Chris came into week 29 looking to gain ground on Robert, and he did just that. In game 1, he treated Rick Porcello like a child treats a diaper, and took the 10-5 win. Anthony Rendon knocked 2 homers to give him 25 on the year. In game 2, Chris scored 2 quick runs off of Sandy Alcantara (7-7) but Tim tied the game with single runs in the 3rd and 4th. Sandy couldn’t hold on, though, and Chris took the game, 5-2 for Charlie Morton (12-2). George Springer hit his 33rd homer, good for 3rd in the league. Game 3 was scoreless until the 5th, when Chris scored 3 runs, helped by a Dustin German (8-8) error. Tim answered with 2 runs on a two-out triple by Lourdes Gurriel in the 6th, but Gurriel was stranded on third when Harrison Bader grounded out. Both teams scored single runs in the 8th, but Liam Hendriks pitched a scoreless 9th to for his 3rd save, making a winner of Sonny Gray (13-8). Game 4 was a back and forth affair. Tim took the lead in the 8th with two runs, highlighted by a Manny Machado solo shot (his 5th). Chris then tied the game in the top of the 9th with two singles and a force out. Tim staved off the sweep, however, when Harrison Bader, of all people, hit a walkoff 3-run homer in the 10th. Jarred Hughes (1-3), after blowing his 3rd save, picked up the win and Zack Britton (4-3) took the L.
Robert, looking to keep his lead, was only able to manage a split against Phil. Robert didn’t score for deGrom in game 1, and tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the 8th, but Phil put up 3 runs in the top of the 10th, including a Paul Goldschmidt homer, to take the game, 5-2. Game 2 was another tight one, as the score was tied at 3 after 7, but Phil put up single runs in the 8th and 9th to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Game 3 shifted to Phil’s park, and the teams swapped roles. Phil was leading game 3, 3-0 but Robert scored 1 run in the 7th, 2 runs in the 8th, and another run in the 9th, on a Fernando Tatis Jr. homerun (his 19th), to take the game. Game 4 was more of the same. Mike Minor (11-9) and Yu Darvish (5-7) locked horns in a pitcher’s duel that was tied after 5, 1-1. In the top of the 6th, Jarrod Dyson tripled (his 3rd), and came home on a Miguel Sano sacrifice fly. Minor and Kirby Yates (5th save) made the lead stand up to save the split for Robert. His lead over Chris is now 1 game. Phil, with the split, remains 1 game behind John in Division 1.
John faced off against Bob and only managed a split. Walked Buehler (6-12) was outpitched by Gerrit Cole (7-11) in game 1 as Pete Alonso hit a 2-run homer and Bob took the 3-2 victory. John struck back in game 2 with a pitching gem of his own. Lucas Giolito (7-9) pitched a 1-hitter through 8 and John Brebbia nailed down his 7th save for a 4-1 victory over Masahiro Tanaka (10-9). In game 4, Bob scored 4 quick runs in the first off of Noah Syndegaard (8-8) and rode that lead to a 9-4 win for Jose Berrios (7-15). Game 4 was another nail-biter. Aaron Nola (10-7) pitched an incredible game, going 8 innings, striking out 12, and giving up only 2 hits and 2 runs. Mike Soroka (10-5) was that much better, however, as he gave up 1 run through 6.2 innings, and Willie Harris threw 2.1 innings for his 7th save.
Rich and Dougald faced off in a contest between 3rd place teams trying to stay in the pennant races. Rich made things easy for John Flaherty (8-7) in game 1, scoring 4 runs in the 2nd and coasting to a 10-5 win. Gleybar Torres hit his league leading 32nd and 33rd homers (he would hit two more in the series to for a league-leading 35, one over his teammate Mike Trout). In game 2, Rich put up 2 runs in the 4th and 5 runs in the 5th to beat Shane Bieber (8-10). Dougald scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th but was unable to get any further, making a winner of Julio Teheran (8-8). Game 3 was another laugher, with Rich scoring 5 runs in the 6th to put the game out of reach. Hyun-jin Ryu (9-8) went the distance for Rich in the 10-3 win. Dougald finally unleashed his offense in game 4, scoring 7 runs in the 2nd inning and coasting to a 12-5 win to avoid the sweep. Dropping 3 of 4, however, moves Dougald to 7 games out of playoff position as his team fades down the stretch. Rich stands at 3 games behind Phil for the playoffs.
Mark faced off against Paul in games that were blacked out locally. In game 1, Mark continued the trend of putting up football scores against Paul. Brandon Woodruff lasted just 1/3 of an inning as Mark scored 5 runs en route to a 16-5 win, despite two homers by Tommy La Stella (his 15th and 16th) for Paul. In game 2, Lance Lynn (10-7) shut down Paul’s offense, giving up just 1 unearned run in 7 innings as Mark defeated Max Scherzer (7-10), 4-1. Game 3 was a wild one. Paul put up 7 runs in the first 3 innings and things seemed under control, but in the 7th, Mark started to come back. He scored 4 runs in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th, but couldn’t quite get that tying run, as Lorenzo Cain was picked off first base by Sam Dyson in the 8th. Anthony deSclafani (5-9) won the game over Luis Castillo (10-10). Paul continued with his early offense in game 4, scoring 6 runs in the first off of Mike Leake, who didn’t record an out. But, once again, Paul’s pitching staff couldn’t quite keep things under control, and by the 3rd Mark had tied the game at 6. Not to be denied, Paul scored a single run in the 4th and 3 more in the 6th and his bullpen held up for the 10-6 win. Junior Guerra (2-1) pitched 4 innings of 1-hit relief for the win, and Ross Stripling (1-1) took the loss.