It was a tremendous Sunday all across Major League Baseball that included five one-run games and three walk-offs. With so many good games, it is hard to pick which one should go first. We start with the walk-offs, but I cannot pick one over the others so we will go in chronological order.
Astros 8, Blue Jays 7
This probably is the best game of the lot anyway so it is fitting we start with it. The Astros went ahead 4-1 after four innings, capped by a two-run homer by Michael Brantley. The Jays got one back thanks to a home run by their Gurriel brother, Lourdes Jr. After the Astros added another and went ahead 5-2, the Jays tied the game up thanks to a three-run homer by Zack Collins.
Collins has been a revelation behind the plate for Toronto, posting a .960 OPS and three home runs so far. In the very next inning, the Jays completed the comeback on a double by Matt Chapman.
However, Houston answered right back in their half of the seventh to tie the game at six. Both teams went scoreless in the eighth and ninth and the game went to extras. In the 10th, the Jays took the lead on a double by Gurriel Jr.
Yet this game had one last twist left in it. In the bottom half of the 10th, their rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña stepped to the plate. The Astros moved on from Carlos Correa knowing they had Peña behind him and so far it is paying off. Peña upped his OPS on the season to .873 with his third homer of the year, a two-run shot that walked it off and gave Houston a much-needed win.
Twins 6, White Sox 4
The Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and that lead held up for a while thanks to Lucas Giolito. In his return from injury, the Sox ace dazzled, striking out nine across four innings. He did issue three walks and ran his pitch count up in his first start back, forcing an early exit.
That would prove costly, because the bullpen had a rough day for the White Sox. First, they expanded their lead to 3-1 as Danny Mendick launched a home run to give them what looked like a very important insurance run.
After that, this game turned into the Byron Buxton show. The Twins superstar recently escaped major injury, and we should all be very thankful he did. He is one of the great talents in the league and he took over Sunday. His first act was to tie the game at three with an opposite-field shot.
The game went to extras where the White Sox got their ghost runner across, but Buxton had an epic response up his sleeve. With one out in the 10th, facing Liam Hendriks in a 3-1 count, the Twins center fielder got a fastball and did not miss it. He launched the pitch a whopping 469 feet, the longest home run of the day, and swept the White Sox in emphatic fashion. Chicago is 6-9 to start the season and has to be one of the biggest early-season disappointments in the league.
Mariners 5, Royals 4
Ty France was the star of the weekend and he shined again Sunday. He opened up a 2-0 lead in the first inning with this home run, his fifth of the season. France had five hits Saturday, including a homer, and three more including the homer Sunday.
The Royals did not lay down and their team legend, Salvador Pérez, tied the game at two with an RBI double. The Mariners retook the lead with a JP Crawford single in the sixth, but Kansas City tied it up again in the ninth thanks to a home run by Hunter Dozier. The game went to extras where both teams cashed in their ghost runner in the 10th.
After neither team scored in the 11th, Jesse Winker walked it off with an RBI single to score Adam Frazier and give his team a sweep. The Mariners are 10-6 and one of the most fun teams in the league.
Marlins 5, Braves 4
Jesús Luzardo followed up a rough second start with another great start in his third appearance of 2022. The southpaw struck out eight in five innings, and allowed just one run. He ran into trouble in his final inning where he allowed his one run, but got out of it with a huge strikeout of Austin Riley.
The Marlins offense had a great day at the plate and neither Jazz Chisholm Jr. nor Jesús Sánchez had a hit, a promising day for them. They had eleven hits, seven of which were for extra bases and came from six different players. Garrett Cooper had the biggest day at the plate, racking up three hits including this RBI double that grew the Marlins lead to 4-1. Cooper would come around to score and Miami took their biggest lead at 5-1.
However, the Braves did not go away. The Marlins lack of a true closer showed as Tanner Scott entered and allowed three runs to score. The ninth-inning rally was capped off by a two-run homer from Austin Riley to bring the game within a run.
Louis Head took over for Scott and allowed a double to the first hitter he faced, but struck out the next two and the Marlins survived. They are 7-8 on the year and after taking two-of-three from Atlanta, sit at 5-2 against their division. Meanwhile, the Braves are 7-10 and have lost five of their last seven.
Dodgers 10, Padres 2
In a day headlined by close games there were also three blowouts. One of them came in San Diego as the Dodgers routed the Padres and took a series win. The game was never really close and usually would not be this high up in the reel if it were not for who provided the power for the Dodgers. First it was Freddie Freeman putting LA ahead 3-0 with a 425-foot homer, the fourth-longest of the day.
One of the redemption stories developing early this year is Cody Bellinger. After a dismal 2021 season, the former MVP is returning to his old form to this point. He has a .915 OPS and four dingers following his two home run performance Sunday. Here is the first.
And here is the second. Clayton Kershaw made things easy for LA, allowing just one run in five innings. The Dodgers are 11-4 and atop the standings where everybody expected them to be.
Brewers 1, Phillies 0
The Sunday nighter was an epic pitcher’s duel between Eric Lauer of Milwaukee and Aaron Nola for Philadelphia. The two struck out 22 combined hitters across six and seven innings, respectively, and neither allowed a run.
The game went scoreless to the ninth and the two teams had just eight combined hits. It was ugly and hard work for both teams all night, so it was fitting the only run came on a sacrifice fly by Christian Yelich, who struck out twice earlier.
