Monday brings us a new baseball week and a bit of a light slate with seven games. It's a bit of a bummer, having more than half the league on an off day, but we'll still scratch together enough good stuff to make this daily roundup worthwhile.
Nationals 3, Marlins 2 (box score)
Pirates 3, Tigers 0 (box score)
Reds 11, Padres 3 (box score)
Twins 5, Brewers 4 (box score)
Cardinals 11, Royals 3 (box score)
Orioles 6, Angels 2 (box score)
Cubs 5, Giants 3 (box score)
Scherzer returns, Stanton hits MLB-high 37th HR
A week ago Monday, Max Scherzer hit his first career home run and then exited the game with neck stiffness, saying he slept wrong on it. He returned to the hill Monday night and worked seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out nine while working up to 114 pitches. Scherzer looked like his normal self for much of the night, so the Nationals can breathe a bit easier as they await Stephen Strasburg's return to the rotation.
Scherzer took a no-decision; in the sixth inning, he coughed up a tying home run to Giancarlo Stanton:
No real shame in Stanton taking someone deep. It was his 37th of the season, tying his career high and increasing his MLB lead over Aaron Judge, who has 35. Stanton is finally avoiding injury and piling up the bombs like we thought he could for so long. It's a pretty good bet Stanton tops 50 and, heck, maybe he gets hot enough to make a run at 60.
Regardless, the Nationals won thanks to an eighth-inning RBI from Bryce Harper. Speaking of, Harper hit his 150th career home run earlier in the game, joining an exclusive group to get there before his 25th birthday. .
Trout reaches 1,000 hits on 26th birthday, also homers
Angels superstar Mike Trout is a good baseball player, but we already knew that, He's actually more than good. He's already historically great for his age. Trout reached 1,000 career hits with a double against the Orioles on Monday. He's the 23rd player in MLB history to reach 1,000 hits either before or during his age-25 season (a player's seasonal age is his actual age on June 30 of that season). Here's the list on baseball-reference.com's play index.
If we dig deeper, we narrow down the field, too:
That's Trout with three inner-circle Hall of Famers.
Also, Trout later homered and it was hilariously the fourth home run he has had in six birthdays in the majors. That's not much more than simply a fun coincidence from an unreal player.
I've said it before, but if you're tired of hearing about Trout, you're going to be in for a long two decades -- and you probably don't actually like baseball anyway.
Of course ...
Machado grand slam, Bundy start lead Orioles to win
The Angels lost to the Orioles and it was due in large part to Dylan Bundy's effort on the hill and Manny Machado with one crack of the bat. Bundy struck out a career-high 10 hitters against zero walks in seven innings of work. Really his only blemishes were due to Trout, so that's nothing about which to fret.
The game was tied at 2 heading into the seventh. The Orioles loaded the bases for Machado and ...
Machado got off to an awful start to this season, but he has been steadily getting better and is red hot of late. Heading into Monday, he was hitting .392 with a .647 slugging in his last 12 games and we can now tack on the grand slam.
The Orioles, meantime, have won eight of their past 10. They are only 1½ games out of the second AL wild card.
Baez hits inside-the-park HR
That's Baez's 16th homer of the season, but the first inside-the-park job in his career. What's funny is that's probably a home run that leaves the yard in any other ballpark. Hey, baseball is fun. We already knew that, right?
The Cubs would go on to win and increase their lead in the very-close NL Central, because ...
Brewers lose due to balk
The Brewers entered Monday trailing the Cubs by a half-game in the NL Central and were looking to keep pace. They got out to an early 4-1 lead, but Jorge Polanco's two-run double in the fourth cut it to 4-3, and then Eddie Rosario tied it with a seventh-inning RBI double. With Rosario on third that same inning, this happened:
It's really tough to see there unless you stare at Brewers reliever Oliver Drake. Right when Rosario lunges toward home, Drake noticeably flinches. It's definitely a balk.
The Twins held on, and this has got to be a tough one for the Brewers to swallow.
Cardinals finally back to .500
Though they've been within striking range of the mediocre NL Central for most of the season, the Cardinals have been toiling below .500 for a long time. The last time they were .500 was June 2, when they lost to fall to 26-26. That game started a seven-game losing streak, and they were unable to get back to even until winning on Monday in Kansas City. They are now 56-56.
Royals are cold again
Also from that game, the Royals were crushed, 11-3, and have now dropped six of their past eight.
They've interestingly been hot-and-cold nearly all season. The past month has been a case of extreme examples. The Royals lost seven of eight, then won nine in a row before a loss, a win and now a 2-6 stretch.
This loss moves the Royals back into a tie with the idle Rays for the second AL wild-card spot.
Tigers one-hit by Pirates
There wasn't much offense in PNC Park on Monday. The Pirates led 1-0 before John Jaso's two-run homer in the seventh, and that would be the extent of the offense. The Pirates had only three hits, but the Tigers got only a James McCann single. That was it for the game (a certain phrase from the great Harry Doyle of Major League comes to mind).
Still, that's some woeful offense from the Tigers.
On the Pirates' side ...
NL Central is still very tight
The Cubs now hold a 1½-game lead over the Brewers, but the Cardinals are 3½ out with the Pirates only 4½ out. We head to Aug. 8 with a four-team race. That's pretty darn cool.
Votto reaches 30 home runs
Reds first baseman Joey Votto is having another amazing season. On Monday, he clubbed his 30th home run of the year.
Interestingly, on that blast Votto became the all-time home run leader in Great American Ball Park with 136.
Furthermore, this marks only the second time in Votto's excellent career he has reached 30 homers. He hit 37 in 2010 when he won the NL MVP, but never reached 30 again until now. He has ended up with exactly 29 three times.
On the year, Votto is hitting .314/.438/.604 with 30 homers, 81 RBI and -- get this -- he has walked 84 times compared to only 56 strikeouts.
Don Baylor dies
Sadly, Major League Baseball lost another great man far too early, as Don Baylor died..
- We started our look at how the postseason awards races are shaping up. Here is and here's .
- The Astros discussed Justin Verlander with the Tigers, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today, but Nightengale says that the Tigers are likely to hold onto Verlander for the rest of the season.
- The Cardinals activated Dexter Fowler from the disabled list, and the corresponding move was to send Stephen Piscotty to Triple-A -- a move that would've been shocking in the spring.
- The Angels activated Cameron Maybin from the DL and designated Shane Robinson for assignment.
- The Padres have called up reliever Carter Capps.