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MLB Sunday scores, highlights, live team updates, news: Bartolo Colon, Justin Verlander put on epic duel

Seventy-one years ago Sunday, Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and made his major league debut. Every player will wear No. 42 in his honor during Sunday’s games. Here is everything you need to know about the day in baseball, which was cut short thanks to multiple rainouts.

Sunday’s scores

Sunday night duel in Houston; Colon, Chirinos stars

As is ordinarily the case on Sunday, there was just one night game, but it was a dandy. In fact, we nearly saw history. Rangers starter Bartolo Colon had a perfect game going through seven innings. Not only would he have been just the 24th man in history to pull off such a feat, but at 44 years and 326 days old, he would’ve been the oldest player ever to pitch a perfect game. He would’ve even been the oldest to ever throw a no-hitter. 

Alas, Colon walked Carlos Correa to lose the perfect game and then Josh Reddick doubled to ruin the no-hitter. They were the first two hitters of the eighth inning. Correa would score on a sac fly and that actually tied the game. 

Yes, Colon’s counterpart, Justin Verlander, was dealing as well. In eight innings of work, the only hit he allowed was a solo home run off the bat of Robinson Chirinos. Verlander had his good stuff and was missing bats routinely. The game moved quickly as each starter just carved up the opposition. Sure, a few balls were hit hard and right at defenders, but for the most part, the pitchers were either getting strikeouts or weak contact. When you hear there was a pitcher’s duel, this game was exactly what comes to mind. 

Also, check this out: 

What a showdown. It was a thing of beauty to watch unfold as well. The stat lines don’t necessarily do it justice. 

Colon’s final line: 7 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. He now has a 1.45 ERA with 17 strikeouts against just two walks in 18 2/3 innings this season. Again, he’s almost 45 years old. 

Verlander’s final line: 8 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K. He has a 1.35 ERA with 34 strikeouts against five walks in 26 2/3 innings this season. He’s not close to Colon, obviously, but Verlander is 35 years old. Amazing start to the season for him as well. 

Now, on the offensive end, Robinson Chirinos should take a bow. The Rangers scored three runs. He was 2 for 3 with a home run, double and three RBI. He also reached after being hit with a pitch. The game went to extras in part thanks to his solo homer in the third inning off Verlander and then he came through with a two-run double over the center fielder’s head in the top of the 10th inning. Keep in mind, Chirinos was also catching Colon and the three Rangers’ relievers that held down the potent Astros’ offense. 

Colon was the big story for the Rangers, but don’t forget about Chirinos. 

Ohtani’s third start postponed

Things could not be going better for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani so far this season. The team is off to a great start — the Halos came into Sunday with a 13-3 record and an MLB best plus-48 run differential in the early going — and Ohtani has been a huge reason why, on both sides of the ball too. Check out his early season numbers:

  • As a hitter: .367/.424/.767 with 3 HR and 11 RBI in eight games and 33 plate appearances.
  • As a pitcher: 2.08 ERA and 0.46 WHIP with 18 strikeouts in two starts and 13 innings.

According to FanGraphs, Ohtani is 37th among all hitters with +0.5 WAR and ninth among all pitchers with +0.6 WAR. Here is the super early 2018 WAR leaderboard coming into Sunday:

  1. Matt Chapman, Athletics: +1.3 WAR
  2. Max Scherzer, Nationals: +1.3 WAR
  3. Shohei Ohtani, Angels: +1.1 WAR combined
  4. Several players tied with +1.0 WAR

Last weekend, in his second MLB start, Ohtani took a perfect game into the seventh inning, and finished with 12 strikeouts in seven one-hit innings. He was disgusting, and I mean that as a complement.

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Ohtani was scheduled to make his third start of the season on Sunday, but alas, the Angels and Royals were postponed due to inclement weather in Kansas City. He will instead start Tuesday’s series opener against the Red Sox. (The Angels have an off-day Monday.)

Already this season 21 games — 21 games! — have been postponed due to the weather. There were 39 postponements all of last season and only 25 postponements in 2016. 

Syndergaard strikes out eight straight Brewers

Sunday afternoon at a frigid Citi Field, the pitcher they call Thor fell two short of tying the record for consecutive strikeouts. Noah Syndergaard fanned eight straight Brewers from the second through fourth innings before Hernan Perez ended the streak with a leadoff single in the fifth inning.

It should be no surprise Syndergaard came close to MLB’s consecutive strikeout record. He went into Sunday’s game with 440 strikeouts in 380 career innings, and he throws nastiness like this:

Only three pitchers in history have struck out more than eight consecutive batters in a game. Here’s the list:

  1. Tom Seaver, Mets: 10 vs. Padres on April 22, 1970
  2. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins: 9 vs. Braves on Sept. 30, 2009
  3. Aaron Harang, Dodgers: 9 vs. Padres on April 13, 2012
  4. Many tied with eight straight strikeouts.

Back in 2014, Syndergaard’s teammate Jacob deGrom set the MLB record by striking out the first eight batters he faced to begin a game.

The Mets, by the way, improved to 12-2 on Sunday thanks to Wilmer Flores‘ walk-off home run. 

The 12-2 record represents the best 14-game start in franchise history. This is also the first time in franchise history the Mets have won each of their first five series to start the season. 

Dodgers looked like old selves

Heading into Sunday, the biggest disappointment in baseball was easily the 4-9 Dodgers. That’s a bad record, but perhaps more importantly is they had, for the most part, looked every bit that badly in racking up that 4-9 record. 

Sunday was different. Against a very good Diamondbacks team, the Dodgers scored seven runs through the first five innings while Clayton Kershaw was in vintage form. He’d strike out 12 without walking anyone while allowing just one runs on two hits in seven innings. It was just pure dominance. 

