MLB weekend round-up: What you might've missed this weekend in baseball

Shohei Ohtani paid a visit to Toronto, and the White Sox won three whole games

Sometimes, the weekend is for baseball. Other times, the weekend is for other activities. Both approaches are cool with us.

Here’s a brief recap of all the baseball you might’ve missed this weekend.

Baltimore closer Craig Kimbrel blew saves on both Friday and Sunday. If not for the biffage of the red-haired veteran — who was removed from the finale due to an injury — the Birds would have emerged with a sweep. Instead, Baltimore heads into a crucial series against the Yankees with an exposed and undermanned bullpen. The Birds did, however, thwack seven more homers over the weekend, giving them 41 taters through 27 games, a record pace.

The A’s, meanwhile, are proving themselves to be quite the pesky outfit. Oakland has played .500 ball over the past few weeks after starting the year 1-7, thanks in large part to Mason Miller and his electric, 103 mph fastball. This ownership group is a catastrophe, but this team, while not good, is definitely worth a watch.

Blue Jays fans greeted Shohei Ohtani with a wave of boos as the Japanese slugger strolled to the plate for his first at-bat Friday. The frustration stemmed from a few false reports during Ohtani’s free-agency bonanza this past winter that put the two-way dynamo on a plane to Toronto to sign with the Jays. The reaction was understandable because you can’t boo bad reporting but goofy because Ohtani himself had no role in that fiasco. The Dodgers DH, ever the showman, homered on the third pitch he saw in Toronto. Upon his return to the dugout, his teammates booed him in jest.

Los Angeles took two out of three behind strong outings from Gavin Stone and Tyler Glasnow, but Kevin Gausman’s vintage seven-inning start in the capper should give the Jays a dose of optimism about their previously struggling ace.

St. Louis was one strike away from what would have been an invigorating road sweep until former Cardinal Harrison Bader laced a game-tying single in the bottom of the 11th Sunday. The next batter, Mark Vientos, popped a walk-off moon shot over the right-field wall and sent Citi Field into a joyous frenzy.

The Cards, now 13-14, still left the big apple with a series win. Free-agent acquisition Sonny Gray was magnificent Saturday, and the offense, which is dead last in baseball in homers, showed some signs of life.

An upset for the ages. Across three magic days, the previously 3-22 White Sox doubled their yearly win total with a sweep of the Rays. And they did it in style: A nine-run offensive explosion on Friday, an Andrew Benintendi walk-off bomb on Saturday and an Erick Fedde 8 ⅓-inning, two-run, nine-strikeout gem on Sunday. This team still stinks, but the Sox gave their fans a weekend to remember.

Eight home runs have been hit at least 455 feet so far this season; four of those were hit this past weekend in the comically homer-happy environs of Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu in Mexico City. The Mexican capital is around 7,350 feet above sea level — or 2,000 feet closer to the heavens than Coors Field in Denver.

Both clubs took advantage of the thin air this weekend, but Houston dusted Colorado in the two-game set. It was a much-needed salve for the scuffling Stros, who saw Framber Valdez return from the shelf with a sensational start Sunday. The Rockies, meanwhile, became the first team in baseball history to trail in their first 28 games.

Aaron Judge channeled his inner Diego Maradona and hand-of-godded the Yankees to a huge, series-clinching win on Sunday. A would-be double-play throw from Willy Adames bonked off the outstretched left hand of a sliding Judge, sparking a seven-run inning for New York. The Bombers won the finale 15-5 one night after bludgeoning the Brewers 15-3. Only a dramatic, game-ending Joey Ortiz single in the bottom of the 11th on Friday saved Milwaukee from a sweep.

With a sweep of the Padres under their belt, the en fuego Phils have won 11 of their past 13. Alec Bohm might be the hottest hitter on the planet right now; the bushy-topped third baseman is batting .500 over the past two weeks, with eight doubles and three homers. The Phillies blasted five homers on Friday, including Nick Castellanos’ first of the season. On Saturday, Ranger Suarez worked eight sensational frames, continuing what has been a breakout campaign for the stocky left-hander. And while Taijuan Walker surrendered six runs Sunday in his first start off the injured list, Philadelphia’s bullpen held on for the sweep.

