It’s Labor Day, so that means lots of day baseball. Let’s get to it. 

Monday’s scores

deGrom twirls another gem

Jacob deGrom is presently locked in a battle with Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola for the NL Cy Young award. His bullpen and offense with the Mets haven’t done him any favors, but if you remove those external considerations then deGrom has perhaps the strongest case. 

Speaking of all that, deGrom against the Dodgers on Monday turned in another strong outing against one of the NL’s best offenses. DeGrom worked six innings, allowed only one run, and struck out six against one walk (while also going 2 for 2 at the plate). That means his ERA for the season remains an MLB-best 1.68 in 188 innings. Along the way, he’s struck out 230 batters. That brings us to this … 

While a couple of others have authored 25 straight starts with three runs or fewer, deGrom is the only one to manage such a streak in the same season. So history hath been made. You’ve seen his dominance detailed above; now note that ruthless consistency. NL Cy Young frontrunner? Quite possibly. 

Before we take leave of the Mets, let’s appreciate Todd Frazier’s relentless pursuit of a pop foul in this game … 

Also, Brandon Nimmo hit a decisive home run in the ninth. 

On the Dodgers’ side, this loss plus the Rockies’ taut win over the Giants (see below) means that the Dodgers have now slipped to second place, a half-game behind Colorado.     

Red Sox crush Braves late

It took a while for things to get going, as neither team had a hit in Atlanta for several innings. It was 0-0 heading to the fifth when the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead. It was only 3-2 Red Sox heading to the eighth inning and the visiting team would hang five more runs to pull away. The big blow insurance-wise was Ian Kinsler’s two-RBI single: 

The Braves maintain their four-game lead in the NL East, thanks to a Phillies loss. 

Clutch Harper, Nats walk-off Cardinals

The Cardinals went 22-6 in August, but they are now 0-3 in September and have fallen back behind the Brewers in the NL Central/wild-card race. They led nearly all game Monday — against Max Scherzer, too! — but Bryce Harper destroyed one 451 feet to dead center to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth: 

Harper ended the game in the 10th with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Remember when Harper was struggling? Thanks to a lava-hot second half, he’s now batting .246/.381/.500 with 31 homers and 11 stolen bases. Yep, he’s still going to get paid in a huge way this offseason.

In related matters, St. Louis closer Bud Norris struggled for a second straight day. On Sunday, the Reds got to him for three runs in 2/3 of an inning and tagged him with the loss. On Monday, he blew the save and allowed two runs to the Nats in 2/3 of an inning. In that brief span, Norris has seen his ERA rise from 2.85 to 3.60. More broadly, the Cardinals continue to have bullpen concerns. 

Rays just keep winning

The Rays thumped the Blue Jays on Monday thanks in large measure to Yonny Chirinos’ seven strong innings, and Kevin Kiermaier’s and Joey Wendle’s six combined hits. With the win, the Rays are now a season-best 11 games over .500. This, of course, is the very same team that was nine games under .500 on April 17. Kevin Cash’s club is now 20-10 since the start of August and 25-16 in the second half. 

Still, the reality is that the Rays are eight games out of playoff position in the AL, and coming into Monday the SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) gave Tampa Bay just a 1.4 percent chance of making the postseason. 

White Sox make franchise history in win over Detroit

While Monday’s Tigers-White Sox game on the South Side certainly didn’t move the playoff needle, it did occasion a bit of history. In the game, the White Sox hit three home runs en route to the 4-2 win. Those homers included a lead-off blast by Nicky Delmonico, Daniel Palka’s MLB-leading sixth ninth-inning home run of the season, and this walk-off blast by Matt Davidson … 

And with that, the ChiSox did something for the first time in franchise history … 

Yep, before Monday the Sox, in their long history, had never homered on the first and last pitch of the same game. Those Sox have now won eight of their last 11. 

Rockies make gains in playoff race

The Rockies at one point on Monday squandered a five-run lead against the Giants, thanks in part to a pinch-hitting rarity … 

However, Colorado pinch-hitter Noel Cuevas came through with a go-ahead, two-run single in the eighth inning, and close Wade Davis made the thin lead hold up by striking out the side in the ninth. Trevor Story homered twice along the way, and the shortstop now has 28 on the year.

With the win, the Rockies are now 3-0 for the month of September, and as noted above they’re now (narrowly) in first place in the NL West. 

A’s move closer to Yanks

Oakland’s home win over the Yankees means they remain 2 1/2 games behind the Astros in the AL West and are now just 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the race for the top AL wild-card spot. (The top wild card of course plays at home in the Wild Card Game.) 

The A’s bullpen was the story in this one, as five Oakland relievers combined for four scoreless innings in relief of Trevor Cahill. Blake Treinen worked a perfect ninth to pick up his 36th save and lower his ERA to 0.91. The Yankees managed just four hits. They’ve dropped five of their last eight despite the fact that seven of those games have come against the White Sox and Tigers. 

Brewers edge Cubs

The Brewers won a tight one at home over the Cubs and reduced Chicago’s lead in the NL Central to four games. Milwaukee won it when Christian Yelich beat the throw from Kris Bryant to avoid the bases-loaded double play in the ninth and thus allow the winning run to score. Have a look … 

It’s possible the recently activated Bryant should’ve gone home for the tag play on Keon Broxton, but that’s not what happened. On the bright side for Chicago, Anthony Rizzo accounted for the first home run by a lefty ever allowed by Josh Hader

Four games is a sizable lead this time of year, but the Brewers still have five more head-to-head cracks at the Cubs. Even so, Cole Hamels isn’t sure this is even a rivalry

Phillies funk continues

The Phillies have either lost or split eight consecutive series. With Sunday’s loss, they are now 8-16, which is the worst mark in the NL in that time. They’ve gone from first in the NL East by 1 1/2 games to four games back and aren’t even in a wild-card spot, either. 

Quick hits

  • The Indians have placed newly-acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson on the disabled list in order to get him on a rehab assignment. He’s had an injured calf for most of the season. He hit a grand slam Monday to kick off his Indians rehab, too. 

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