We have a full slate of games this Sunday, including the usual heavy dose of day games. The Twins continued their dominant start to the season, and won their third straight game over the Rays. The Nationals finally won a game when their ace Max Scherzer took the mound — and struck out 15 batters. 

All that and much more in our daily roundup.

Select games can be streamed regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, click here.

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Baseball schedule/scores for Sunday

Twins win third straight game, achieve MLB’s best record

The Twins won their third straight game with Sunday’s win over the Rays. Behind six shutout innings from Jake Odorizzi (6.0 IP, BB, 9 K, 108 P), the Twins notched their 40th win of the season. Minnesota now has the best record in baseball at 40-18. It’s the fastest they’ve ever reached 40 wins.

On the road, Minnesota is 21-9, also the best record in baseball. The Twins also extended their franchise single-season record of scoring three-or-more runs to 26 consecutive games.

Cardinals turn tables on Cubs

The first time the Cubs and Cardinals squared off this season, the Cardinals went to Wrigley with a 20-11 record and sitting in first place. The Cubs would sweep the Cardinals and knock them from their top spot. The dismal weekend for the Birds on the Bat cleared the way for a terrible 9-18 May. They even fell two games below .500 after a May 29 loss despite starting 20-10. 

The Cubs, meanwhile, used that Cardinals sweep as a springboard to hold first place nearly all of May. Through May 22, they were 11 games over .500 with a two-game lead in the NL Central. 

After Sunday’s win at home, the Cardinals have now swept the Cubs and things appear to be turning. The Cubs have lost eight of their last 10 and also their grip on first place. In fact, they are now 1 1/2 games back to the Brewers. 

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have won four in a row and are back to two games over .500. They have a bit of a soft upcoming schedule, too, so this weekend could well lead to an extended upswing, much like things happened for the Cubs about a month ago. 

The lesson, as always, is to let a baseball season breathe. 

Streaking Rockies are back after woeful start

What is it about the Rockies that provides for extended streaks? It’s not just this specific group of personnel. It’s long happened and appears to be going down again. 

The Rockies started the season 3-12. They then won 10 of their next 12, but since then hadn’t really been able to sustain anything. Through last Saturday, they were 23-27. 

After their eighth straight win happened on Sunday, the Rockies are now 31-27. Four games over .500 is their high-water mark for the season and are only a half-game out of playoff position. As noted above, let the season breathe. 

Phillies get encouraging outing, but Dodgers relentless late

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta had such a rough start to the season that he was sent to the minors. He came back for a mixed-bag of a start last week against the Cardinals (5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 106 pitches). 

Sunday in Dodger Stadium against the best offense in the National League, he was outstanding. He struck out nine without a walk in six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. That had to be very encouraging for the Phillies. The result of the game … not so much. 

The Dodgers grabbed the lead on a David Freese homer in the seventh: 

Freese, by the way, is hitting .294/.423/.576 this season and is a brilliant platoon player. 

The Dodgers then went bonkers for seven runs in the eighth to ice the game. The Dodgers are now 41-19. They’ve won five in a row, nine of their last 10 and 15 of their last 18. Now that Corey Seager is back on track, this is a scary-good offense. 

Nationals turning a corner? 

Behind Scherzer’s dominance — as alluded to in the intro — the Nationals won Sunday to take two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati. Before that they got a two-game sweep in Atlanta. After a brutal four-game sweep to the Mets about a week and a half ago, the Nationals have won seven of their last nine. 

They are still 26-33, but stick with the theme here. It’s a long season and the Nationals are starting to play good baseball. 

As for Scherzer, he struck out 15 batters. It was the sixth time in his carer he struck out at least 15, with the most recent such case before Sunday coming on May 6 of 2018. His career high is 20, which is tied for the nine-inning MLB record. His 15th and final strikeout came after he convinced manager Davey Martinez to keep him in the game with 117 pitches and Joey Votto at the plate. Here are all 15 of Scherzer’s Sunday strikeouts:

White Sox and Indians tied in standings

Wait, what? 

Behind another dominant start from Lucas Giolito, the White Sox took two of three from the Indians and both teams now sit 29-30. 

It’s an interesting dichotomy. 

  • The Indians were expected by many to win the AL Central this season after three straight division titles, a run that included a 100-win season and an AL pennant in different years. 
  • The White Sox were hoping to break out of a rebuild this season, but they also won just 62 games last year. They looked to be part of a group of three behind the Indians and Twins in the weak AL Central.

As such, the White Sox and their fans are probably really excited right now while Indians fans are down in the dumps. And rightfully so on both counts, really. 

As for Giolito, he went 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed five hits and didn’t walk anyone while striking out nine. He now has a 2.54 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with an 8-1 record. The former top prospect who led the majors in earned runs and the AL in walks last season appears to be rounding into ace form. 

Highlight of the day: Buxton nails a throw at first, from center field

Speaking of the Twins… a healthy Byron Buxton is good for baseball, exhibit A:

Buxton was as far back as he could be, at the center field wall at Tropicana Field. But he managed to turn a near-home run into a double play to end the third inning with a 97.1-mph (!) throw.

Quick hits