Three extra-inning games, a few late comebacks, and a couple of games postponed because of rain. Just another fine April day across Major League Baseball.
3 for today:
Lindor lifts Cleveland over Texas
The Indians earned their second come-from-behind victory in three games against the Rangers, and this time it was Francisco Lindor who paved the way. In the sixth, Lindor crushed a solo home run to left to bring Cleveland within one. Elvis Andrus countered that with a solo shot of his own in the bottom half of the inning to put the Rangers up, 6-4.
The score remained that way until the ninth inning when Sam Dyson entered the game for Texas. Yandy Diaz and Tyler Naquin led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Dyson got Yan Gomes to line out. Dyson proceeded to walk the next two batters, resulting in a run and bringing Lindor up to the plate with the bases still loaded and the deficit just one. On a 1-1 count, Lindor pulled a ball just inside the right field foul pole, and Cleveland’s comeback (and Dyson’s meltdown) was complete.
Springer walks it off in the 13th
Having lost the first two games, the Mariners had to be desperate for a lead, and they got one both early and late in this game. They took a 2-0 lead on a fifth-inning Jean Segura homer. It was short-lived however, as Houston tied the game in the seventh. Neither team could scratch a run across for five innings, which brings us to the wild 13th inning.
The Astros summoned Jandel Gustave from the bullpen to start the inning, and he recorded exactly zero outs; he walked the three batters he faced. That forced another pitching change. This time they brought in Brad Peacock, and he… walked the first batter he faced. That gave Seattle the lead, and they still had the bases loaded with nobody out. But Peacock managed to wiggle his way out of it having allowed just the one run.
To attempt to close the game out, the Mariners trotted out 23-year-old Chase De Jong, who was making his MLB debut. He got the first batter of the inning, Yulieski Gurriel, to ground out; he walked the second batter, Evan Gattis; and he retired Josh Reddick easily. But then, when he was down to his final strike, Norichika Aoki poked a single down the left field line to keep the inning alive.
That brought George Springer to the plate with the winning run on first. And De Jong got him down to his final strike, too. But on a full count, Springer mashed a majestic walk-off home run to the Crawford Boxes, improving his team’s record to 3-0.
Sale matched by Taillon in Boston debut
Boston’s acquisition of Chris Sale this past offseason was certainly the biggest trade over the winter, which made his debut in his new threads one of the most anticipated of the year. Suffice to say, he did not disappoint. Sale didn’t skip a beat, striking out seven and walking one over seven shutout innings. His slider was spinning; his fastball was sizzling; Sale was as dominant as ever.
However, there was one problem: Jameson Taillon was just as good. The Pirates drafted Taillon with the second overall pick in the 2010 draft. Yes, that would be one pick after Bryce Harper and one before Manny Machado. Today, he showed just why the Pirates spent such a high pick on him. He traded zeroes with Sale, tossing seven scoreless innings of his own while striking out six and walking three.
Even after the two starters were taken out of the game, the teams still couldn’t put any runs on the board. The game stayed at a 0-0 tie until the 12th inning when Sandy Leon sneaked a three-run home run just over the Green Monster to give Boston a 3-0 win.
3 for tomorrow:
Cardinals vs. Cubs (Lynn vs. Lackey)
Lance Lynn will be taking the mound for the Cardinals for the first time since 2015. Following that 2015 season, Lynn was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2016 before it even started. Now nearly 18 months removed, Lynn is healthy and ready to contribute once again. From 2014-2015, Lynn logged a 2.87 ERA in 379 innings.
Mets vs. Braves (Harvey vs. Garcia)
Harvey’s first season back from Tommy John surgery, 2015, went swimmingly. He posted a 2.71 ERA in 189 1/3 innings and led the Mets to a division title. However, injuries limited him to 17 starts last year and when he was on the field, he wasn’t any good. He’s apparently fully recovered from the surgery he had to cure his thoracic outlet syndrome, and I can’t wait to see if he can return to being the Dark Knight.
Rays vs. Blue Jays (Snell vs. Stroman)
Marcus Stroman is coming off a spectacular performance in the World Baseball Classic, taking home MVP honors in the championship round. Can he carry that success into the regular season? Then there’s Blake Snell of the Rays, who is a 24-year-old who possesses a Barry Zito-like curveball. This will be a fun matchup.