The big news of Saturday’s MLB action was the first-ever London Series getting underway after a few days of immense hype. The game took forever and provided a boatload of runs from the get-go. It was tied 6-6 through one inning that took about an hour. Yes, it was quite the scene. 

As for the rest, we got a nice balance of later afternoon games starting at the 4 p.m. Eastern hour and late games. 

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

Baseball schedule/scores for Saturday, June 29

Yankees, Red Sox light up scoreboard in London

The Yankees prevailed in the first MLB game ever played on European soil, and it was a vintage Yanks-Sox slugfest. 

In the top of the first, the Yankees chased Rick Porcello after a single, fly out, walk and then four consecutive extra-base hits. The big blow was a three-run shot from Aaron Hicks

The ugly line for Porcello: 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. The outing caused his ERA to balloon to 5.07. 

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka apparently felt bad for his counterpart, because he was nearly as bad. Mookie Betts singled in front of a Rafael Devers double, and it was on. Michael Chavis’s three-run homer chased Tanaka in a near mirror image of the top half. 

Tanaka’s line: 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K. Yes, neither starting pitcher made it out of the first inning. It was 6-6 through one. Does this seem rare? Yeah, it is. 

It did seem like the ball was really jumping, and it was only 385 feet to center field. The Yankees continued the offensive onslaught in the middle innings, but a six-spot in the seventh got the Red Sox back in the game. 

In all, the two teams combined for 30 runs on 37 hits, including 10 doubles and six home runs. Relevant: 

Once the Red Sox reached double digits (on another Michael Chavis three-run bomb), we had more rarefied air: 

If the fans in London like seeing runs scored, they certainly got their money’s worth. It wasn’t all offense, though, as the Yankees ended the game with a nifty double play: 

The Yankees win and maintain their robust lead in the AL East, but the biggest story was how long this thing took due to the ball flying. The final game time was four hours and 42 minutes. Per ESPN Stats and Info, the longest nine-inning game of all time was four hours and 45 minutes (Yankees-Red Sox on Aug. 18, 2006).

Cruz keeps raking

Twins DH Nelson Cruz homered twice in Saturday’s win over the White Sox, and the second of those two blasts is worth your time: 

Mercy, as a former White Sox broadcaster was wont to say. That blast left the bat at 112.4 mph and traveled a whopping 469 feet. Cruz, who turns 39 on Monday, now has 15 homers on the season, and he’s slashing .284/.374/.564. Needless to say, he’s been a vital member of the first-place Twins. 

And what a run Cruz has been on. After he hit the market following the 2013 season — his final one with the Rangers — the widespread perception was that Cruz at age 33 was poised to enter his decline phase. That’s why he wound up signing a one-year “prove it” contract with the Orioles for just $8 million. 

Well, prove it he did as Cruz in 2014 wound up cranking an AL-leading 40 home runs. Since the start of that 2014 season — you know, the onset of Cruz’s “decline” — he’s put up an OPS+ of 144 and averaged 43 home runs per 162 games played. After Saturday, he’s tallied 218 home runs since the start of his age-33 campaign. As the White Sox would surely attest, Cruz, even as he heads toward age 40, is still capable of producing at a high level.

Rays two-way prospect McKay shines in MLB debut

On Saturday, Tampa Bay Rays two-way prospect Brendan McKay made his big-league debut. Though McKay has seen action as a DH this season (and as a first baseman in the past), his first appearance was as a left-handed starter against the Texas Rangers. If his initial outing is any indication, he’s here to stay — at least as a pitcher.

McKay retired the first 16 batters he saw before giving up a single to Danny Santana and later a walk to Shin-Soo Choo. Those were the only baserunners he permitted over his six innings of work. He struck out three and generated 11 swinging strikes on 81 pitches.

You can read more here about McKay’s stellar debut performance

Benches clear in Cincy

The Cubs blanked the Reds in Cincy on Saturday by a score of 6-0, as you saw above. For Chicago, Jose Quintana twirled six scoreless innings, and Javier Baez hit the fifth grand slam of his career. The biggest buzz, though, surrounded the near-brawl in the eighth inning that was touched off after Pedro Strop plunked Yasiel Puig. Here’s a look: 

After Strop ran the count to 3-0, Puig seemed to communicate via body language some level of disappointment at not seeing a hittable pitch. Strop, presumably vexed by this, put a 94-mph offering into Puig’s thigh, and we went from there. Credit to Joey Votto for doing the yeoman’s work of restraining a 240-pound man with vengeance on his mind. 

Pedro Strop, your thoughts?

Whoa. All right. 

Anyhow, both benches were warned following the extracurriculars, which is why Reds manager David Bell wanted Cubs reliever Dillon Maples tossed after he plunked Jose Peraza in the ninth, albeit with a slider. Instead, Bell got run. 

In the end, consider this a big win for the Cubs, who are locked in a tight race in the NL Central, and consider the stage set for Sunday’s rubber match at Great American Ball Park. 

Quick hits