Blackmon was tremendous as usual in setting the table for the offense out of the leadoff spot. He got the scoring started with an RBI single in the third inning before smacking the first of five Colorado home runs in the fifth. The 31-year-old outfielder is already just five short of last season's career-high 29 homers in 45 fewer games played.
Nova adjusted poorly to pitching in the league's most hitter-friendly venue, allowing home runs to Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story while failing to last at least six innings for just the second time in 20 starts. The veteran righty has consistently worked deep into games thanks to a terrific 78:17 K:BB, but his effectiveness has been limited over the past two starts due to 19 hits allowed. He'll have a great opportunity to get back on track on the road Saturday against a Padres offense that has scored the fewest runs in the league.
Ramirez clobbered the only extra-base hit for Boston on a 434-foot shot in the sixth inning, then managed to hit a leadoff single off closer Bud Norris before being erased two batters later on a game-ending double play. His 16 long balls are one back of Mookie Betts for the team lead.
Porcello struggled with the long ball in this one, as all three runs against him came on solo homers. He allowed 23 home runs in 223 innings while winning the AL Cy Young award last season, but has now given up just as many in 133.1 innings this year. That decline in performance coupled with a lack of run support has completely reversed Porcello's record from 22-4 to 4-13. He'll look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Saturday against the Royals.
This move is a little surprising, as Gratz was one the Eagles' only reserve cornerbacks with any playing experience whatsoever. The 2013 third-rounder shouldn't have too much of problem finding another job sometime soon.
Norris allowed a leadoff single to Hanley Ramirez, but proceeded to strike out Mitch Moreland before getting Xander Bogaerts to ground into a game-ending double play to preserve a 3-2 lead. He hasn't blown a save opportunity since May 2, converting 10 in a row.
The highlight of Janis' three-year career to date is likely his performance in the 2015 playoff game against the Cardinals in which the 2014 seventh-rounder caught a Hail Mary touchdown to force overtime. Other than that, Janis has only flashed on occasion as a situational downfield threat. Fortunately, he's one of the best special-teams players the Packers employ, which should help his case in securing a roster spot ahead of the 2017 campaign.
Chapman also homered in Saturday's game, so the youngster's power potential is showing clear signs of translating to the highest level. He now has four homers and a .485 slugging percentage through 75 plate appearances with Oakland. There is intriguing power upside, but Chapman's 34.7 stirkeout percentage and .267 on-base percentage aren't encouraging marks, so expectations should probably remain in check.
Bridwell has struck out just 30 batters in 46.2 innings, but that hasn't stopped the 25-year-old right-hander from posting quality starts in five of his first seven major-league starts. He has also stranded an unsustainable 91.1 percent of baserunners, so don't be surprised if Bridwell's 3.09 ERA starts catching up to his 5.27 FIP once that luck runs out. Bridwell's next start is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto.
Romano was excellent in this one, throwing 67 percent of his pitches for strikes and setting a career high in punchouts. His 98 pitches and six innings were also personal bests at the big league level, resulting in his first career quality start. Romano had previously posted a bloated 7.50 ERA over 12 innings with the Reds this season, but Sunday's performance showcased what he is capable of on his day. He figures to stick in the rotation for the foreseeable future and will look to build on this outing in Friday's road rematch with the Marlins.
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