Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann made his return last night in Cincinnati. He went 0/4 with a walk in his first game back with the club, but looked much leaner and also was lacking his trademark bushy beard. The Braves new folk hero behind the plate, Evan Gattis, played left for Atlanta and strugged defensively, but ended up going 1/4 at the plate with an RBI double. Atlanta won the game 7-4, and it'll be interesting to see what ends up happening in the future for the Braves offense, especially when Jason Heyward returns.
PIC OF THE DAY
This Reds fan has the right idea. (Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Blue Jays 8, Rays 7. With two great games last night, I flipped a coin, and this game ended up on top. The Rays started the game off with seven straight runs in the first three innings off of Mark Buehrle, and it looked like it would be another long night for Toronto. However, Buehrle calmed down over his final three innings of his start, allowing only one baserunner in those three innings. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays offense began to fight back. In the fourth, Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer to make it 7-2, and Melky Cabrera followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to four runs. Jeremy Hellickson was chased after five, and in the sixth inning, Toronto added two more of of Jake McGee on a two-run homer by Mark DeRosa. All of a sudden, it was a 7-5 game. In the eighth, Jose Bautista cut the lead to a run after a sac fly off of Fernando Rodney. Looking for the five out save, Rodney was out of gas in the ninth, and allowed a go-ahead two-run homer to JP Arencibia to put Toronto in front 8-7. The untouchable Casey Janssen wasn't even looked at improperly in the ninth, and the Blue Jays picked up a big win that could be a season changer.
Pitching Lines of the Night: James Shields dominated the White Sox in a 2-1 Royals loss, and that loss wasn't his fault at all after Ned Yost went to the bullpen in the ninth. Shields allowed two hits in eight shutout innings, striking out nine, walking two, and leaving bodies in his wake. Chris Sale wasn't too bad opposing him either, allowing one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out five without a walk. Scott Feldman blistered his former team in a 9-2 Cubs win over the Rangers, allowing only two hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out three and walking just one. Andrew Cashner had a good start for the Padres in their 5-0 win against the Marlins, giving up bupkis in 7 1/3 inings, allowing four hits, three walks, and striking out four. Finally, there's good ol' Cliff Lee, who allowed two runs on five hits in eight innings for the Phillies in their 6-2 win in San Francisco, striking out six without a walk.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons overshadowed the return of Brian McCann, going 3/4 with a pair of homers and four RBI in Atlanta's win in Cincinnati. Stephen Drew had a solid game for the Red Sox in their 6-5, 11 inning win over the Twins, going 4/5 with three RBI, a double, and a homer. Anthony Rizzo showed some power for the Cubs in their win over the Rangers, going 3/4 with a double, a homer, and four RBI. Paul Goldschmidt destroyed the Dodgers in a 9-2 Diamondbacks victory, going 4/5 with three RBI and a homer. Asdrubal Cabrera provided the Indians with some offense in their 7-3 win against the A's, going 2/4 with three runs, a walk, and a pair of solo homers.
Other Games: Got em all, Jack
What You Missed: I took a look at Yu Darvish's quest for 300 strikeouts. Roy Halladay is on the DL for the Phillies. Gavin Floyd's season is over, as he'll undergo Tommy John surgery.
Today's Games: Kris Medlen will start for the Braves against Homer Bailey in Cincinnati. Ervin Santana and Wei-Yin Chen will duel in Baltimore. Tommy Milone takes on Zach McAllister in Cleveland. Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers will take on Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals in your pitching matchup of the day. Ryan Dempster starts for the Red Sox against the Twins, regardless of him having to warm up for Boston last night. Matt Harvey starts for the Mets against the White Sox in what should be a beautiful orgy of strikeouts. CJ Wilson starts for the Angels against the Astros. Lance Lynn takes on Travis Wood in Chicago. Hiroki Kuroda takes on Jorge de la Rosa in the essential Yankees-Rockies interleague matchup. Brandon McCarthy takes on Josh Beckett in Los Angeles. Kyle Kendrick will take on Tim Linceum in San Francisco.
National TV: Tigers-Nationals (7 PM, MLB Network), Braves-Reds (7 PM, MLB Network [alternate])
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.