Welcome to another Thursday in Major League Baseball, which brings us a few matinees on getaway day and three late games out West. The Cardinals have sneakily moved into a first-place tie by beating up on two division mates, a hopeful contender continues its second-half tailspin, a Yankees pitcher makes the kind of history that isn't very good at all, while a Twins player flirted with history and much more is to come in the night action. 

Stick right here throughout the night for updates and let's get to it! 

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Baseball schedule/scores for Thursday, July 25

Red-hot Cardinals sweep Pirates

The Cardinals finished up a four-game sweep in Pittsburgh with Thursday's win. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then got four runs on three homers the rest of the way to the Pirates down yet again. Most importantly, Paul Goldschmidt hit one of them: 

On Sunday, I noted that Goldschmidt hasn't been very good this season but he's capable of getting insanely hot on a dime. This series, he went 6 for 16 with hour homers and nine RBI. He's the type of player that can carry an offense. 

The Cardinals are now 11-3 since the All-Star break and have had a big hand in effectively moving the Pirates and Reds out of contention in the NL Central, as they took three of four from the Reds before this series. The whole division was within 4 1/2 games at the All-Star break, but now the Reds are eight out and the Pirates are nine back. 

Speaking of the division, the Cubs have an off day Thursday, so the Cardinals' win moves the rivals into a tie at 55-47. Lots of eyes this weekend will be on Cubs at Brewers, but Tuesday through Thursday, the Cubs visit the Cardinals for a three-game series. The three-team race in the Central is getting all kinds of fun. 

Tanaka makes dubious history

Here's the final line for Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka on Thursday night in Fenway Park:

Masahiro Tanaka
IP3 1/3

Understatement alert: That is pretty bad, no? 

The Red Sox got him for seven in the first and five in the fourth, clubbing two homers and six doubles off the All-Star (whose ERA is now up to 4.79). 

This is the first time a pitcher has allowed at least 12 earned runs since A.J. Burnett allowed 12 against the Cardinals on May 2, 2012. This is only the second time in recorded Yankees history that a pitcher has coughed up 12. The previous time was in 1923, when Carl Mays gave up 13, but he also worked eight innings. The last time this happened in Fenway Park was on Aug. 14, 1949 when Paul Calvert gave up 12 in 5 2/3 innings. As for a Yankees-Red Sox game? This is the first time ever. 

Yankees' starters as a whole are struggling right now. Look at what they've been doing lately, working backward: 

  • Wednesday: J.A. Happ gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings. 
  • Tuesday: Domingo German gave up eight runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
  • Monday: CC Sabathia allowed seven runs on six hits in four innings. 
  • Sunday: James Paxton gave up seven runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
  • Saturday: Tanaka threw five scoreless innings, but gave up five runs in the sixth. 

 There's a trade deadline coming up next week and it would behoove the Yankees to add a starter or two. 

On the Red Sox end, they had 23 hits. Eight players had a multi-hit game. There were 10 doubles with three players having two. There were four homers with Xander Bogaerts having two. After the four-hit game, Bogaerts is hitting .315/.400/.575. 

Cruz homers three times in first five innings

The Twins crushed five more homers in yet another win Thursday. The seemingly ageless Nelson Cruz (he's actually 39) clubbed one in each of his first three at-bats: 

Cruz ended up getting two more at-bats with a chance to become the 17th player in modern history with four homers in a game. He would've been the oldest by eight years, too. Alas, he struck out and flew out. It wasn't meant to be, but it was a fun thought for a few innings. 

Cruz now has 26 homers this season. He's averaged 41 home runs in the last five seasons and his career high is 44. He actually only had 22 home runs through his age-27 season, but has hit 363 since. Had he put things together in his early 20s he'd be making a run at 500 career homers.   

The Twins move to 62-40. 

Rockies rally to ruin Scherzer's return

The Nationals have been winning at a better clip than any other team since their dreadful 19-31 start, but the back-end of their bullpen was extremely overworked after Wednesday's doubleheader and it bit them Thursday. Fernando Rodney worked both ends of the twin billing and was called upon to try and close this one down. It did not work. Ian Desmond homered to tie it: 

The Rockies rallied for another run to take the lead and steal the win. 

The big news in this one for the Nats was they got back their ace, Max Scherzer, from the injured list. He was mostly good, but did get knocked around in the fourth inning. He struck out eight against two walked while allowing three runs on four hits. The damage all happened in that fourth inning. Otherwise he was what we've come to expect with Scherzer. 

The Braves are off Thursday, so the Nats fall to 4 1/2 back in the NL East. They have the top NL wild card spot, but the division is the goal and it's now a realistic scenario, despite them at one point being 10 games out. So this one hurts. 

On the Rockies' end, it's a nice win, but they haven't played well enough to be called contenders at this point. They are 7 1/2 games out of the second wild card with five teams in the way. 

Padres fall again

At the All-Star break, the Padres were 45-45 and in the NL that was good enough to be within striking distance of a playoff spot (they were two out of the second wild card). They had just won three in a row, taking three of four from the mighty Dodgers. It was a successful first half, especially given how young they are and how long they've not been a contender. Since the break, though, it's been a really rough go. With the loss Thursday to Jacob deGrom and the Mets, the Padres have now lost every series since the break. 

  • Swept in three games at home by the Braves
  • Lost two of three to the lowly Marlins in Miami.
  • Lost two of three to the Cubs in Wrigley. 
  • Lost two of three to the Mets in New York. 

At least the Padres get to head home to beautiful San Diego, but they are now seven games out of the second wild card and there are four teams between them and the spot. This is seller territory. 

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