Braves 5, Giants 4
- Madison Bumgarner got his fine start ruined for him by Brian Wilson (6-4), who blew his fifth save. Bumgarner allowed just two runs on eight hits over seven innings of work. He walked two ands struck out five. Bumgarner's had about as good of a season as you'll ever see from a pitcher with a 7-11 record on a contending team. His K:BB has been really impressive this year – it's now 139:35. And the kid is just recently 22 years old.
- Rookie of the Year frontrunner Freddie Freeman capped off a three-run rally against Wilson in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run single to walk it off.
- As for Mr. Personality himself, Brian Wilson is quietly having his worst season since 2008. The ERA is still there even after tonight's blowup (3.19), but his WHIP is now a very ugly 1.49 and he added two walks to what's already a career high this year, bringing his total to 31 bases on balls against 52 strikeouts. The strikeout rate, by the way, is his lowest in his four years as the Giants' closer – the first year it's been less than a K per inning. Fantasy owners won't complain too much, though, since he's mostly done the job for our purposes with 35 saves in 40 tries.
- Tim Hudson had a bit of a funny day – a good one for the fantasy line, as he allowed just five hits, a walk and two earned runs in eight innings, but much more of a struggle in reality, as he hit two batters, gave up a couple of home runs, and was hurt by errors for two unearned runs. Cristhian Martinez (1-2) got his second MLB win in relief thanks to the offense.
- Brian McCann looked better in his second game off the DL after missing just more than the minimum with an oblique injury, homering (19) in four at-bats and drawing a walk.
- Nate Schierholtz, once more ensconced in right field with Carlos Beltran (wrist) still out, had another productive day, finding his way on base three times (homer, walk, HBP) in four trips. He's now homered in back-to-back games.
- Pablo Sandoval left with a foot injury in the first. He was replaced by Mike Fontenot at third, and Fontenot homered (3) and played a fine third base.
Pirates 6, Cardinals 2
- The curiously effective case of James McDonald (8-6) continued tonight, as he pitched very effectively into the sixth inning, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out four. Despite an ugly WHIP of 1.50, an ugly K:BB of 110:59 to match, and allowing more hits than innings pitched, McDonald has a respectable-looking 4.24 ERA. Oddly, his FIP and xFIP don't say that it should be THAT much different, probably because he's actually gotten a bit unlucky on HR/FB and his BABIP (.303 coming in) seems normal.
- Not so effective: Jake Westbrook (9-7), who allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits and a walk over 5.2 innings. Yep. Apparently he's now beyond even Dave Duncan's help.
- Ryan Doumit had a big day, going 4-for-4 with a three-run homer (6), good enough to lift his batting average 25 points from .277 to .302. You know you've been hurt too much when you can do that. Anyway, he's 10-for-23 (.435) since returning from an ankle injury.
- Xavier Paul hit a rare homer (2).
Twins 9, Tigers 6
- Welcome to the 600 Club, Jim Thome. The big hoss sluggled a pair of homers – Nos. 599 and 600 – among three hits and drove in five runs to become the eighth player in MLB history to blast 600 balls over the fences. Thome's great not just because he's a great guy (which he is) but also because he played through the steroid era, hitting 35-plus homers nine times in his career, and never came under suspicion for performance-enhancing drugs. As we look back on his career, it makes him look that much better to have put up steroid-level numbers while keeping it clean. (At least as far as we know.)
- This game had no shortage of storylines, as the Twins traded Delmon Young to the Tigers (for basically nothing, I might add; a real head-scratcher) before the game. Young, slotted in the three hole for Detroit, homered (5) in the first inning off ex-teammate Francisco Liriano and added a single later. He may have felt slightly motivated.
- Liriano didn't pitch well (shocking!), giving up five runs on nine hits and a a walk in his six innings. He struck out four. Liriano's now been blown up three times in his last five outings, including twice by Detroit. And yet he won, improving to 8-9.
- Not so fortunate: Rick Porcello (11-8), who gave up fewer earned runs (four) but more total runs (six). Like Liriano, he put nine men on base via hit and one via walk, but struck out half as many batters (that'd be two).
- Joe Nathan kept it neat in the ninth for his 10th save. He's converted seven straight opportunities.
- In other fun news from this game, Ben Revere went 2-for-5 with an RBI triple, but was thrown out at the plate trying to make it an in-the-park home run – would have been the first career homer. He also stole his 21st base. Kid doesn't lack for speed, but yeah, no power there.
