Dugout Digest – tightening of the noose

Every game down the stretch is crucial. In the NL Central, the Pirates and Cardinals both won, while the Reds lost, putting Pittsburgh a game behind St Louis and two up on Cincinnati. Washington also won again, moving the Nationals to six games behind the Reds for the second wild card spot. No one really made out well in the AL, as the A's, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, and Indians all lost while the Yankees and Royals picked up wins. New York is now two back, while Kansas City is three back, Any of the top teams would have loved some more breathing room, but considering that everyone lost, things could be worse.


Scott Van Slyke gets doused (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Game of the Night: Twins 4, Athletics 3. The A's extended their lead to 3-1 in the sixth following a Yoenis Cespedes RBI single, but Minnesota trimmed it back to one after an Oswaldo Arcia solo homer in the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the eighth, Arcia led off with a single off of Sean Doolittle, and after striking out Ryan Doumit, Ryan Cook replaced Doolittle. Cook fell behind 2-0 to Josh Willingham, and Willingham smashed the third pitch he got over the fence to put the Twins in front. Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth, and THE TWINS WIN!

Pitching Lines of the Night: Clay Buchholz outdueled David Price in Boston's 2-0 win over Tampa Bay, allowing three hits in five shutout innings, walking one and punching out six. Not to be outdone, Price gave up two runs on three hits in eight innings, punching out nine without a walk. Rick Porcello threw a complete game for the Tigers in their 9-1 win over the White Sox, allowing one run on seven hits while striking out five and walking one. Andrew Cashner laid waste to the Phillies in the Padres' 8-2 win, giving up two runs on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven. Shelby Miller pitched well for the Cardinals as they beat the Brewers 4-2, giving up five hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings, walking two and striking out four.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Mark Trumbo went off in the Angels' 12-6 win over the Blue Jays, going 5/5 with five runs, two RBI, three doubles, and a homer. Hunter Pence had a nice night for the Giants in their 9-8 loss to the Rockies, going 4/5 with a double, a homer, and six RBI, while in the win, Michael Cuddyer went 3/5 with four RBI and a pair of homers. The Cubs pummeled the Reds 9-1, and Wellington Castillo went 3/5 with two homers and three RBI. In that Twins win over the A's, the aforementioned Josh Willingham went 2/3 with a pair of homers, three RBI, and a walk.

Other Games: Alfonso Soriano homered twice in the Yankees' 7-5 win over the Orioles. The Royals doubled up the Indians 6-3. The Braves edged the Marlins 4-3. The Nationals beat the Mets 6-3. The Pirates withstood a late rally to beat the Rangers 5-4. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in 11. The Astros smashed the Mariners 13-2. 

What You Missed: Bobby Parnell needs neck surgery. Will there be another Pirates-type streak any time soon? Indians fans aren't going to games. Matt Harrison is having another surgery.

Today's Games: James Shields and Scott Kazmir will duel in Cleveland. Jeff Samardzija and Mike Leake will battle in Cincinnati. AJ Burnett faces off with Matt Garza in Texas. Alex Cobb and the Rays host the Red Sox. Mike Minor and Jose Fernandez will match up in Miami. Cliff Lee and the Phillies host the Padres. Scott Feldman and the Orioles host Andy Pettitte and the Yankees. CJ Wilson and RA Dickey will face off in Toronto. Zack Wheeler and the Mets host the Nationals and Dan Haren. Lance Lynn and the Cardinals host the Brewers. Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers take on Jose Quintana and the White Sox. Sonny Gray starts for the A's in Minnesota. Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Dodgers host Pat Corbin and the Diamondbacks.

National TV: Red Sox-Rays (7 PM, ESPN), Diamondbacks-Dodgers (10 PM, ESPN2)

MLB.tv Free Game: Rockies-Giants (3:45 PM)

Pitching Matchup of the Day: Mike Minor vs Jose Fernandez (Braves vs Marlins, 7 PM)

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

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