We’ve got an abbreviated 10-game slate here on Thursday, as is customary before the full schedule of weekend series kick off. Here is everything you need to know about Thursday’s MLB action.
Cubs best Braves in battle of NL’s best
Coming into Thursday, the two best records in the National League belong to the Cubs (78-84) and Braves (74-58). The two teams met Thursday night at SunTrust Field to play a makeup game for their May 17 rainout. Chicago jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, the Braves took a 4-3 in the fifth, then Tommy La Stella did this:
The go-ahead pinch-hit two-run home run was La Stella’s first home run of the season, if you can believe that. He’s a bench guy, so he doesn’t play much, hence the lack of homers. The homer came in his 169th plate appearance of 2018. Safe to say La Stella saved his first dinger for a good time. The Cubbies can further claim NL superiority.
Stanton hits 300th home run
The 300 home run club has a new member. Thursday night Giancarlo Stanton became the 147th member of the 300-homer club with a two-run opposite field home run against Francisco Liriano. To the action footage:
Only Ralph Kiner (1,087), Ryan Howard (1,093), Juan Gonzalez (1,096), and Alex Rodriguez (1.117) reached 300 career home runs in fewer games than Stanton (1,119). .
Cain gives Brewers extra-inning win
For the second straight day, the Brewers needed extra innings to beat the Reds, but a win is a win and the Crew really needed these two. It was but 1-1 when this one went to 11 on Thursday. Stealth MVP candidate Lorenzo Cain sent this liner into the front row:
Cain is now hitting .311/.402/.439 on the season. His excellent defense and baserunning show up in WAR, where he entered Thursday third in the NL in Fangraphs’ version and first in Baseball-Reference’s version.
More importantly, the Brewers get the victory here. They entered Thursday just a half-game up for the second NL wild card, so it was a big one, as every game the rest of the way is likely to be.
Tigers stun Yankees in the ninth
The Yankees grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory Thursday night. With Aroldis Chapman on the disabled list with a knee problem, ace setup man Dellin Betances entered to protect a 7-5 lead in the ninth. Betances allowed three runs total in 39 appearances and 38 2/3 innings prior to Thursday. He then allowed three runs in the span of three batters.
Victor Martinez (two-run) and Niko Goodrum (solo) hit back-to-back homers to give the Tigers an 8-7 lead. They were the team’s fourth and fifth home runs of the night. Detroit went into Thursday’s game with 106 home runs, the fewest in baseball. The Tigers had not hit five homers in a game in almost exactly a year, since September 5 of last season.
Thursday was Betances’ 346th career game, the 15th most in Yankees history, and it was the first time he’d ever allowed multiple home runs in an outing. In the last four days the Yankees have two losses to the rebuilding Tigers and one loss to the rebuilding Tigers, all at home. Ouch.
Indians push division lead to 14
The biggest division lead in the majors belongs to the Cleveland Indians, and it’s now 14 games over the Twins in the hapless (aside from the Indians!) AL Central. The Indians actually trailed the Twins, 2-1, through five innings on Thursday, but Jason Kipnis’ three-run homer as part of a four-run sixth put them up for good:
The Indians took two of three from the Twins and have won three of four to rebound since losing four straight. And, as if a 14-game division lead isn’t enough, Cleveland has the second easiest remaining schedule in baseball. Their remaining opponents have a combined .439 winning percentage. Only the Twins (.428) will have it easier the rest of the way.
- . Two prospects are said to be heading to San Francisco. The two teams must complete the trade by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday for McCutchen to be eligible for the postseason roster.
- . The book alleges Ortiz was connected to a known gambler who was a frequent guest in the Boston clubhouse.
- . He has not pitched since June 6 due to an elbow injury. Ohtani has a 3.10 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings this year and is hitting .275/.352/.545 with 15 home runs in 78 games.
- Yankees C Gary Sanchez is expected to return to the team Saturday, reports MLB.com. He is playing his final minor league rehab game Thursday night. Sanchez has missed most of the last two months with a groin injury.
- The Cubs have have acquired C Bobby Wilson from the Twins for C Chris Gimenez and either cash or a player to be named later, the teams announced. The move gives the Cubs a better defensive backup catcher for the stretch run.
- The D-Backs have acquired C Chris Stewart from the Braves for cash considerations, the team announced. Stewart has spent most of the season in Triple-A, where he’s hit .219/.299/.277 in 47 games.
- Mets LHP Jerry Blevins has cleared waivers, meaning he can be traded to any team, reports The Athletic. The impending free agent has been much better against righties (.152/.273/.227) than righties (.302/.384/.508) this year.
- Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario left Thursday’s game due to a strained quad muscle, the team announced. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined. Rosario went into Thursday’s game hitting .291/.329/.484 with 22 home runs.
- The Tigers put shortstop Jose Iglesias on the DL due to an abdominal strain, the team announced. He suffered the injury during Wednesday’s game. IF Dawel Lugo was called up in a corresponding move.