Wednesday was a busy day. Craig Kimbrel finally — finally! — has a new team. . Plus there’s all the on-field action as well. Here’s everything you need to know from the world of baseball Wednesday.and
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Baseball scores for Wednesday, June 5
Vlad Jr. torches Yankees late
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., , torched the Yankees for the very first time in young career Wednesday. After driving in a run with a fifth inning single, Guerrero turned a 7-6 deficit into a 9-7 lead with an eighth inning home run against Zack Britton.
Here is Vladdy Jr.’s go-ahead three-run blast:
That is not an easy pitch to elevate. A 95 mph Britton turbosinker at the knees? Britton went into the game with a 74.6 percent ground ball rate, the highest in baseball among the 329 pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched. Guerrero squared it up and the ball flew out of the park like it was shot out of the cannon. Goodness.
The Yankees had a three-run lead after five and a half innings Wednesday, but the Blue Jays (and Vlad) punished their vaunted bullpen for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. New York had been a perfect 32-0 this season when taking a lead into the eighth inning before the bullpen coughed up this game.
With Wednesday’s Guerrero-aided loss, the Yankees have dropped three games in a row for the first time since April. They had won their previous nine series before dropping the first two games of this three-game set with the Blue Jays.
Nelson struggles in return to Brewers
For the first time since September 8, 2017, Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson toed the slab in an MLB game Wednesday night. He missed 20 months after suffering a shoulder injury running the bases — specifically, he dove back into first base after round the bag too wide on a single — that required surgery.
Nelson’s teammates sent him out on the field by himself to begin warm-ups so the Miller Park crowd could give him a nice long ovation. Unfortunately, the rest of his night did not go well. Brian Anderson hit a grand slam and Nelson was charged with five runs (four earned) in three innings. He threw 65 pitches.
I suppose the good news is Nelson showed good velocity post-shoulder surgery. His fastball averaged 92.4 mph and topped out at 94.0 mph on Wednesday. Back in 2017, he averaged 93.8 mph with his heater. A little velocity loss is not the most surprising thing in the world given the nature of his injury, but a 92-ish mph fastball is plenty good enough to get outs.
The Brewers have not yet announced their long-term plans for Nelson. He spent the last few weeks in the minors on an optional (i.e. non-rehab) assignment and it’s possible he could return there. Wednesday’s start came after Jhoulys Chacin (back) and Gio Gonzalez (dead arm) hit the injured list. At the very least, Nelson got those “welcome back to the big leagues” butterflies out of the way Wednesday night.
Sale tosses second Immaculate Inning of 2019
Is Chris Sale back? Chris Sale’s back, y’all. He’s been back for a few weeks, really. Wednesday night Sale struck out 12 during his shutout in Kansas City. He threw 102 pitches and lowered his ERA from 4.35 to 3.84.
During the eighth inning Sale tossed his second Immaculate Inning of the season. For those new to the game, an Immaculate Inning is a nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning. Hard to do better than that. Sale fanned Kelvin Gutierrez, Nicky Lopez, and Martin Maldonado in his Immaculate Inning. To the video:
Sale became the first pitcher in Red Sox history to throw an Immaculate Inning on May 8 of this season, when he did it against the Orioles. The list of pitchers with multiple career Immaculate Innings is awfully impressive:
- Sandy Koufax: 3
- Lefty Grove: 2
- Randy Johnson: 2
- Nolan Ryan: 2
- Chris Sale: 2
- Max Scherzer: 2
Every one of those pitchers is in the Hall of Fame except Sale and Scherzer, who are obviously still active. Sale is the second pitcher with two Immaculate Innings in one season. Lefty Grove did it on August 23 and September 28 in 1928. Josh Hader and Thomas Pannone have also thrown an Immaculate Inning this year.
Cano returns, immediately gets hurt again
Robinson Cano’s first season with the Mets is not going well. He’s hitting only .241/.287/.371 with three homers and has drawn the ire of fans by jogging out routine ground balls — to be clear, Cano’s lack of production is a far bigger problem than a lack of hustle — plus he spent two weeks on the shelf with a quad injury.
Cano returned from the injured list Wednesday night and immediately put the Mets on the board with a first inning RBI ground out. Hooray! Everything will be great now! Well, no. A few innings later Cano reaggravated the quad injury. He noticeably limped down the line following a ground ball. To wit:
The Mets officially announced Cano left the game with “left quad tightness,” and it’s safe to assume he will go for tests to determine the severity of the injury. Quads are tricky. It’s a big muscle and it can be easy to reaggravate a strain if it is not fully healed. It seems likely Cano will return to the injured list, though let’s see what the Mets and any additional tests say.
On the bright side, Jason Vargas tossed a five-hit shutout Wednesday night. Yes, Jason Vargas. He’s the second Mets pitcher to throw a shutout this year. . Vargas threw 117 pitches.
Vargas started his season by pitching to a 5.92 ERA in his first seven games (six starts) and 24.1 innings. He landed on the injured list with a hamstring injury, and, in three starts back, he’s allowed two runs in 21 innings. His 3.57 ERA is second lowest in the rotation to Jacob deGrom (3.49 ERA). How about that?
Turner walks it off for Nats
The Nationals have been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball to this point. That’s no secret. The bullpen has been a huge problem, entering the day with a 6.66 ERA and 11 blown saves. It happened again Wednesday, with Kyle Barraclough coughing up a two-run homer before Wander Suero gave up a game-tying shot. Just like that, the White Sox had tied the game with a three-run eighth inning.
All’s well that ends well? The Nats would end up winning on Trea Turner’s walk-off homer:
Don’t look now, but the Nationals appear to be making a move. This win marks their fourth straight and they’ve won nine of their last 11 games. Heading into the day, the Nats were 6 1/2 games out in the NL East and six out of the second NL wild card. Neither of those are small margins, but they are definitely workable here with it still only being June 5.
Haseley’s first hit wins game for Phillies
The Phillies are absolutely decimated by injuries at the moment. They have six — six! — relievers on the injured list, as well as one starter (Zach Eflin) and two outfielders (Andrew McCutchen and Roman Quinn). . Bummer. He’s one of the good guys.
McCutchen’s injury created an opportunity for young Adam Haseley, Philadelphia’s first-round pick in 2017. He made his MLB debut earlier this week and, Wednesday afternoon, he recorded his first MLB hit. Haseley’s double gave the Phillies in the lead in the eighth inning. To the action footage:
Because it is a day that ends in -y, the Phillies lost another player to injury Wednesday. Setup man Seranthony Dominguez exited the game in the eighth inning with an undisclosed injury. Hector Neris escaped a bases-loaded jam in that eighth inning and recorded the five-out save.
The Phillies have now won back-to-back games following a five-game losing streak. Their NL East lead sits at one game, pending the results of the Braves’ game against the Pirates on Wednesday. As for the Padres, they’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games and are 31-31 on the year.