MLB scores: Cubs' Cole Hamels reaches 2,500 strikeouts; Yankees power past Rays again

We had a full slate of MLB games on Tuesday, with all of them being played under the lights. The Rays and Yankees got together for another critical game in the Bronx. The White Sox and Cubs renewed civic hostilities in Wrigley, and the Red Sox went for their seventh win in a row. That, of course, is just a sampling.

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Baseball schedule/scores for Tuesday, June 18


Josh keeps ringing the bell

The Pirates' 2019 season is looking less than promising at the moment, but breakout first baseman Josh Bell remains a consoling distraction. On Tuesday night against the Tigers, Bell thumped his 20th home run of the season: 

Josh Bell puns, they abound! With that blast, Bell in his age-26 campaign is batting .324/.390/.665, and to go with those 20 home runs also has 27 doubles and three triples. High-level mathematicians will note that adds up to 50 extra-base hits. On that front: 

Impressive company, no? Bell backs up those digits with other digits: 

  • His average exit velocity of 93.9 mph is in the top 1.0 percent of the league. 
  • His hard-hit rate of 51.2 percent is in the top 4.0 percent of the league. 
  • His expected slugging percentage of .581 is also in the top 4.0 percent of the league. 

On top of all that, you have the fact that Bell has a 26-homer season in his recent past, and in the minors he was a consensus top-50 overall prospect for several years running. Bell didn't come from nowhere, and his ability to do damage on contact looks legitimate and sustainable. Right now, he's bound headlong for some NL MVP votes despite his team's struggles. 

Encarnacion homers for first time as Yankee

The Yankees topped the Rays, as you see above, and that means they've taken the first two games of this critical three-game series in the Bronx. Relevant: 

The Yankees are now 6-2 against the Rays this season, and they're now 2 1/2 games up on Tampa Bay in the AL East. Unfortunately for the Rays, the Yankees are also getting healthy after being waylaid by injuries pretty much all season. 

Speaking of getting healthy, Giancarlo Stanton returned to the lineup for the first time since March 31. While he went hitless at the plate, he did make a nice and somewhat fearless play in the field: 

Cameron Maybin stayed hot for the Yanks (he homered), and Edwin Encarnacion went deep for the first time since being acquired from the Mariners on June 15. Color-television footage forthcoming: 

That's Encarnacion's 22nd homer of the season. Imagine what that Yankee lineup is going to look like once Aaron Judge returns in a few days. Things as they are, though, the Yankees have pretty well dominated the Rays this season. That has been the difference in the AL East thus far. 

Hamels gets to 2,500 strikeouts

The Cubs opened an interleague clash with the crosstown White Sox on Tuesday night in Wrigley, and veteran lefty Cole Hamels joined elite company early: 

Yes, Hamels struck out his evening counterpart Ivan Nova to reach the milestone. Hamels becomes the 38th pitcher in MLB history and just the 10th lefty to reach 2,500 strikeouts. The others: 

Colbert! Hamels at age 35 is having a strong season for the contending Cubs, and as our own Matt Snyder recently wrote Hamels is somewhat quietly building a Hall of Fame case

Eloy hits clutch homer against Cubs

Once upon a time, the Cubs signed Eloy Jimenez hoping he would one day hit game-winning home runs at Wrigley Field. He did exactly that Tuesday night, except he did it as a member of the White Sox. Jimenez, the headliner in the Jose Quintana trade two years ago, clubbed a go-ahead two-run home run against Pedro Strop in the ninth inning.

To the action footage:

That was a 93 mph two-seam fastball running in on his hands, and Jimenez was still able to rope it out to left field. That is crazy bat speed. Easy to see why Jimenez was such a highly touted prospect.

Tuesday's home run was No. 12 on the season for Jimenez, and also his sixth in his past nine games. That's after hitting six homers in his first 38 games. The young man has been scorching hot:

That jump from Triple-A to MLB can be a big one, but, after a short adjustment period, it sure looks like Eloy is figuring things out. Also, the White Sox have won 12 of 19 games to get to within one game of .500 at 35-36.

Alonso dominates Braves

Mets starter Jacob deGrom looked in vintage form for much of the night against Atlanta, but he was overshadowed by rookie first baseman Pete Alonso -- i.e., "Petaters" to those who know better: 

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Pete Alonso NYM • 1B • 20
vs. ATL, 6/18/19
PA6
H4
BB2
HR1
2B2

And speaking of that thumping-good night's work: 

And speaking of those four hits: 

Alonso is now batting .274/.359/.624 with 24 home runs. In matters related, he hits the ball hard and also far. We're coming up on the halfway point of the 2019 season, and right now Alonso is looking like the runaway choice for NL Rookie of the Year. 


Quick hits

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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