Saturday is an action-packed baseball day, as it always is anywhere April through September. Let's get to it.

Saturday's scores

Diamondbacks lose a series

The last team in baseball without a series loss took one on Saturday. The Arizona Diamondbacks have their first four-game losing streak of the season and have dropped the first three games of a four-game series with the Nationals. 

Saturday, Stephen Strasburg shut down the D-Backs' offense for 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He struck out nine while walking just one. Sammy Solis, Shawn Kelley and Ryan Madson would combine for 2 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings to bring it home for the Nats, who have really righted the ship after a bad start. Since losing two games to these Diamondbacks in Washington D.C. on April 27-28, the Nats have gone 12-2. 

The D-Backs could stand to see Paul Goldschmidt and/or Steven Souza get going. Goldschmidt is hitting just .216/.347/.388 on the season. Souza, since returning from injury eight games ago, is hitting .120 with a .241 OBP and zero extra-base hits. 

They're still in first place in the NL West, and their 24-15 record remains the best record in the NL, but the D-Backs have now lost a series and four straight games. It's their first sign of adversity this season, at least as far as wins and losses are concerned. 

Dodgers' brutal stretch continues

Having lost three of four heading into a "weekend" series against the Reds, it looked like the time was right for the Dodgers to turn things around. Surely, a four-game home series against one of the worst teams in baseball would help right the ship. 

Nope. 

After losing Saturday's game to the Reds, the Dodgers have now lost six of their last seven with five of those losses coming to the Padres and Reds. Something is very, very wrong here. 

The Dodgers are now 16-23 overall. They are a decent amount closer in the NL-wide standings to the Reds than the first-place Diamondbacks. 

Archer slips again

Chris Archer entered Saturday's start with a 5.32 ERA. You would think a matchup against the last-place Orioles would be just what he needed to get on track. You would think wrong.

Though Archer lasted seven innings, the rest of his results were putrid. He allowed six runs on seven hits, including three home runs -- one by Manny Machado, the others by Jonathan Schoop. Archer recorded just four strikeouts, or one more than the three walks he issued.

Archer's ERA is now at 5.64 through his first nine starts. Fair to say the Rays, who figure to weigh offers for Archer at the deadline, have to be disappointed with their ace.

Yankees outlast A's

The Yankees suffered a second consecutive loss on Friday, giving them their first losing streak since early April. They corrected for that on Saturday, edging out the A's in extras.

Domingo German, who impressed in his first big-league start, had a rough afternoon. He yielded six runs over five innings. The Yankees nonetheless entered the ninth tied. Manager Aaron Boone brought in closer Aroldis Chapman, who walked three batters but found his way out of the inning without giving up a run.

The pivotal (and controversial) play saw Brett Gardner throw out Matt Chapman at the plate -- Chapman was originally called safe before replay overturned the ruling on the field:

The Yankees would later walk off on a Neil Walker single, his second hit of the afternoon.

Price returns to Red Sox's rotation

Earlier this week Red Sox southpaw David Price missed a start against the Yankees with numbness in his fingers. That was potentially very bad news, but fortunately for Price, he was diagnosed with only a minor case of carpal tunnel syndrome. He is receiving treatment, and to make the masses happy, he'll cut back on playing video games.

Price returned to the mound Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre, his home for the second half of the 2015 season. He started this season with seven scoreless innings in back-to-back starts against the Rays. It has been all downhill for Price since:


IP H R ER BB K HR

First two starts

14

7

0

0

3

10

0

Last five starts

23

29

24

21

13

22

4

Total

37

36

24

21

16

32

4

That's a 5.11 ERA overall. Opponents have hit .309/.394/.543 against Price in his last five starts, which is only slightly worse than what Freddie Freeman is hitting so far this season (.319/.420/.546). Egads. Price has been in a rut. No doubt about it.

On Saturday, Price got back on proper footing -- sort of. He tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, walking three, and permitting two runs to score. Price did strike out six, and he departed with the Red Sox ahead. Given how Boston has struggled to win games lately -- they entered the day losers of three of their past four -- and how Price has pitched lately, both sides will take it.  

The Red Sox would hold on for the win, keeping pace with the Yankees at 27-12. 

Lindor, Brantley carry Indians

The Indians on Saturday moved back to .500, which is good enough for first place in the AL Central. They did so behind a good Mike Clevinger outing (7 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and the 1-2 hitters in the lineup doing nearly all the work on offense. Leadoff man Francisco Lindor was 4 for 4 with two doubles, two homers, two RBI and four runs scored. Two-hole hitter Michael Brantley was 3 for 4 with a double, two runs and two RBI.

Check this out: 

  • Lindor/Brantley: 7-8, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R
  • Everyone else: 2-25, 0 extra-base hits, 2 RBI, 0 R

That's some heavy lifting at the top. Here's Lindor's second shot, his 12th of the season: 

Lindor, by the way, has a 13-game hitting streak. 

