As usual, it's a full Sunday slate with plenty of day baseball (and plenty of playoff implications). Let's jump in ...
Sunday's baseball scores
Blue Jays 6, Indians 2 (box score)
Mets 6, Phillies 4 (box score)
Cardinals 5, Tigers 2 (box score)
Rays 8, Orioles 3 (box score)
Twins 3, Royals 1 (box score)
Brewers 6, Giants 3 (box score)
Angels 1, White Sox 0 (box score)
Dodgers 9, Rockies 6 (box score)
Athletics 7, Rangers 3 (box score)
Braves 9, Diamondbacks 5 (box score)
Mariners 3, Yankees 2 (box score)
Padres 7, Reds 6 (box score)
Red Sox 6, Astros 5 (box score)
Marlins at Pirates -- POSTPONED (weather)
Cubs at Nationals -- POSTPONED (weather)
Dodgers take big series
The biggest series of the weekend was the Dodgers visiting the first-place Rockies in Coors Field. The first two games of the series were split, so we headed to the rubber game with the host holding a 1 1/2-game lead in the division. The Rockies were leaving with a lead, no matter what, but there's a big difference between a 1/2 game and 2 1/2 games at this point.
The Dodgers would lead wire to wire in this one. They jumped out to a 4-1 lead through the second inning. The Rockies kept coming, but the Dodgers kept them at arm's length throughout.
Justin Turner was the star in this one, going 4 for 5 with two doubles, a home run, two runs and two RBI.
There are three games between these two teams left on the schedule, too, as the Rockies visit Dodger Stadium Sept. 17-19.
Braves storm back, leaving D-Backs reeling
What a weird game in Chase Field. The score was 0-0 through the fifth inning. The Braves didn't even get a hit until the sixth when pitcher Touki Toussaint came through with a one-out single. It would lead to a two-run rally. The Diamondbacks would double that in the bottom half and held a 4-3 lead heading to the ninth. That's when the Braves went bonkers. Former D-Back Ender Inciarte hit the decisive blow:
Lucas Duda would add a solo shot before Camargo put the nail in the proverbial coffin with a two-run shot of his own.
The Braves' lead in the NL East moves to 4 1/2. The D-Backs could have only been 1 1/2 out in the NL West, instead it's 2 1/2 and they are three back of the second NL wild card. What a bad ninth inning.
JD hits 40th, Red Sox walk off
A possible ALCS preview in Boston was the best matchup on the AL side. The Astros took the first two games of the series, but the Red Sox got one back on Sunday night. They jumped out to a lead thanks in part to the 40th home run for J.D. Martinez:
The Astros would, however, tie it up with a four-run sixth. The game would head to the ninth tied and Mitch Moreland would come through with the walk-off single.
The Red Sox are now 98-46 and have an 8 1/2 game lead in the AL East. The Astros, meantime, have seen their AL West lead shrink, again, to 2 1/2 games over the A's, who just won't go away.
Jose Ramirez joins 30-30 club
Indians third baseman and AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez joined exclusive company on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Here he is cinching the 61st 30-30 season (i.e., at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases) in MLB history:
Specifically, that's 37 homers and 30 steals for Ramirez in 2018. Some additional nuggets on this rare power-speed baseball feat:
- He's the first to go 30-30 since Mike Trout and Ryan Braun in 2012.
- He's the first Indian to go 30-30 since Grady Sizemore in 2008.
- He's just the fourth third baseman ever to author a 30-30 season.
- As Jon Morosi noted, Ramirez is just the third player in MLB history to go 30-30 while being listed at 5-foot-9 or shorter.
Our own Mike Axisa recently wrote that Ramirez has a shot at pulling off an even rare accomplishment --. That broad-based excellence, including a plus glove at the hot corner, is why Ramirez has been one of the best players in baseball this season.
Unfortunately for J-Ram and the Tribe, they fell to the Blue Jays and will have to wait to clinch their sixth-straight winning season.
Diaz notches 54th save
The Mariners notched a go-ahead run in the eighth inning on a Robinson Cano fielder's choice. It was a truly manufactured run. Mitch Haniger singled, stole second, was bunted to third and then Cano put the ball in play. Old school baseball at its finest. What came next was Edwin Diaz shutting down the Yankees. Well, he got a hand fron Haniger, too:
Diaz recorded his 54th save. He's going to lead the majors, but there's more at stake here. Here's the all-time, single-season save leaderboard at present:
- Francisco Rodriguez, 62, 2008
- Bobby Thigpen, 57, 1990
- Eric Gagne, 55, 2003
John Smoltz, 55, 2002
- Edwin Diaz, 54, 2018
Diaz has a real shot here at history. At the very least, he'll end up third and it's more likely he's second best at worst once the dust has settled.
Here come the Brewers
The Brewers moved to 6-2 in September with their Sunday win over the Giants, who have now lost eight in a row. Milwaukee was down late, but Jonathan Schoop, who'd been struggling badly as a Brewer, came through in grand fashion following some low-grade hostilities between the two teams. Madison Bumgarner plunked Ryan Braun to load the bases, and Craig Counsell was ejected (the benches didn't exactly clear, but they stirred a bit). Now here's Schoop giving the Crew the last laugh:
Corey Knebel notched a four-out save to give the Brewers the win. Since the Cubs got rained out in D.C., Chicago's lead in the NL Central is now down to two games. By the way, the Brewers visit Wrigley for a three-game set that starts Monday.
The Phillies are still blowing it
Vince Velasquez struggled, allowing five earned in four innings, and the Phillies lost the rubber match of their series against the Mets, even though Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled start because of a questionable weather forecast. Back on Aug. 7, the Phillies were a season-best 15 games over .500, but since then they've gone just 10-19. Worst of all, 23 of those 29 games have come against the Mets, Marlins, Nationals, Padres, and Blue Jays. In those 23 games, the Phillies have gone 8-15. Given that the Braves have mostly struggled over that same span, that's a real squandered opportunity for Philly. Instead, they'll almost certainly miss out on the playoffs.
Cards avoid sweep as Rally Squirrel returns
The Cardinals, still clinging to the second wild-card spot in the NL, entered Sunday's game in Detroit faced with the grim prospect of being swept by the lowly Tigers. Fortunately for St. Louis, John Gant pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, and Carlos Martinez worked a perfect ninth for his second save. More good news for the Cardinals? This guy made his return:
So is this the very same Rally Squirrel that helped the Cardinals win the 2011 NLDS over the Phillies and by extension the World Series that same year? It's impossible to say, but the working assumption is yes, it's the same squirrel.
Rays stay hot
With their win over the Orioles on Sunday, the Rays are now a season-best 14 games over .500 While they have little shot at overtaking the Yankees for that second AL wild-card spot (coming into Sunday, the SportsLine Projection Model gave Tampa Bay less than a one percent chance of making the postseason), they're playing excellent baseball right now. Kevin Cash's club is now 7-1 in September and 24-11 since the start of August.
In this one, Tommy Pham kept raking. Coming in, he had a slash line of .301/.393/.548 since the July 31 trade that sent him out of St. Louis. Then he went out and went 2 for 4 with a walk and a double. He also expected his current MLB-best hit streak to 13 games. Mallex Smith also gathered three hits.
- According to Paul Hoynes, the Indians will active LHP Andrew Miller (shoulder impingement) on Monday.
- The Blue Jays have reinstated INF Yangervis Solarte from the DL.