Nationals 3, Phillies 2
A hairy situation clearly miffed Max.
Max Scherzer threw his glove and hat to the grass, then stared down Phillies manager Joe Girardi after getting checked for a third time by umpires for sticky stuff as the Washington Nationals beat Philadelphia 3-2 Tuesday night.
“These are Manfred rules,” Scherzer said, referring to the crackdown by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. “Go ask him what he wants to do with this."
Scherzer (6-4) looked sharp in his return to the rotation after missing a start due to a groin injury, striking out eight in five innings. Girardi apparently didn’t like what he saw.
In the fourth, Scherzer whizzed a fastball high and inside to Alec Bohm, sending him sprawling to the ground before striking him out. Prior to the next batter, Girardi asked the umpires to check Scherzer after he noticed the Nationals ace touching his hair.
“It was suspicious for me,” Girardi said.
Major league umpires began a crackdown on Monday by regularly examining pitchers for tacky substances that can give them a better grip on the baseball. Managers also can request a check, although umps can deny it if they believe it’s not in good faith.
The fiery Scherzer already had been checked by second-base umpire Alfonso Marquez after the first and third inning, with the crew chief doing an inspection of the right-hander’s glove, hat and belt.
So when Marquez approached Scherzer for a third time, this time at Girardi’s request, the three-time Cy Young Award winner tossed his glove and hat to the ground, unbuckled his belt, and appeared ready to take his pants off in what became a bizarre scene.
“I would have to be an absolute fool to actually use something tonight when everybody’s antenna is so far high they’d look for anything," Scherzer said. “I have absolutely zero on me. I have nothing on me. Check whatever you want. I’ll take off all my clothes if you want to see me.”
Scherzer explained that he was having trouble gripping the baseball and the pitch to Bohm was a byproduct.
“I almost put a 95 mile an hour fastball in his head because the ball slipped out of my hand," he said. “The whole night I was sick of kind of licking my fingers and tasting rosin the whole night.”
Trying to find a way to get a grasp on the baseball, Scherzer reached for his sweaty hair, saying that’s the only place he could find enough moisture without constantly licking his hands after applying rosin -- something he said tasted “gross.”
Girardi said prior to the contest that he would not ask a pitcher to be checked merely for gamesmanship; rather, he would do it only if he legitimately believed there was cause.
“I got nothing,” Scherzer appeared to repeat to the umpires, before glaring at Philadelphia’s dugout, brushing his hair with his hands and yelling, “Just wet!”
“Nothing but sweat,” Marquez said afterward.
Scherzer sent the Phillies down in order in the fifth and stared hard toward Girardi while walking back to the Nationals dugout. Girardi then became unglued, hopping onto the field, motioning with his hands and screaming toward the Nationals dugout.
Plate umpire Tim Timmons intercepted Girardi and ejected him.
“I’m not playing games, I’m trying to win games here,” Girardi said. “I have respect for what Max has done in his career, but I have to do what’s right for our team.”
Scherzer mocked Girardi from Washington’s dugout, holding up his hat and glove as if to ask the Phillies skipper if he wanted to check one more time.
"Hopefully the players across the league understand that what we’re doing right now, this is not the answer," Scherzer said. “There is a problem with Spider Tack in the game and we've got to get rid of that, but I also think there's a way to handle this in a better way.”
“We’re going to continue to have more events like this happen," Scherzer added. “As pitchers evolve to this, pitchers aren’t going to be too happy doing this because we're trying to play by the rules.”
Yan Gomes had a pair of RBI singles for the Nationals, who have won three straight and eight of nine. Scherzer allowed two hits and one run.
Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins hit home runs for Philadelphia, which has lost five of seven.
Washington scored a pair of runs in the first on RBIs by Josh Bell and Gomes.
Harper led off the second with a drive to the second deck in right. The Nationals got that run back in the third on Gomes’ second RBI single of the contest.
Hoskins’ one-out homer to left in the eighth off Tanner Rainey brought Philadelphia within a run, but Brad Hand got four outs to record his 16th save.
Phillies starter Zack Wheeler (5-4) lasted just three innings in his worst start of the season. The right-hander allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
As with all pitchers under MLB’s new policy, Wheeler was checked for grip enhancers.
“I could really care less,” Wheeler shrugged. “I’m not using anything.”
Hand had to wriggle out of trouble in the ninth after surrendering a leadoff double to Bohm, hitting Ronald Torreyes, and giving up an infield single to pinch-hitter Matt Vierling to load the bases with one out. But the lefty got Odubel Herrera to hit a shallow fly and retired Hoskins on a grounder on a full-count pitch.
Padres 3, Dodgers 2
Jake Cronenworth and rookie Kim Ha-seong homered off Clayton Kershaw, Blake Snell pitched five scoreless innings and San Diego won its third straight over Los Angeles.
Snell (3-3) got his first victory in four career starts against the Dodgers, including three this year. He held the Dodgers to four hits while striking out five and walking three.
Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
Kershaw (8-7) allowed three runs and four hits, struck out seven and walked two in six innings.
Brewers 5, Diamondbacks 0
Burly slugger Daniel Vogelbach hobbled home on one leg when Arizona’s defense fell asleep, and the Diamondbacks dropped back into a rut with a loss to Milwaukee.
