MLB Sunday scores, highlights, updates, news: Freeland loses no-hitter in the ninth

The first half of the 2017 season comes to a close Sunday as the baseball world prepares for Tuesday's All-Star Game in Miami. Here is our daily recap of the day in MLB.

Sunday's scores

Freeland flirts with Coors no-no

Rockies youngster Kyle Freeland almost pulled off one of baseball's most difficult feats on Sunday. He recorded 25 outs before allowing his first hit. With one out in the top of the ninth, Melky Cabrera ruined the possible no-hitter with a clean single to left field. 

Freeland would exit to a wild ovation from the Rockies faithful. Sure, a shutout would've been cool, but the Rockies had a 10-0 lead and Freeland had thrown 126 pitches. There was really no reason to leave him in now that the no-no was wrecked. 

So Freeland comes away with a victory after 8 1/3 innings, zero runs, one hit, three walks and nine strikeouts. It was a dominant performance from any perspective, but consider the venue. 

Coors Field is the toughest park in the majors in which to pitch. Even if longballs aren't an issue, the outfield is among the biggest in baseball, so it's easy for hitters to find holes for singles and doubles. Freeland avoided all of that until the ninth. Remarkable. 

The only no-hitter ever thrown in Coors Field came from a visiting player, Hideo Nomo in 1996. The Rockies got a no-hitter from Ubaldo Jimenez, but that was on the road in 2010. 

So Freeland was two outs away from history. 

Still a very notable outing. 

Freeland moves to 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA on the season and the Rockies move to 52-39 at the All-Star break. This marks their most wins and best winning percentage before the All-Star break in franchise history. 

Pirates hammer Lester in the first

The final game of the first half started as well as the Pirates could have possibly hoped. For the Cubs, on the other hand, it couldn't be going any worse.

In their series finale Sunday the Pirates scored 10 runs in the first inning -- 10 runs! -- against Jon Lester, who threw 53 pitches and got two outs before being removed. Only four of those 10 runs are earned thanks to a Kris Bryant error, but still. Ten runs is 10 runs. Francisco Cervelli's grand slam was the biggest blow. That one made it a laugher.

With a Game Score of -16, Sunday's start goes down as the worst start in Lester's long career. This was the first time in 335 career regular season starts Lester failed to complete one full inning. Lester is only the fourth starter in the last 100 years -- and second in 2017! -- to allow 10-plus runs while recording fewer than three outs. Here's the list:

  • Jon Lester, Cubs: 10 runs in 2/3 innings vs. Pirates on July 9, 2017
  • Jeremy Guthrie, Nationals: 11 runs in 2/3 innings vs. Phillies on April 8, 2017
  • Jason Jennings, Astros: 11 runs in 2/3 innings vs. Padres on July 29, 2007
  • Luke Hudson, Royals: 11 runs in 1/3 innings vs. Indians on August 13, 2006

Guthrie's disaster start earlier this season got him released. That won't happen with Lester, obviously. That doesn't make Sunday's start any less of a disaster though. The Cubs have had a frustrating and disappointing first half. Sunday's first inning will leave a sour taste in everyone's mouth heading into the All-Star break.

Meanwhile ...

The NL Central was the butt of many jokes through the first half of the season. It seemed for a while that there were no good teams and something like 83 wins could take the division. 

We need to adjust that thinking. After their win on Sunday, the Milwaukee Brewers are 50-41 and holding a 5 1/2 game lead over the Cubs and Cardinals. The Brewers have played 91 games, obviously, but we say that because by no means is that some small-sample fluke. By the time the break is over, they will have reached the middle of July on an 89-win pace. 

People who aren't taking this team seriously need to wake up. There's a very real chance the Brewers win this division. 

Road Warrior Astros destroy Jays again

The score alone should knock your socks off. 19-1! The Astros went 4-2 on this road trip and scored in double digits in each of their four wins. This was the most extreme offensive effort, though. The Astros pounded out 17 hits, including five doubles and five home runs. 

Individually, All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa was the star here. He was 4 for 5 with two home runs and five RBI. He even walked, so he was on base five times. Fellow All-Star Jose Altuve was 3 for 4 with a home run, three RBI and four runs scored. 

This team is just a wrecking crew, particularly on the road. They finish the "first half" (they are actually past the halfway point on the schedule, but prior to the All-Star break is termed as the first half) with a 33-11 road record. That's insane. How insane? It's a .750 road winning percentage. 

The best full-season road winning percentage in MLB history is .730 and that happened all the way back in 1939 (Yankees). The only other team in history to finish above .700 was the 2001 Mariners (.728) and they won 116 games overall. Only 21 teams in history have even played .650 ball on the road. The Astros have a 100 point cushion on that one. 

Amazing. 

The Astros head to the break with a 60-29 record. That's a pace of 109 wins. Their highest win total in franchise history is 102 (1998). They didn't reach 60 wins last season until they had 55 losses. 

The Astros have a 16 1/2 game lead in the AL West. Their division title hopes are as strong as it gets. 

Kershaw does Kershaw things

Clayton Kershaw threw a complete game on Sunday en route to another Dodgers win. Sure, he allowed a two-run homer, but that was the only blemish. He struck out 13 without walking anyone, too. He generally made the Royals look awful. See?

He heads to Miami for the All-Star Game 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. 

The Dodgers are 61-29, good for the best record in the majors. The franchise record for wins at the All-Star break is 63 (done in both 1973 and 1974), so this is the third-highest win total ever at the break for the storied franchise. 

Red Sox bullpen spoils quality Price start

Lost amid all his feuds with the Boston media, David Price has actually started to pitch better. It was modest for a few weeks, but he's getting a bit more locked in as we head to the break. In his previous five starts, Price pitched to a 3.30 ERA, a stretch that included a nine-strikeout outing in six scoreless innings last time out. 

On Sunday, Price gave up two runs on five hits in six innings to the Rays. He struck out five against two walks. So it wasn't an awesome outing or anything, but that's generally good enough to win in the AL in these homer-heavy days. 

On this day, the Rays got to the Red Sox bullpen, scoring three runs in the seventh and eighth off Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly combined. 

The Red Sox remain in first in the AL East at 50-39. 

The Rays, it should be noted, close out a very good first half at 47-43. They were 34-54 at the break last year. 

Trade candidate Lynn deals

The hot rumor from the St. Louis area is that starting pitcher Lance Lynn will be traded even if the Cardinals aren't necessarily "sellers" at the trade deadline. 

On Sunday, Lynn made himself an attractive candidate, firing seven scoreless innings against the Mets, allowing only three hits (all singles). He's now 7-6 with a 3.61 ERA on the season and probably fits as a number four on a contender in need of starting pitching. 

Lynn would be a rental, as he is a free agent after this season. 

Jones powers up for O's

After a devastating loss on Friday, the Orioles bounced back with a good win on Saturday and then Sunday got a huge effort from center fielder Adam Jones to win a slugfest. Jones got things going with a three-run homer in the first. He would later add a solo shot and a sac fly. Jones previously had two homers and four RBI in three games, but had never before in his career had a two-HR, five-RBI game.

Quick hits

  • White Sox setup man RHP Nate Jones has been shut down after feeling renewed soreness in his elbow while throwing Sunday, report MLB.com. Jones, a potential trade candidate, has not pitched since April 28.
  • Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon was scratched from Sunday's start with flu-like symptoms, the team announced. RHP Chad Kuhl started in his place despite throwing 95 pitches on Thursday.
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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