The Minnesota Twins continued their Cinderella bid to make the MLB playoffs this season with Sunday's 4-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Not only did the win complete the Twins' first road sweep of three-plus games over the Indians since 1991, it also gave them a half-game lead in the American League (AL) Central.
Many expected the Twins (39-34) to be heavy sellers while occupying the cellar of the mediocre AL Central. Instead, the young Twins have rallied together to become postseason contenders.
Ervin Santana continued his masterful season by tossing six shutout innings with seven strikeouts. The surprise Cy Young candidate improved to 10-4 with a 2.80 ERA this season.
The Twins, having now won five of their last six games, may even be buyers before the July 31 trade deadline. Surely one more starter, and possibly another bat, would go a long way to helping them win their first division title since 2010.
There was a 10th consecutive win for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who rallied to stun the Colorado Rockies 12-6.
Down by five runs in the third innings, the Dodgers hit back to extend their winning streak.
The Milwaukee Brewers crushed the Atlanta Braves 7-0, the Houston Astros were too good for the Seattle Mariners 8-2, reigning World Series champions the Chicago Cubs lost 4-2 to the Miami Marlins, the Texas Rangers edged the New York Yankees 7-6, the San Francisco Giants lost 8-2 to the New York Mets, the Toronto Blue Jays accounted for the Kansas City Royals 8-2 and the Detroit Tigers topped the San Diego Padres 7-5.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Angels beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2, the St Louis Cardinals were 8-4 winners against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, the Baltimore Orioles overcame the Tampa Bay Rays 8-5, the Cincinnati Reds posted a 6-2 victory over the Washington Nationals, while the Arizona Diamondbacks outlasted the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.
RIVERA GETS GOING
Mets catcher Rene Rivera jacked two home runs and drove in three runs to lead his team past the Giants.
Not only were Rivera's fourth and fifth home runs helpful to the Mets' cause, they also marked the 27th consecutive day in which at least one MLB player had a multi-home run game. It is the longest such streak in MLB history. Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger later joined Rivera with his sixth multi-homer game of the year.
Remember Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett? The guy who hit four home runs with 10 RBIs in a game earlier this month. Well, he was at it again Sunday, collecting four hits with two runs scored, a home run and two RBIs against the Nationals.
TEHERAN AND PINEDA STRUGGLE
Braves ace Julio Teheran has struggled all season and that did not change against the Brewers. Teheran served up seven earned runs off seven hits and two walks in just three innings to fall to 6-6 with a 5.30 ERA this season.
Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda allowed seven runs in just four innings while watching three home runs leave Yankee Stadium in a loss to the Rangers. The defeat drops Pineda to 7-4 with a 4.12 ERA this season.
BELLINGER GOES BANG, BANG!
Bellinger got in on the multi-home run action with two blasts in a win over the Rockies. Bellinger's 24th home run (his second of the game) marked the most by a National League rookie since the first All-Star Game was played in 1933.
CUBS AT NATIONALS
Both teams are coming off losses, but the Nationals have been the more consistent team this season. Washington will send Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.96 ERA) to the mound to try to fend off Eddie Butler (3-2, 4.19 ERA) and the mercurial Cubs bats on Monday. This, on paper, looks like a possible playoff matchup, but the Cubs have a lot of work to do in order to even make the postseason and catch the surprising Brewers in the NL Central.