Wednesday of course occasioned the July 31 trade deadline. We provided live updates of all the rumors and deals, and of course our MLB trade tracker is a great place to catch up on everything that's unfolded. As for the on-field action, we've got a full Wednesday slate with plenty of day baseball. Said slate includes big games in D.C., Philly, Boston, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Oakland. Let's jump in.

Select games can be streamed regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, click here.

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Baseball scores for Wednesday, July 31

Cubs pull even again with Cardinals

The Cubs entered Wednesday's game one back of the Cardinals in the NL Central. A 2-0 victory means we again have a tie at the top with one game left between the two squads in the series.

The star of the show for the Cubs was Kyle Hendricks. He tossed seven shutout innings, permitting seven hits and no walks while fanning seven. His seasonal ERA is down to 3.07. The Cubs did endure a bit of a scare from Craig Kimbrel, who allowed the tying run to reach scoring position, but in the end Kimbrel nailed down his eighth save thanks to a pair of strikeouts and a strong defensive play by Kris Bryant.

On the other side of the ledger, Paul Goldschmidt added another two-hit night to his collection. He's now rapped multiple hits in five of his last seven games.

Rays top Red Sox again

The Rays and Red Sox entered Wednesday separated by 1 ½ games for second in the AL East. Tampa Bay had taken the first of the three-game set, and on Wednesday they took the second.

The Rays touched up Boston starter Rick Porcello, plating six runs over 5 ⅔ innings. Tampa Bay launched three home runs against Porcello, courtesy of Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, and Willy Adames.

On the Rays' side of things, they received 4 ⅔ scoreless innings from their bullpen. Andrew Kittredge (who opened), Diego Castillo (who recorded no outs), Colin Poche, and Chaz Roe combined to fan eight batters while walking one. That'll work.

The Rays will go for the sweep on Thursday.

Soto joins historic company

Here's Nationals outfielder Juan Soto hitting his 20th homer of the 2019 season: 

With that blast, Soto is now batting .287/.398/.524, and that's coming off a rookie campaign in 2018 in which he slashed .292/.406/.517. As noted above, Soto is still just 20 years of age, and he's now got two 20-homer seasons under his belt. As you might guess, that's historically rare. Here's the complete list of players to have more than one 20-homer season before age 21: 

  • Tony Conigliaro (1964, 1965)
  • Bryce Harper (2012, 2013)
  • Juan Soto (2018, 2019)

Yep, that's it. Soto is now one of just three players in the sprawl of MLB history to have multiple 20-homer seasons by age 20. In all, just 20 players counting Soto have even one 20-homer season by age 20. That list includes fellow actives Harper, Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna, Giancarlo Stanton, and Carlos Correa. In Soto's case, he's got an exceptionally advanced approach at the plate when it comes to his pitch-recognition skills and knowledge of the strike zone. As such, he figures to remain an elite "take and rake" hitter for years and years to come. 

In the current season, he's a major reason the Nationals have barged back into playoff contention after their slow start to 2019. 

Braves secure series win against Nationals

Despite Soto's best efforts, the Braves prevailed on Wednesday, giving them the series victory. Atlanta's W required extras, as well as home runs from Josh Donaldson and Adam Duvall.

Starter Mike Soroka continued his splendid season, turning in seven innings and permitting just three hits and one earned run. His ERA is now down to 2.37. Alas, the Braves bullpen reared its ugly head one last time before the deadline, with Anthony Swarzak and Luke Jackson giving up the lead.

The Braves would recover, obviously, and Josh Tomlin -- yes, Josh Tomlin -- would end up recording the save. Needless to say, Atlanta fans will probably be happy to see Shane Greene trotting out the bullpen in a few days' time.

Stat of the day: Giants keep rolling

Farhan Zaidi didn't keep his San Francisco squad completely in tow on Wednesday, yet he didn't strip the roster, either. That decision paid off with a win against the Phillies on Wednesday night, which ensured the Giants will head into August with a winning record. As it turns out, they'll also take a piece of history with them:

That's right, the Giants are the first team ever to go from 10-plus under entering July to over .500 exiting. No matter what happens next, San Francisco has a lot to be happy about these days.

Highlight of the day: Bichette goes yicketty, makes history

It didn't take Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette long to hit his first career home run. Take a look:

For those keeping track, Bichette now has six hits in his first three games in the majors. His home run, which came from the leadoff spot, made him the youngest hitter in Blue Jays history to homer from that slot in the order. That's a fun fact, huh?

Quick hits

  • The Yankees have placed 1B Luke Voit on the 10-day IL with what's reported to be a sports hernia.
  • The Yankees have also placed RHP David Hale on the 10-day IL with a lumbar spine strain.
  • The Astros have placed RHP Ryan Pressly on the 10-day IL with knee soreness. The move is retroactive to July 27.
  • Kevin Acee tweets that the Padres hope to sign closer Kirby Yates to a contract extension.
  • The Athletics will place OF Ramon Laureano on the 10-day IL because of a stress reaction in his shin.
  • The Angels have reinstated C Jonathan Lucroy from the IL.