Archive for The Morning After

Miguel Cabrera Gets Robbed: A Tale of Consequences

Science is neat. In many scientific experiments, you can run trials, generate results, slightly change the conditions, run trials, and generate other results. Then you can compare those results to measure the effect of the change that you made. I used to work in a neuroscience lab with fruit flies, and one of the first projects to which I was assigned attempted to measure the draw of potential mates against the draw of fresh food. Without going into detail, we were constantly futzing with the method and seeing what happened to the numbers in the end. It was not a very good experiment and it never came close to getting published. At least there were usually donuts.

Baseball isn’t like science. In baseball, there is but one trial, and it’s always going on. We can speculate about the effects of certain things, and we can feel pretty confident about our speculations, but we can never know for sure. We can never know for sure how many wins above replacement a player is or was worth. We can never know for sure the significance of a borderline pitch call. And we might never know the meaning of a play that Alex Gordon made in Detroit Wednesday evening.

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The Company That Kris Medlen Keeps

There’s a sentiment that the players for the Miami Marlins have more or less given up. Not too long ago, Buster Olney wrote about it, and Ozzie Guillen fired back in fairly colorful fashion. On one hand, since June 5, the Marlins have gone 35-61, better only than the Astros in the National League. On the other hand, since the start of August the Marlins’ run differential is essentially even. There’s some evidence pointing both ways, and when uncertain, it’s probably wisest to err on the side of professionals behaving like professionals.

Wednesday, it might not have mattered whether the Marlins have given up or not, because Wednesday the Marlins went up against Kris Medlen. The Marlins beat the Braves in ten innings on Tuesday, but Wednesday they were left as Medlen’s latest victims. The Braves scored three times, which was two more times than they needed to, as Medlen worked eight scoreless before handing the ball off.

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O’s Sweep Rays, Jake McGee Sweeps O’s

Rays reliever Jake McGee has, at this writing, struck out seven consecutive batters. McGee has not, as I was led to believe by a certain other distinguished FanGraphs author, struck out nine consecutive batters. This fact was uncovered embarrassingly late in the research and article-development process. A streak of seven is less impressive and less unlikely than a streak of nine. But a streak of seven is still impressive, and still unlikely, and of course, McGee’s streak of seven is still alive, pending the next plate appearance. So McGee’s streak is still worth writing about. Consider for reference that Aaron Cook registered seven strikeouts through his first ten starts, spanning 237 batters. McGee has done that against 230 fewer batters.

Tampa Bay has a critical series coming up against New York, but they’re coming off a critical series against Baltimore, a critical series in which they got swept. Their Cool Standings playoff odds dropped from about 61 percent to about 27 percent, as the Rays went from looking like favorites to looking like underdogs. They’re left now to lick their wounds and try to bounce back against the Yankees, but one Ray who has nothing to feel bad about is McGee, who did the best against the Orioles that he possibly could have.

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The Time Jerry Blevins Had the Greatest Something

Odds are, as FanGraphs readers, you aren’t Oakland A’s fans, but you are at least somewhat familiar with Jerry Blevins. You know something about who he is and what he does for a living. You might have an idea of how good he is at it. To you, this isn’t weird; Blevins is a baseball player, and you know a lot about a lot of baseball players. To other people outside the baseball-fandom bubble, you know a lot about a lot of guys you’ve never met. Speaking generally, it is profoundly unusual to be familiar with Jerry Blevins. Tuesday night, though, Blevins got himself in headlines, so it’s very slightly less unusual to be familiar with him than it was before.

As you might’ve seen or read about already, Blevins came through with a clutch ninth-inning relief appearance that allowed the A’s to beat the Angels, 6-5. According to Cool Standings, the win boosted Oakland’s playoff odds from 85 percent to 90 percent, and the loss dropped LA’s playoff odds from 32 percent to 26 percent. Recall that the Angels were supposed to be one of the best teams in recent baseball history. There is now a three-in-four chance they don’t even reach the one-game playoff. I don’t know how these odds would’ve swung had the Angels rallied and won, but suffice to say things would look very different indeed.

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Buster Posey Fights for His Pitch

There was a handful of crucially important series over this past weekend, and among them was Dodgers vs. Giants in San Francisco. The Dodgers came in four and a half games behind the Giants for first place in the NL West, and they were looking to make up ground in a hurry. They emerged five and a half games behind the Giants for first place, and according to Cool Standings, the Dodgers’ playoff odds dropped from about 23 percent to about 22 percent. That isn’t a very powerful sentence, let’s try again. According to Cool Standings, the Dodgers’ odds of winning the division dropped from about 12 percent to about four percent. Yes, that’s much better.

