Sometimes ... well, sometimes the unexpected happens.
1. Brandon Crawford gets hits and hits and more hits. The San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins played what might have been the game of the year, and Crawford joined the history books, going 7-for-8, including the go-ahead line drive to center that plated Brandon Belt with the winning run in the 14th inning of the Giants' 8-7 victory. Crawford tied the National League record for hits in a game, becoming just the fifth player since 1900 to record seven or more in a game. How can you not love this game?
Brandon Crawford, Giants, Aug. 8, 2016: 7-for-8 (8-7 win in 14 innings)
Rennie Stennett, Pirates, Sept, 16, 1975: 7-for-7 (22-0 win)
Cesar Gutierrez, Tigers, June 21, 1970: 7-for-7 (9-8 win in 12 innings)
Rocky Colavito, Tigers, June 24, 1962: 7-for-10 (9-7 loss in 22 innings)
Johnny Burnett, Indians, July 10, 1932: 9-for-11 (18-17 loss in 18 innings)
Crawford's feat will overshadow what was an exciting back-and-forth game that started with Johnny Cueto facing Jose Fernandez. The Marlins knocked out Cueto after five innings, but the Giants scored five runs off the Marlins' bullpen in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead. The Marlins re-grabbed the lead against Will Smith, who has been terrible since coming over from the Milwaukee Brewers, but then the Giants tied it up again. Got all that? The Giants kept leaving runners on base -- 18 all told, including three by Madison Bumgarner when he struck out with two outs and the bases loaded in the 13th (after the Marlins intentionally walked two batters to get to him). The game featured web gems by Adeiny Hechavarria and Giancarlo Stanton and this not-so-legendary slide:
The Giants also needed this one. They were an MLB-worst 6-15 since the All-Star break and Bruce Bochy missed the game; he was hospitalized in Miami after not feeling well. He's expected back Tuesday.
Brandon Crawford had 7 hits tonight.— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) August 9, 2016
Chris Davis has 7 hits since July 17th
@dschoenfield the Giants have raised my blood pressure 40 points tonight— Chase Parker (@chaseparker22) August 9, 2016
2. When a .005 percent chance means opportunity. The St. Louis Cardinals trailed the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, looking as if they'd fall to .500 for the first time since the All-Star break. After all, teams trailing by at least four runs in the ninth inning were 3-636 on the season entering the night. Reds closer Tony Cingrani had been effective of late -- a 1.23 ERA and .189 batting average allowed over his previous 22 innings -- and after Yadier Molina singled leading off the inning, Cingrani got the next two outs.
Then came the improbable rally: a walk, a hit-by-pitch, Matt Carpenter's two-run single, Stephen Piscotty's RBI single. With Matt Holliday up, Bryan Price kept in the left-handed Cingrani. Holliday walked to load the bases. Then Price went to the bullpen, bringing in righty Ross Ohlendorf to face lefty Brandon Moss. Where did Price rank on our manager rankings? Granted, this isn't exactly Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances he's working with here. Moss walked to tie the game, then Ohlendorf plunked Molina for the walk-off HBP in a 5-4 win.
As our colleague Tim Kurkjian likes to say, circle this game.
It's A Walk-Off! 🚶🚶🚶 pic.twitter.com/BUhUtwlv9V— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 9, 2016
3. The comeback kids. The Texas Rangers merely trailed 3-1 when they scored three runs in the ninth to stun the Colorado Rockies. Mitch Moreland's two-out double down the right-field line scored Elvis Andrus, who had singled in two runs to tie the game, with the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win. Andrus has been one of the keys for the Rangers this season, hitting .294/.349/.412. Like many others this year, he has benefited from the league-wide increase in offense and is producing the best numbers of his career, with an OPS 100 points higher than last year. Even adjusting for that increased offense, it's his best season, with an OPS+ of 100 -- a league-average hitter -- compared to his career OPS+ of 84. That's now five wins for the Rangers when trailing entering the ninth, most in the majors. Their 34 come-from-behind wins also lead the majors.
4. David Dahl has never gone hitless in a major league game. The Rockies rookie entered late in the game but singled in his only at-bat. That's 14 straight games with a hit to start his career, the third-longest streak since 1900 (although only the second-longest in Rockies history; Juan Pierre hit in 16 straight to begin his career). The MLB record is 17, by Chuck Aleno of the 1941 Reds. I've never heard of Aleno, and with good reason. He hit just .243 that season with one home run, played mostly in the minors the next two seasons, then got another shot in 1944 but hit .165. I suspect Dahl is going to have a much longer and more successful major league career.
5. The Edwin Diaz Experience. He needed just eight pitches to close out Seattle's 3-0 win over the Detroit Tigers (Hisashi Iwakuma with his second straight scoreless start). Five of those pitches hit 100 miles per hour, including a 102 mph heater that Victor Martinez somehow fouled off. That's five appearances in seven days for Diaz. Be careful, Scott Servais. The Mariners are suddenly just 2.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox and Tigers for the second wild card.