Atlanta bested Cleveland in a matchup of MLB’s two best records, but the Guardians performed admirably against baseball’s most fearsome juggernaut. A vintage, masterful Chris Sale start carried the Braves to a comfortable Friday victory, and then Cleveland punched back Saturday behind a seven-inning, nine-strikeout, scoreless masterpiece from Tanner Bibee. The Guards carried a two-run lead into the eighth on Sunday, but the inevitable Braves tied things up on a Matt Olson single before Austin Riley walked it off with an RBI single in the 10th.

An eighth-inning Marcus Semien solo shot gave the defending champs a 2-1 victory Friday, but the Reds knotted things up Saturday behind the best offensive game of Jonathan India’s career. The furry second baseman went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI while flamethrowing righty Hunter Green hurled seven scoreless. Texas won the kicker, bolstered by a first-inning, inside-the-park homer from hotshot rookie Wyatt Langford, the first home run of his MLB career.

Seattle’s starting pitching is absolutely humming right now. Emerson Hancock tossed six innings of one-run ball in a Friday win before George Kirby punched out 12 D-backs across seven scoreless on Saturday. Seattle couldn’t close out the series on Sunday, as Arizona battled back late on a go-ahead Ketel Marte double. Corbin Carroll, playing in his hometown against his hometown team for the first time, went an abysmal 0-for-10. Arizona’s talisman has struggled coming off his 2023 NL Rookie of the Year performance and currently sports a grisly .531 OPS.

The Twins' seven straight games against the White Sox and Angels have been chicken soup for their souls. Minnesota’s offense exploded for 32 total runs over the weekend against the middling Halos, who have lost nine of their past 10. Anaheim’s undermanned pitching staff is scuffling, and Mike Trout’s slight cooling off hasn’t helped.

Runs were at a premium all weekend in the Barry Bonds Bowl. Pittsburgh’s lone win Saturday was the most entertaining game of the set, as hard-throwing Giants righty Jordan Hicks traded zeros with Pirates soft-tossing lefty Martin Pérez before a barrage of extra-inning homers gave Pittsburgh the W. The Buccos couldn’t close things out on Sunday; back-to-back blasts from Thairo Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski against rookie sensation Jared Jones gave San Francisco the series.

Tarik Skubal shoved on Sunday, shepherding his Tigers to a huge series win against a fellow AL Central upstart. There are still massive questions about Detroit’s lineup — the much ballyhooed Spencer Torkelson, for instance, is slashing .214/.287/.291 — but Dominican rookie Wenceel Pérez has delivered a much-needed offensive boost since debuting April 8. It’s probably also a good time to appreciate Salvador Pérez, the Royals’ soon-to-be 34-year-old catcher; the 13-year vet has a .990 OPS.

The Nationals took all three weekend games from the lowly Marlins, who were up 7-0 after two innings Sunday but found a way to lose. Washington can complete the four-game mop in this odd Friday-to-Monday wrap-around series with a win Monday. This showdown for fourth in the NL East hasn’t exactly been must-see TV, but D.C.’s easy sweep of the first three feels like definitive proof that the Nats are better than the Marlins. Things are bad in Miami and getting worse; Jesús Luzardo just hit the IL.

Shota Imanaga kept his dominant run rolling in a Cubs win on Friday, but the Red Sox bounced back to take two in a row and win the series. Tyler O’Neill, a.k.a Canadian Popeye, went yard Saturday for his ninth homer of the season, already equalling his total from last year. Boston won that game 17-0, and three position players pitched. On Sunday, Boston almost bungled it, blowing a four-run lead late. But O’Neill came through again, blooping a single in the ninth to score Jarren Duran for a walk-off winner.