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Elias Says: Aug. 17, 2017

Rizzo blasts first-inning grand slam in Cubs’ walkoff win

Anthony Rizzo blasted a grand-slam home run in the first inning staking the Cubs to a 4-1 lead, but Chicago had to wait until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Javier Baez scored on a wild pitch, to come away with a 7-6 victory over the Reds on Wednesday. The Cubs are the second team this season to hit a grand slam homer in the first inning in a game in which they won in walk-off fashion. The Tigers did it just four days prior, when James McCann homered with the bags full in a five-run first inning in a game in which Detroit beat Minnesota by scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth.

It’s the first time in over 49 years that the Cubs hit a grand slam homer in the first inning in a game in which they won in walkoff fashion. On July 7, 1968, Ernie Banks went deep with the bases loaded off Steve Blass in the first inning, but the Pirates rallied to tie the game at four while their bullpen, led by Dock Ellis’s 6.2 innings, did not allow another hit heading into the ninth inning. The Cubs came away with a 5-4 victory when Jose Arcia led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run off of Bob Veale.

Richard snaps winless streak with shutout of Phils

Clayton Richard, who entered the game winless in his last 10 starts, pitched a three-hit shutout in the Padres’ 3-0 victory over the Phillies on Thursday. Richard became the first pitcher to hurl a shutout after entering the contest without a victory in any of his previous 10 starts that season in nearly nine years, since Pittsburgh’s Zach Duke blanked the Giants on September 5, 2008. Duke had gone 0-9 in his 14 starts prior to his shutout.

Dodgers record win number 85

The Dodgers scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to overcome a 4-2 deficit and post a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday. The Dodgers ran their record to 85-34 with the victory. Only two other teams in the last 60 years reached 85 wins in fewer than 120 decisions: the 1998 Yankees (114) and 2001 Mariners (118). The last National League team to reach 85 wins as quickly as the Dodgers was the 1944 Cardinals (114 games).

Didi produces third straight extra-base hit with the bases loaded

Didi Gregorius stroked a two-out bases-loaded double in the seventh inning giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead in a game they would go on to win by that score over the Mets on Wednesday. Gregorius has now produced an extra-base hit in each of his last three plate appearances with the bases loaded, with a home run against the Astros on July 1 and a double against the Blue Jays on July 5. That’s the longest such streak for any player this season. Prior to Gregorius, the last Yankee with an extra-base hit in three consecutive plate appearances with the bags full in a single season was Robinson Cano during the 2010 campaign.

Rockies’ trio blast Braves

Trevor Story had three hits and six RBIs and Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra each produced three hits and four RBIs in the Rockies’ 17-2 rout of the Braves on Wednesday. Over the last 50 seasons, only two other National League teams had three players produce at least three hits and four RBIs in a nine-inning game: the Reds against the Rockies on May 19, 1999 (Sean Casey, Jeffrey Hammonds and Brian Johnson) and the Phillies against the Rockies on May 26, 2008 (Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste).

Betts’ two run double gives Sox another comeback win

Mookie Betts’ delivered a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning giving the Red Sox a 5-4 win over the Cardinals at Fenway Park on Wednesday. It marked the first time in his 470-game career that Betts produced a hit that turned a deficit into a lead later than the fifth inning.

It’s the third time this month the Red Sox won a game in which they trailed when they came to bat in ninth inning, having also done that against the Indians on August 1 and against the Yankees on August 13. No other team has more than one such win this month. The last time the Red Sox won at least three games when trailing when they came to bat in the ninth inning in a single calendar month was in April of 1998 (five wins).

Four games end with a 7-6 score

Four games were decided by the score of 7-6 on Wednesday. It marks only the second time in major-league history that four games had a final score of 7-6 on the same day. The only other time that happened was on September 22, 2004 (four).

Calhoun delivers the big blow in Angels’ win

Kole Calhoun’s two-out, two-run home run in the sixth inning was the decisive blow in the Angels’ 3-2 win over the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon. Calhoun entered the contest hitting just .149 with two outs and runners on base this season. That was the third-lowest batting average among the 131 players with 60 or more at bats entering Wednesday’s action, ahead of Mitch Moreland (.139) and Hunter Renfroe (.143).

Everyone contributes in Astros’ win

All nine Astros starters produced at least one hit in the team’s 9-5 win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. It’s the 11th time that every player in Houston’s starting lineup had a hit in the same game this season, by far the most such games in a single season in the team’s franchise history. Houston did not have a single game in which all nine starters had a hit during the 2016 season and the previous team high for a season was seven such games in 1974.

Cain has his toughest first inning in nearly 10 years

The Marlins touched up Matt Cain for four runs in the first inning and coasted to an 8-1 victory in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. It marked the first time in nearly 10 years that Cain allowed four or more runs in the first inning, since he gave up five runs in the opening frame against San Diego on September 11, 2008. Cain’s first-inning ERA rose to 8.14 this season, which is the fourth highest among major-league pitchers who have made 20 or more starts, ahead of Ariel Miranda (9.75), Patrick Corbin (8.63) and Jeff Samardzija (8.25). Cain has now allowed 19 runs in the first inning in his 21 starts this season which is one fewer than the total number of first-inning runs he allowed in the 43 starts he made from 2014 through 2016.

Pina makes his home runs count

Manny Pina’s two-run home run in the eighth inning turned a 6-5 deficit into a 7-6 Brewers’ lead in a game Milwaukee would go on to win by that score on Wednesday. Pina, whose eight home runs as a catcher rank him tied for 23rd in the majors in that category at that position, is the only backstop who has hit multiple homers in the eighth inning or later to turn a deficit into a lead this season. His other such homer came on May 14 in the eighth inning against the Mets.

Mariners rough up Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed six runs in 4.1 innings pitched in the Orioles’ 7-6 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field on Wednesday. Jimenez has allowed six or more runs in 15 starts since he joined the Orioles in 2015, tied with Julio Teheran for the third most such starts in the majors over that span, behind Bartolo Colon (16) and Jeff Samardzija (16).

Gordon puts his struggles aside

Alex Gordon drove in a run with a single in the fifth inning and then knocked in what proved to be the winning run with a single in the ninth inning in the Royals’ 7-6 victory over the A’s on Wednesday. Gordon entered the day with only three games in which he had multiple hits and RBIs this season, the third-fewest such games among major-league players with 400 or more plate appearances, ahead of Dee Gordon and Kevin Pillar (two each).

Stroman shuts down Rays at the Rogers Centre

Marcus Stroman held the Rays to two runs while pitching one out into the seventh inning and Toronto’s bullpen held on for a 3-2 victory on Wednesday. Stroman entered the contest 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in four career starts against the Rays at the Rogers Centre while posting a 17-6 record with a 2.95 ERA against all other opponents in Toronto’s current home.