Plenty of things happened in the three-game series between rivals, as tends to be the case when you’re talking about three games. Some of them were a lot more significant than others. At one point, on Sunday, Buster Posey hit a home run off of Joe Blanton. The home run meant little at the time, and it meant next to nothing in hindsight. Posey batted with the Giants up 3-0 in the sixth, and he put the Giants up 4-0. The Giants won 4-0, and Posey’s dinger had a win probability added of about three percent. In many of the game recaps, Posey’s homer was given just a passing mention.

Yet what I want to talk about here is Posey’s homer. It wasn’t the homer itself that was the most impressive homer, although it did fly out to straightaway center field. It was more about the process that led up to the homer. I’ll let Joe Blanton explain before I start to explain.

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David Robertson, or: Location, Location, Location

It was a really big deal when, on Tuesday, the Orioles beat the Blue Jays and the Yankees lost to the Rays, causing a tie atop the AL East standings. Just weeks earlier, the Yankees had had a ten-game advantage, and losing that kind of edge — to the Orioles! — was unimaginable. Then, Wednesday, the Orioles lost to the Blue Jays and the Yankees beat the Rays, restoring for New York a slim lead. So it was a really big deal when, on Thursday, the Orioles beat the Yankees in Baltimore in a series opener, tying the division once more. The Orioles clearly aren’t going to go away, and while we can’t actually know that, it sounds good, and it gets people amped for the stretch run.

Those who didn’t follow along will see that the Orioles beat the Yankees 10-6. In so doing, the Orioles slugged a half-dozen home runs, and remember that the game was not played in Yankee Stadium. Those who have taken a closer look, or those who watched, will see that the Orioles pulled ahead in the bottom of the eighth after the Yankees staged a massive rally in the upper half. A 6-1 game turned into a 6-6 game, which turned into a 10-6 game. After the Yankees tied it up, they probably felt good about handing the ball to David Robertson. Minutes later, they felt a lot worse.

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 25th

Yankees 22, A’s 9

Moving the Needle: Russell Martin’s grand slam put the Yankees on top, +.431 WPA. The A’s had Phil Hughes’s number, tagging him for six runs in 2.2 innings. It was 7-1 by the end of the third, which, after the way the first two games of this series had gone, seemed a lot bigger. But then the Yankees battled back the way they know how: with the homer. Martin hit a solo shot in the fourth, Robinson Cano smacked a grand slam in the fifth, and then Martin added a grand slam of his own in the sixth, which brought the Yankees all the way back. It was 10-7 then, but as the final score indicates the runs kept flowing. In the seventh they added six runs, and in the eighth they added another six, including another grand slam. The Ynakees set a major league record with three grand slams in one game.


Curtis Granderson: 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 BB. His homer was the record-breaking grand slam.

Derek Jeter: 3 for 6, 1 3B, 1 BB. He’s now hitting .358/.405/.480 since coming off the DL.

Also in this issue: Orioles 6, Twins 1 | Braves 8, Cubs 3 | Diamondbacks 8, Nationals 1 | Tigers 2, Rays 0 | Cardinals 8, Pirates 4 | Red Sox 6, Rangers 0 | Astros 3, Giants 1 | Royals 9, Blue Jays 6

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 24th

A’s 6, Yankees 4

Moving the Needle: Coco Crisp’s three-run homer in the 10th gives the A’s a convincing lead, +.483 WPA. Crisp started the game right when he homered in the first. The Yankees, of course, covered that run, and eventually took the lead. But CC Sabathia had some trouble in the eighth and allowed the tying run to score. Each team scored one more, bringing the game to extra innings. The A’s singled twice, and then Crisp hit a monster shot to right, into the second deck. The homer gave the A’s all the lead they’d need, even though the Yanks did manage to put up another run in the 10th.


Nick Swisher: 2 for 3, 2 HR, 1 BB. He also hit a homer in the previous game, and came within about two feet of a walk-off grand slam in that one.

Scott Sizemore: 4 for 4, 2 2B. He and Crisp combined for perfect days.

Also in this issue: Angels 8, White Sox 0 | Cubs 3, Braves 2 | Mariners 9, Indians 2 | Rockies 7, Astros 6 | Orioles 6, Twins 1 | Marlins 6, Reds 5 | Reds 3, Marlins 2 | Rays 3, Tigers 2 | Diamondbacks 4, Nationals 3 | Red Sox 13, Rangers 2 | Mets 7, Phillies 4 | Blue Jays 4, Royals 3 | Pirates 2, Brewers 0 | Dodgers 9, Cardinals 4 | Giants 2, Padres 1

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 22nd

Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1

Moving the Needle: Aaron Miles ties the game with a triple in the ninth, +.514 WPA. It appeared as though Lance Berkman’s second inning homer would hold up, as the Cardinals held that 1-0 lead into the ninth. But their bullpen could not hold it. Miles drove in the tying run with his triple, and Rod Barajas followed with an RBI ground out to give them the lead. Javy Guerra picked up the save, though facing Corey Patterson in Matt Holliday’s stead helped plenty.