Josh Hader did what he does in the ninth to secure the victory for the Brewers. Kyle Schwarber freaked out on Angel Hernández, who lets just say had a rough night behind the plate. Schwarber struck out twice on pitches outside the zone and decided he had enough. Considering there were 26 total strikeouts in the game, the umpire may have had something to do with it.
Angels 7, Orioles 6
This game was extra drunk.
In the first inning the Angels took a quick 2-0 lead, then with the bases loaded Jo Adell stepped up and made things a whole lot worse for the Orioles.
Credit to Baltimore, they just never gave in. They just kept griding away, scoring in bunches twice to tie the game. They scored three in the third, then three more in the seventh to tie the game. Trey Mancini hit a three-run homer to make it 6-3 first, then with a run already in and trailing 6-4 in the seventh, Austin Hays launched a two-run homer to knot things up.
After not scoring for six innings, the tie game must have jolted the Angels awake. They worked the bases loaded and Taylor Ward drew a walk to bring in Shohei Ohtani, which turned out to be the winning run. Archie Bradley rolled a double play ball to erase the tying run and close out the game.
The win saves the Angels from the disaster of getting swept by the lowly Orioles, and pushes their record to 9-7 on the year.
Pirates 4, Cubs 3
The final one-score game of the day took place in Chicago and it was a good one. The Cubs went ahead 2-0, their 23rd consecutive run against the Pirates over the last two days. However, this time the Pirates kept the game within reach and even had an answer. They got one in the second, then two more in the third to take the lead on a double by Kevin Newman.
Pittsburgh got one more in the fourth, and cruised through the middle part of the game. Then they started doing Pirates things and gave the Cubs life. However, Chicago just could not get the clutch hit. They outhit the Pirates 10-6, but went 3-for-13 with RISP and left 11 runners on base. Ian Happ got one back in the eighth with a home run to cut the lead to one.
Things got really interesting in the ninth, but the Cubs left them loaded as David Bednar struck out Frank Schwindel to close it out.
Giants 12, Nationals 3
Another blowout that featured a multi-homer game from a notable source. This time it was Joc Pederson who launched a pair of bombs. It was part of a 3-for-3 day that was so good he was lifted for Austin Slater to get a breather. Joc is loving life back at home so far, posting a 1.133 OPS and five home runs. His first Sunday was a leadoff bomb, the second longest across the league.
Logan Webb struggled a bit early, allowing three runs in three innings that got the Nats back into it, but it was only for a bit. Webb settled in and did not allow a run for the rest of his outing, finishing off with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Joc’s second of the day came with the Giants up 5-3 in the seventh to double up the Nats. They would double their total in the ninth, cruising to a series sweep and now sit at 11-5.
Yankees 10, Guardians 2
New York picked up a huge sweep over Cleveland and did it in emphatic fashion. The Yanks outscored the Guardians 19-7 across the three games and flexed their offensive muscles Sunday. They had 13 hits including three home runs and five doubles. Anthony Rizzo had one of each and has the OPS up to .953 on the year. Gerrit Cole struck out nine and allowed just four hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings.
Reds 4, Cardinals 1
The Cincinnati Reds won a baseball game!
After 11-straight losses, the Reds beat the Cardinals Sunday to salvage a win from a weekend set. They scored two in the first, another in the second and one more in the sixth. The Cardinals scored their only run in the fourth on a double by Tyler O’Neill.
The Reds got it done behind rookie southpaw Nick Lodolo who was tremendous. He worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on five hits and no walks while striking out seven. He showed off his nasty hook on this strikeout of Harrison Bader.
Rockies 6, Tigers 2
It was a weekend of celebration for the Tigers as Miguel Cabrera eclipsed 3,000 hits, but that was as far as it went. The Rockies spoiled the fun by taking two-of-three from Detroit and Sunday’s win was breezy. Randal Grichuk had three hits and a homer, Charlie Blackmon had four hits and Just Baseball favorite Connor Joe doubled to open up a 5-1 lead in the fourth. Joe has a 1.022 OPS, Grichuk is hitting .405 and is up to a 1.020 OPS while Blackmon’s OPS is sitting at .821.
A’s 2, Rangers 0
Just nine hits in this one and only one scored runs, a two-run homer by Stephen Piscotty. Cole Irvin pitched five shutout innings with four strikeouts and helped the A’s continue their winning ways. They are a surprising 9-8, while the Rangers are a dismal 5-10. Luckily for Texas, they took two-of-three from Oakland this weekend.
Mets 6, Diamondbacks 2
The Mets are really good and the D-Backs are really not. These two teams have now completed their season series with New York taking four-of-six. Madison Bumgarner pitched five one-run innings, but his bullpen let him down. The Mets piled on one in the six, two in the seventh and two more in the eighth. New York had 10 hits, but just three went for extra bases. JD Davis had one of those, a home run to right that put the Mets up 5-2. They have now won five of their last seven.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3
It has not been all butterflies and rainbows for Tampa so far but they are 9-7 through 16 games. They took a series win from the Red Sox Sunday behind seven innings of two-run ball from Shane McClanahan. He struck out seven and allowed six hits and no walks, lowering his ERA on the year to 2.45. Yandy Díaz hit a homer and Randy Arozarena had two hits. Kevin Kiermaier made the play of the day with this sick over-the-shoulder catch.
A new week begins tomorrow with the lightest schedule of the season to this point. There are just seven games on the schedule, beginning with the Giants and Brewers facing off at 6:10 p.m.