Dugout Digest – making headway

The Washington Nationals won AGAIN last night, defeating Toronto 4-2 in part to a three hit game from Bryce Harper. It's their fifth straight win, and eighth in ten games this month. Their lead over the second place Braves is four games, which is a half game behind the Dodgers lead over the Giants for the largest in baseball. The defending five time division champion Phillies are 9.5 games out and scuffling with a 29-34 record this year. The Nationals are 11 games up on the Phillies in the loss column. Is this real life?

Game of the Night: Yankees 6, Braves 4. The Braves took a 4-0 lead, scoring three in the first on a Matt Diaz bases loaded double and picking up an insurance run in the seventh on a Jason Heyward groundout. Mike Minor was cruising on hell, throwing seven scoreless innings. Minor came out for the seventh, got an out, and allowed a single, and that was all for him. Cue Jonny Venters, Atlanta's dominant setup man. Venters' control was all over the place, and he allowed a single to Curtis Granderson before walking Mark Teixeira to load the bases. If you were around last night, you know what happened.Venters allowed a single to Robinson Cano before getting pulled for Cory Gearrin, who promptly gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to Nick Swisher. Atlanta went down quietly in the final two innings, and the Yankees snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Colby Lewis and Johnny Cueto both ran roughshod on their opponents. Lewis threw a complete game in the Rangers' 9-1 win over the Diamondbacks, allowing one run on four hits, walking one and striking out seven. Cueto also threw a one run complete game for the Reds in their 7-1 win over Cleveland, giving up six hits while striking out seven and not walking a batter. The Giants beat the Astros 6-3, and Madison Bumgarner was a huge reason why. Bumgarner allowed two runs (one earned) in 7 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out 12 without a walk. He also added a solo homer to start the Giants scoring against Bud Norris. Clay Buchholz looked like the Buchholz of old against the Marlins in Boston's 2-1 win. Buchholz went seven, giving up one run on five hits, walked two, and struck out nine.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Adam Jones continued his hot hitting in Baltimore's 8-6 win over Pittsburgh, going 4/5 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer. Trevor Plouffe of the Twins went 3/5 with three runs, three RBI, a double, and a homer in the Twins' 11-7 win over the Phillies. In Oakland's 8-5 win over Colorado, Brandon Moss went 2/4 with three RBI and a pair of homers. Jimmy Rollins went 4/5 with a run, two RBI, and a pair of doubles in the Phillies' loss in Minnesota. The White Sox beat the Cardinals 6-1, and AJ Pierzynski's day was a big reason why, going 3/4 with two runs, two RBI, and a homer.

Spotlight Series: The Dodgers beat the Angels 5-2 to even the series at a game each, thanks to an eighth inning rally. The Dodgers trailed the Angels 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, and Mike Scioscia left starter Jerome Williams in there. Williams quickly got two outs, but with two on and two out, the newly-extended Andre Ethier singled in Dee Gordon to tie the game at two. Ethier was followed by former Angel Juan Rivera, who homered to left to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. Kenley Jansen set the Angels down in order, and that was curtains for the Halos. Each team only had six hits, and combined for just three extra base hits, with the Rivera homer obviously being the big blow. On the bright side for the Angels, Albert Pujols had two more hits (including a double), and his OPS is up to .757. Baby steps, people.

Other Games: The Mets savaged the Rays 11-2 to give Chris Young his first win since last April. The Cubs edged a sloppy Tigers team 4-3. The Royals beat the Brewers 2-1 in Zack Greinke's return to Kansas City. The Padres beat an unimpressive Felix Hernandez and the Mariners 5-4.

Today's Games: Matt Cain starts for the Giants as they host the Astros. Stephen Strasburg starts in a day game matinee in Toronto. Brian Matusz starts for the Orioles against the Pirates. RA Dickey and David Price will duel in a fantastic matchup in Tampa Bay. Matt Garza starts for the Cubs against the Tigers. Jake Peavy and Lance Lynn will take each other on in St Louis. Cole Hamels starts against the Twins, which just doesn't seem fair. CJ Wilson takes on rookie Nate Eovaldi in the rubber match between the LA teams.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

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