MLB Friday scores, trade rumors, updates, news: Chris Sale joins elite company

Friday brings us a full 15-game slate as the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline inches closer and closer. We are now only 10 days away from the July 31 deadline. Here is our recap of the day in MLB.

Friday's scores

Sale joins elite company

Red Sox ace Chris Sale worked six shutout innings against the Angels on Friday night, and along the way he struck out nine batters. As a result, Sale reached 200 strikeouts for the season in just his 20th start. As you can probably guess, that puts him in rarefied air ... 

So that's three Hall of Famers and Sale. Good company, that. Curiously absent from this list is Ryan's 1973 season, when he struck out a record 383 batters. With maybe 14 starts to go for Sale, that record's probably out of reach. However, Sale, barring injury, is a good bet to become the first pitcher to strike out 300 batters in a season since Pedro Martinez in 1999. 

The Sox of course paid dearly in trade to acquire Sale this past offseason, but thus far he has been worth it and then some. 

Judge breaks homer drought in a massive way

Coming into Friday night's game against Seattle, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hadn't homered since July 7 -- i.e., way back yonder in the first half. Let's just say he snapped that drought in a massive way on Friday ... 

Woofity. Read more here about Judge's sky-scraping blast against the M's

The Brewers keep tumbling

At the close of play on July 15, the Brewers had won 11 of their last 13 and had stretched their lead in the NL Central to 5 1/2 games over the reigning champion Cubs. Since then, though, the wheels have come off. Friday's defeat makes it six losses in a row for Milwaukee -- a stretch that includes a loss to the Phillies, a four-game sweep at the hands of the once-again relevant Pirates, and on Friday another loss to the Phillies. As a result, the Brewers now lead the Cubs by just a single game. 

As well, the schedule is about to toughen up. After the series in Philly ends on Sunday, the Brewers will then play 16 straight against the Nationals, Cubs, Cardinals, Rays and Twins. That's a perilous stretch, and along the way it wouldn't surprise anyone to see the Brewers fall from atop the division for the first time since May 26. 

The other consideration is that the Brewers' current losing streak might make it less likely that the front office makes a big splash leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. After all, the Brewers were supposed to be still on the fringes of a rebuild and not among the contenders of 2017. Their long-term outlook remains promising, and if the front office sees this as the team finally "playing down" to their true current level, then they might opt to hang on to all those prospects rather than trade for short-term improvements. Either way, this six-game losing streak -- roughly in tandem with hot streaks by the Cubs and Pirates -- has done big damage to the Brewers' playoff hopes. 

The Brewers have scored a total of just 12 runs over these last six games. Suffice it to say, that's a disappointing span for a team that entered Friday ranking fifth in the NL in runs scored and first in homers. The real disappointment, though, has been in the NL Central standings.

Moncada notches first hit with White Sox

Infielder Yoan Moncada, widely regarded as the top overall prospect in all of baseball, notched his first hit as a member of the White Sox on Friday night. Let's just say that multiple tools were on display ... 

So Moncada hit the ball, hit the ball hard, and ran the bases with rarely glimpsed speed. That's three of the five available tools. That's also a glimpse into why the 22-year-old Cuban is going to be a special player. 

Snakes drop bombs on Max

One of Max Scherzer's few weaknesses -- perhaps his only weakness -- is that he's occasionally prone to the long ball. On Friday night, the Diamondbacks exploited that weakness in a big way in the first inning ... 

That's the first time in franchise history that the D-Backs have hit back-to-back-to-back homers to open a game. As you can probably imagine, it's not looking like Mad Max's night ... 

The desert giveth; the desert taketh. 

Encarnacion homers against Jays for first time

Coming into Friday night's Blue Jays-Indians game, Tribe DH Edwin Encarnacion had homered against every team in MLB except for the Blue Jays. The Jays, of course, are the team for whom EE toiled for eight seasons before signing with Cleveland this past offseason. Encarnacion and the Indians faced Toronto earlier this season, but he failed to homer in those three contests. On Friday night, though, he changed all that ... 

That's Encarnacion's 20th homer of the season, and that's the first time the Jays have felt the savage bite of the parrot. 

Encarnacion got off to a slow start this season, but after that blast above he's now got a line of .257/.370/.480 for 2017. That's more like what the Indians had in mind when they inked him to a three-year, $60 million pact this winter. 

Cardinals bounce back with huge eighth inning

There's no way to sugarcoat it: the way the Cardinals lost Thursday afternoon's game to the Mets was brutal and, frankly, unacceptable. Trevor Rosenthal was late covering first base on a ground ball, allowing the winning run to score. It was terrible, and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said so Friday.

How did the Cardinals respond Friday afternoon? With a blowout win over the Cubs in Wrigley Field. Now that's how you bounce back.

The Cardinals were actually down 3-2 going into the eighth inning in that game, but the first 11 -- 11! -- batters they sent to the plate that inning reached base. Here's how the inning played out:

A spectacular meltdown by the Cubs bullpen, that was. Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon, and Justin Grimm were the culprits. They combined to throw 61 pitches that inning. Yikes.

Red hot Contreras goes deep again

Prior to Friday's loss, the Cubs were the only team in baseball to win every game since the All-Star break. The Cubbies went into Friday's matinee with the Cardinals with a perfect 6-0 record in the second half. They'd outscored their opponents 44-17 in the six games.

The offensive leader during the six-game winning streak has been sophomore catcher Willson Contreras. He went 9 for 22 (.409) with three doubles and two home runs during those six games. In the first inning Friday, he swatted his third home run since the All-Star break:

Contreras' hot streak goes back much further than the All-Star break. Coming into Friday he was hitting .337/.440/.674 with eight doubles and eight home runs in his previous 27 games. I guess it's no surprise then that he's taken over as Chicago's regular cleanup hitter.

The Cubs as a team have hit 17 home runs in their first seven games following the All-Star break.

Trade Rumors

Quick hits

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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