Chris Carpenter: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. It was all going so well until he plunked the leadoff hitter in the ninth.

James Loney: 3 for 3. They were all singles, yes, but that’s still seven hits in his last two games.

Also in this issue: Mariners 3, Indians 2 | Braves 3, Cubs 0 | Orioles 4, Twins 1 | Rockies 9, Astros 5 | Tigers 5, Rays 2 | Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 1 | Rangers 4, Red Sox 0 | Phillies 10, Mets 0 | Brewers 8, Pirates 1 | Pirates 9, Brewers 2

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 21st, 2011

Giants 6, Astros 4

Moving the Needle: Pablo Sandoval’s two-run homer puts the Giants ahead in the 11th, +.492 WPA. The Giants tied the game at four in the fourth, and then waited seven more innings to score another run. Both teams threatened in the ninth, loading the bases, but neither came through. In the 11th the Giants got a one-out walk, and then two batters later Sandoval blasted them to victory. Ramon Ramirez, filling in for the injured Brian Wilson, pitched a perfect bottom half.


J.D. Martinez: 3 for 5, 1 2B. He drove in two runs. J.D. Martin, on the other hand, is … I have no idea.

Brandon Belt: 4 for 5, 1 HR. He drove in three. Aubrey Huff should be getting the Aaron Rowand treatment soon enough.

Also in this issue: Angels 7, Orioles 1 | Braves 1, Diamondbacks 0 | White Sox 10, Rangers 0 | Cardinals 6, Cubs 2 | Tigers 8, Indians 7 | Rockies 5, Dodgers 3 | Red Sox 6, Royals 1 | Yankees 3, Twins 0 | Nationals 5, Phillies 0 | Blue Jays 1, A’s 0 | Brewers 6, Mets 2 | Rays 8, Mariners 7 | Reds 5, Pirates 4 | Padres 4, Marlins 3

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 18th

Angels 2, Rangers 1

Moving the Needle: Mark Trumbo delivers a win with a walk-off homer, +.690 WPA. The Angels were three outs from getting swept at home by the Rangers, which would have effectively ended their chances at contention. But Torii Hunter led off the ninth with a single, and then Trumbo blasted a walk-off homer. The Angels are still 11 behind Boston in the loss column for the AL Wild Card, and they’re six behind Texas in the West. Somehow, seven and 12 seems a degree worse, even though it’s just a one-game difference.


Jered Weaver: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. His only blemish was a high changeup that Mike Napoli blasted a good 450 feet.

Colby Lewis: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. That’s just what the Rangers needed to complete the sweep. Unfortunately, the revamped bullpen can’t be perfect every game.

Also in this issue: Braves 1, Giants 0 | Indians 4, White Sox 2 | Dodgers 5, Brewers 1 | Red Sox 4, Royals 3 | Nationals 3, Reds 1 | Yankees 8, Twins 4 | Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 1 | Blue Jays 7, A’s 0 | Padres 3, Marlins 1

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 17th

Reds 2, Nationals 1

Moving the Needle: Wilson Ramos grounds into a game-ending double play, -.530 WPA. Yes, despite trailing by one, the Nationals had a 53 percent chance of winning the game in the ninth. That’s because they had loaded the bases with one out. But Ramos hit into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the game. Ryan Zimmerman’s leadoff homer went for naught.


Ross Detwiler: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K. It’s not the prettiest of starts, but the Nats will take it from the former No. 1 pick.

Johnny Cueto: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K. He continues to defy his peripherals, though in this game they were just fine.

Also in this issue: Rangers 4, Angels 3 | Giants 7, Braves 5 | Rays 4, Red Sox 0 | Rockies 12, Marlins 5 | Indians 4, White Sox 1 | Astros 4, Cubs 3 | Twins 6, Tigers 5 | Brewers 3, Dodgers 1 | Royals 5, Yankees 4 | A’s 6, Orioles 5 | Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 2 | Blue Jays 5, Mariner 1 | Cardinals 7, Pirates 2 | Mets 7, Padres 3

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 16th

Astros 6, Cubs 5

Moving the Needle: Brian Bogusevic plays the hero with a walk-off grand slam, +.817 WPA. It hasn’t been a smooth 2011 for Carlos Marmol. At one point he lost his job as closer, but he’s since regained it. Last night he came out for the ninth, and for a while he looked like typical Marmol: a few singles, a walk, a wild pitch. It amounted to a bases loaded, one out situation. On a 2-2 pitch Marmol delivered one outside, and Bogusevic put a charge into it, sending it well over the 404 sign in center to win the game.


