann fact: 

McCann tied Javier Lopez for seventh all time in home runs as a catcher with 243 ( play index link here). The top six, from the top, are Mike Piazza (396), Carlton Fisk (351), Ivan Rodriguez (304), Lance Parrish (299), Gary Carter (298) and Jorge Posada (246). Also, for any fans of The Wire, Gus Triandos is 20th. 

Anywho, the Astros don't appear to be any different after the four-day break, which isn't surprising. 

Mets explode

The first half was pretty much a disaster for the Mets, but they started the second half but utterly crushing a team currently holding down a wild card spot in the Rockies. The Mets would pound out 19 hits in scoring 14 runs. This included three doubles and two homers, including a beautiful opposite-field, three-run shot for All-Star Michael Conforto. He went 2 for 4 with four RBI. 

Yoenis Cespedes was 4 for 6 with a double. Jose Reyes picked up three hits. Even Jacob deGrom picked up a pair of knocks in this laugher. 

Speaking of, deGrom held down the Rockies' offense with a superb outing. He allowed only a run on four hits in eight innings while striking out 11. 

Rockies' struggles continue

The Rockies haven't won back-to-back games since June 19-20. They've gone 5-14 since then. They had a huge cushion in terms of a playoff spot before this stretch, but if the losing continues, they're gonna have to sweat it out. 

Bell walks it off for Pirates

With a 2-2 tie and two on base with one out in the bottom the ninth, Josh Bell hit a three-run homer off Cardinals closer Seung-Hwan Oh

The Pirates are getting pretty hot, in case you haven't noticed. They've won six of their last seven and a Starling Marte return is just a few days away. Don't count them out for a second-half run. 

Dickey's strong run continues

Heading into the All-Star break, Braves starter R.A. Dickey posted a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings in his last four starts. On Friday, he gave up only one run in six innings of work. 

The Braves would win, but it would take a late comeback. Freddie Freeman -- who homered earlier -- hit a go-ahead, two-RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to give the Braves the 4-3 lead they would need. 

Quick hits