Thursday MLB scores, highlights, updates, news: Rangers win ninth straight

Happy Thursday, MLB fans. It's not quite a full slate of games, but there are 12 of them in all -- with some day and some night games. Most notably on the schedule is a doubleheader between two first-place teams that many would consider surprising. 

Keep it here for updates throughout the night or just come back Friday morning to catch up on all MLB happenings. 

Thursday's games

Pittsburgh Pirates 10, Washington Nationals 4 (box score)
Colorado Rockies 5, Minnesota Twins 1 (box score)
Detroit Tigers 6, Baltimore Orioles 5 (box score)
Philadelphia Phillies 4 at 8  Texas Rangers (box score)
Cincinnati Reds  5 at 9  Chicago Cubs (box score)
Milwaukee Brewers 4, San Diego Padres  2 (box score)
Twins 2, Rockies 0 (box score)
Toronto Blue Jays 9, Atlanta Braves  0 (box score)
Kansas City Royals  5, Yankees 1 (box score)
Mariners 5, White Sox 4 (box score)
Oakland Athletics  8, Red Sox 3 (box score)
Los Angeles Dodgers  7, Marlins 2 (box score)

Rangers win again

Remember when the Rangers were 13-20 and appeared to be toast? On Thursday, the Rangers defeated the Phillies, giving them nine victories in a row. Texas' 22-20 record combined with the Los Angeles Angels having an off day means the Rangers have officially moved into second place.

Whereas the Rangers' offense has been largely responsible for their recent success -- they've scored at least four runs in every game, including six-plus in five -- southpaw Martin Perez deserves credit for a quality outing. He finished his afternoon with eight strikeouts and two runs allowed over seven innings. 

Of course, the Rangers offense rendered moot a shaky outing from Jeremy Jeffress , who yielded two runs while recording a single out. In whole, the Rangers scored eight runs on nine hits. Ryan Rua and Nomar Mazara combined to drive in five of those runs.

The Rangers will now embark on a nine-game roadie that will see them make visits to Detroit, Boston, and Toronto.  

First-place doubleheader

Thanks to a Wednesday rainout, baseball fans Thursday are treated to a doubleheader between the Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins. Both teams sit in first place, and it's fair to say both are surprises with the Twins to a greater extent than the Rockies. Sure it's only May 18, but we're six weeks deep. It's not like this is April 18. These are two pretty fun stories on the young 2017 season. 

Game 1 of the double-dip wasn't overly tough for the Rockies, building a 5-0 lead through the fourth and never letting the Twins get closer than four runs. 

Nolan Arenado got things started in the first with an upper deck shot (video here) and Mark Reynolds ' two-RBI single in the third was also big. 

How about German Marquez on the mound? 

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Marquez put together another promising outing for the Rockies. USATSI

Last time out, he worked eight scoreless innings in Coors Field against the Cubs, only allowing three hits and a walk while striking out eight. He wasn't quite as dominant on Thursday, but only gave up one run on four hits in five innings. 

He's been a hilariously weird mixed bag so far. In his first start, he allowed eight runs in four innings and in his third start, it was five runs in six innings. In the other three outings combined, though, Marquez has only given up one run in 19 innings. 

Marquez is only 22 years old and has certainly flashed some nice upside for the Rockies.

Berrios shines in Game 2

While Marquez was the story of the day game, another young pitcher dominated the second game.

Jose Berrios had yet another strong outing, striking out 11 Rockies and holding them off the board in 7 2/3 innings. You can read more about Berrios' night here.

Stroman jumps the yard

It's not everyday Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman gets to show off his bat. But on Thursday, Stroman got the chance and delivered, recording his first career home run and his second career hit. (The first, by the way, came earlier this year and was a double.) Here's a look:

Braves ace Julio Teheran had a brutal night, allowing nine runs and three homers over the course of 19 batters faced -- karmic payback after he plunked Jose Bautista? -- but giving up a long ball to the opposing pitcher probably hurt the most. 

Quick hits

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