MLB Saturday scores, highlights, live team updates, news: Phillies inch closer to Braves in NL East

The penultimate Saturday of June featured a full slate of MLB action, including a bevy of day games. Here is everything you need to know about Saturday's MLB action.

Saturday's scores

Phillies beat Nationals again

Props to the upstart Phillies. They are taking care of business this weekend. The Phillies beat the Nationals again Saturday afternoon for their third straight win and their sixth win in their last seven games, all against contending teams. They took two of three from the Brewers, two of three from the Cardinals, and at least two of three from the Nationals.

Staff ace Aaron Nola was the star Saturday, allowing two runs in six innings to raise his season ERA from 2.55 to 2.58. Philadelphia has won 11 of his 16 starts. Nola should be at the All-Star Game next month. (I say "should" instead of "will" only because the All-Star selection process can get a little weird at times.)

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Aaron Nola PHI • SP • 27
June 23 vs. Phillies

The Phillies scored two runs against new Nationals reliever Kelvin Herrera to create some breathing room in the late innings. Philadelphia's hot streak combined with the Braves losing three straight -- including the last two to the lowly Orioles -- means the top of the NL East standings looks like this following Saturday's game:

  1. Braves: 43-32
  2. Phillies: 41-33 (1 1/2 GB)
  3. Nationals: 40-35 (3 GB)

After wrapping up this series with the Nationals on Sunday -- Philadelphia is trying to sweep, of course -- the Phillies will play three games against the Yankees and then four more against Washington. They've been impressive during this stretch against contending teams, but it's not over yet.

Kershaw rusty in return

Rather than pitch in a minor league rehab game as originally scheduled, Clayton Kershaw was activated off the disabled list and started for the Dodgers on Saturday. He looked rusty -- not surprising considering he'd pitched once since May 1 -- in the three-inning outing.

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Clayton Kershaw LAD • SP • 22
June 23 vs. Mets

Kershaw threw only 55 pitches Saturday and that was the plan. He hasn't made a single rehab start and it'll take him some time to build around strength and get stretched back out to 100 or so pitches. The good news is Kershaw's fastball sat north of 91 mph, which is where it usually sits. That's encouaging following the biceps and back trouble.

With all due respect, the Mets are not a great offensive team, so it's tough to gauge exactly how rusty Kershaw was Saturday. He'll face a much bigger test than he sees the Cubs in his next start.

Mariners snap losing skid

The Mariners are back in the win column. After dropping five straight games to the Red Sox and Yankees (and Red Sox) again, Seattle roughed up Eduardo Rodriguez for five runs in four innings Saturday night. Mike Leake was dominant on the mound.

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Mike Leake SEA • SP • 8
June 23 vs. Red Sox

The Mariners are nine games into this 10-game gut-check stretch against the Red Sox and Yankees and Red Sox again. They are now 3-6 in those nine games, which is not great at all, especially when you're trying to prove you deserve to be considered among the game's elite.

That said, a win over Chris Sale on Sunday -- no easy task, to be sure -- means the Mariners will have gone 4-6 during these 10 games against the Red Sox and Yankees, and that's not awful. Could be better, sure, but it could be a lot worse. The most important thing is that the losing streak is over. That had to end before the Mariners could start thinking about stringing together some wins.

Rays shut out Yankees

For the first time in a month, the Yankees have lost back-to-back games. And, for only the second time this season, New York's powerhouse offense was shut out Saturday. Journeyman Wilmer Font pitched into the sixth inning and kept the Yankees off-balance for the second time in a week. He tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings at Yankee Stadium last weekend.

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Wilmer Font NYM • RP • 68
June 23 vs. Yankees
IP5 2/3

Since blitzing James Paxton for four runs in the first inning Thursday, the Yankees have scored one run in their last 25 offensive innings, mostly because they've gone 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position. Their lone hit with runners in scoring position Saturday didn't even score a run -- Didi Gregorius had an infield single with Aaron Judge at second base, and Judge had to stop at third.

Even with Saturday's shutout loss, the Yankees still have the best record in baseball (50-24) and highest scoring offense in baseball (5.16 runs per game). They'll look to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the year -- every other team has lost three straight games at some point -- in the series finale Sunday.

Bauer fans 11 for another win

Make it six consecutive wins for the Indians. They didn't score double-digit runs Saturday -- Cleveland won 12-0 on Thursday and 10-0 on Friday -- but a win is a win. Trevor Bauer was excellent in the win over the Tigers.

