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The Giants became the first team in baseball to reach 50 wins this season after a wild 6-5 victory over the A's in extra-innings on Saturday night. Alex Wood was on the mound for San Francisco and allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings. The first run came in the third as Elvis Andrus scored on a wild pitch. Wood gave up two base hits with one out in the fifth before he was relieved by Dominic Leone, who allowed one of the inherited runners to score and tie the game at two runs apiece. On the other side, Frankie Montas got the start for game two of the three-game series. He allowed two runs to score over his five innings of work. Both runs would come in on a two-run homer by LaMonte Wade in the fifth inning.
With the game tied in the seventh inning, Matt Chapman continued his hot stretch with an impressive opposite-field two-run shot off of Zack Littell. Not many right-handed hitters have the power to take the ball the opposite way in Oracle Park and send it over the wall. After Wilmer Flores brought the Giants to within one run with an RBI-single in the seventh, Donovan Solano played the hero in the eighth with a game-tying homer off of Jake Diekman.
The ninth inning brought some drama. After LaMonte Wade led off with a single, Darin Ruf drew a two-out walk to put a runner in scoring position for the Giants' best offensive producer this season, Brandon Crawford. Crawford got the hit, sending a line drive to shallow left field, but Tony Kemp was playing in and wisely hit the cut-off man, Matt Chapman. Chapman threw a perfect laser to catcher Sean Murphy, and Wade was out at home to send the game to the 10th inning. After a groundout put Seth Brown on third, Chapman came through with a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run.
The Giants were 4-5 in extra-inning contests and hadn't won a game via walk-off going into Saturday's action. Crawford started the inning on second. After Solano failed to move the runner over, Steven Duggar singled to score Crawford and tie the game. Up to bat was Curt Casali, who hit his second homer of the season the night before and was filling in for a banged-up Buster Posey. The unlikely hero doubled down the left-field line while Duggar raced home from first and beat the throw to end the game. If you know anything about the Giants championship runs from 2010-2014, you'd know they were filled with unlikely heroes. The race for the NL West is already shaping up to be a great one, but no one expected these Giants to lead the way as we approach the All-Star break. Since getting swept by the Dodgers in San Francisco in late May, the Giants are 22-7 and have not lost a series. They'll face those Dodgers for a two-game set following the final game against Oakland on Sunday.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Kyle Gibson -- 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K vs Royals
Gibson's worst start this season came on Opening Day when he allowed five runs and recorded just one out against the Royals. On Saturday, he got revenge by posting his best outing of the year, holding the Royals scoreless over seven innings and recording a season-high ten strikeouts. He tossed 64-of-95 pitches for strikes and generated 20 whiffs to finish with an outstanding 37 percent CSW rate (called strikes plus whiffs). The 33-year-old right-hander has not allowed more than three runs in any start since that first blowup. Gibson will carry a 2.00 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 74 strikeouts over 90 innings into his next start against the Mariners in Seattle.
Luis Castillo -- 7 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K vs Braves
Castillo is turning his season around after a disappointing start. Over his last five outings going into Saturday, he had posted a 2.43 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 29 strikeouts over 29 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old right-hander continued that run with a seven-inning shutout performance against the Braves. Castillo worked around six hits and two walks by inducing 15 whiffs and generating nine groundouts to work out of trouble. He'll look to keep it going with a matchup against the Padres in Cincinnati on Thursday.
Hitters with an EDGE
Randal Grichuk -- 3-for-4, HR, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB vs Orioles
How stacked is the Blue Jays lineup? Randal Grichuk has quietly put up a .267 batting average, 14 homers, and 52 RBI over 302 plate appearances. He drove in four of those runs on Saturday against the Orioles. With two runners on in the fifth, Grichuk blasted a three-run shot off of Konner Wade for his 14th homer of the season. He later drove in another run in the sixth with a base hit. It's easy to overlook Grichuk when he has Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer hitting ahead of him. He should continue to be in a position to drive in plenty of runs hitting in the middle of the Toronto lineup.
Joey Gallo -- 2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB vs Royals
Gallo had a big day at the plate, driving in five of the Rangers' eight runs and reaching base four times on Saturday. After drawing a walk in each of his first two plate appearances, Gallo launched a three-run homer in the fourth inning off of Ervin Santana. With a man on base in the eighth, the 27-year-old slugger blasted his second homer of the game and 15th on the year off of Wade Davis.
Eduardo Escobar -- 4-for-5, HR, 2B, 1 R, 5 RBI vs Padres
The Diamondbacks finally looked like an MLB team on Saturday, scoring 10 runs in a blowout win over the Padres in their first road win since April 25. Escobar was a big part of that, knocking four hits and driving in five runs. He plated the first run of the game with a double off of Dinelson Lamet in the first inning. Escobar later blasted a two-run homer in the third and drove in a run with a base hit in the sixth inning. The 32-year-old infielder is slashing .254/.300/.484 with 17 homers, 51 RBI, and a stolen base over 307 plate appearances.
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Patrick Sandoval -- SP, LAA (Available in 81 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Sandoval made three appearances out of the bullpen before joining the Angels' rotation on May 17. In his six starts, the 24-year-old left-hander has posted a 3.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts over 31 2/3 innings. He struck out nine batters in his last outing against the Tigers. Much of Sandoval's success is due to his devastating changeup. He's been able to induce a whiff rate of 58.4 percent on the pitch. That's tied with Jacob deGrom's slider for the highest whiff rate on any pitch thrown at least 200 times by starting pitchers. That's some good company there. A fastball that gets hit around will lead to some volatility, but there's plenty of upside in this talented young arm. If you're looking for some help in the pitching department, Sandoval could be one to take a chance on.
