MLB: There was controversy in the Cleveland Indians' win over the Houston Astros, while the San Diego Padres were in crushing form.
The Cleveland Indians benefited from a bad call from umpire Jim Joyce to defeat the Houston Astros 10-7 in Thursday's MLB action.
Cleveland were gifted two runs early in the victory over the Astros when Joyce mistook a plain-as-day foul ball for a pass ball that may prove to carry play-off implications.
While dumbfounded Astros catcher Jason Castro petitioned to Joyce, Indians baserunners Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli took advantage of the confusion and came around for a 4-1 lead.
Joyce then called time and huddled with his officiating crew, but chose to uphold the runs. And foul balls, like checked swings, are not reviewable - much to the chagrin of Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who emerged from the dugout in a fury and was promptly ejected.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres were in dominant form as a seven-run third inning set them up for a 14-1 win over the Colorado Rockies.
The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-1, and the Philadelphia Phillies downed the Washington Nationals by the same scoreline.
The New York Yankees edged the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4, the Milwaukee Brewers were too good for the St Louis Cardinals 12-5, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 6-3.
A NEW NOVA
Ivan Nova, acquired from the Yankees last month, is proving to be another successful reclamation pitcher for the Pirates. For the second time in seven starts since the trade, Nova tossed a complete game in a victory over the Reds. He allowed a run on six hits and struck out four without issuing a walk. The once-promising prospect is 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA with the Pirates after slogging through the first half of the season in New York.
There is only one way to properly cap a game that featured seven solo home runs, and Yankees rookie Tyler Austin's walk-off shot into the right field bleachers was just that. It was the only hit surrendered by the Rays bullpen, but it was the one that mattered.
YANKEE FIELD DAY
Austin was far from the only one who went yard at Yankee Stadium. For the first time this season, three players had multi-home run games as Brian McCann, Steven Souza Jr. and Kevin Kiermaier went for two apiece. The last time it happened was May 23, 2014, in a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins.
DODGERS MEET MARLINS
Clayton Kershaw's return to the mound will not be a simple task. The Dodgers ace (11-2, 1.79 ERA), making his first start since June, draws Marlins equal Jose Fernandez (13-8, 3.03), whose 1.91 ERA at home will be difficult to compete with first time out. Miami also recently welcomed back their own ailing star in Giancarlo Stanton, and at five games out in the National League wild-card race the club are clinging to their last play-off breaths.