As always, Thursday is a travel day for several teams around the league, so there are only 12 MLB games on the schedule. The first-place Yankees beat the first-place Astros in the opener of their four-game series in New York. In case you missed it, Meanwhile on the National League side, the Nationals completed the three-game sweep of the Phillies.
All that and more in our daily roundup. Let’s get to it.
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Baseball scores for Thursday, June 20
- FINAL – Rangers 4, Indians 2 (box score)
- FINAL – Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 4 in 10 innings (box score)
- FINAL – Nationals 7, Phillies 4 (box score)
- FINAL – Yankees 10, Astros 6 (box score)
- FINAL – Blue Jays 7, Angels 5 in 10 innings (box score)
- FINAL – Cubs 7, Mets 4 (box score)
- FINAL – Reds 7, Brewers 1 (box score)
- FINAL – Royals 4, Twins 1 (box score)
- FINAL – Marlins 7, Cardinals 6 in 11 innings (box score)
- FINAL – Athletics 5, Rays 4 (box score)
- FINAL – Mariners 5, Orioles 2 (box score)
- FINAL – Dodgers 9, Giants 8 (box score)
Blackmon stays hot with leadoff homer
No player in baseball is hotter than Charlie Blackmon right now. Since returning from his calf strain two weeks ago, Blackmon has gone 26 for 54 (.481) with five doubles and six home runs in 11 games. He has 25 hits in his past nine games.
So what did Blackmon do to start Thursday afternoon’s series finale with the D-Backs? A leadoff dinger, of course. It was his 17th home run of the season and fifth leadoff homer, tying George Springer for the MLB leadoff homer lead.
When he hit the injured list last month, Blackmon was sporting a strong .300/.356/.565 batting line. He has since raised that to an otherworldly .339/.385/.646. Yes, he plays in Coors Field and that helps, but not every Rockies player hits like that.
The Rockies as a team have been on an offensive hot streak for over a month now. Dating back to May 1, they lead all teams in runs (294), batting average (.301), on-base percentage (.360) and OPS (.867).
Yankees extend home run streak
The Yankees are adding three fearsome bats to their lineup this week. First, Edwin Encarnacion came over in a trade with the Mariners. Then Giancarlo Stanton returned from the injured list. On Friday, Aaron Judge will return from the injured list as well. .
Long before this week though, the Yankees started a home run streak that is approaching the historic. Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres both took Astros righty Framber Valdez deep in the fourth inning Thursday, extending the team’s streak to 23 games with a homer. Here is Sanchez’s (at the time) AL-leading 22nd homer:
DJ LeMahieu added a two-run home run against Chris Devenski later in that fourth inning. It is New York’s third six-run inning in the past two days and the fourth time they’ve batted around in the past five days. The Yankees offense is a nightmare for pitchers and Judge isn’t even back yet. And, in the seventh inning, Encarnacion reclaimed his spot atop the AL home run leaderboard with a two-run blast for his 23rd homer on the season:
Anyway, the home run streak is the second longest in Yankees history, trailing only a 25-gamer in 1941. The Yankees are also closing in on the longest home run streak in baseball history. That belongs to the Rangers, who had a 27-game home run streak in 2002. With the juiced ball and all those power bats, the Rangers’ streak is in definite jeopardy.
Nationals sweep Phillies
The Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the Phillies with Thursday’s 7-4 victory. It’s the first time this season the Nationals have completed a three-game sweep. Washington has won 17 of its past 24 games to climb to within 3 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot. The Nationals entered Thursday having already overtaken the Mets for third place in the NL East for the first time since April 23. Philadelphia has lost five out of six games.
Tanner Rainey, Wander Suero and Sean Doolittle — has been a large part of the team’s recent success. Anthony Rendon, Victor Robles and Kurt Suzuki each homered in the win. In Bryce Harper’s second series back at Nationals Park this season, he went 1 for 9 with four walks and three strikeouts., Washington has used a 17-7 surge to get within two games of .500 (36-38) for the first time since April 28. After bullpen problems reached a new low for the Nationals, the adjusted bullpen —
The Phillies and Nationals will each open three-game series Friday, with the Phillies hosting Miami while the Nationals visit first-place Atlanta.
Cubs’ Alzolay picks up win in his MLB debut
Making his MLB debut at Wrigley Field on Thursday, right-hander Adbert Alzolay had himself a day.
