MLB Tuesday scores, highlights, updates, news: Verlander wins in Astros' debut

Tuesday brought us a full slate of 15 MLB games, including 12 games between teams within the same division. Here is our recap of the day in baseball as the postseason races continue to heat up.

Monday's scores

Verlander wins in Astros debut

Five days after coming over from the Tigers, Justin Verlander made his first start with the Astros on Tuesday night. He pitched well and earned the win even though the Mariners took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Cameron Maybin broke it up with what proved to be the winning two-run home run.

Here is Verlander's pitching line:

Justin Verlander SP / Astros
IP: 6 H: 6 R: 1 ER: 1 BB: 1 K: 7

The Astros, as I'm sure you know, , a few minutes prior to the Aug. 31 deadline to acquire players and have them be eligible for the postseason roster. It's only a matter of time until Houston clinches a postseason spot. Verlander will pitch for them in October.

Houston got Verlander at a good time. Well, there's no bad time to add a guy like Justin Verlander, but in his last 11 starts prior to the trade, he had a 2.31 ERA and opponents hit .190/.247/.351 against him with 84 strikeouts in 74 innings. That's the guy the Astros saw on the mound Tuesday night.

The Astros don't need Verlander to reach the postseason. They made that move because they want to win a World Series. And Tuesday night, they got their first look at him in their uniform.

D-Backs win 12th straight game

There is no stopped the Diamondbacks right now. Arizona beat the Dodgers in 10 innings Tuesday night thanks to Yasmani Grandal's error at home plate. Justin Turner threw home to cut the runner down, Grandal couldn't handle the throw and two runs scored. The Diamondbacks have won 12 straight and, more impressively, they haven't trailed in 98 innings.

That is truly amazing. So as long as the D-Backs do not trail at any point in the first five innings Wednesday, they will set the new record. 

Of course, Arizona remains 11 1/2 games behind the slumping Dodgers -- the Dodgers are now 1-10 in their last 11 games -- in the NL West, so winning the division is so very unlikely. They have opened a nine-game lead over the Brewers for a wild card spot, so the D-Backs are getting pretty close to punching their first postseason ticket since 2011.

Richards looks strong in return from DL

The Angels are right in the mix for a wild card spot and they received a potentially huge boost Tuesday night. Erstwhile ace Garrett Richards, who has not pitched since April due to a biceps injury, returned to the mound and fired 3 2/3 innings of one run ball. He threw 52 pitches while on a pitch count of approximately 60.

Garrett Richards SP / Angels
IP: 3 1/3 H: 4 R: 1 ER: 1 BB: 1 K: 3

The results are obviously important given where the Angels are in the standings, but just as important is how Richards looked, and he looked marvelous. His fastball was humming in the mid-90s with the usual Garrett Richards boring action, and his slider had hard, late break. Here's the velocity data, via Baseball Savant:

garrett-richards-090517-velocity.jpg
Garrett Richards showed excellent velocity is his return to the mound Tuesday. Baseball Savant

Richards is not only coming back from the biceps injury, remember. He missed most of last season with an elbow injury he successfully rehabbed with a state-of-the-art stem cell treatment rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. He was healthy all throughout spring training and before the biceps injury forced him out of his first start of the regular season.

The Angels came into Tuesday only a half-game behind the Twins for the second wild-card spot. If Richards can regain his 2014-15 form (3.18 ERA in 376 IP) now that he's healthy, he'll give the Halos a huge shot in the arm down the stretch.

Machado caps off comeback with walk-off homer

The Orioles are fighting for a wild-card spot, and Tuesday night they picked up a big come-from-behind win against the Yankees, one of the teams they're chasing in the standings. The O's trailed 6-1 at one point but chipped away in the middle innings. Eventually Manny Machado sent everyone home happy with a walk-off two-run home run against Dellin Betances.

To the action footage:

For all intents and purposes, the Orioles were one pitch away from losing there. A loss puts them 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees. Now they're only 3 1/2 games back. And, more importantly, they're only a half-game back of the Twins for the second wild-card spot.

Red Sox outlast Blue Jays in 19 innings

They have been playing baseball at Fenway Park for more than a century now, yet on Tuesday night, the second longest game in the ballpark's history was played. The Red Sox and Blue Jays went 19 innings.

The Red Sox scored two runs in the ninth inning to tie the game, and a couple innings later, you wonder if they regretted it. That game went on for a long, long time. Officially, the game lasted six hours on the nose. It ended on Hanley Ramirez's walk-off bloop single:

Kevin Pillar was playing Hanley somewhere on the Mass Pike, apparently. He was played very deep, the ball dunked in front of him, and the Red Sox won. The 19-inning win combined with the Yankees' walk-off loss gives Boston a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL East.

