Thursday is typically a travel day in baseball and, as such, there were just 10 games on the day's abbreviated schedule. One-third of MLB enjoyed an off-day, but we still saw plenty of action -- much of it with playoff implications attached. Here is everything you need to know about Thursday's baseball action:
Select games can be streamed regionally viafuboTV(Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, click here.
The Cubs got yet another gem from Yu Darvish on Thursday night, and they led 5-0 going into the eighth inning. At one point in the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs had a 99.4 percent chance of winning the game. That's when the bullpen meltdown began. With one out, a David Bote error allowed the gates to open. Rowan Wick, Pedro Strop and then Derek Holland proved unable to stop the bleeding.
The Phillies pulled to within 5-3, and with one out and the bases loaded Bryce Harper stepped in against Holland. First comes the power, then comes the glory:
Second deck, throwback unis, presumably the fastest home run trot of Harper's career -- this one has it all. Once he touched home plate, this became true:
That's also the first Phillies come-from-behind, walk-off grand slam since September 1983.
For the Cubs, this means they remain tied with the Cardinals atop the NL Central standings, and the Phillies are now just one game behind the Cubs/Cardinals for the second NL wild-card spot. If the Phillies claw their way into the playoffs in Harper's first season in town, then this moment won't soon be forgotten. Actually, this moment probably won't soon be forgotten no matter what happens.
Bellinger first to 40, Trout second
The Dodgers fell to the Marlins on Thursday, but NL MVP front-runner Cody Bellinger provided some consolation as he became the first to reach 40 home runs for the 2019 season. Here's the blast of note:
That one went 412 feet, but, hey, we'll take the over on that measurement. Bellinger came into Thursday tied with Mike Trout and Christian Yelich for the MLB lead in home runs with 39, and now he's the first to 40. That's also the 104th home run of Bellinger's young career.
Speaking of youth, Bellinger becomes just the 26th player in MLB history to have a 40-homer campaign at age 23 or younger (and the first since Bryce Harper in 2015). Bellinger almost cracked that list twice, as he hit 39 home runs in 132 games as a rookie in 2017. As for this season, Bellinger is now batting .317/.416/.664 with 72 walks against 81 strikeouts -- an impressive ratio for a power hitter in 2019. Throw in his plus defense and, yes, you have the likely NL MVP on your hands.
Now back to Trout. Soon thereafter, he joined the 40-homer club for the second time in his career:
And that brings us to this nugget:
All those Bellinger merits noted above? Trout has been even better this season.
Tribe bombard Yanks
As you see above, the Indians in the series opener between these two division leaders mercilessly destroyed the Yankees in Thursday night. In all, Cleveland hit seven homers against the Yankees in this one, including two apiece by Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana. One of those was a first-inning grand slam by Ramirez, who has been absolutely wrecking the ball of late:
After it was done, the Yankees had tied a franchise record with those seven home runs allowed. To be fair, though, two of the seven dingers came off a position player -- rookie DH and Princeton product Mike Ford, who worked the eighth inning. Yasiel Puig also picked up a pair of hits in his return from suspension. In all, Cleveland racked up 25 hits, including at least two by every starter.
The Indians are now 28-11 since the start of July.
Alonso ties NL rookie record for home runs
Here's Pete Alonso of the Mets -- "Petaters" to those in the know -- hitting his 39th home run of the season:
As noted that ties the NL rookie record, which Alonso now shares with the above mentioned Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, who (see above) hit his 39 rookie bombs in 2017. The MLB rookie record belongs to Aaron Judge of the Yankees, who hit 52 also in 2017.
Alonso wound up going 5 for 5 with a walk and six RBI in this game, and he's now batting .264/.369/.595 for the season. Will he take NL Rookie of the Year honors? It'll likely come down to Alonso and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres, but if Alonso gets to 50 homers, which he's on pace to do, then he'll be tough to out-ballot.
Highlight of the day: Acua elevates
Ronald Acua Jr. has been one of the most valuable players in all of baseball this season because of his power, his speed on the bases and his defense. Insofar as his fielding is concerned, please regard this act of outfield pilfering:
That would've been J.D. Davis' 15th home run of the season, but alas and alack a certain 21-year-old superstar was on the case. Also much respect to Acua for slow-playing it and perhaps letting Davis and the Mets think the ball had cleared the fence until the throw came in. Troll whenever possible, kids.
The Diamondbacks placed LHP Robbie Ray on the 10-day injured list with a back issue, the team announced. Ray exited Wednesday's start with back spasms. It's unclear how long he will be sidelined.
Yankees RHP Luis Severino (shoulder, lat) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Thursday, reports MLB.com. He will face hitters in a simulated game this weekend and could begin a minor-league rehab assignment soon thereafter.
Cubs RHP Brandon Morrow threw live batting practice Wednesday, reports the Chicago Tribune. Morrow has been out since last June with a variety of arm injuries. If all goes well, he might be able to return in September.
Dodgers UTIL Chris Taylor will begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday, reports the Orange Country Register. He's been out since a pitch broke his forearm on July 15. Taylor figures to spend about a week in the minors.
The Phillies claimed RHP Jared Hughes off waivers from the Reds, the team announced. Hughes has a 4.10 ERA in 48 1/3 relief innings this year. RHP Edubray Ramos (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day injured list in a corresponding move.
The Mariners placed RHP Brandon Brennan on the 10-day injured list with shoulder inflammation, the team announced. He's battled shoulder trouble since June. LHP Taylor Guilbeau was called up in a corresponding move.