By Sam McPherson
While some sports fans may have been watching the NBA Finals or the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals last week, here is what they may have missed if they were not watching Major League Baseball.
Astros put together 11 straight wins and then blow No. 12 in spectacular fashion
Remember the 20th straight win for the Oakland Athletics in 2002? They blew an 11-0 lead before winning in the bottom of the ninth inning, 12-11. Well, the Houston Astros tried to do something similar while chasing a 12th-straight victory, but it didn’t work out so well for them last Tuesday night.
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The Kansas City Royals, victims of those 2002 A’s for the 20th straight win, turned the tables this time on their tormentors, as they scored six runs in the final two innings to erase a 7-3 deficit and break the Houston roll. Mike Moustakas had four hits, including the winning, walk-off home run for the Royals.
Rockies win seven straight, including three at Wrigley Field
The best team in the National League in terms of win percentage right now is the Colorado Rockies. The team from the Mile High City put together a nice win streak of their own, five of which came on the road away from Coors Field. These are not your father’s Rox, as the 2017 team is 24-12 away from home.
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With a 9-1 victory at Wrigley Field over the defending champs on Saturday, Colorado won seven straight games before dropping the finale against the Cubs on Sunday. The NL West has three teams currently playing ball at a .600-plus clip, so the Rockies have their work cut out for them. But they look pretty good so far.
Iannetta drives in seven runs against San Diego
One of those hot NL West teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks, got a crazy-good performance from its catcher on Thursday against the Padres. Chris Iannetta, with his third different team in three seasons, drove in seven runs against San Diego in a 15-3 victory, raising his season total to 20 in just 105 plate appearances.
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Iannetta also has eight HRs this year, begging the question as to why the D’backs keep giving starts to two other catchers hitting a combined .160 on the year. Yes, we know defense matters, but it’s hard to ignore Iannetta’s plate prowess in this case.
Gennett joins exclusive club with four-homer night against St. Louis
Speaking of unlikely plate performances, Cincinnati Reds utility man Scooter Gennett hit four HRs in a single game last Tuesday, driving in ten runs in the process. He had just three HRs and 20 RBI coming into the contest, when he got the start in left field against the Cardinals.
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In the long history of the Reds franchise, Gennett became the first Cincy player to accomplish feat. Let that sink in for a moment, considering the organization has produced the likes of Hall of Fame hitters Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan, Tony Pérez and Frank Robinson. The last player to hit four HRs in a game was Josh Hamilton, for the Texas Rangers back in 2012.
Yankees have some big bats, score 59 runs in six games
The Bronx Bombers are the best team in baseball right now, all things considered, and they proved it last week with an offensive onslaught reminiscent of the best New York Yankees teams ever. In a week where the team won five of six games, the offensive guys in pinstripes scored 59 runs, which averages out to just about ten runs a game.
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The Yankees hit five HRs on Saturday in a 16-3 win over Baltimore, and then on Sunday, New York beat the Orioles again badly, 14-3. Toss in two wins over the Boston Red Sox by a combined 17-1 score, and it was quite a successful week for the Yankees as they extended their American League East lead to four games.