LOS ANGELES -- From his observation point roughly 75 feet away, Jimmy Rollins saw nothing of concern with Clayton Kershaw in the ninth inning Wednesday as the pitch count rose along with pulse rates at Dodger Stadium. The Giants were threatening, but the big lefty was still dealing.
"If the velocity starts dropping and he's not as sharp, that's when you know he's getting tired," Rollins said in the afterglow of a 2-1 Dodgers triumph completing a three-game sweep and knocking the Giants 6 1/2 games off their National League West lead.
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson is one of the frontrunners for the American League MVP Award because of his bat and glove, but in Wednesday night's 5-1 win over the Indians, it was his legs that had the fans at Rogers Centre in a frenzy.
Donaldson scored from third on a sacrifice popup to shallow right-center field and later stretched a single into a double by taking advantage of a lackadaisical Michael Brantley in left field. Donaldson finished the game 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
NEW YORK -- From his vantage point at second base, Kelly Johnson went through the same sequence of emotions as nearly everyone else in Citi Field: disbelief that Ruben Tejada's hit skipped past Domonic Brown, concern for Brown as he flipped over the outfield wall and onto the concrete below, then a blaze of excitement as he watched Tejada race around the bases for the Mets' first inside-the-park home run in a half-decade.
For the Mets, it was a defining moment in Wednesday's 9-4 win over the Phillies, another machine-like demonstration of their newfound offensive capabilities. For Brown, who left the park with concussion-like symptoms, it could have lasting repercussions. For Tejada, it was the lead highlight of what has quietly been a solid season in a previously disappointing career.
Davis homers twice; Jones displays rocket arm with run-saving throw to plate
By Adam Berry
The Orioles snapped a six-game losing streak in style on Wednesday night. They hit a few home runs, robbed one at the wall and watched their star center fielder cut down another run at the plate.
Adam Jones' assist from center field leads off Wednesday's highlights, which also include a defensive robbery by Steve Pearce, a pair of Chris Davis homers, an inside-the-park round-tripper in New York and a pair of prodigious homers in Missouri.
OAKLAND -- Albert Pujols' second-inning homer against the electric Sonny Gray, a key blow in a 9-4 win over the A's, gave him 555 career home runs, tying him with countryman Manny Ramirez for 14th on the all-time list. It gave him 35 this year, joining only three others -- Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt and Willie Mays -- to reach 35-plus homers 10 times within their first 15 seasons. And it put him on pace for 42, a number he hasn't reached since 2010.
In some ways, though, Pujols is still chasing that season. He's still trying to be the player he was back then, and part of him can't accept being anything less.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
#TBT: That time Mulholland threw his glove
By Joe Trezza / MLB.com |
Like all great hitters, Keith Hernandez owns an encyclopedic knowledge of his career. The Mets broadcaster has catalogued in his mind thousands of at bats from across his 17 years in the Majors, which he can recall in often colorfully painstaking detail.
Then there is one memory, from 29 years ago today, that history (and we) won't let him forget.
ST. LOUIS -- With a pair of solo homers and a go-ahead RBI double off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth, Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nationals salvage a win during their three-game visit to Busch Stadium. Washington's 4-3 victory halted the Cardinals' winning streak at four games.
Zimmerman, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, took fill-in starter Tyler Lyons deep with solo shots in the fourth and sixth. Jayson Werth preceded those blasts with one of his own, a solo homer in the third inning that erased the Cardinals' early lead.
Quicken Loans sweepstakes offers chance to win mortgage payment valued at up to $1,500
By Chad Thornburg
The deadline from Monday's sweepstakes hadn't even closed before Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus gave fans yet another opportunity to score a free mortgage payment.
In the Rangers' 8-6 win over the Padres, Andrus pulled off the rare straight steal of home, reactivating the Quicken Loans "Steal A Home" program, barely more than 24 hours after the Angels' C.J. Cron did the same Monday night.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Key things to watch for in today's games
By Spencer Fordin
There are only six games around the Major Leagues on Thursday, but the Padres and Dodgers still provide a marquee matchup. San Diego and Los Angeles will kick off a four-game set, and the Dodgers lead 8-4 in the season series despite outscoring the Padres by just three runs (47-44).
The Dodgers went 15-12 in August and solidified their grip on the NL West, and they've managed to stay afloat despite a 28-36 record on the road. Los Angeles is scoring 4.08 runs per game, slightly below the league average (4.10), and has the fourth-best ERA (3.39) of any NL team.
BALTIMORE -- With the Orioles down 11 runs in Tuesday night's game, manager Buck Showalter began removing some of the starters prior to the ninth inning and Chris Davis was one of the guys he had in mind. If it's OK with you, Davis said, I'd like to finish this thing.
And when the slugger hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, he gave Showalter a look before trotting the bases.