Strasburg throws another gem

Tuesday night against the Marlins, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg struck out eight in six scoreless innings, meaning he has now allowed zero runs in four of his last five starts. And the one start he did allow runs, it was only two runs in six innings.

This recent run gives Strasburg a 2.78 ERA in 148 2/3 innings so far this season. Here is the updated NL ERA leaderboard among pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title:

  1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 1.95 ERA
  2. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 2.19 ERA
  3. Gio Gonzalez, Nationals: 2.58 ERA
  4. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: 2.78 ERA

The best pitcher on the planet and three Washington Nationals starters. The Nats are really beat up on the position player side right now, but once the postseason rolls around, I'm not sure any team has a more fearsome top three in their rotation.

Indians finally trail, win anyway

The first-place Indians went into Tuesday night's game with the White Sox not only riding a 12-game winning streak, they hadn't even trailed in a game since last Tuesday. They had not trailed at any point in the last 67 innings. Sixty-seven innings! And naturally, the Indians took a 3-0 lead in the first inning Tuesday, thanks in part of Jose Ramirez's 24th home run:

That 3-0 lead did not last, however. The White Sox scored four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-3 lead. Matt Davidson's three-run home run was the big blow.

Of course, Chicago's lead was short-lived. Ramirez cranked a game-tying solo home run in the second inning. That man is out of his mind right now.

Prior to the first inning Tuesday night, the last time the Indians trailed was the fifth inning last Tuesday against the Yankees. The Yankees took a 2-1 lead on a Todd Frazier single in that game, but the Indians knotted things up in the next half-inning on (what else?) a Ramirez home run.

The Indians, by the way, did finish off the win Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to 13 games. The franchise record is 14, set just last season.

There are still three and a half weeks to go in the regular season, but it sure seems like the Indians are hitting their stride at exactly the right time.

Lively has a big day at the plate

The Phillies roughed up stealth NL Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom on Tuesday, tagging him for nine runs (six earned) in 3 2/3 innings. A six-run fourth inning knocked deGrom out of the game and made it a laugher.

The hero on offense for the Phillies? Starting pitcher Ben Lively, of course. He went 2 for 4 at the plate and drove in four of his team's nine runs. He had a two-run single in the second inning and a two-run home run in the fourth inning, both against deGrom.

Lively also allowed one run in seven innings, so pretty nice all-around night for him. He is now 3-5 with a 3.92 ERA this season, and he's hitting .286/.286/.571 with two -- yes, two -- home runs. 

Sarfate sets saves record in Japan

Let's check in on baseball overseas, shall we? Tuesday night, former big leaguer Dennis Sarfate set a new Nippon Pro Baseball single-season record by recording his 47th save.

Sarfate pitched for the Brewers, Astros, and Orioles back in the day -- he was traded from Houston to Baltimore in the big Miguel Tejada trade in December 2007 -- though he's been pitching in Japan since 2011, and he's been an absolute stud. He has a 1.58 ERA with 601 strikeouts in 454 2/3 career innings in Japan. His 232 saves are easily the most by a foreign-born pitcher in NPB history.

Sarfate, now 36, has had chances to come back to MLB in recent years, but he's decided to remain in Japan, where he is a star closer and making pretty decent money. Things didn't work out well over here -- Sarfate has a career 4.53 ERA in 119 1/3 MLB innings -- but he's still managed to have a very long and productive career.

Quick hits

  • The Red Sox have reportedly been caught stealing signs from the Yankees via Apple Watch. The Red Sox filed a counter-complaint alleging the Yankees stole signs with YES Network cameras. MLB has to yet to discipline either team.
  • The Pirates extended the contracts of general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle through 2021. Huntington has been the team's general manager since 2007. Hurdle has managed the club since 2011.
  • Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt has inflammation in his elbow and received a cortisone short, reports the Arizona Republic. There is no structural damage. Goldschmidt is not in Tuesday's lineup, but he is available to play.
  • Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta has a grade one hamstring strain and will miss 7-10 days. Arrieta left his start over the weekend the injury. That 7-10 days timetable means he'll miss one, maybe two starts.
  • The Mets have decided not to start RHP Matt Harvey on short rest Wednesday, reports MLB.com. He will start Thursday on normal rest instead. Harvey threw 70 pitches in two innings in his first game back from a shoulder injury Saturday.
  • The Red Sox activated RHP Carson Smith from the disabled list, the team announced. Smith, who saved 13 games for the Mariners in 2015, has missed most of the last two seasons following Tommy John surgery.
  • The White Sox announced that they released LHP Derek Holland. The 30-year-old southpaw had a 6.20 ERA (70 ERA+) with a 1.71 ERA and a 1.39 K/BB ratio in 26 starts and 135 innings for the ChiSox.
  • Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday, reports MLB.com. Stroman exited Saturday's start with a contusion after being hit by a line drive. X-rays showed no fracture.
CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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