1. Minnesota Twins. That's the six-wins-in-a-row Twins. The Twins who currently lead in the race for the second wild card. The Twins beat the Rays 5-3 behind two home runs from Eduardo Escobar and three hits from Joe Mauer. They also beat Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer, dinging him for nine hits in six innings even though Archer struck out 12. They won as starter Tyler Duffey allowed 11 baserunners in 5 1/3 innings but just two runs. They won with some crucial small ball, reminiscent of the playoff teams of the 2000s: Tied 2-2 in the seventh, Archer walked Shane Robinson leading off the inning; Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier then both reached on consecutive bunt singles -- sacrifice bunts turned into something even better. Mauer followed with the go-ahead single, and the Twins reached their longest win streak of the season.
Look, the Twins have been overachieving all season. They're a team with holes and flaws and a lot of young guys, but all of these wild-card contenders are flawed. Even with their streak, the Twins are just 12-12 in August, and May remains the only month they've played over .500. The upcoming schedule will be a stiffer test: After wrapping up the series with Tampa on Thursday, nine of their next 12 are against the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals. Still ... you never know. It's a crazy race. Why not the Twins?
Twins have never lost with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano in the lineup together and if the season ended right now they'd be in the playoffs.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) August 27, 2015
2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers. I wrote about his no-hit bid and how it's potentially a great sign for the 2016 Tigers. In fact, before this start, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wrote about how recent Verlander tracks very similar to 2010-2012 Verlander in a lot of his peripheral analytics.
What a great night! Thanks for all the support from the fans! #soclose— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) August 27, 2015
Verlander on hit: "I threw what I wanted. I just didn't locate it. ... It was the only ball all night I threw over the heart of the plate."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 27, 2015
Justin Verlander was booed at Comerica Park on July 19. Since then: 1.38 ERA, 49 strikeouts, 8 walks. Huge, well-deserved ovation today.— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) August 27, 2015
3. Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles. Umm ... wow. Schoop's home run was measured at 484 feet, according to MLB StatCast, making it the second-longest home run of the season, behind a 493-foot blast by Michael Taylor of the Washington Nationals. ESPN Stats & Info, however, has it at 457 feet, ranking well below two 484-foot Giancarlo Stanton blasts on the ESPN Home Run Tracker. So, pick the measurement that makes you most happy. In other words: The Orioles smacked two more home runs off Johnny Cueto in their 8-5 win over the Royals. Cueto has now given up six runs and seven runs his past two outings -- as many six-run games as he had with the Reds in 2014 and '15 combined. Royals fans assured me on Twitter they're not worried!
Paul Goldschmidt hit a 482 foot HR! 3rd-longest of the season. Other 2 were by Giancarlo Stanton (484) pic.twitter.com/4sgr61G5hR— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 27, 2015
5. Bartolo Colon, New York Mets. Speaking of turning back the clock ... the 42-year-old tossed seven scoreless innings as the Mets beat the Phillies 9-4 for their sixth straight win. Throw in the Nationals' 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres, and the Mets' lead is up to 6.5 games. Colon threw 107 pitches, 78 of which were fastballs -- which was actually his lowest percentage of fastballs in any start this season. Colon has actually been under 80 percent fastball in each of his past four starts after being under that percentage just once in his first 21 starts, so he's clearly been trying to mix in a few more changeups and sliders. (He threw his changeup a season-high 14 percent of the time in this start.) I'll update this stat: The Mets are now 18-1 against the Phillies (11-1) and Rockies (7-0) and still 0-13 against the Cubs and Pirates. But, hey, they don't have to play the Pirates or Cubs the rest of the regular season.