Yimi Garcia vs Nationals -- 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K
Garcia worked around a leadoff single to close out the game against the Nationals and pick up his 12th save of the season. He struck out two batters in the outing. Garcia has posted a 2.79 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 29 strikeouts over 29 innings while going 12-for-15 in save chances.
Amir Garrett vs Braves -- 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 K
Garrett allowed a leadoff hit to Ender Inciarte but got the next three batters out -- including a strikeout to Freddie Freeman -- to secure the win for the Reds. It was the fifth save of the season for Garrett. The Reds recently placed Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims on the injured list, so they're running out of arms to turn to in the ninth inning. Garrett started the season as the closer but has posted an incredibly underwhelming 7.71 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 29 strikeouts over 23 1/3 innings.
Edwin Diaz vs Phillies -- 1 IP, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Diaz entered the ninth inning of a tie game against the Phillies on Saturday and hit leadoff man Andrew McCutchen. A walk and a wild pitch put McCutchen on third before Nick Maton drove him in with a sacrifice fly to put the Phillies ahead. Diaz eventually got Ronald Torreyes to strike out and end the inning. The Mets ended up walking it off with two runs in the bottom of the frame, giving Diaz the win.
Alex Reyes vs Pirates -- 1 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Reyes needed just eight pitches to record three outs in the ninth inning against the Pirates and record his 18th save of the season. He's posted an excellent 1.04 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts over 34 2/3 innings despite a 20.7 percent walk rate. The 26-year-old right-hander is a perfect 18-for-18 in save opportunities.
Jose Cisnero vs Astros -- 1 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
The Tigers took game one of the doubleheader against the Astros. It was Cisnero who was called on to close out the game in the seventh inning. After getting Jason Castro to pop out, he struck out Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley to secure the win and record his third save of the season.
Ryan Pressly vs Tigers -- 1 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
After dropping the first game, Houston won game two of the doubleheader. Pressly entered the ninth inning with the Astros up by one run and struck out the side to record his 12th save of the season. The 32-year-old right-hander has posted an excellent 1.74 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 38 strikeouts over 31 innings while converting 12-of-13 save chances.
Adam Ottavino vs Yankees -- 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K
Matt Barnes had pitched in three of the last four games, so it was Ottavino who got the call for the Red Sox on Saturday. He got the final out in the eighth inning and entered the ninth with a three-run lead. A walk and two base hits would score a run, but Ottavino was able to secure the victory for Boston. It was the fifth save of the season for Ottavino.
Matchup of the Day
We've got an excellent pitching matchup in store on Sunday. Scherzer and the Nationals against Alcantara and the Marlins for the fourth game of the series. Miami has taken two of the first three games. The 36-year-old Scherzer has shown no decline in skill this season, posting a 2.19 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 112 strikeouts over 82 1/3 innings. Alcantara is growing into one of the premier young pitchers in the league, with a 2.93 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 90 strikeouts over 101 1/3 innings. He's pitched at least eight innings in four of his last six starts.
American League Quick Hits: Chris Sale faced live batters on Saturday at Fenway Park ... Corey Kluber may not rejoin the Yankees rotation until September ... The Yankees placed Zack Britton on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring injury ... Nick Anderson did some throwing off the mound on Saturday ... Willie Calhoun suffered a forearm fracture in Saturday's game against the Royals ... Alejandro Kirk has reported to Triple-A Trenton and will likely begin a rehab assignment ... Julian Merryweather threw a bullpen session this week ... Alek Manoah dropped the appeal of his five-game suspension ... Freddy Galvis was removed from Saturday's game with a leg injury ... Josh Fleming was placed on the 10-day injured list ... The Tigers recalled Zack Short from Triple-A ... Isaac Paredes was optioned ... The Astros recalled Andre Scrubb from Triple-A ... The Rays recalled Louis Head from Triple-A ... Ryan Brasier has been cleared to resume baseball activities ... The White Sox sent Alex McRae outright to Triple-A ... Wandy Peralta was placed on the injured list with back tightness ... Brooks Kriske and Albert Abreu were recalled from Triple-A by the Yankees.
National League Quick Hits: Bryce Harper may not be in the lineup on Sunday with a sore calf ... Jesse Winker left Saturday's game with a right hip contusion ... Ketel Marte left Saturday's game with an injury ... Sonny Gray began a rehab assignment on Saturday ... The Reds placed Tejay Antone on the injured list with a right forearm strain ... Kolten Wong left Saturday's game against the Rockies with left calf tightness ... Josh Bell returned to the Nationals lineup on Saturday ... Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session off the slope of the mound on Saturday ... Nico Hoerner will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday ... Austin Gomber will throw a bullpen session on Sunday ... The Cardinals are moving John Gant to the bullpen ... Tommy La Stella fractured his thumb during his rehab assignment ... Miles Mikolas expects to be cleared to throw bullpen sessions by the All-Star break ... Mychal Givens threw a bullpen session on Saturday ... Matt Adams has been cleared to ramp up his throwing ... The Pirates signed Shelby Miller to a minor league contract ... Pirates pitching prospect Max Kranick is expected to make his major league debut Sunday in St. Louis ... Andrew Knapp was activated from the 7-day concussion injured list ... Rafael Marchan and Matt Vierling were optioned to Triple-A ... P.J. Higgins will undergo Tommy John surgery ... Corbin Martin was optioned to Triple-A.