The St. Louis Cardinals continue their road woes as they lost their series in Washington. The Nationals beat Cardinals ace 1b Adam Wainwright 4-2 on Sunday. Wainwright has lost three straight starts for the first time in his MLB career. Wainwright has not picked the best time to struggle, as the Cardinals now sit five games behind the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds.
Wainwright allowed all four runs on six hits through just five innings. He allowed a two-run homerun to Mike Morse in the 3rd inning (Morse went 2-for-4 a day after going 4-for-4). Nationals starter John Lannan gave up just one run on eight hits through 7.2 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. He also did damage at the plate by going 1-for-3 with a two-run double. Lannan is 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA since being recalled from Double-A Harrisburg on August 1st.
The Reds increased their NL Central lead to five games as they defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-5. Reds rookie starter Travis Wood struggled but pitched well enough to earn the victory. He allowed three runs on ten hits through five innings while walking three. However lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes blew the save in the 8th inning when he gave up a Kosuke Fukudome two-run homerun to tie the game at 5-5. The Reds came right back to score two runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, capped by a Fukudome throwing error that allowed Chris Heisey to score the go-ahead run. Francisco Cordero needed just nine pitches to close out the Cubs in the 9th inning for his 35th save of the season.
The NY Mets knuckleball pitcher RA Dickey single-handedly beat the Houston Astros 5-1 on Sunday. Dickey allowed just one run on six hits through seven innings. At the plate, Dickey contributed a two-run double in the Mets four-run 2nd inning off Astros starter Bud Norris. Dickey improved to 9-5 and lowered his ERA to 2.56 (which is 10th best in MLB).
The Atlanta Braves stormed back to defeat the Florida Marlins 7-6 after being down 6-1 after the 4th inning. Braves starter Derek Lowe lasted just three innings and allowed five runs on six hits while walking three. Marlins starter Josh Johnson was dominant through six innings as he allowed an unearned run on three hits while striking out eight. The Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning off Marlins reliever Will Ohman (though only one was earned). In the 9th inning off Marlins closer Leo Nunez, Matt Diaz hit a pinch-hit two-run homerun and then with two outs and a runner on base, Brian McCann continued his hot day by hitting a ball off the right field wall which was ruled a double (McCann went 3-for-4). After further review, the umpires ruled that the ball was a homerun, and the Braves walked off with the 7-6 victory. It was the first reviewed walk-off homerun since MLB instituted replay for homeruns.
The Philadelphia Phillies continued their dominance over the San Diego Padres, as they swept the three-game series. Cole Hamels was again dominant, as he pitched eight shutout innings. Hamels allowed just four hits while striking out six (he also did not walk a batter). The Phillies have lost just four total games at Petco Park since it opened and have swept the Padres in San Diego four times in the last eight years (they only play each other home-and-home each year). The Phillies remain two games behind the Braves.
Ivan Nova of the NY Yankees won his first Major League game (in his second start) as he defeated the Chicago White Sox and Gavin Floyd 2-1. Nova allowed just one run on five hits through 5.2 innings and struck out seven. Floyd allowed just the two runs (one on a Marcus Thames solo homerun) on seven hits through 6.2 innings. Yankees rookie catcher Francisco Cervelli went 4-for-4.
The White Sox remain five games behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central as the Twins were defeated by Luke French and the Seattle Mariners 2-1. French allowed one run on a Michael Cuddyer solo homerun in the 7th inning. He went seven innings and gave up just three hits while striking out four. Carl Pavano was the hard-luck loser as he allowed two runs on five hits through seven innings.
The Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays remain tied for first in both the AL East and the wild card as the Rays defeated the visiting Boston Red Sox on ESPN’s Sunday Night game of the week. Rays starter James Shields outlasted Red Sox starter John Lackey as the Rays won 5-3. Carlos Pena hit a solo homerun in the 4th inning off Lackey and Carl Crawford hit a two-run shot in the 6th inning off Lackey (his 100th of his MLB career). Shields allowed three runs while striking out eight while Lackey allowed five runs while striking out seven. John Jaso, Crawford, and Evan Longoria each had two hits a piece for the Rays. The Red Sox fell to 6.5 games behind the Yankees and Rays in the AL East and wild card standings.