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Trevor Bauer CLE • SP • 47
June 23 vs. Tigers
IP6 1/3

Saturday's game was already the seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season for Bauer. That leads the AL and is second in baseball. The double-digit strikeout game leaderboard:

  1. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 10
  2. Trevor Bauer, Indians: 7
  3. Chris Sale, Red Sox: 5
  4. Gerrit Cole, Astros: 5
  5. James Paxton, Mariners: 5

Among starting pitchers, Scherzer is in his own little world when it comes to strikeouts. He is a cut above everyone else in terms of missing bats.

Reds win sixth straight behind DeSclafani's grand slam

Score one for DH haters. Saturday afternoon Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani clubbed a grand slam for his first career home run. He's the first pitcher to hit a grand slam since Jaime Garcia last year, and the first Reds pitcher to hit a grand slam since Bob Purkey in 1959.

That's seven grand slams for the Reds this season -- all seven have come in the last 33 days too -- the most in baseball. 

More importantly, the Reds have won six straight games! It's their longest winning streak since a 10-gamer in 2012. Cincinnati has outscored the Cubs, 23-7, in the first three games of this four-game series. This winning streak may have taken the Reds out of the running for the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, though. They're not eight games "back" of the Orioles.

O's win back-to-back games

For only the fifth time this season, the Orioles have won consecutive games. The first three batters of Saturday's game reached base against Julio Teheran, then Mark Trumbo followed with a grand slam to dead center field in the win over the first-place Braves.

Saturday's win improved the Orioles to 23-52 on the season, so these back-to-back wins over Atlanta mean the O's are now on pace for 112 losses this year. That's better than their 115-loss pace coming into the series. They've won consecutive games five times in 2018:

  • April 5-6 vs. Yankees
  • May 9-12 vs. Royals and Rays (four straight wins!)
  • May 24-25 vs. White Sox and Rays
  • June 5-6 vs. Mets
  • June 22-23 vs. Braves

The Orioles will go for their third straight win and the three-game sweep Sunday afternoon. It would be their first sweep of a series longer than two games this year.

Quick hits

  • The Rangers are open for business. The team is reportedly ready to listen to trade offers for 3B Adrian Beltre, RHP Keone Kela, and LHP Jake Diekman. It's safe to assume LHP Cole Hamels is available as well.
  • Can the Mariners find pitching help at the deadline? There are factors working against them. Even with their recent losing streak, Seattle is well-positioned to reach the postseason for the first time since 2001.
  • Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani is seeing live pitching again as he recovers from his UCL sprain. There is no firm timetable for his return and it's unclear whether he'll be able to play both ways when he returns, or if he'll be limited to hitting.
  • Reds top prospect 3B Nick Senzel will miss the rest of the season with a finger injury. The 22-year-old was the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft and he hit .310/.378/.509 with six homers in 44 Triple-A games before the injury.
  • The Brewers promoted UTIL Brad Miller and demoted OF Domingo Santana, creating another logjam. Santana is hitting .249/.313/.354 with three homers in 62 games so far this season.
  • Indians RHP Danny Salazar has resumed throwing, reports He has not pitched all season due to shoulder problems, and had to be shut down again in May. There is no firm timetable for Salazar's return.
  • The Red Sox have talked to the A's about 1B/OF Mark Canha, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The BoSox have struggled against lefties this year and Canha, a righty hitter, is hitting .303/.338/.632 against southpaws in 2018.
  • A's RHP Daniel Mengden (foot) and White Sox RHP Dylan Covey (hip) both exited Saturday's game with injuries. Both pitchers indicated they may be able to make their next scheduled starts.
  • Mariners SS Jean Segura hopes to return to the lineup Sunday, reports Segura has been out of the lineup since Thursday with an infection in his right forearm and stomach irritation related to the antibiotics.
  • The Angels have claimed RHP Hansel Robles off waivers from the Mets, the team announced. New York designated him for assignment a few days ago. Robles has struggled the last two seasons after showing promise earlier in his career.
  • The Blue Jays placed LHP Jaime Garcia on the 10-day DL with a shoulder injury, the club announced. He has a long history of arm problems. LHP Tim Mayza was called up in a corresponding move.
  • Rangers 3B/OF Joey Gallo exited Saturday's game with hamstring tightness, the team announced. Gallo told the Fort Worth Star Telegram it's a minor injury and he expects to play Sunday.

Live team updatesB 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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