Carlos Pena: 2 for 2, 2 2B, 2 BB.

Jimmy Paredes: 2 for 4, 2 2B. He’s had a nice little run since getting promoted to the majors in late July.

Also in this issue: Rangers 7, Angels 3 | Braves 2, Giants 1 | Red Sox 3, Rays 1 | Rays 6, Red Sox 2 | Marlins 6, Rockies 5 | White Sox 8, Indians 7 | Brewers 2, Dodgers 1 | Tigers 7, Twins 1 | National 6, Reds 4 | Yankees 9, Royals 7 | Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2 | A’s 8, Orioles 4 | Pirates 5, Cardinals 4 | Blue Jays 13, Mariners 7 | Padres 6, Mets 1

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 15th

Braves 5, Giants 4

Moving the Needle: Freddie Freeman walks off with a two-RBI single, +.733 WPA. There is nothing quite like the multi-run come-from-behind victory in the bottom of the ninth. The Braves got that last night, as they entered the frame down two. A single, walk, and sac set them up for the tie, but Martin Prado’s single only scored one. A walk and a strikeout brought Freeman to the plate, and he grounded one up the middle to bring home the two winning runs.


Madison Bumgarner: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K. It seems as though his bullpen has failed him after quite a few solid starts this year. Brian Wilson ended up blowing the save.

Tim Hudson: 8 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K. He got 15 ground balls, which is pretty standard. But he also allowed 11 balls in the air, which is not.

Also in this issue: Rangers 8, Angels 4 | Twins 9, Tigers 6 | Rockies 7, Marlins 4 | Yankees 7, Royals 4 | Cubs 4, Astros 3 | Orioles 6, A’s 2 | Brewers 3, Dodgers 0 | Mariners 6, Blue Jays 5 | Pirates 6, Cardinals 2 | Mets 5, Padres 4

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 14th

Blue Jays 5, Angels 4

Moving the Needle: Brett Lawrie ties the game with a double in the ninth, +.414 WPA. Lawrie might have gone nuts after his first career grand slam, but in terms of winning games this one was just as big. With one out in the ninth he doubled home the tying run, sending the game to extra innings. The Blue Jays won the game when Edwin Encarnacion singled with two on and two outs.


Jose Bautista: 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 BB. With both of the players trailing him in the AL HR race not playing (thanks to rain) Bautista extended his lead.

Peter Bourjos: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 3B. If the kid could take a walk he’d be a superb leadoff hitter (which is where he hit yesterday).

Also in this issue: Orioles 8, Tigers 5 | Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3 | White Sox 6, Royals 2 | Cubs 6, Braves 5 | Rangers 7, A’s 6 | Padres 7, Reds 3 | Mariners 5, Red Sox 3 | Giants 5, Marlins 2 | Dodgers 7, Astros 0 | Brewers 2, Pirates 1 | Cardinals 6, Rockies 2

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 11th

Diamondbacks 8, Astros 5

Moving the Needle: Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run homer ties the game in the ninth, +.489 WPA. It was the kind of hit that WPA graphs were made for: bottom nine, two out, runner on first, down two, pinch hitter for the pitcher at the plate. Goldschmidt looked at the first four pitches of his AB, working the count to 2-2. He then fouled off a couple before belting a game-tying home run. In the bottom of the 10th Chris Young won the game with a homer of his own.


Jason Bourgeois: 3 for 5, 1 3B. He scored twice. He had been 0 for the series.

Ryan Roberts: 2 for 5, 1 2B. He has career highs in just about every counting stat, except singles and triples. He’s two shy on singles, one on triples.

Also in this issue: White Sox 6, Orioles 3 | Tigers 4, Indians 3 | Cubs 4, Nationals 3 | Yankees 6, Angels 5 | Reds 2, Rockies 1 | Rays 4, Royals 1 | Padres 3, Mets 2 | A’s 10, Blue Jays 3 | Cardinals 5, Brewers 2

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 10th

Rays 8, Royals 7

Moving the Needle: Sam Fuld triples and then scores the walk-off run on an error, +.910 WPA. This really should have been divided, with some positive going to Fuld and some negative going to Johnny Giavotella. The Rays trailed 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth, but they got to work right away, riding two singles and a double to a run. A ground out and a single brought home two more, bringing them to within one. Fuld then came up with two outs and crushed one to the wall in right-center. That brought the runner around to tie the game, but more importantly it drew a throw as Fuld slid into third. Giavotella’s throw, however, got away from Mike Moustakas, and Fuld was able to dash home to score the winning run.