Offensively, the previously-struggling Chris Taylor had a homer and double, picking up three RBI, so perhaps this was the start of him getting going as well. 

Phillies win sixth straight

Suddenly, the Gabe Kapler jokes have come to a screeching halt. The Phillies won their sixth straight game Sunday afternoon, blowing out the lowly Rays to improve their record to 9-5. Philadelphia has outscored their opponents 37-18 during the six-game winning streak.

Sunday’s big blow was Scott Kingery’s go-ahead bases clearing double. The 23-year-old rookie, who signed a six-year contract before playing his first MLB game, is 8 for 26 (.308) with four doubles, two homers, and 8 RBI during the six-game winning streak.

Kapler had a rough to the season. There’s no denying that. But, since Kapler said he expects his team to reach the postseason, the Phillies have gone 8-3. Can’t argue with those results.

On the other hand …

Struggles mount for Nationals

Remember when the Nationals started the season 4-0? That’s a distant memory at this point. They lost — with Stephen Strasburg starting — to the Rockies, 6-5, on Sunday. That means that they’ve now lost nine of their last 12 games. 

It was a gut punch in this one, too, with former National Ian Desmond hitting the decisive shot in the ninth inning to break a tie. 

Making matters worse is the Mets’ hot start, because the Nationals are already six games back in the NL East. It’s early, but that’s quite a hole to dig so early for the team that has won four of the last six NL East titles. 

The road doesn’t get any easier, either, as the Nats now go on a nine-game road trip against the Mets, Dodgers and Giants. 

Marte leads red-hot Pirates

Starling Marte collected five hits, including a home run, in the Pirates’ 7-3 victory over the Marlins on Sunday. It was a career-high in hits for Marte and the first time a Pirates player had five hits, including a home run, and four runs scored in the same game since Neil Walker did so in 2012. 

The Pirates, meantime, as 11-4 to start the season and qualify for one of the best surprises here in the early part of the season. 

Road Warrior Cardinals (again?)

In 2016, the Cardinals finished the season 48-33 on the road, but missed the playoffs in part due to a 38-43 record in Busch Stadium. It was a weird oddity that didn’t carry into 2017. With all the “it’s early” caveats that need to be applied, however, 2018 so far is looking a lot like 2016. The Cardinals swept the Reds in four games this weekend after taking Sunday’s game, 3-2. That pushes them to 7-3 on the road this season. They’ve only had one homestand and they went 2-4 on that. 

Then again, they are actually 3-3 on the road when not playing the 2-13 Reds and the Diamondbacks-Brewers homestand isn’t exactly an easy one. Consider this more of an oddity than a trend for the time being. The Cardinals have a three-game series in Wrigley Field starting Monday and then get the Reds at home next weekend. 

Teammates not helping Bundy

Orioles ace Dylan Bundy took another one on the chin Sunday. He only allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six against two walks. Of course, the Red Sox pushed across two unearned runs and the Orioles only provided Bundy one run in support. He’s now 0-2 with a 1.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 31 strikeouts and seven walks in 25 2/3 innings this season. 

Manaea keeps dealing

The Mariners came in hot on Sunday, winners of four straight games, during which they scored 29 runs. They were looking to sweep the A’s, but A’s starter Sean Manaea came through with another excellent outing to quiet the M’s. The lankly lefty worked through seven innings, only allowing one run on two hits. Through four starts this year, Manaea sports a 1.63 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and an excellent 20 strikeouts to four walks in 27 2/3 innings. He’s rounding into shape as the No. 1 starter for the A’s, which is especially helpful since Oakland lost two starters to Tommy John surgery in March. 

Short-handed Padres pound Giants

The Padres are missing Manuel Margot and Wil Myers among their regulars — and Eric Hosmer isn’t on the DL but missed Sunday as well — but they just took three of four from the banged up Giants with a 10-1 win on Sunday afternoon. Third baseman Christian Villanueva hit his fifth homer of the season in the midst of a three-RBI game. The rookie is hitting .293/.396/.756 here in the early going. 

After a 2-8 start, the Padres have actually won five of their last seven games, too. 

Quick hits

  • Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon is out of the lineup for the second straight day Sunday after fouling a pitch into his toe. Rendon is feeling better though, and the team is optimistic he’ll avoid the disabled list. (MASN Sports)
  • Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy is heading to the team’s spring training complex to continue his rehab from microfracture surgery. The team plans to treat the next few weeks as Murphy’s spring training. (MASN Sports)
  • Pirates RHP Joe Musgrove will throw a bullpen session Thursday. He’s working his way back from a shoulder issue. “I feel really good. Haven’t had any setbacks since we started throwing,” he said. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • The Dodgers placed 3B Logan Forsythe on the 10-day DL with a shoulder injury. He left Saturday’s game with the injury. IF Breyvic Valera was called up in a corresponding move.
  • The D-Backs placed RHP Taijuan Walker on the 10-day DL with forearm inflammation. He’ll go for an MRI on Monday, manager Torey Lovullo confirmed. Walker left Saturday’s start with forearm tightness. (Arizona Republic)
  • The Cubs expect first baseman Anthony Rizzo to return from the DL on Monday. 
  • Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier will get an MRI on Monday and the Rays are expecting him to miss a decent amount of time with a sprained right thumb. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Eric Hosmer missed his second straight game due to lower back tightness. (MLB.com)

Live team updates

Original Article on CBSSports.com: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/mlb-sunday-scores-highlights-live-team-updates-news-astros-justin-verlander-rangers-bartolo-colon-put-on-epic-duel/

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