Happy Labor Day! It was an abbreviated MLB schedule, which is almost always the case on any given Monday, but this particular one happened to be loaded with day baseball. Games with playoff implications went down in D.C., St. Pete, Atlanta, Cincy, St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee, so there's plenty to follow. Here's what you need to know.
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Baseball scores for Monday, Sept. 2FINAL - Rangers 7, Yankees 0 (box score)FINAL - Mets 7, Nationals 3 (box score)FINAL - Twins 4, Tigers 3 (box score)FINAL/10 - Rays 5, Orioles 4 (box score)FINAL - Braves 6, Blue Jays 3 (box score)FINAL - Phillies 7, Reds 1 (box score)FINAL - Cardinals 3, Giants 1 (box score)FINAL - Cubs 5, Mariners 1 (box score)FINAL - Diamondbacks 14, Padres 7 (box score)FINAL - Astros 3, Brewers 2 in 10 innings (box score)FINAL - Indians 11, White Sox 3 (box score)FINAL - Dodgers 16, Rockies 9 (box score)
Cole follows Verlander's no-hitter with a gem
One day after Justin Verlander tossed a no-hitter against the Blue Jays, Gerrit Cole followed it up with a 14-strikeout masterpiece against the Brewers on Monday afternoon. Cole is the first player in Astros history with back-to-back 14-strikeout games, and he and Verlander are the first teammates with 14 strikeouts in back-to-back games since 1893. 1893!
Cole leads baseball with 264 strikeouts and his 2.81 ERA is second best in the American League behind Verlander (2.56 ERA). A strong case can be made the two should share the AL Cy Young award this year. Then again, there are three weeks and change remaining in the regular season, and a lot can change. Either way, Cole (and Verlander) has been great.
Of course, the Astros nearly wasted Cole's gem Monday. Closer Roberto Osuna served up a game-tying solo home run to reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich in the ninth inning, but George Springer picked him up with a go-ahead solo homer in the top of the 10th.
With the win, Houston moved into a tie atop the American League standings with the Yankees. They have identical 90-49 records. The Astros won the season series, so if the Yankees and Astros finish the season with the same record, Houston would get home-field advantage in the postseason.
Thor dominates Nats
Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard had been on a bit of a roll until he got battered by the Cubs in his last start (10 runs on nine hits in 3 IP). Well, Thor and the Mets faced the hard-hitting Nationals on the road on Monday, and you can consider Syndergaard's roll to be resumed:
Additionally, Syndergaard didn't walk a batter, and this marks the first start in which he's struck out 10 or more without issuing a walk since his first start of the 2018 season. This comes against a Washington offense that came in ranking third in the NL in runs scored and second in OPS. The gem lowers Syndergaard's ERA for the season to 3.97 with 171 strikeouts against 43 walks in 170 innings.
As for the Mets, every win is important these days as they try to remain within striking distance of that second NL wild-card spot, which is presently occupied by the Cubs. The Nationals, meantime, still have a fairly solid grip on the top wild-card spot.
Rangers ends Yankees' no-shutout streak
For the first time in 429 days, the Yankees were shut out Monday afternoon. Mike Minor and a pair of Rangers relievers held the Yankees to six hits in the shutout win. Minor was marvelous.
Minor is now sitting on a 3.12 ERA through 181 2/3 innings. He leads all pitchers in WAR, largely because the Rangers have a crummy team defense, and because Minor has faced difficult competition. (The difference in WAR between Minor and Justin Verlander essentially boils down to Minor facing the Astros and Verlander facing the Rangers.)
Monday's loss was New York's first shutout June 30 of last season. The no-shutout streak spanned 220 games and was the second longest such streak in baseball history. The list:308 games (1931-33 Yankees)220 games (2018-19 Yankees)212 games (1978-79 Brewers)208 games (2000-01 Reds)174 games (1992-93 Phillies)
The longest active no shutout streak now belongs to the Athletics. They were last shut out on May 9, 98 games ago.
Harper his 30th in Phils' win
The Phillies thumped the Reds thanks in part to Rhys Hoskins' two homers. Also homering was $330 million man Bryce Harper, who hit his 30th dinger of the season:
That's the third time in Harper's career that he's reached the 30-homer mark in a season. That makes him just the 47th player in MLB history to register three or more 30-homer campaigns by age 26. Five sluggers -- Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Robinson, Eddie Mathews, and Jimmie Foxx -- share the record with six 30-homer seasons by age 26. Mike Trout of the Angels did it five times.
As for Harper in his first Philly season, he entered this game with a strong OPS+ of 123, and now he's batting .257/.372/.505 for the year. His Phillies remain within range of the Cubs for the second NL wild-card spot.
Stats of the day: Miggy hits No. 475; Aquino hits No. 15
Against the Twins on Monday, Detroit batsman Miguel Cabrera hit his 10th home run of the season and No. 475 for his career:
Cabrera is now tied with Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Willie Stargell on the all-time list. He's now just two home runs away from tying Adrian Beltre for 30th place.
High-level mathematicians will note that Cabrera is now just 25 home runs away from becoming the 28th member of the 500-home run club. The 36-year-old Cabrera is in deep decline phase -- he's batting .282/.344/.398 on the season -- but he's also still under contract through at least 2023 (with vesting options for 2024 and 2025). That means barring premature retirement or release, he's going to stick around long enough to get to 500 and then some. He's also now just 202 hits from 3,000 for his career.
Cabrera is of course a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, and all that remains is seeing how high he can climb on the various career lists. That's also about the only thing going on with the Tigers these days.
Now let's jump over to Reds rookie god of thunder Aristides Aquino, who on Monday cracked his 15th home run of the season:
As noted, that's a record (coincidentally, Aquino's Reds are playing Hoskins' Phillies on Monday). He also gets to 15 home runs in just his 33rd game (and 30th start). The raw power has long been there, but swing changes in the spring have allowed Aquino to reach a level never really imagined for him. Speaking of which, he's now slugging .761 on the year.