Moving the Needle: David Wright gives the Mets a lead with a homer, +.396 WPA. Down 3-2 with none on and two outs in the seventh, Carlos Beltran singled. That brought up Wright, who, after going down 0-2, worked the count full before popping one over the wall in left. The 4-3 lead would last just an inning, though, as the Marlins came back in the eighth to reclaim the lead and take the game.
Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton: both 2 for 4, 1 HR. Both of them were homers to lead off innings, too. Stanton’s shot in the second gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead, while Morrison’s shot in the eighth tied the game at four.
David Wright: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 1 HR. He’s 6 for 14 with three doubles and a homer since coming off the DL.
Also in this issue: Angels 9, Orioles 3 | Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 0 | Red Sox 12, Mariners 8 | Cubs 5, Astros 4 | White Sox 4, Indians 2 | Reds 4, Braves 3 | Rays 5, Royals 0 | Tigers 5, Twins 2 | Dodgers 3, Nationals 1 | Yankees 7, A’s 5 | Phillies 5, Padres 3 | Blue Jays 3, Rangers 0 | Pirates 4, Cardinals 3 | Giants 2, Brewers 1
Moving the Needle: Adam Jones‘s homer brings the Orioles to within one, +.196 WPA. There are some play-by-play descriptions that require a look at the video. Certainly, “Maicer Izturis doubled to second (Grounder),” warrants a peek. It turns out it was just a description error, as the ball was bounced down the line and off of first baseman Derrek Lee’s glove as he leapt for it. That made the score 3-0, which is significant enough because the next scoring play was Jones’s two run monster shot to dead center. The homer got the Orioles to within one, but two innings later Mike Trout would crack his first big-league homer, a three-run shot that helped seal the game for the Angels.
Nick Markakis: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 1 HR. The two extra base hits got his ISO to above. 100. It’s a far fall from the .185 marks he produced in 2007 and 2008.
Torii Hunter: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 1 HR. He scored two and drove in two. That’s only his second double this month, though it is his fifth home run.
Moving the Needle: Justin Upton puts the Diamondbacks on the board with a two-run double, +.190 WPA. Big things can happen when pull hitters instead go into the opposite field corner. Upton hit an Ubaldo JImenez offering on a line toward first, past the fielder and into the outfield. Xavier Nady isn’t the fastest dude, but even he was able to score from first. I’m kind of surprised Upton didn’t take third, though he did have a triple in the game. That made it 2-0, and the Diamondbacks added one in each of the next two innings, on their way to a shutout victory.
Justin Upton: 4 for 4, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB. He scored two and drove in three, making him the clear standout player for this game.
Zach Duke and Micah Owings: 9 IP 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K. Owings had both strikeouts and all three walks, though he went only five innings. Duke allowed just three hits, as the Rockies couldn’t get a thing going on offense.
Moving the Needle: Miguel Olivo gives the Mariners false hope with a first-inning homer, +.172 WPA. The Red Sox didn’t let the Mariners hold onto this one for long. In their quest to win their first game since July 5th, Olivo provided reason for optimism when he crushed a two-run homer in the first. But the Sox didn’t let them hang on for even a half inning. A double, single, and homer started a five-run first, leaving the Mariners in the rearview mirror the rest of the way. They did pick up six more runs, including a grand slam, in the later innings, but it wasn’t nearly enough and they tumbled for the 15th consecutive time.
Brendan Ryan: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 HR. That’s two homers in the last six games, which are his first two of the season.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: 3 for 4. They were all singles, sure, but he drove in four runs.
Moving the Needle: Carlos Lee homers to put the Astros on top in the eighth, +.389 WPA. Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, the Astros took the lead as quickly as they possibly could have. Hunter Pence walked, and then on the first pitch Lee saw he launched one into the left field seats. Unfortunately for the Astros, Wilton Lopez couldn’t hold the lead, allowing three straight singles to open the bottom half, tying the game and eventually sending it to extra innings. The Cubs won in the 10th, mostly thanks to a leadoff triple.
Marlon Byrd: 4 for 5, 1 2B, 1 3B. The triple led off the tenth and eventually led to him scoring the winning run. It was his third run scored of the day.
Matt Garza: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 9 K. He’s having a fine year by almost any measure — even his ERA is down to 3.72. While this year is a lost cause the Cubs will surely enjoy his presence next year.
Moving the Needle: Ezequiel Carrera misplays a long fly ball and costs the Indians two runs, -.291 WPA. Adam Dunn came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second, with the score tied at one in the sixth. The ball traveled over Carrera’s head, but he got back on it and started to settle under it on the warning track. As he lined himself up, he seemed to lose his footing, and maybe lose the ball in the sun. In any case, it dropped, allowing both runners to score. That gave the White Sox all the lead they’d need.
Justin Masterson: 7 P, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K. On one hand, if Carrera settles under that the game unfolds differently. On the other hand, if they had a poorer-fielding center fielder, he might have had to make a more difficult running play. So who knows on that one. Another reason I dislike the earned run concept.
Edwin Jackson: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K. He has struck out five and walked five in his 15 post-ASB innings, though he has allowed only two runs.
Moving the Needle: Drew Stubbs ends the game with an opposite field shot, +.360 WPA. The nation was well-entertained on Sunday night, as the Reds and Braves engaged in a well-pitched, back-and-forth affair. The Reds got the early jump with a pair of homers, but the Braves battled back into it, and in the seventh they tied things up. Things remained that way until the bottom of the ninth, when, on the first pitch of inning, Stubbs lined an outside pitch over the wall in right to end the game.
