The Tigers came into Sunday's doubleheader with the Twins just a half game behind the White Sox in the AL Central. The Sox were facing a sweep in Anaheim, while the Tigers were staring at the prospect of either tying Chicago or moving a game up in the standings. The worst thing that could happen if you were a Tigers fan would be a pair of losses in the doubleheader, and a White Sox win. Well…the sweep was finished in Anaheim, with the Angels coming out on top 4-1. But the Tigers fell flat on their face looking for a standings boost. The Twins jumped on them late in game one, winning 10-4, and won game two 2-1 in ten innings. So after all that nonsense…it's stil the White Sox leading the AL Central with ten games to play.
Game of the Day: Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 7. This is a "what the hell?" type of game to me between a disappointing team and a disastrous team. The Rockies edged out to a 4-3 lead after six. But Arizona picked up four in the eighth to make it a 7-4 game, highlighted by a three-run homer by Aaron Hill off of the normally reliable Matt Belisle in Colorado's pen. Then, they added a three spot in the ninth against someone named William Harris to extend their lead to 10-4. Takashi Saito came in for the ninth for the Diamondbacks and got blitzed, allowing three runs and all of a sudden making the game close again at 10-7. JJ Putz came in though, and got Jonathan Herrera to ground out after two pitches to end the game. Arizona is still mathematically alive in the wild card standings (actually, a half game ahead of Philadelphia), but it would take a lot of magic for them to reach the playoffs this year.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Let's all give a round of applause to the good AJ Burnett who showed up in Pittsburgh's 8-1 win in Houston. Burnett allowed one run on four hits over eight innings, striking out 11 and walking just one to move the Pirates to within two games of .500…and I can't believe they're fighting to get there after their first four months. The Braves edged the Phillies 2-1, with Tim Hudson allowing only one unearned run on two hits over 7 1/3, walking one and striking out four. Cliff Lee struck out 11 without a walk in the loss…he just doesn't know how to win. Felix Doubront dazzled the Orioles in Boston's 2-1 win, allowing one run on four hits over seven, walking two and striking out 11. Thankfully for Batlimore, the Yankees fell 5-4 to the A's to keep the deficit in the AL East at just one game.
Hitting Lines of the Day: The Indians clobbered the Royals 15-4 to (finally) eliminate Kansas City from the playoff picture, with DH Carlos Santana going 3/6 with three runs, five RBI, and a pair of homers. In that Diamondbacks win in Denver, Aaron Hill went 3/5 with two runs, three RBI, his 40th double, and his 24th homer of the year…I bet the Blue Jays wish they still had him. Cliff Pennington powered the A's offense in that win in New York, going 3/4 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer. Adrian Gonzalez went 2/4 with a pair of solo homers in the Dodgers' 5-3 win over the NL Central champion Reds.
Other Games: The Cardinals kept their lead for the NL's second wild card slot by beating the Cubs 6-3, but the Brewers stayed hot on their tails with a 6-2 win in Washington. The Mets walked off on the Marlins 3-2. The Rays are STILL NOT DEAD, and beat the Blue Jays 3-0 to stay 3.5 back in the second AL wild card race. The Rangers edged the Mariners 3-2 to avoid an embarrassing sweep. The Padres beat the NL West champion Giants 6-4 and continue to teeter on the edge of a .500 season.
Today's Games: Partial slate today with ten games lined up, including a doubleheader between the Blue Jays and Orioles. Marco Estrada starts for the Brewers in Washington against Jordan Zimmermann in a game that both teams would love to have in the standings. The Pirates look to creep towards .500 against the Mets and former phenom Jenrry Mejia. The Tigers will send Justin Verlander to the hill against the pesky Royals and Luke Hochevar. The Cardinals get a respite in Houston, and will start Lance Lynn. Trevor Cahill starts for the Diamondbacks in Colorado. The AL West will be decided with seven games down the stretch between the A's and Rangers, and the first of those seven is tonight, with Dan Straily taking on Derek Holland in Arlington. Finally, the White Sox look to shake off an absolutely nightmarish road trip by returning home to take on the Indians, with ace Chris Sale on the mound for game one.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.