Melky Cabrera: 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 HR. He drove in five runs. This furthers his incredible bounce back year.

Matt Joyce: 3 for 5, 1 HR. He scored twice, including once in the ninth.

Also in this issue: Orioles 6, White Sox 4 | Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3 | Indians 10, Tigers 3 | Cubs 4, Nationals 2 | Twins 5, Red Sox 2 | Reds 3, Rockies 2 | Yankees 9, Angels 3 | Braves 6, Marlins 2 | Phillies 9, Dodgers 8 | Mariners 4, Rangers 3 | Padres 9, Mets 5 | Blue Jays 8, A’s 4 | Brewers 5, Cardinals 1 | Pirates 9, Giants 2

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 9th

Angels 6, Yankees 4

Moving the Needle: Bobby Abreu homers to break the tie in the ninth, +.422 WPA. Last night Abreu accounted for 33% of his season’s home run total. He twice punished the Yanks with the long ball, the first to tie the game at one, and the second to put the Angels ahead against Mariano Rivera. That’s two straight blown games for Rivera.


Derek Jeter: 1 for 4, 1 BB. He hit a two-RBI, game-tying single in the seventh, and then walked in the ninth.

Jeff Mathis: 1 for 2, 1 2B. He had two RBI with the double

Also in this issue: White Sox 4, Orioles 3 | Diamondbacks 11, Astros 9 | Indians 3, Tigers 2 | Nationals 3, Cubs 1 | Red Sox 4, Twins 3 | Rockies 3, Reds 2 | Braves 4, Marlins 3 | Rays 4, Royals 0 | Phillies 2, Dodgers 1 | Rangers 7, Mariners 6 | Mets 5, Padres 4 | A’s 4, Blue Jays 1 | Brewers 5, Cardinals 3 | Giants 6, Pirates 0

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 8th

Mets 9, Padres 8

Moving the Needle: Lucas Duda walks off with a two-run single, +.479 WPA. Carlos who? OK, so maybe Duda hasn’t set the world on fire since taking over for Beltran full-time. He is, after all, just 9 for 34 (.264) since July 27th, and that counts his 3 for 5 last night. But he seems to come through in the big moments. The Mets and Padres were tied at four heading into the eighth, but the Padres put four on the board to take a commanding lead. Yet the Mets still had fight. They crossed a pair in the eighth and then rallied again in the ninth. After the Mets crept to within one, Heath Bell uncorked a wild pitch that proved his undoing. That put runners on second and third, meaning Duda’s single won the game.


Cameron Maybin: 3 for 5, 1 2B. He scored twice. His amazingly productive season on the road continues, even at a pitcher’s haven such as Citi.

David Wright: 2 for 5, 1 HR. He drove in three, including a two-run shot and an RBI single in the ninth.

Also in this issue: White Sox 7, Orioles 6 | Astros 9, Diamondbacks 1 | Red Sox 8, Twins 6 | Rockies 10, Reds 7 | Rays 2, Royals 1 | Braves 8, Marlins 1 | Rangers 9, Mariners 2 | Phillies 5, Dodgers 3 | Pirates 5, Giants 0

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The Morning After: Game Recaps for August 8th

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3

Moving the Needle: Cody Ransom puts the DBacks ahead with a homer in the seventh, +.381 WPA. Down 3-2 in the seventh, Ransom came up with a man on and absolutely demolished a Clayton Kershaw offering. That put them up 4-3, a lead they’d hold the rest of the way. That’s his 10th career homer, which came in his 226th MLB game.


Kelly Johnson: 1 for 4, 1 HR. His two-run shot in the first staked the Diamondbacks to an early lead. It was only his third homer (of 18) against a lefty this year, though he’s actually been better against lefties in his career.

Andre Ethier: 2 for 4, 1 2B. His RBI double in the sixth tied the score and set the stage for Juan Rivera’s go-ahead single.

Also in this issue: Angels 2, Mariners 1 | Blue Jays 7, Orioles 2 | Reds 8, Cubs 7 | Red Sox 3, Yankees 2 | Nationals 3, Rockies 2 | Royals 4, Tigers 3 | Cardinals 8, Marlins 4 | White Sox 7, Twins 0 | Brewers 7, Astros 3 | A’s 5, Rays 4 | Braves 6, Mets 5 | Rangers 5, Indians 3 | Padres 7, Pirates 3 | Giants 3, Phillies 1

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