Alzolay came on in relief of starter Tyler Chatwood to start the fifth inning with the Cubs leading 6-3. He tossed four innings of relief and racked up five strikeouts. Alzolay, 24, didn’t allow a hit until the Mets’ Todd Frazier hit a leadoff home run in the ninth inning. With the impressive debut and victory, Alzolay has already hit a few milestones:
Alzolay, Chicago’s No. 4 ranked prospect, was signed out of Venezuela in December 2012.
Reds win fifth straight
The Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory. It’s a season-best winning streak for Cincinnati, while Milwaukee has now dropped a game for the sixth time in seven games.
Right-hander Tanner Roark (5-6), who had lost three consecutive starts and five of six, finally got run support from the Reds lineup. The Reds had scored a total of six runs in Roark’s previous three starts. Roark allowed just three hits, struck out seven and hit three batters in six solid innings.
Nelson allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks across five innings while taking the loss. Nelson is making his return after missing the 2018 season due to shoulder surgery, and he’s begun the 2019 season with three consecutive disappointing starts. He has an unsightly 9.75 ERA over 12 innings. Nelson, Milwauke’s fifth starter, will look to turn things around sooner rather than later. He opened up about his pitching struggles so far this season, with the media after Thursday’s loss.
As own own Matt Snyder notes, the Reds are still hanging around.
Highlight of the day: Turner’s defensive gems
Nationals shortstop Trea Turner didn’t just have one defensive gem to earn him highlight of the day, he finished his day with two incredible plays. The first, a sliding and spinning stop on a grounder followed by a throw to home to nab Phillies’ Scott Kingery for the final out of the second inning. Take a look:
The second Turner highlight came in the fifth inning. With a runner on third, Turner made a fantastic play to start a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play to end the Phillies threat and keep the game tied at 3 apiece.
Turner’s proving that he’s got Gold Glove potential.
Stat of the day: Yelich keeps crushing homers
The stat speaks for itself. I mean this is just absurd.
The Brewers’ Christian Yelich, 2018’s NL MVP, has hit 56 home runs over his past 162 games.
Thursday’s homer came off Yelich’s bat at 114.2 mph and traveled 462 feet, according to Statcast. It also extended Yelich’s current hitting streak to 17 games. During his 17-game hitting streak, Yelich is hitting .457 (32 for 70) with seven homers, seven doubles, one triple and 14 RBI. His 28 homers are one shy of the franchise record before the All-Star break, which was set by Prince Fielder with 29 in 2007.
- It is Thursday, Madison Bumgarner has seen his velocity and strikeout rate tick up recently, which is a promising development. . Giants LHP
- . It is important to note the team is only exploring this option. The Rays are a long way from finalizing any relocation or ballpark plans.
- . Baseball lifer Phil Regan, 82, will take over as pitching coach on a interim basis. Ricky Bones returns to the team as bullpen coach.
- . The new netting will extend further down the line but not all the way to the foul pole. They are the second team to announce extended netting this week.
- . The deserving All-Star is making better contact from both sides of the plate and has emerged as one of the most valuable players in baseball this year.
- The Rockies placed SS Trevor Story on the injured list with a thumb sprain, the club announced. He suffered the injury sliding into second base Wednesday. SS Brendan Rodgers was called up in a corresponding move.
- The Cardinals have activated RHP Adam Wainwright from the injured list, the team announced. He missed the minimum 10 days with a hamstring problem. RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon was sent to Triple-A in a corresponding move.
- The Blue Jays activated trade chip RHP Ken Giles from the injured list, the club announced. He missed the minimum 10 days with elbow inflammation. RHP Justin Shafer was sent to Triple-A to clear a roster spot.
- The Phillies placed RHP Pat Neshek on the injured list with a hamstring issue, the team announced. Philadelphia currently has seven relievers on the injured list. RHP Ranger Suarez was called up in a corresponding move.
- The Orioles placed breakout LHP John Means on the injured list with a shoulder strain, the club announced. He could return as soon as next weekend. OF Dwight Smith Jr. was activated off the 7-day concussion injured list in a corresponding move.
- The Rangers designated LHP Drew Smyly for assignment, the team announced. Smyly has allowed 49 runs in 51 1/3 innings this year, his first back from Tommy John surgery. LHP Locke St. John was called up in a corresponding move.