- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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1. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants. Stop worrying! He's fine. The big lefty took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Padres -- while working around three throwing errors -- before Justin Upton singled to lead off the inning, with the Giants up 2-0. Yangervis Solarte then singled as well, but MadBum worked out of the jam by striking out Jedd Gyorko, getting Will Middlebrooks to fly out and whiffing Clint Barmes. He got one more out in the eighth, and then the Giants held on and climbed back to .500 with a 2-0 win. Really, Bumgarner just had the one bad outing, when he allowed 10 hits to the Padres in three innings April 11. Otherwise, he has been solid, and in his past two starts, he has shut down the Dodgers and Padres, two of the better hitting teams in the National League.
2. Yunel Escobar, Washington Nationals. He became the 20th player in Expos/Nationals history to go 5-for-5, and his fifth hit was a big one: a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth that broke a 4-4 tie, capped a four-run Nationals rally and gave his team a 6-4 win over the Marlins. Ian Desmond, who hit a two-run homer earlier in that inning, was the most recent Nationals player to go 5-for-5, which he did the past July (Denard Span also had a 5-for-5 game last year). Andre Dawson did it three times -- 15 different players have, for a total of 20 times -- but Larry Parrish had the best 5-for-5 game when he hit three home runs, scored five and knocked in five on May 29, 1977.
3. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners. Through six innings, he was locked in a 0-0 duel with Matt Shoemaker, but Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison homered in the top of the seventh to give Felix the lead he needed to pick up his fifth win in six starts. He did give a run back, and Fernando Rodney tight-roped his away to another save as Seattle held on to beat the Angels 3-2. The Mariners are 6-0 when the King starts and 5-14 when anyone else starts. James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Hisashi Iwakuma and Roenis Elias have combined for one win in 15 starts. Not that pitcher wins are the best way to evaluate pitchers, but still -- one win in 15 starts. Anyway, the King is great, and Cruz is great, and if Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager start hitting, maybe the Mariners turn things around.
5. St. Louis Cardinals. They spotted the Cubs five runs in the top of the first ... then scored four of their own when Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam. They fell behind 8-4 ... then rallied with two in the sixth and four in the seventh, with backup catcher Tony Cruz hitting a two-run double for the go-ahead runs. "This is ridiculous," Reynolds said. "We're never out of it." The Cards are 19-6, and the rest of the NL Central better be careful to not let St. Louis run away with this division in the first two months.
San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner tops tonight's list.