Contreras is on fire

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras got off to a slow start this season, but these last three games have brought quite the change. He clubbed this home run in Saturday's win over the White Sox: 

Contreras is really locked in right now. In his last three games, he's 10 for 15 with three doubles, two triples, three homers, 11 RBI and five runs. He's moved his season line from .230/.315/.354 to .281/.352/.516 in just three days. This is another example of why -- even if it's still annoying -- we keep saying "it's early." Things can turn fast. 

Here's how the last 15 games have gone for the streaky Cubs: five straight wins, five straight losses, and now five straight wins again. They'll look to push the winning streak to six on Sunday. 

Morton dominates Rangers

Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton just keeps getting better and Saturday late afternoon he put together what some would consider a career night. In seven innings, Morton allowed just one run on four hits. That is, of course, good, but it's not otherworldly. Oh, Morton struck out a career-high 14 without walking anyone. How's that sound? 

The Astros have now won four of their last five and appear to be out of their funk (they previously lost five of six). They are 25-16. 

Braves offense sizzles again

The Braves entered Saturday first in the NL in runs, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Facing the Marlins, it wasn't all too surprising to see them go nuts again, putting 10 runs on the board with 12 hits. Freddie Freeman was 3 for 4 with two homers, three RBI and three runs. He's now slashing .331/.431/.593 on the season. 

Also, Jose Bautista hit his first home run in a Braves uniform: 

He needed that to atone for a bad error in the previous inning that helped the Marlins take the lead, albeit temporarily. 

The 24-15 Braves remain in first place and have an excellent 15-8 road record so far this season. 

Freeland, Story lead Rockies

The Rockies were able to snap a three-game losing streak with what has been a rarity so far this season: A home win. They are now 7-10 at home compared to 15-8 on the road. 

A Trevor Story two-run shot in the first got things going for the Rockies and he'd add an RBI double and solo homer later. Yes, Story drove home all four Rockies runs. 

On the mound, Rockies starter Kyle Freeland was very good, working 6 1/3 scoreless innings and grabbing the victory. 

Giants can't win in Pennsylvania

What looked like a very tough road trip on paper started out so promising. The 10-game trip started off for the Giants with a sweep in Atlanta of the first-place Braves. It's been all downhill from there, though, as the Giants were swept in four games in Philadelphia and the loss in Pittsburgh Saturday night meant the Giants have now lost six straight games, all in the state of Pennsylvania. They could salvage a game Sunday, but the return home to face the Reds on Monday appears pretty enticing right now. 

Padres DFA Headley

Despite being the Padres' second highest paid player, third baseman Chase Headley was designated for assignment on Saturday. You can read more about that here.

Hess makes MLB debut on short rest

Saturday afternoon, Orioles pitching prospect David Hess made his MLB debut in the first game of a doubleheader. 

Hess struggled early, allowing three runs in the first inning. Yet he recovered as the day burnt on, finishing his start with six innings, six hits, three strikeouts and zero starts. Hess relied heavily on his secondary offerings, with his fastball representing just 34 of his 101 pitches, per Statcast. He did get 13 swinging strikes on his slider/cutter and changeup, however, suggesting the backward approached worked.

The big-league debut was not easy for Hess -- he made it on short rest, having pitched for the team's Triple-A affiliate on Tuesday. That means he started Saturday with three days of rest rather than the usual four.

David Hess
SP •
May 8 in Triple-A
IP7
H1
R0
BB1
K10
Pitches84

MLB.com ranks Hess as the No. 18 prospect in Baltimore's system, saying "his high-effort delivery and lack of an out pitch" create questions about whether he is best suited for the bullpen long-term. 

On Saturday, Hess showed why he might be a short-term rotation option.

Quick hits

  • The Blue Jays placed RHP Marcus Stroman on the 10-day DL with shoulder fatigue, the team announced. He missed time with a shoulder issue in spring training as well. Stroman has a 7.71 ERA in seven starts and 37 1/3 innings this year.
  • The Orioles placed RHP Chris Tillman on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain, the team announced. He has had a brutal season so far, pitching to a 10.46 ERA in seven starts and 26 2/3 innings.
  • Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week, reports the Boston Globe. Pedroia had offseason knee surgery and the recovery timetable put him on track to return in late May or early June.
  • Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday, the team announces. 
  • Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon is hopeful he will make his next start, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Taillon was removed from Friday's start with a laceration on his right index finger.
  • Reds top prospect 3B Nick Senzel has been placed on the minor league disabled list with vertigo, reports MLB.com. "We're being very cautious with Nick," said president of baseball operations Dick Williams.
  • The Dodgers have promoted ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte to the majors, sending down relievers Brock Stewart as a corresponding move. 

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