As is typically the case on Monday, there was not a full slate of a baseball to begin the workweek. Bummer. Here’s everything you need to know about Monday’s MLB action

Monday’s scores

A’s survive first test against Astros

The Athletics are living the good life right now. They came into Monday having won 16 of their past 20 games, and that includes four wins in six games against the Indians. The A’s are playing well right now, for sure.

Oakland will face a big test this week, however. The A’s are in Houston for a four-game series with the defending World Series champion Astros. On paper, the pitching matchups favor the ‘Stros (don’t they always?):

Cole and Montas were stellar in Monday night’s series opener — both threw six shutout innings — so this one came down to the bullpens. Stephen Piscotty hit a solo home run against Brad Peacock in the seventh, then smacked a run-scoring single against Joe Smith in the eighth for a 2-0 lead.

A’s setup man Lou Trivino retired all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings before giving way to closer Blake Treinen, who’s been close to automatic this season. He ran into some trouble in the ninth, but was able to get Evan Gattis to swing through a fastball for Strike Three to end the game with the tying run on base. Trivino and Treinen now have a combined 1.05 ERA in 86 innings this season.

So now make it 17 wins in 21 games for the A’s. Oakland is still nine games behind the Astros in the AL West, but this hot streak has allowed the A’s to creep within six games of the Mariners for the second wild card spot. The two AL West rivals have 10 head-to-head games remaining this season, including seven in Oakland. Intrigue!

Another walk-off for Wilmer

Give it up to Wilmer Flores. The man has a flair for the dramatic. The Mets infielder swatted another walk-off home run in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader against the division-rival Phillies. To the moving pictures:

That is the fourth walk-off home run of Flores’ career, tying Mike Piazza, Kevin McReynolds, Cleon Jones and Chris Jones for the most in franchise history. Also, Flores now has 10 walk-off RBI, the most in franchise history. Monday’s homer broke a tie with David Wright. Now look at this:

  1. David Wright: 6,869 plate appearances with the Mets
  2. Cleon Jones: 4,683 plate appearances with the Mets
  3. Mike Piazza: 3,941 plate appearances with the Mets
  4. Kevin McReynolds: 3,218 plate appearances with the Mets
  5. Wilmer Flores: 1,789 plate appearances with the Mets

Flores has racked up all those walk-offs with the Mets despite significantly fewer — literally thousands fewer — plate appearances than all those other guys. He’s been in the right place at the right time an awful lot.

Nola beats the Mets on the mound and at the plate

The Phillies shook off the Wilmer walk-off and beat the Mets in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader, and staff ace Aaron Nola led the way. He allowed one hit in seven shutout innings.

Nola is now 12-2 with a 2.27 ERA on the season. He’ll be in Washington for the All-Star Game next week.

But wait! That’s not all Nola did Monday. He also drove in all three Phillies runs with a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning. Here’s video of his two-way efforts:

Whale of a game for Nola. Can’t do much more than that following a disappointing walk-off loss in the first game of a doubleheader.

Archer labors in return from DL

For the first time since June 2, Rays righty Chris Archer took the mound in the big-league game Monday night. He missed five weeks with an abdominal strain. Archer’s return from the disabled list didn’t go too well. He labored against the Tigers and didn’t get out of the fourth inning.

Archer needed 78 pitches to get 10 outs Monday. Can’t say I’m surprised he was a bit rusty after such a long layoff.

The Rays have been bullpen-ing their way through the past month with two starters (Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi) and hey, it’s working. They’re winning games and have the lowest ERA in baseball since they first used the “opener” on May 19. Surely manager Kevin Cash to glad to have Archer back though. He makes pretty much every rotation better.

Marlins stun Hader in Yelich’s return to Miami

For the first time this season, one of the former Marlins outfielders returned to Miami. Christian Yelich and the Brewers opened a three-game series at Marlins Park on Monday night. Marcell Ozuna will return to Miami with the Cardinals in August, and, two weeks after that, Giancarlo Stanton will return for an interleague series with the Yankees.

Yelich received a nice hand from the (sparse) crowd Monday and went 2 for 5 in the ballgame. The big story from Miami? Starlin Castro and Brian Anderson smacked back-to-back home runs against All-Star Josh Hader. How about that? Hader had allowed two homers in 44 2/3 innings coming into Monday, then bam, back-to-back dingers.

The Marlins eventually stole Monday’s game away from the Brewers courtesy of Bryan Holaday’s walk-off single in the 10th inning. That’s a tough loss for the Brew Crew in Yelich’s return to Miami.

Orioles split doubleheader with Yankees

The 2018 Orioles are objectively terrible. They went into Monday’s doubleheader with the Yankees with a 24-65 record — that’s a 118-loss pace — and a minus-144 run differential. Awful.

So, naturally, the O’s beat the Yankees — a team on pace for 108 wins this season — in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader. Mark Trumbo (two-run) and Danny Valencia (three-run) clubbed homers against CC Sabathia to turn an early 3-0 deficit into a 5-4 win.

With the win in Monday’s doubleheader opener, the Orioles are now 4-3 against the Yankees this season. That’s the kind of thing that could come back to bite New York in the AL East race. Gotta beat up on the bad teams whenever you can. 

The Yankees did blow the O’s out in the second game of the doubleheader to even the season series 4-4, but still. They let a winnable game slip away against a bad team earlier in the day.

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