- Trevor Plouffe, getting a second chance to make a first impression, went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a steal (2).
- Matt Tolbert got a chance to play second base and had his first three-hit game of the season.
- Delmon wasn't the only man to send the ball out in this one: Ryan Raburn went yard (11) to go with a pair of strikeouts and an error, and Victor Martinez dialed up No. 7.
- Speaking of the rare V-Mart homer, where's the power been for him? I think he's one of the more overvalued fantasy players – take away his catcher eligibility, and he's Daniel Murphy in a better lineup.
Cubs 4, Astros 3
- Rodrigo Lopez (4-3) did just enough, allowing three runs (two of 'em earned) over 5.1 innings. He struck out three and was charged with five hits and a pair of walks before being pulled after 86 pitches when he got into a sixth-innning jam.
- One-time Giants prospect Henry Sosa (0-2) struck out a batter per inning over his six, but allowed four runs on seven hits and walked a pair.
- Kerry Wood rogued his first save of the year with a clean ninth, striking out two, as Carlos Marmol had the day off.
- Geovany Soto did something for his country with three hits (two of them doubles) and a couple RBI, and Aramis Ramirez scratched out a trio of singles.
- J.D. Martinez found his way on base three of four times, singling twice and drawing a walk. He scored two runs.
- Matt Downs doubled twice and drove in a pair.
- Tyler Colvin still can't get it together – 0-for-4 to drop his average to .131. He and Adam Dunn have their own personal Dead Ball Era going on.
Brewers 3, Dodgers 0
- Randy Wolf (10-8) walked five batters and gave up six hits, but somehow scattered them enough for eight shutout innings. He struck out five. Smoke and mirrors have really worked for the veteran lefty in his second year as a Brewer.
- Ted Lilly (7-13) arguably pitched a load better, throwing a sick 63 of 93 pitches for strikes and surrendering only two hits and two walks over his seven innings, but he gave up a solo homer to Ryan Braun and that was enough. Six strikeouts for Lilly.
- John Axford gave up a hit, but even so, he needed just nine pitches for his 35th save.
- In addition to the homer (23), Braun added a steal (23), apparently just to keep pace.
- Corey Hart (18) and Jonathan Lucroy (9) both hit solo blasts off Dodgers relievers, Lucroy's as a pinch-hiter.
- The Brewers had a big day on D, turning a triple play as well as four double plays. That'll help the pitchers out.
Yankees 7, Royals 4
- A.J. Burnett, superstar, improved to 9-9 with 5.2 innings of 10-hit ball. He allowed just three runs for all that, but just two strikeouts and a walk. What an enigma. He hadn't won since June 29.
- Felipe Paulino (1-5) was on the short side, surrendering five runs on a crazy eight hits and five walks in 5.1 innings of work. He struck out four, which isn't much of a silver lining.
- Every Royals hitter had at least one hit, and Johnny Giavotella and Jeff Francoeur had multiple hits – the young second baseman three, the veteran outfielder two. The made up for that progress by getting caught stealing three times.
- Alex Gordon managed to steal one, though, his 12th.
- Derek Jeter has been hot in August. He tripled and stole a base (13), driving in three and imrpoving his average to .282. Baby steps, Derek.
Rockies 7, Marlins 4
- Clay Hensley continued his decemt work since being converted back to starting, striking out five over 5.2 and surrendering eight hits and three runs, all earned. He was in line for the win until Leo Nunez blew the save for him.
- Kevin Millwood was ready to lose after allowing four runs in six innings, but he got it pulled out for him. Millwood gave up seven hits and a walk, striking out three. Matt Belisle (7-4) got the win in relief
- Nunez had his own Brian Wilson meltdown, blowing his fifth save and allowing three runs in an ainning of work. The Marlins have some bullpen arms going well, but Nunez seems to be entrenched.
- Mike Stanton (27) and John Buck (14) provided the fireworks, continuing their powerful, low-average seasons with homers.
- Troy Tulowitzki homered (24) and got on base four of five times, adding a single and two walks. He also stole his ninth base.
- Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Randy Choate, who came in to try to clean up Nunez's mess. Didn't work out so great.
Mariners 6, Blue Jays 5
- Michael Pineda went back to struggling, walking four and allowing five hits and five runs in , well, five innings. At least he struck out six. Tom Wilhelmsen (1-0) won in relief.
- Mike Carp slammed a pair of home runs (6) and is now hitting .326 on the year. He's hit in 15 straight games and leads MLB in August RBI with 17.