Reds superstar making critics look foolish with vintage second-half surge
By Richard Justice
Joey Votto dropped the bat nonchalantly and looked briefly toward left field as the baseball soared into the seats. And then he was off circling the bases, head down, as always, expressionless, as always.
This was one more perfect moment in a season filled with them. If we're discussing the best baseball players on the planet, Votto is back on everyone's short list, a point that was driven home on Wednesday as he hammered a three-run home run in the ninth inning to set the Reds up for a 7-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
2015 Postseason Schedule
Wild Card Games to begin playoffs on Oct. 6-7; World Series to start on Oct. 27
By Mark Newman
The 2015 postseason schedule will begin on Oct. 6, with the 111th Fall Classic to open on Oct. 27 in an American League ballpark, thanks to the AL's 6-3 victory in last month's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile. The full postseason schedule can be found at MLB.com/postseason.
Following the scheduled regular-season finales on Sunday, Oct. 4, potentially necessary regular-season tiebreaker games would be telecast exclusively by ESPN the next day. Then the postseason will begin that Tuesday, with the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on ESPN. The National League equivalent is scheduled for Oct. 7, televised exclusively by TBS.
DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez had never faced D-backs rookie reliever Keith Hessler before. He had some paperwork that said Hessler threw an upper-90s fastball with a slider, but the resources were still limited.
The Arizona left-hander chose to come with three straight sliders -- the last of which proved costly. Gonzalez went down and got the third breaking ball, crushing it off the second-deck façade in right field for a seventh-inning, go-ahead grand slam. Gonzalez tacked on a second homer in the eighth for good measure, helping propel the Rockies to a 9-4 win on Wednesday at Coors Field.
Harper sustained the injury in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game against the Cardinals after touching base awkwardly beating out an infield single. By the time Wednesday's game started, the injury had worsened.
DETROIT -- The outcome of the Tigers' 12-1 loss to the Royals was decided relatively early. The drama, however, still lingered after the game, from Miguel Cabrera's argument and ejection over a called third strike to a trade of hit-by-pitches between Yordano Ventura and Randy Wolf.
Cabrera's seventh career ejection came not from home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, who made the call on Ventura's 99-mph full-count fastball leading off the fourth inning. Instead, crew chief Gary Cederstrom made the ejection from third base.
BALTIMORE -- Evan Longoria cut loose with a mammoth homer on Wednesday night, giving him 200 for his career.
Longoria enjoyed the blast so much that he added a second in the ninth, giving him his second multi-home run game of the season and the 15th of his career. Despite his heroics, the Rays lost to the Orioles 7-6 in 11 innings at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
KANSAS CITY -- Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert homered and had four RBIs, Kendrys Morales and Lorenzo Cain each homered and had three RBIs, and right-hander Yordano Ventura matched a career high with 11 strikeouts as the Royals pummeled the Tigers in a 12-1 win on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Ventura pitched seven strong innings, giving up just five hits and one run. It was his fifth straight quality start -- he's posted a 1.13 ERA over that span. And his 11 K's matched his previous outing.
HOUSTON -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz was removed from Wednesday night's 8-3 Seattle win over the Astros with a strained quad muscle in his right leg after getting thrown out at the plate in the top of the seventh inning, and his status is day to day as the club heads to Oakland for its next series on Friday.
Cruz was thrown out by Colby Rasmus trying to score on a flyout by Mark Trumbo, but he said he actually felt the muscle tighten up moments earlier when he hustled to third while teammate Kyle Seager was in a rundown after breaking for the plate on an infield chopper.
Mathias among 10 top prospect performers Wednesday
Indians No. 21 prospect goes 4-for-5 with a career-high 6 RBIs for Mahoning Valley
By Mike Rosenbaum
Mark Mathias' career is just beginning, but he may never have as good of a game as he did Wednesday.
The Indians' No. 21 prospect homered and tripled as part of a 4-for-5 performance, while his career-high six RBIs proved to be the difference in Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley's 11-5 victory over Auburn.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
CHICAGO -- Joey Votto crushed a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to power the Reds to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Chicago had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on Kris Bryant's two-run home run, but Bryant's error helped keep Cincinnati's ninth alive.
Votto connected off Hector Rondon after Jason Bourgeois reached on an infield single and Jay Bruce was safe on a ball that went through Bryant's legs. With the win, the Reds won their first series since July 27-29 against the Cardinals.
CHICAGO -- Rookie Kyle Schwarber was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with right rib soreness, which he felt while hitting in the batting cage prior to the game. He was to undergo an MRI as a precaution.
On Tuesday, Schwarber hit his 12th home run since being called up on July 17, which is second in the National League since the All-Star break. He was batting .255 since the break, with five doubles and 32 RBIs.