Dugout Digest – as the air gets warmer…

…balls start to fly out of the park across the country. The Braves 10-5 win over the Yankees saw nine balls leave the yard, while the Phillies 7-6 win over the Rockies saw four homers between the two teams. In Boston, the Red Sox and Marlins hit six total homers in a 15-5 rout for the home team. The roof was open in Miller Park, and the Brewers and Blue Jays combined for five homers in an 9-3 win for Milwaukee. Then, there's Chase Field, where the roof is always closed. Arizona and Seattle combined for eight homers in a 14-10 win for the Cardinals over the Seahawks. The odd thing about that game? None of the players who hit a homer had a total in the double digits before the game. Imagine that.

Game of the Night: Phillies 7, Rockies 6. This was a pretty pathetic game on both ends, but nothing else was particularly close throughout the day. The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first, but a three-run homer by Wilin Rosario made it 3-1 Colorado. The Phillies answered in the bottom of the inning with a three-run homer by light hitting infielder Michael Martinez to give Philly a 4-3 lead. The Rockies got solo homers in the third and fourth by Michael Cuddyer and Chris Nelson to make it 5-4, and the Phillies tied it at five in the fourth on a Jimmy Rollins double. Of course, Rockies starter Alex White was lifted after EXACTLY 75 pitches, and the second pitch that Mark Reynolds served up to Rollins was the double. Yeah. The scoring ceased until the ninth, when the Phillies brought in closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon got a pair of quick outs before allowing a double to Rosario, and after intentionally walking Jason Giambi, Papelbon gave up a go-ahead single to Dexter Fowler. Colorado brought in closer Rafael Betancourt for the bottom of hte inning, and he also got his first two outs in quick succession. Then, Ty Wigginton singled and Hunter Pence doubled him in to tie the game. Betancourt intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz, then got a ground ball to end the inning…only Shane Victorino beat the throw to load the bases for Placido Polanco. Polanco hit it to nearly the same spot as Victorino, and a shady throw had Todd Helton looking for the bag, which he couldn't find before Polanco got to the bag. Walk-off error? Walk-off error.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Justin Masterson threw a complete game in Cleveland's 8-1 win over the Reds, giving up just one unearned run on three hits, walking none and striking out nine. He's finally getting his groove back, which is great news for the Indians. Masterson also got 13 ground ball outs to just four in the air, another fantastic sign for him. Jake Westbrook also threw a complete game as the Cardinals beat the Tigers 3-1. Westbrook allowed one unearned run (just like Masterson!) on five hits, walking one and striking out nine. One more complete game for you: A's rookie Tommy Milone against the Dodgers, in a 4-1 win for Oakland. Milone allowed just the one run on three hits, walking one and striking out two. Yeah…that's a typical Milone start. Pure efficiency.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Miguel Montero rocked it for the Diamondbacks in their slugfest with the Mariners, going 3/4 with three runs, four RBI, and his seventh homer of the season. Jason Heyward is catching fire for the Braves, and he lit the Bronx up today, going 2/4 with three RBI and a pair of homers to boost his OPS to .820 on the season. Heyward's teammate Martin Prado also continued his hot hitting for the Braves, going 3/5 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer. Despite all the crooked numbers on the board yesterday, there weren't a lot of hugely standpoint offensive performances.

Spotlight Series: The Nationals edged the Rays 3-2, and all three of their runs came in the first inning. Coincidentally, all three of their hits also came in the first inning. Rays rookie starter Chris Archer got into trouble early, allowing two hits and two runs over his first three batters faced. Archer would allow a third hit and a third run in the inning, but faced the minimum in his other five innings, allowing just one runner on a walk, who was erased on a double play. Archer also struck out six Washington hitters. That's a damn good performance worth winning, but unfortunately for Archer, Stephen Strasburg was on the hill for the Nationals, and he was doing Stephen Strasburg things. Strasburg allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out ten. The Rays runs came in the second, on a solo homer by Jose Molina, and in the third, on a Hideki Matsui RBI single. After Matsui's single, Strasburg allowed just two runners to reach base, and neither got past second base. Each team's bullpen threw a pair of scoreless innings, allowing just one hit between them. No player had a multiple hit game, and only Bryce Harper (of course) and Carlos Pena reached base twice. Yeah, this was a very pitching oriented game. Tomorrow will be the rubber matchup, and will pit Matt Moore against Gio Gonzalez. Oh yeah, that's awesome.

Other Games: The Royals edged the Astros 2-1, and Bruce Chen was effective on the mound. Yu Darvish struck out eight in eight, and the Rangers beat the Padres 4-2. The White Sox shut out the Cubs 7-0 to avoid a sweep at the hands of their crosstown rivals. The Mets beat the Orioles 4-3 to complete a sweep, and those three runs were all Baltimore got all series. The Angels shut out the Giants 6-0 in Jered Weaver's return to the hill from the DL. The Twins edged the Pirates 2-1 on a late homer by Josh Willingham.

Today's Games: Only six games on the slate today, and only two are day games…that's inexcusable. Vance Worley starts for the Phillies as they look to sweep the Rockies. Kyle Lohse starts for the Cardinals against Jacob Turner of the Tigers, making his season debut. Clayton Kershaw will go for the Dodgers in Oakland. Pirates ace James McDonald goes to the hill against the Twins. Carlos Zambrano takes on Daisuke Matsuzaka in Boston.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.