Max Scherzer was doing Max Scherzer things in St Louis on Sunday, and Bryce Harper showed why he was the leading vote getter for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.
Scherzer struck out 12 while allowing just two hits in seven shut-out innings to help lead the Washington Nationals to a 7-2 win over the St Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
With All-Star selections announced just prior to Sunday's game, Harper celebrated his inclusion by smashing a pair of home runs in his first two at-bats.
Harper finished the night three-for-five with the two homers, a double and four RBIs, after Scherzer struck out at least 12 batters in a game for the third time this season.
Mookie Betts led the way as the Boston Red Sox crushed the Toronto Blue Jays 15-1.
The Cleveland Indians overcame the Detroit Tigers 11-8, the Houston Astros were too good for the New York Yankees 8-1, reigning World Series champions the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3, the Miami Marlins topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3, the Texas Rangers lost 6-5 to the Chicago White Sox, the Seattle Mariners outlasted the Los Angeles Angels 5-3 and the Colorado Rockies went down 4-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Phillies crushed the New York Mets 7-1, the Baltimore Orioles saw off the Tampa Bay Rays by the same scoreline, the Minnesota Twins lost 6-2 to the Kansas City Royals, the Atlanta Braves prevailed 4-3 against the Oakland Athletics and the San Diego Padres claimed a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
BETTS LIGHTS UP
As good as Harper and Scherzer were Sunday, Red Sox outfielder Betts had the best day of anyone. Betts became the first leadoff hitter in Red Sox history with eight RBIs, as he drove in eight runs to lead Boston past the Blue Jays. Betts went four-for-six with a pair of homers and three runs scored. It helped that Lin Tzu-wei and Deven Marrero had three hits apiece at the bottom of the order to set Betts up to bring them home. Not to be left out were Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr., who also had a trio of hits each.
ANOTHER LONG OUTING FOR VERLANDER
The good news for the Tigers is they scored six runs in the ninth inning against the Indians. The bad news is they were already down 11-2 following another disastrous outing by Justin Verlander. The 34-year-old right-hander is now 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA after giving up seven runs on nine hits in just 3.3 innings. Verlander has an 11.30 ERA in three starts against the Indians this season.
ALTHERR SHOWS HIS SKILLS
Aaron Altherr turned what could have been a bad play into a great play. The Phillies center fielder made an incredible bobbling catch and then doubled up Mets outfielder Jay Bruce at first base in the seventh inning of Philadelphia's victory.
RED SOX AT RANGERS
What will Mookie do for an encore? Betts and the red-hot Sox, who have won four straight games and six of seven, head to Arlington to take on the Rangers on Monday. Texas probably cannot catch the Astros (56-27) in the American League (AL) West but can start to position themselves for an AL wildcard spot. Martin Perez (4-6, 4.70 ERA) gets the ball for the Rangers while Boston send struggling Rick Porcello (4-10, 5.06) to the mound.