A day after ending a 17-game losing streak, the Diamondbacks were behind from the start. Kolten Wong led off with a home run and that was plenty for Freddy Peralta and the Brewers bullpen in a combined two-hitter.
Freddy Peralta (7-2) gave up just one hit and struck out 10 in six innings.
Christian Yelich also homered for Milwaukee.
Zac Gallen (1-3) gave up three runs in five innings.
Blue Jays 2, Marlins 1
Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled on consecutive pitches to break a ninth-inning tie, and Toronto beat Miami.
The hits came with one out against Yimi García (3-6), who entered the game after Sandy Alcantara stymied the Blue Jays while throwing only 86 pitches in eight innings.
MLB RBIs leader Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled home the Blue Jays’ first run in the sixth.
Tim Mayza (2-1) pitched a perfect eighth, and Jordan Romano faced only three batters in the ninth for his fourth save to complete a three-hitter.
Astros 3, Orioles 1
Zack Greinke took a four-hitter into the eighth inning, Myles Straw homered and drove in two runs, and Houston defeated Baltimore for its ninth straight win.
Greinke (8-2) allowed one run and five hits with four strikeouts and a walk over 7 1/3 innings. Brooks Raley got two strikeouts in the eighth and Ryan Pressly finished for his 11th save in 12 tries.
Right-hander Jorge López (2-9) gave up two runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings but was outdone by Greinke.
Athletics 13, Rangers 6
Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano hit two-run home runs in the first two innings and Cole Irvin earned his second straight win as Oakland raced to an early nine-run lead in a win over Texas.
Laureano, Mark Canha and former Rangers All-Star Elvis Andrus had three hits apiece.
Irvin (5-7) cruised through four scoreless innings on 40 pitches before allowing four runs on four hits and a hit batter in the fifth.
Taylor Hearn (2-2), making his second start in 38 major league appearances, was chased early. He was charged with four runs in the first inning on two hits and three walks, throwing 34 pitches and recording two outs.
Eli White and Joey Gallo homered in the seventh and eighth innings to account for Texas’ other runs.
Cubs 7, Indians 1
Kyle Hendricks dominated over six scoreless innings to win his eighth straight start, Kris Bryant homered, and Chicago avoided a two-game sweep by beating Cleveland.
Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom also went deep, and the Cubs won for only the third time in nine games.
Hendricks (10-4) scattered four hits and struck out five without a walk. He also tied Cleveland’s Aaron Civale for the major league lead in wins.
Cleveland, which had won six of eight, got its run in the top half on a forceout by Amed Rosario after loading the bases with none out.
Reds 10, Twins 7
Tyler Naquin went 4 for 4 with a three-run home run that broke a ninth-inning tie after the Cincinnati bullpen lost a five-run lead, and the Reds stopped a five-game losing streak.
Amir Garrett got his fourth save in six attempts with a scoreless ninth.
Max Kepler hit a two-run homer, Trevor Larnach added a solo shot and Alex Kirilloff had the tying two-run double off Tejay Antone (2-0), but the right-hander in his first game back from the injured list recovered to record the last two outs of the inning.
Tucker Barnhart homered and had three RBIs and Jesse Winker hit a two-run double for the Reds.
Hansel Robles (3-4) took the loss.
Pirates 6, White Sox 3
Pinch-hitter Erik Gonzalez’s two-run single highlighted a four-run rally in the seventh inning as Pittsburgh beat skidding Chicago.
A three-run homer by pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal in the top of the seventh put the White Sox ahead 3-2 after they were held scoreless on two hits through six innings.
But the Pirates answered in the bottom half against rookie reliever Garrett Crochet (2-4), who was charged with four runs without getting an out.
Adam Frazier homered for the Pirates, and Bryan Reynolds had two hits and two RBIs.
David Bednar (1-1) got the last out of the seventh for his first major league win. Richard Rodriguez earned his ninth save in 11 tries.
Tigers 8, Cardinals 2
Jonathan Schoop and Jake Rogers each drove in three runs, leading Detroit over St. Louis.
Schoop homered and Rogers hit a two-run double in Detroit’s six-run fourth inning.
Tigers starter Tarik Skubal allowed two runs on four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Kyle Funkhouser (1-0) was credited with the win after 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
Johan Oviedo (0-3) took the loss, allowing six runs, two earned, on six hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Giants 5, Angels 0
Anthony DeSclafani allowed three hits in seven sharp innings, Wilmer Flores homered during a four-run first and San Francisco defeated Los Angeles.
DeSclafani (8-2) struck out nine in winning his fourth straight start. The right-hander did not permit a hit after the second inning and retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced.
Mauricio Dubón also went deep, and Brandon Crawford had three hits for the NL West leaders, who have won seven of eight.
Andrew Heaney (4-5) took the loss.
Mariners 2, Rockies 1
Shed Long Jr. hit a solo homer with one out in the eighth inning that lifted Seattle past Colorado, the Mariners’ fifth straight victory.
Long drove a 1-1 pitch from Colorado’s Tyler Kinley (1-2) to straightaway center field.
Paul Sewald (4-2) worked the eighth inning for Seattle to get the win, and Kendall Graveman pitched the ninth for his sixth save and first since May 16.
The Mariners have won eight of nine.
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