Round 1 to the King: Felix Hernandez dominated the first of what we hope will be many matchups against Yu Darvish, freezing the mighty Texas Rangers lineup during a 6-1 victory Monday night at Safeco Field. .
After giving up a combined 10 runs in his previous two starts, King Felix looked like his old self. He struck out seven batters while allowing six hits and walking two. Combined with a weekend sweep at Colorado, the Mariners have now won four straight games.
Hernandez's lone blemish of the night came when he surrendered a homer to Mitch Moreland in the eighth inning, but the Mariners offense had provided more than enough insurance by then (and we know that's not always the case). Darvish was far from sharp, lasting only four innings while giving up four runs and walking a season-high six batters. It was the first time in his MLB career that he did not pitch into the sixth and he was denied a chance to become the majors' first seven-game winner.
''I was apologetic. I wasn't able to go deep in the game as a starter should,'' Darvish said through an interpreter. ''Giving up those runs with only four hits; overall the approach and substance wasn't that good.''
Dashing Dodgers: Don Mattingly says his Los Angeles squad owns simple momentum, a fact that's hard to argue. Chris Capuano won his sixth game of the season in a 6-1 victory over Arizona at Chase Field. Despite a recent rash of injuries, the Dodgers have won five straight and have put a good amount of distance between themselves and the rest of the NL West. The D-backs are now 10 1/2 games out of first place after winning the division in 2011. Meanwhile, only the Giants trail the Dodgers by single digits and they're still seven games back.
Free baseball!: Speaking of the Giants, they had the good sense to start off their series in Milwaukee with a win. It took a little longer than expected, though, with the 4-3 victory over the Brewers only sealed when backup catcher Hector Sanchez homered in the 14th inning. Santiago Casilla pitched the two final innings to get the win.
Next stop: B&O Warehouse: The Red Sox looked like they were going to resume their recent struggles against the Orioles after entering Monday's sixth inning trailing by three runs. But it was this electrifying blast by David Ortiz that sparked a rally en route to an 8-6 win and it was easy to see why. Ortiz's shot at Camden Yards was only the 62nd to reach Eutaw Street.
The answer is no: Bryce Harper got his wish and was showered by only boos (and not batteries) on his first visit to Citizens Bank Park. Cole Hamels' favorite target went 2 for 4 with one run in a rainy 2-1 victory over the Phils. Gio Gonzalez struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced and pitched six solid innings before handing it over to a bullpen that bent but never broke. The Phillies have lost 12 of their last 15 games against Washington.
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Quote of the Day: ''I don't remember much. I know he went from very bad to very good to very old." — Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on the times he faced Colorado's Jamie Moyer during his career. Guillen was a lifetime 4 for 22 against Moyer, who is one year older than the nine-year managing veteran.
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Photo of the Day: Feeling zen? Maybe not so much
Cubs starter Matt Garza allowed seven runs in three innings during Chicago's 8-4 loss to the Houston Astros, leading manager Dale Sveum to say "'that was not Matt Garza pitching ... it's not the Matt Garza I've seen. It seems like he got out of whack somehow.'' The Cubs have lost seven straight games.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler
• Cincinnati's Mike Leake, Zack Cozart and Drew Stubbs hit back-to-back-to-back homers off Mike Minor during a 4-1 win over the Braves, but it hadn't been that long since the Reds hit three straight homers in a game. The team also did it against Colorado's Alex White last Sept. 10.
• In a 6-2 victory over the Rays, Toronto's Kyle Drabek became the first AL pitcher to win a game while walking six batters and recording three wild pitches since Juan Guzman did it for the Jays in 1994.
• Calling all boobirds: A 6-0 loss to the Royals dropped the Yankees to last place in the AL East. This is the latest they've been this low in the standings since May of 2008, which is also the last time that New York missed the postseason.
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- Yu Darvish
- Felix Hernandez