Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Rays on Thursday to earn his 22nd save.
K-Rod almost certainly didn't expect to be pitching the ninth inning when the Tigers entered the inning down 7-2, but eight runs later he was called on to protect a three-run lead. He did so by allowing a solitary hit but no further damage. He's now got 22 saves in 24 chances to go with a 3.14 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 29/10 K/BB ratio over 28 2/3 innings of work this year.
Jordan Zimmermann allowed nine hits and five runs -- four earned -- over six innings Thursday against the Rays.
Zimmermann certainly wasn't sharp and left on the hook for his fifth loss before the Tigers' epic comeback in the ninth inning. As it is, the right-hander remains 9-4 with a 3.95 ERA and 1.24 WHIP through 15 starts. He's gotten progressively worse as the year has gone on, posting a 6.43 ERA in six June starts after allowing just two runs in the month of April. Zimmermann will hope July offers some solace when he faces the Indians on Tuesday.
Danny Espinosa led the charge with two home runs and seven RBI as the Nationals routed the Reds 13-4 on Thursday.
Espinosa made his two hits count, cranking a grand slam off Reds starter Brandon Finnegan in the third inning before launching a three-run blast a frame later. It was a strong finish to what was an impressive month for the 29-year-old, as he closes June with nine homers, 21 RBI and 21 runs scored in the month. Espinosa is doing everything he can to keep Trea Turner in the minors for another day.
Joey Votto went 2-for-3 with his 14th home run of the season in a loss to the Nationals on Thursday.
After a slow start to the year, Votto capped a strong month of June with the homer, his fifth of the month. He also scored 19 runs with 10 RBI this month while batting .318. Votto is still hitting .249/.378/.454 overall, but his June numbers more closely resemble what we expect from the 32-year-old going forward.
Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored Thursday against the Reds.
Zimmerman got on the board with a three-run home run in the first inning, his 11th home run of the season. The big night helped salvage what was a pretty bad month for the 31-year-old, who is hitting just .227/.287/.412 on the year. Perhaps a good end to June will bode well for Zimmerman's July prospects.
Brandon Finnegan wasn't long for Thursday's beatdown at the hands of the Nationals, allowing eight runs over 2 1/3 innings before exiting.
Finnegan was a combination of bad and wild that saw three of the Nationals' five hits go for extra bases, including two home runs, with five walks allowed as well. The loss was his third in a row to drop him to 3-7, and his ERA has risen from 3.61 to 4.48 with those three losses. If an easy matchup is what Finnegan needs to get back on track, it's not what he'll get, as the Reds will travel to face the Cubs on Tuesday.
Gio Gonzalez struck out nine while allowing four runs over six innings in Thursday's win over the Reds.
Desperately needing something to show Nationals manager Dusty Baker and company that he's still an effective starter, Gonzalez took a step in the right direction with the nine-strikeout performance. It still wasn't perfect -- he gave up six hits, including a home run, and walked four -- but Rome wasn't built in a day. The southpaw is now 4-7 with a 4.81 ERA and 1.39 WHIP through 16 starts. He'll look to build off that momentum Tuesday against the Brewers.
Kendrys Morales went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run to help the Royals down the Cardinals 4-2 on Thursday.
Morales had an RBI double in the sixth inning before belting a solo dinger in the eighth. The home run was his 11th of the year, giving him 39 RBI and 30 runs scored. Morales now has a six-game hitting streak during which he's a ridiculous 16-for-24 (.667). All six games have been of the multi-hit variety. The scorching-hot stretch has his overall line up to .262/.324/.437.