MLB Thursday scores, highlights, updates, news: Gary Sanchez stays on August tear

Thursday is in many cases a getaway day or an off-day, but we've still got a decent number of games. Included here is a doubleheader with big importance in the AL playoff picture, too. Let's dive in. 

Thursday's scores

Indians 9, Twins 3 (box score)
Diamondbacks 4, Astros 0 (box score)
Reds 13, Cubs 10 (box score)
Braves 10, Rockies 4 (box score)
Blue Jays 5, Rays 3 (box score)
Cardinals 11, Pirates 7 (box score)
Twins 4, Indians 2, Game 2 (box score)
Yankees 7, Mets 5 (box score)
Rangers 9, White Sox 8 (box score)
Nationals 2, Padres 1 (box score)
Giants 5, Phillies 4 (box score)

As Judge keeps struggling, Sanchez starts raking

You know about Aaron Judge these days. The overall numbers remain outstanding and worthy of MVP consideration, but he's come hurtling back to earth in the second half. Maybe he's getting exposed (pitchers are giving more high fastballs and more hard breaking stuff lately), or maybe it's just a slump. Whatever the case, Judge's second-half OPS is roughly 400 points shy of his first-half mark.

On Thursday against the Mets, Judge went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. So nudge those second-half outputs down a bit more. 

The good news for the contending Yankees is that Judge's teammate and fellow young cloutsman Gary Sanchez has gone off lately. Coming into Thursday's tilt in Queens, Sanchez had a line of .319/.404/.702 for the month of August with five home runs in 14 games. Then against the Mets, he went 2 for 4 with a homer and five RBI. Here's that home run ... 

Yes, that's indeed a home run -- the 42nd of Sanchez's career in just 142 games played. The Yankees are obviously hoping that Judge gets back to being the force of nature he was in the first half. However, Sanchez's recent surge certainly makes Judge's struggles a little easier to stomach. 

The Cubs and Reds played a wild one

Wednesday was a wild one for the NL Central, and Thursday was no different, at least on the North Side of Chicago. As you see above, the Reds and Cubs combined for 23 runs in the Cincy win. That's notable enough, and you should also know that the Reds in this one blew a 9-0 lead before eventually winning the game.

To crystallize it, let's take a look at the win probability chart for this game ... 


Source: FanGraphs

At one point in the early innings, the Cubs had a 1.5 percent chance of winning this game. Yep, 9-0 deficits will do that. But the Cubs clawed their way back, thanks in part to their going back-to-back-to-back in the fourth inning ... 

For Cincy, one of the stories was Phillip Ervin, who wound up a triple shy of the cycle and put the Reds back in front with this seventh-inning crank ... 

Five games into his big-league career, the 25-year-old Ervin is now batting .500/.600/1.375. Also of note in this one ... 

In just 1 2/3 innings, Lester allowed nine runs (seven earned), so it's not surprising to learn that something's not right with the veteran lefty. The Chicago Tribune later reported that Lester is expected to go on the DL on Friday. However, the team is optimistic that it's not a serious injury. 

As for the NL Central, yeah, it's still weird and still up for grabs. 

Is Corbin rounding into form?

Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin back in 2013 was a 23-year-old All-Star and as such figured to have a bright future. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2014 and subsequently had a slow recovery. After resuming his promise in 2015, he struggled badly in 2016 in terms of both run prevention and underlying indicators. In 2017, he rebounded at the command-and-control level, but for a while he struggled again when it comes to the essential job of keeping runs off the board. 

On Thursday against the hard-hitting Astros, though, Corbin put up his best start in a long time ... 

View Profile
Patrick Corbin ARI • SP • 46
vs. HOU, 8/17
IP8
H4
R
SO7
BB1

Some moving pictures of his day ... 

In the ninth, Corbin left a fastball up to Yuli Gurriel, who turned it around for a double. Absent that misplaced offering, Corbin probably would've notched the first shutout of his career. 

That effort comes on the heels of Corbin twirling 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Cubs on Aug. 12. Just prior to that, he turned in a quality start against the Giants and struck out 10 batters for the first time in 2017. As Sean Testerman at AZ Snake Pit notes, Corbin not long ago began using his changeup more and also adjusted his release point. So perhaps there's something more to his recent surge than just the usual ebbs and flows of baseball performance. 

Zack Greinke's a Cy Young candidate in the NL, and Robbie Ray figures to resume his breakout campaign once he returns from concussion symptoms. If Corbin is indeed leveling up, then the D-Backs are going to have a pretty formidable rotation down the stretch and, very likely, in the postseason. 

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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