The Angels-Red Sox game was the least relevant to the AL East race that took place on Saturday, but it was also the best game. Otherwise, the story was the Yankees falling back into a tie for second place with the Blue Jays.
Baltimore Orioles 10, St. Louis Cardinals 3
The Orioles continued to have way too much fun against a very good Cardinal team. They did face a pitcher they were quite familiar with in John Lackey, and they dominated him, getting him for 9 runs in 5+ innings. Caleb Joseph, Nelson Cruz, and Delmon Young all drilled two-run home runs off Lackey to cap the offense. Joseph did hit 22 homers at Double-A in 2013, but nobody had any idea that he would homer in five consecutive games this season. The Orioles better enjoy his power surge while it lasts. Manny Machado also stayed red-hot in the victory, going 3 for 5 with an RBI. He is up to a .275/.322/.428 line on the season, including an insane .324/.362/.520 mark in his last 185 plate appearances. Ubaldo Jimenez was not great, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings, but he came away with his fourth Orioles win because his offense did get him a couple of runs.
Cleveland Indians 3, New York Yankees 0
The Yankees were playing well, and then Corey Kluber came along. The breakout right-hander went 6 shutout innings allowing just 4 hits and a walk while striking out 10. The Yankees did get him out relatively early, but the Cleveland bullpen was no easier to handle. Scottt Atchison, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen combined to allow just 1 hit in the final 3 innings behind him, striking out 5 in the process. Brandon McCarthy pitched well for the Yankees again, going 6.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, but this time, it did not prove to be enough. Jose Ramirez homered off McCarthy, while Michael Brantley drilled his 17th homer in the eighth inning off Chase Whitley.
Toronto Blue Jays 3, Detroit Tigers 2 (10 innings)
After Casey Janssen blew it for the Blue Jays on Friday, the Toronto bats did their magic against Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain on Saturday. Max Scherzer had an incredible outing for Detroit, going 8 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 11 while walking none. Marcus Stroman had arguably the best outing of his career on the other side, going 9 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking 3. However, the two-run double he allowed to Victor Martinez in the sixth inning was the margin in the game, and it looked like he would take a complete-game loss. Instead, Stroman did not take the loss, and he did not get his first complete game, as Joe Nathan came in for the ninth inning with disastrous results. Nathan recorded just one out while allowing two hits and two walks, with Dioner Navarro‘s RBI single tying the game. Joakim Soria did come in to keep the game tied, but Nolan Reimold delivered the finishing blow against Joba Chamberlain in the 10th, drilling a walk-off RBI double. Apparently we know the solution to Toronto’s bullpen problems: get nine innings from their starters and clutch hits whenever possible. Unfortunately, the formula to win this game may not exactly be something they can repeat.
Tampa Bay Rays 4, Chicago Cubs 0
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 5, Boston Red Sox 4 (19 innings)
This game came down to a pair of starting pitchers, but Matt Shoemaker and Brandon Workman did not start this game. Clayton Richards had a no-hitter going through 6 innings for the Angels, allowing just a walk, but the Red Sox tagged him for three runs, just one earned, in the seventh inning. They scored, somewhat anticlimactically, on two errors and a Xander Bogaerts sac fly. Then, for Boston, Clay Buchholz finally broke his streak of four straight outings with at least four runs allowed, going 8 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 8 while walking 2. He did allow a game-tying home to Mike Trout, but the Red Sox had to like their chances as the game went into extra innings.
The Red Sox was the first team to score in the additional frames, although it did not happen until the 14th inning. Dustin Pedroia singled and stole second and third base before scoring on a David Ortiz sac fly. But Junichi Tazawa blew the save in the bottom of the inning, allowing two hits and a walk before Trout’s RBI groundout tied up the game. Thus, the contest continued, with a couple of interesting pitching performances. Heath Hembree had one heck of a Red Sox debut, going 4 shutout innings working around 2 hits and 2 walks. In his 217th professional appearance, it was his FIRST TIME throwing as many as THREE innings! But Shoemaker tossed 3 perfect innings with 4 strikeouts for the Angels, and he got the win when Albert Pujols drilled a walk-off homer off Workman in the first at-bat after Hembree departed. The Angels remarkably held the Red Sox to just 6 hits in 19 innings (they had 15), not allowing a single hit from the 8th until the 14th after doing the same from the 1st through the 6th. Add in Shoemaker’s performance, and the Angels had 16 no-hit innings in this game. Unfortunately for them, the seventh inning was such a disaster that it took them 19 innings to win nonetheless.
For all the excitement in that Angels-Red Sox game, the Orioles continue to ensure that things don’t get too exhilarating at the top of the standings, not letting anyone gain ground. Here are the updated standings followed by the schedule of games for today.
1. Baltimore (67-49) –
2. New York (61-55) 6.0 GB
3. Toronto (62-56) 6.0 GB
4. Tampa Bay (57-59) 10.0 GB
5. Boston (51-65) 16.0 GB
1:05 PM: Yankees (Hiroki Kuroda) vs. Indians (Carlos Carrasco)
1:07 PM: Blue Jays (Mark Buehrle) vs. Tigers (David Price)
1:35 PM: Orioles (Kevin Gausman) vs. Cardinals (Lance Lynn)
2:20 PM: Rays (Alex Cobb) @ Cubs (Travis Wood)
3:35 PM: Red Sox (Rubby De La Rosa) @ Angels (Hector Santiago)