Major League Baseball roundup
Marlins 8, Orioles 7
In early March, Don Mattingly figured the rebuild of the Miami Marlins just might begin to show results this season.
The world, and the Marlins, are vastly different since then. Yet, somehow, this baseball team has found a way to overcome a team-wide coronavirus outbreak, an unwanted eight-day layoff and a whole lot of youth to fashion the best record in baseball.
Jonathan Villar hit a first-pitch leadoff homer to spark a robust offensive performance by the Marlins, who beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-7 Thursday night to complete a startling four-game sweep and make Mattingly the winningest manager in franchise history.
Villar had three hits and Brian Anderson drove in three runs for the upstart Marlins, many of whom spent last week holed up in a Philadelphia hotel after 18 players tested positive for COVID-19.
“The whole organization is making that move forward. We felt it in spring training," Mattingly said. “We felt it coming with our young players, and they're not even all here yet. It feels good right now."
The Marlins are in first place in the NL East despite coming to town Tuesday with a whole lot of rookies and free agents. According to @StatsBySTATS, Miami is the first big league to start 6-1 or better through seven games after losing at least 105 the previous season since the St. Louis Perfectos began 7-0 in 1899.
“We’re coming out ready to play. We have young guys who have a lot of energy," Villar said.
Perhaps the feeling is infectious, because Villar drove the first offering from Wade LeBlanc into the left-field seats.
“Villar is an ambusher. (LeBlanc) should have known that," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde lamented.
The Marlins were the “home" team because this was a makeup of a July 28 game that was to be held in Miami but postponed in the wake of the Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak.
Batting in the bottom of the seventh, the Marlins broke a 6-6 tie with a sacrifice fly by Jesús Aguilar off Evan Phillips (1-1) and an RBI triple by Anderson.
That was enough to earn Mattingly his 282nd win with Miami, passing Jack McKeon on the team's career list. He was given a bottle of bubbly to mark the occasion.
In their first three wins in the series, Miami relied on exceptional pitching in victories by scores of 4-0, 1-0 and 2-1. In this one, the Marlins won with their bats.
Villar's homer sparked an 11-hit attack, and Miami needed almost every one of them because starter Jordan Yamamoto gave up three one-run leads and Jorge Guzman, in his major league debut, yielded successive solo homers to Dwight Smith and Renato Núñez to create a sixth-inning tie.
But Mike Morin (1-0) pitched two shutout innings and Brandon Kintzler worked the ninth for his third save.
It was Miami's first four-game sweep since April 2016, against the Dodgers.
Baltimore wasted four home runs, including two by Núñez and Chance Sisco's first of the year. The drives were offset by two errors and several other miscues that didn't show up in the box score.
“We had a bad night defensively, doing things that we hadn't been doing," Hyde said.
Although the Marlins haven't immediately suffered for their time off, the schedule revision released Thursday does Miami no favors. The Marlins will finish the regular season with 27 games over the final 23 days, which includes no off days and four double headers in a 10-day span.
Chris Davis had a solid spring training, batting .409 with three homers and nine RBIs in 12 games. That gave the Orioles hope that he might be ready to provide some return on a $161 million, 7-year contract he signed in 2016.
Alas, spring training was halted by the coronavirus outbreak and Davis has reverted to the form he displayed during the last seasons, when he batted . 168 and .179.
The former two-time home run champ batted eighth Thursday and went 1 for 4. He's got two hits this season and is hitting .087.
Kintzler found an alternate use for the ironing board in his hotel room while being quarantined in Philadelphia.
“I needed to figure out how I could simulate a workout, so I got the ironing board out and started taking the tops off the coffee tables," Kintzler revealed Thursday. “They were heavy stones, so I would add them to the ironing board and carry it around like a front rack. I was doing step-ups on the bed and lunges."
Marlins rookie centerfielder Monte Harrison crashed into the wall chasing a triple by Anthony Santander in the third inning but stayed in the game after being examined by the team trainer.
Braves 4, Blue Jays 3
Nick Markakis capped his first start of the season with a game-ending home run in the ninth inning.
A week after opting back into the season after stepping away due to coronavirus concerns, Markakis lined the one-out homer off Wilmer Font (0-1) that carried into the restaurant behind the right-field stands.
Markakis was added to the active roster on Wednesday after changing his mind about sitting out the year. Following the homer, Braves players circled home plate with plenty of distance, waving their hands in the air as Markakis finished his trot.
Mark Melancon (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth.
Pirates 6, Twins 5
Kevin Newman’s two-run pinch-single with one out in the ninth inning lifted Pittsburgh over Minnesota.
Newman ended Pittsburgh’s seven-game losing streak when he took a pitch from Minnesota closer Taylor Rogers (1-1) and laced it up the middle against a drawn-in infield to score Cole Tucker and Bryan Reynolds.