- Henderson Alvarez allowed four runs in five innings (six hits and a walk) in his second MLB start. He fanned three.
- Jon Rauch (5-4) was the one who gave it up in the end, getting charged with one of the Mariners' two eighth-inning runs, a Casper Wells homer (8).
- Brandon League rounded off his save total at 30, pitching around a hit in a scoreless ninth.
- The Blue Jays had no problem hitting the long ball in Seattle, with Eric Thames, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie all going yard off Pineda.
- And, hey, the Mariners have had little trouple hitting the ball out lately, as the red-hot Wells has homered in three straight games.
- Aaron Hill collected his 15th steal.
Mets 5, Padres 4 in 10
- R.A. Dickey kept the Friars off balance all night, pitching into the seventh inning amd allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out four and would have had a much better day if not for Will Venable's two-run home run that finally chased him with one out in the seventh. Unfortunately, Bobby Parnell (who has struggled HORRIBLY of late) blew it for him in the eighth and Manny Acosta (1-0) won in relief.
- Aaron Harang held the Mets to just four runs over five innings – not too bad, when you consider that he put 11 men on base (eight hits, three walks) and gave up two homers. The lefty specialist Josh Spence (0-2) lost in relief.
- The red=hot Lucas Duda provided his fifth home run among three hits and is now at .287 for the season. Since the All-Star break, he's 29-for-82 (.354) with all five of his homers and more walks (13) than strikeouts (12). There's a lot of something here.
- Another guy the Padres can't get out: Josh Thole, who went 3-for-3 with a homer (3) and to walks, and drove in, well, three runs. His last start against San Diego, he went 4-for-5.
- - Milestone city: Jason Isringhausen's save was his seventh of the season and No. 300 in a surprisingly long and successful career for the one-time can't-miss Mets starting pitching prospect.
- David Wright made double digits in steals, claiming his 10th bag. He also had a double.
- Jason Pridie found his way on base four times – three of them via the walk, but he also collected a single, going 1-for-2 with three runs. He's been starting a little more often of late.
- Venable's homer was just his fourth of the year, but it was a pretty nice shot well out to right. He's got a .400 month of August going (14-for-35) with a homer and three steals.
- Orlando Hudson was on base thrice (single, two walks) and picked up his 16th steal.
Rangers 8, Angels 4
- Alexi Ogando (12-5) keeps getting it done. This one wasn't pretty, as he put up just a 2:2 K:BB and allowed eight hits and four runs in 6.1 innings, but he still won and would have had a much shinier stat line if not for Russell Branyan's pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh.
- Promising rookie starter Garrett Richards left the game in the first inning, suffering a groin strain. He was charged with an unearned run on two hits in 0.2 innings. Bobby Cassevah (1-1) went 2.2 innings and gave up a run, which was enough to lose, although the blame can more squarely go on Hisanori Takahashi (four runs) and Rich Thompson (two).
- Joel Pineiro went three shutout innings with three strikeouts in mop-up duty.
- Nelson Cruz bopped his 26th homer – his first extra-base hit in six games since August 8, when he hit his last homer and a double. He left the game after seventh with quad tightness, but felt better afterward.
- Mike Napoli kept things rolling with his 19th homer, and he remains for my money the best-hitting catcher in fantasy this year despite Yorvit Torrealba-limited at-bats.
- Ian Kinsler had a big day leading off, setting things up with two singles and two doubles in five trips. He scored three times.
- In the end, Branyan's homer (3) did nothing but take the shine off Ogando's day. He played third base after appearing as a pinch-hitter and struck out in his next at-bat, leaving two men on.
Orioles 6, Athletics 2
- Tommy Hunter (2-2) managed to scatter 10 hits and a walk here and there, somehow allowing only two runs over 6.2 innings of work. He struck out three in what was easily the best of his three starts since joining Baltimore. Which isn't saying much.
- Gio Gonzalez (9-11) allowed four runs in six innings despite surrendering just four hits. Unfortunately, he walked three batters, the fifth start in a row in which he's walked at least three – unsurprisingly, he's 0-5 in that time.
- Will Matt Wieters ever reach that "God" potential? He hit his 11th homer and has had a nice little year overall for a catcher, but is hitting just .235 since the All-Star break.
- Mark Reynolds kept on doing his Mark Reynolds thing, ripping his 27th homer, drawing a walk and striking out twice. Yep. Sounds familiar.