Red Sox, Nats, Tigers, Phillies and Rockies dominate series
By Chad Thornburg
The broomsticks were out in full force Sunday as five teams -- the Red Sox, Nationals, Tigers, Phillies and Rockies -- completed series sweeps.
The Red Sox capped the weekend by defeating the archrival Yankees, 8-7, at Fenway Park, securing a three-game sweep in their first head-to-head series of the season.
The remaining four sweeps were accomplished by a mix of perennial contenders and up-and-coming clubs, each putting a bow on the first month of the season and beginning May on a high note.
Pitching in his hometown, Max Scherzer punctuated Washington's sweep of the Cardinals with seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out nine. In total, the Nats' rotation limited St. Louis to just three runs in 20 innings over the weekend.
The Nationals, who sit atop the National League East, rebounded from a three-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies at home to beat the Cards in St. Louis, outscoring them, 17-6. Next up is a date with the defending champions in Kansas City as Washington moves on to the second stop in its 10-game road trip.
Backed by yet another stellar outing from Vince Velasquez, the Phillies narrowly edged the Indians with a 2-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils, who weren't expected to be among this year's contenders in the NL East, have now won a season-best six straight games.
"For us to do what we're doing right now, we're surprising a lot of people, and I think that's what we expected coming in from Spring Training from Day 1," Philadelphia catcher Cameron Rupp said.
This weekend marked the first time the Phillies have swept back-to-back opponents since Sept. 7-12, 2012. They'll look to keep the momentum going when they begin a 10-game road trip Monday against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Red Sox (15-10)
Boston's sweep was completed in dramatic fashion, with two of the games being won by a late-inning homer. David Ortiz put his club ahead with a two-run shot in the eighth inning Friday, and Christian Vazquez followed suit Sunday, breaking a 6-6 tie with a two-run blast in the seventh.
With the win, the Red Sox claimed possession of first place in the American League East for the first time this year. It was also their first series sweep of the Yankees since Sept. 13-15, 2013. Boston will hit the road, heading to Chicago for a three-game set with the White Sox before another series with the Yankees, this time in the Bronx.
Detroit also relied on a late rally to complete its sweep Sunday. Fueled by a three-run homer from Nick Castellanos and a go-ahead RBI double from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Tigers surged past the Twins for a 6-5 victory at Target Field. They have now won five games in a row.
"Things are going pretty good right now, and we just hope to keep this rolling," Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez said.
Detroit will now turn its attention to Cleveland, where the club will try to turn the tables on the Tribe, who swept the Tigers at Comerica Park from April 22-24.
The Rox put their five-game losing skid in the rearview with a dominant sweep of the division-rival D-backs at Chase Field. Colorado outscored Arizona by a 20-5 margin in the weekend series, and the club is now 5-1 through six games against the D-backs. The Rockies are locked in a tie with the Giants and Dodgers atop a tightly contested NL West, in which Arizona (12-15) isn't far behind.
"This division is up for grabs," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "Nobody is really running away with it. And we're back to playing good baseball. It's a good feeling right now."
Colorado will face another division foe when it heads to San Diego for a three-game set with the Padres beginning Monday. The Rockies are in the midst of a 13-game stretch against division opponents.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.