Gregory Polanco hit a three-run home run for the Pirates that bounced into the Allegheny River, and Sam Howard (1-0) picked up the win after pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.
Miguel Sano hit a three-run home run and Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario also went deep for the Twins, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped. Minnesota missed a chance to put together the best start in franchise history, falling to 10-3, a start matched by the club five previous times, the last in 2001.
Indians 13, Reds 0
José Ramírez hit a solo homer from the left side of the plate against Luis Castillo (0-2) in the first inning and connected again during Cleveland’s 10-run seventh, belting a two-run drive off left-hander Cody Reed.
Ramírez also homered from both sides of the plate during a 9-2 victory over Kansas City on July 26. According to STATS, he is the first player in major league history to accomplish the feat twice within his team’s first 15 games of the season.
Carlos Carrasco (2-1) allowed one hit over six innings — equaling his longest outing since returning from chronic myeloid leukemia last Sept. 1 — and combined with three relievers to blank Cincinnati for the second night in a row.
Castillo (0-2) struck out nine in five innings, allowing three runs and walking four.
Diamondbacks 5, Astros 4
Kole Calhoun lined a two-run single in the ninth inning and Arizona rallied to beat Houston and win its first series of the season.
Arizona trailed 4-3 after Alex Bregman hit a two-run homer off Stefan Crichton in the eighth inning. Junior Guerra (1-0) worked around an error in the ninth inning and the Diamondbacks loaded the bases against Ryan Pressly (0-1) in the bottom half.
Calhoun laid off a couple of pitches after falling into a hole and sent the Diamondbacks charging out of the dugout with a line drive to the corner in right.
Arizona starter Zac Gallen tied an NL record set by Montreal’s Steve Rogers (1973-74) by allowing three earned runs or less in his first 18 career starts. Gallen allowed two runs and six hits and struck out six in six innings.
Royals 13, Cubs 2
Whit Merrifield, Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler homered, and Kansas City stopped a six-game slide.
Soler and Salvador Pérez each had three hits and two RBIs, helping Brad Keller to the win in his first major league appearance in nearly a year. Keller (1-0), who opened the season on the injured list after testing positive for the coronavirus, struck out seven in five scoreless innings.
Chicago had won six in a row. Tyler Chatwood (2-1) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 2 1/3 inning after winning each of his two starts this year in impressive fashion.
Brewers 8, White Sox 3
Christian Yelich hit his first career inside-the-park homer and walked four times, helping the Brewers to the win.
Jedd Gyorko homered and drove in three runs for Milwaukee, and Mark Mathias had two hits and two RBIs. Josh Lindblom (1-0) struck out seven in five innings.
The Brewers and White Sox split a home-and-home series, with each team winning two games in their opponent’s ballpark.
Rookie phenom Luis Robert went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts as the White Sox dropped their second straight game after winning six in a row. Gio González (0-1) was charged with five runs, four earned, and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Angels 6, Mariners 1
Shohei Ohtani homered in his first plate appearance since being shut down as a pitcher, Dylan Bundy struck out 10 in the third complete game of his career and Los Angeles beat Seattle.
Ohtani drove a 1-0 pitch from Seattle starter Taijuan Walker (1-2) to the opposite field just beyond the leap of left fielder Dee Gordon leading off the second inning.
Max Stassi added a two-run homer in the eighth inning, his fourth of the season.
Bundy (2-1) has been superb since his offseason arrival from Baltimore via trade. The right-hander has pitched at least six innings in all three of his starts, with 25 strikeouts and two walks in 21 2/3 innings.
Bundy allowed four hits and picked up his 10th strikeout getting Kyle Seager leading off the ninth. His only mistake was an elevated changeup that Daniel Vogelbach lined into the right field seats for a solo home run in the fourth inning.
Athletics 6, Rangers 4
Matt Olson homered to back Mike Fiers’ first win of the season and Oakland beat Texas for its sixth straight victory and a series sweep.
Khris Davis added a two-run single, Mark Canha had an RBI single and Stephen Piscotty a sacrifice fly as the balanced, first-place A’s kept rolling at the right time with the rival Houston Astros coming to town next.
Anderson Tejeda hit a two-run homer in his major league debut, chasing Fiers (1-0) in the seventh inning and pulling the Rangers within 5-4. Liam Hendriks finished for his fourth save.
Rangers lefty Mike Minor (0-3) struck out six over five innings but was tagged for five runs and four hits.
Rockies 6, Giants 4
Daniel Murphy hit a two-run, pinch-homer during a five-run seventh inning to lead Colorado over San Francisco.
Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon also homered for the Rockies to spoil Tyler Anderson’s return to Coors Field. Anderson was Colorado’s opening day starter in 2019.
Mauricio Dubon hit a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh to put the Giants ahead, but reliever Rico Garcia (0-1) couldn’t hold it.
Jairo Diaz got the last four outs for his third save in three chances, and Yency Almonte (1-0) allowed a run in an inning of relief.
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