It’s Friday, and that means there was full 15-game slate of baseball. For all the latest news, notes, and highlights from those games and all others, keep it here throughout the night. Here’s everything you need to know from Friday’s MLB action:

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

Baseball scores for Friday, August 9


Indians move into first-place tie with Twins

As recently as June 15, the Twins held an 11-game lead in the AL Central. That lead is now gone. The Indians beat the Twins in Target Field on Friday night to move into a first-place tie atop the division. Cleveland and Minnesota have identical 70-46 records. Minnesota is not in sole possession of first place for the first time since April 26.

Shane Bieber was marvelous again Friday, holding the Twins to two runs in seven innings. He struck out 11. Yasiel Puig and Jose Ramirez chipped in three hits apiece, and at one point Puig waved to the outfielders running down a ball as he flew around the bases. He is now 11 for 33 (.333) with the Indians.

Since June 15, the last time they had that 11-game lead, the Twins are 23-24 and have mostly looked the part of a .500-ish club. They hit a ton of home runs, sure, but the starting pitching has been sketchy and the bullpen leaky at times.

The Indians, meanwhile, are 34-13 since June 15, tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball. Erasing an 11-game deficit in two months takes some work, but Cleveland managed to do it. These two teams still have two more games remaining this weekend, plus two more series remaining this year. The AL Central race is far from over, folks.

Frazier, Conforto lead Mets to epic comeback win

Not too long ago, this weekend’s Nationals vs. Mets series looked like it would be completely meaningless. Both teams were struggling and out of the postseason race. Instead, the Nationals and Mets turned things around, and they went into Friday’s game very much in the wild-card mix. This series is suddenly very important.

Friday night’s game went down as a Game of the Year candidate. The Nationals took a three-run lead into the ninth inning — Anthony Rendon clobbered a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh — but it took the Mets exactly three batters to tie the score against closer Sean Doolittle. Single, single, game-trying three-run homer. Take it away, Todd Frazier:

Following the home run, the Mets strung together three base hits against Doolittle, and won the game on Michael Conforto’s walk-off single. The Mets have now won 14 of their last 15 games.

The win moved New York into a tie for the second wild-card spot with the Brewers, though the standings will change pending Friday’s results. Point is, the Mets were seven games out of a postseason spot at the All-Star break. They went from having the National League’s second-worst record to sitting in a postseason spot in a month.

As for the Nationals, gosh, Friday’s loss was brutal. Doolittle has been mostly immune to their season-long postseason woes, but he was charged with four runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning at the worst possible time. Washington remains 1 1/2 games up for the top wild-card spot.

Gardner ejected in case of mistaken identity

Weird moment in Toronto on Friday night. Home plate umpire Chris Segal ejected Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who he claimed was arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. The problem? Gardner never said anything. Replays showed him sitting in the dugout with his mouth shut while Cameron Maybin and manager Aaron Boone chirped at Segal.

Here’s the video:

“I didn’t even open my mouth, which is unusual for me. Which unfortunately is why he was looking in the left-center field bullpen and threw me out,” Gardner told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, following the game. “He wanted to assume or wanted to take a guess and he was wrong. Then he lied to me about it, which is a huge problem.”

Umpires do not eject players for throwing things or banging things in the dugout, but I suppose MLB could use Gardner banging the dugout roof with his bat as justification for the ejection. That would be pretty weak. It seems clear Segal screwed up.

Chapman, Rendon join growing 25 home-run club

The A’s blanked the White Sox behind yet another strong start from Mike Fiers. On offense, down-ballot AL MVP candidate Matt Chapman snapped a mini-slump with a line-drive home run. Action-sports footage forthcoming: 

That’s Chapman’s 25th homer of the season. Also, Rendon’s home run against the Mets was hit 25th dinger of the year. That’s a fine and good benchmark, but it’s not exactly a rare one this season. Chapman and Rendon, as it turns out, are the 34th and 35th batters of 2019 to hit 25 or more home runs. As you probably guessed, that’s a lofty total. Already, 2019 ranks 26th all-time when it comes to most 25-homer hitters in a season. It’s not even the middle of August yet. 

As for the record, it belongs to 2017, when 74 players had 25-home run seasons or better. The 2019 season is on pace to break that with relative ease. Basically, a player at this juncture needs a little less than 18 home runs to be on pace for 25. Let’s round it up and say 18 on the nose. At this writing, 86 hitters have at least 18 home runs in 2019, and 80 have at least 19. In other words, there’s room for some players to fall off their current paces and still see the record snapped. 

We’re going to see a number of team and league home runs record fall this year, and the 25-home run club certainly appears to be one of those. 

Stat of the Day: Strasburg becomes franchise strikeout leader

With his third inning strikeout of Frazier on Friday night, Nationals righty Stephen Strasburg became the franchise’s all-time strikeout leader. That includes the Expos years. Here is the milestone strikeout:

Strasburg finished Friday’s start with 1,625 career strikeouts in 1,382 career innings. Among pitchers with at least 1,000 career innings, Strasburg’s 10.6 K/9 is the tied with Hall of Famer Randy Johnson for the second highest in baseball history. Only Chris Sale (11.1 K/9) has a higher career strikeout rate. Here is the Expos/Nationals career strikeout list:

  1. Stephen Strasburg: 1,625
  2. Steve Rogers: 1,621
  3. Max Scherzer: 1,317
  4. Gio Gonzalez: 1,215
  5. Javier Vazquez: 1,076

Those are the only five pitchers in franchise history with at least 1,000 career strikeouts, if you can believe that.

Highlight of the Day: Merrifield’s leadoff inside-the-park homer

What’s the only thing better than a leadoff home run? A leadoff inside-the-park home run, of course. Royals star Whit Merrifield welcomed Edwin Jackson back to the big leagues with a leadoff inside-the-parker on Friday night.

That is Merrifield’s second inside-the-park homer of the season. He is the first player with two of those in one season since… Aaron Hicks did it last year. Merrifield has roughly seven weeks to become the first player with three inside-the-park homers in one season since Ruben Sierra with the 1987 Rangers.


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