Aroldis Chapman: 1.2, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Dontrelle Willis pitched well enough, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks through 6.1 innings, but a wild pitch sandwiched between two singles allowed the Braves to tie the game in the seventh. Nick Masset couldn’t retire Martin Prado, leaving two men on for Chapman. He got the double play and then set down the Braves in order the next inning, giving him just four batters faced in 1.2 IP.
Brandon Phillips: 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 BB. His two-run homer in the bottom of the first made the Braves pay for Prado’s error to start the inning.
Moving the Needle: Ben Zobrist sets up the Rays’ two-run third, +.113 WPA. The third inning went pretty smoothly for the Rays, starting with a Johnny Damon walk before getting interesting when Zobrist doubled to right. That set up the go-ahead RBI single from Evan Longoria, followed by a Matt Joyce sac fly. The set-up was apparently the most important part, though, likely because the first run scored with none out in the inning.
Alex Cobb: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. He induced 15 ground balls, leading to two double plays.
Ben Zobrist: 3 for 4, 1 2B, 1 HBP. In addition to setting up two runs, scoring one of them, in the third, he also drove in a pair later in the game.
Moving the Needle: Michael Cuddyer grounds into a double play to end the first, -.113 WPA. The Twins did have a chance in this one, as they had runners on first and third with one out in the first. But Cuddyer ruined that with a ground ball double play, ending the inning and putting the bats back in Detroit’s hands. They answered in the bottom half, though it came on a wild pitch. It wasn’t until the third that they really broke through.
Moving the Needle: Aaron Miles gives the Dodgers the lead in the first, +.209 WPA. The Nats loaded up the bases with none outs in the first, but they managed just one run — the only one they’d get in the game. In the bottom of the first the Dodgers claimed the lead for good, thanks to a pair of singles and Miles’s RBI single to center. The Nats might have gunned down the trail runner had Danny Espinosa not double-clutched before throwing home.
Chad Billingsley: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K. That’s his second double-digit strikeout game this year. He’s had exactly two in every year from 2008 through 2011.
Moving the Needle: David DeJesus ends the game by lining into a double play, -.291 WPA. The great Mariano Rivera nearly gave this one back. The Yankees pounded on Gio Gonzalez in the middle innings, taking a 7-2 lead by the end of five. But in the eighth and ninth the A’s put some runs on the board, and had the bases loaded with one out, trailing by only two. But DeJesus lined one right to Mark Teixeira at first, who stepped on the bag and ended the game.
Bartolo Colon: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K. He had the two-seamer working well, which is the key to his recovery this season.
Eduardo Nunez: 2 for 4, 1 2B. The double scored two, giving the Yanks the lead in the fourth.
Moving the Needle: Raul Ibanez’s double put the Phillies up in the first, +.116 WPA. It seems like there were a few instances today where the away team went up in the first, only to have the home team come back and take the lead away. The Padres scratched across a run against Halladay in the first, but the Phillies came back with a two-out rally in the bottom half, culminating with Ibanez’s RBI double. The hit made it 2-1, and they’d be up 5-1 before the Padres scored again.
Roy Halladay: 8 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K. It wasn’t as easy as many Pick Sixers had wished, but it was yet another fine start from Halladay.
Moving the Needle: Jose Bautista breaks the scoreless tie in the sixth with a double, +.175 WPA. If you’re a fan of offense, you can skip right to the top of the sixth in this one and stop watching at inning’s end. The Jays got three doubles that inning, leading to the only three runs of the game. Bautista’s came first, a booming shot that made it all the way to around the 390 sign in left-center. That scored Yunel Escobar all the way from first. Two batters later Edwin Encarnacion brought home Bautista with a double, and then Travis Snider hit one to cap the scoring.
Brett Cecil: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. This is his first complete-game shutout, but his second complete game of the season. Those are the only two CG of his career, and they came in a year in which he started so poorly that he got demoted to AAA. Crazy that his current ERA is right around his career mark, but he’s thrown two CG in 57.1 IP this year, but had none in 165 IP previously.
Yunel Escobar: 3 for 3, 1 BB. All singles can have value, especially when you don’t make any outs all day.
Moving the Needle: Xavier Paul steals second and takes third on an error, setting up the winning run, +.192 WPA. After dropping the first two games to the Cardinals, the Pirates needed a win to salvage the series and stay ahead of the Cards in the loss column. They battled to a 3-3 tie in regulation, and in extras they got the break they needed. After hustling out an infield single, Paul stole second and then took third when the throw got into center field. A line drive sac fly then ended it, which, combined with a Milwaukee loss, vaults the Pirates back into first.
Ronny Cedeno: 2 for 4, 2 2B. He scored twice. He started off the season horribly, hitting .179/.216/.224 through his first 74 PA. But after that he went on a roll, hitting .279/.347/.391 in 202 PA until he got hurt. He’s 4 for 12 with those two doubles since coming back.
Colby Rasmus: 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 BB. The walk was intentional, and the home run put the Cardinals up by a run in the sixth.
Moving the Needle: Jeff Keppinger singles home the tying run, +.137 WPA. The Brewers took an early lead on a Ryan Braun homer, but the Giants got it back two innings later, when Keppinger’s knock brought home the runner from second. They’d get take the lead on a sac fly later in the inning, letting the pitching take it the rest of the way.
Madison Bumgarner: 7.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K. That’s a great job by the lefty against a lineup that featured just one lefty, Prince Fielder, who is no slouch against same-handed pitchers (.334 wOBA).
Yovani Gallardo: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Good enough, but not good enough to beat a Giants staff that has allowed the second fewest runs per game in the NL.
Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.