And That Happened: Sunday's scores and recaps

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Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 2:
The game story headlines give credit for the win to the Sox shaking up
their lineup — Pedroia hit leadoff and Ellsbury dropped to eighth —
but Ellsbury actually got on base more than Pedroia did in this game
and wasn’t on base for either of Kevin Youkilis’ home runs. Hey, why
don’t we give Kevin Youkilis the credit for the win? Or maybe Jon
Lester (6 IP 3 H, 1 ER, 12K)? The lineup shakeup seems fairly
insignificant to me here.

Mets 3, Marlins 2:
John Maine pitches six shutout innings and then left the game because
he was barfing. Pansy. He shoulda just rubbed some dirt on it and
toughed it out. No I don’t know where she should have rubbed
the dirt. My mom once taught me that there is a pressure point related
to nausea is on the back of your hand, right at the webbing between
your thumb and your index finger, so maybe that would have helped. I
tried that once, but that treatment must not be rated for
hangover-related nausea.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2:
Jamie Moyer wins his 250th. Guys who don’t have as many career wins as
Jamie Moyer: Juan Marichal, Three-Finger Brown, Whitey Ford, Luis
Tiant, Jim Bunning, Catfish Hunter, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez,
John Smoltz and Sandy Koufax. If you look at it from one direction,
it’s proof positive that win-totals aren’t all that important when it
comes to rating a pitcher, because Moyer isn’t as good as any of those
guys were. But it’s not meaningless, and Moyer has certainly been a lot
more useful in his career than anyone ever would have thought he’d be.
Hall of Fame discussions are always something of a chore. Moyer is a
lock for the Hall of Very Good, though, and in many ways I like HoVG
players more than Hall of Famers.

Twins 3, Rays 2:
Matt Garza says hello to his old team for the first time since the
trade. And he pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER), but Nick Blackburn
pitched a little better (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER). Twins’ reliever Jose Mijares
caught a ball that smacked off of one of those catwalks up near the
roof in Tropicana. Fun and all, but I have no idea how we ever allowed
that stadium into Major League Baseball. Given that no one in St. Pete
seems to want the Rays to build a new one anyplace, can we commission a
study to see whether that can’t simply take a can opener to that joint
and retrofit it with some sort of retractable roof? A new park would
cost hundreds of millions. Could some unique fix to the old one really
be that expensive?

Astros 2, Pirates 1:
Mike Hampton wins. The AP game story says this: “[Hampton] became only
the second pitcher to win eight in a row against the Pirates since
1954, improving to 12-3 lifetime against Pittsburgh.” Which is pretty
meaningless considering that before the two starts he’s had against
Pittsburgh this season, he hadn’t faced them since 2003. And to get to
that eight-win total, you have to count two wins in 2000, when the
Pirates were giving nearly 200 at bats to Luis Sojo, and Mike Hampton
still had some of his original ligaments. It’s kind of like saying that
I haven’t lost at four square since 1985 after teaching my daughter how
to play it over the weekend. Technically true, but utterly meaningless.

Tigers 3, Orioles 0:
I promised some Baltimore fans that I’d start saying more nice things
about the Orioles. Maybe I’ll start tomorrow, because Edwin Jackson (8
IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7K) didn’t do much to showcase their charms yesterday.
The Matt Wieters debut weekend ends thusly: 2-11, 2B, 3B and three
strikeouts. The extra base hits are nice, but he’s not exactly bringing
his “Z Game” yet.

White Sox 7, Royals 4:
Greinke’s outing wasn’t bad for mere mortals (7 IP, 8 H, 4R, 3 ER, 7K,
0 BB), but compared to the way he’s been pitching it was a shellacking.
He still shoulda gotten the win, however, some suspect defense,
hibernating bats and three runs from the bullpen killed it for him. The
Royals have dropped 16 of 21 games, which means it’s pretty safe to say
that the little Cinderella story they were trying to put together is,
for all intents and purposes, over.

Brewers 5, Reds 2:
What a letdown: Yovani Gallardo vs. Micah Owings, and neither of them
go deep. Look guys: you two represent the best chance at us getting rid
of the DH. You have to hit, and hit with authority if we’re going to
convince anyone that pitchers batting is fun to watch. Trevor Hoffman
is 13 for 13 in save opportunities. And while this one was a three-run
affair, six of those saves came in one-run games and another three in
two run games, there haven’t been a ton of cheapies here.

A’s 5, Rangers 4:
Adam Kennedy hit two homers, including what ended up being the game
winner in the ninth. After not making the Rays out of spring training
and then starting the year in Sacramento, Kennedy is at .390/.462/.622
in 93 plate appearances. I’d say he’s in the running along with Juan
Pierre and Andruw Jones for comeback player of the year award, but
whereas those other two at least once arguably rocked their peers and
put suckas in fear, Kennedy was never any good in the first place. So
no, I won’t call it a comeback.

Padres 5, Rockies 2:
20 homers for Adrian Gonzales. Fifteen of them have come on the road.
There’s been talk about the Padres needing to trade Gonzales. And I can
totally see that. The biggest problem is that most of the contenders
this year have no need for a first baseman. Sure, maybe the Sox could
use him to replace David Ortiz, but beyond that the contender who could
use him the most is the Rangers. My guess is that San Diego keeps
Gonzales, but man, could you imagine him hitting in Texas?

Giants 5, Cardinals 3:
Rich Aurilia hit a homer in the 7th to put the Giants ahead to stay. In
other news, Rich Aurilia is still alive. From the game story: “La Russa
batted his pitcher eighth in all three games of the series and has done
so every game since May 18. The team is 8-5 during that stretch.” On a
related note, I haven’t had oatmeal for breakfast since early February,
and I have not been hit by a bus during that stretch.

Indians 5, Yankees 4:
Pavano deserved the win, but didn’t get it thanks to the
always-reliable Cleveland bullpen. The Tribe will take the win, though.
They’re probably less satisfied with having to put Grady Sizemore on
the DL before the game and the fact that Victor Martinez whacked the
hell out of his knee on Saturday night keeping him out of the lineup.

Braves 9, Diamondbacks 3:
The Braves lineup, which has been on a saltpeter diet recently, sprung
to life against Max Scherzer, rattling out fifteen hits. Chipper Jones
was 3-4 with 4 RBI and he and Johnson and Escobar combined to go 9-15,
scoring seven of the Braves’ nine runs. Also, Kris Medlen offered his
first effective start of the season, giving up one run and striking out
nine over six innings.

Angels 9, Mariners 8:
Seattle had leads of 6-0 and 8-1 before woofing this one away. Which
was only fair, seeing as the Angels did the same favor for them on
Saturday night. Ichiro has now hit in 24 straight and has his average
up to .354.

Dodgers 8, Cubs 2:
Sean Marshall was as hittable last night as Eric Milton was a couple of
years ago (4.1 IP, 8 H. 8 R), and Eric Milton was pretty decent once
again (5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). I watched this one on TV, and though I know
how much some people hate night games in Wrigley, the park looks
absolutely gorgeous as the sun is going down and the day fades into
night.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Sunday’s action

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning at Safeco Field on September 19, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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The last time the Mariners qualified for a postseason berth, I was eleven years old. My lone memory of the Mariners’ historic 116-win season has been reduced to a brief conversation with my father over nachos at our local Mexican restaurant. The details of our conversation are lost to me now; with an upbringing specifically tailored to Seattle Seahawks football, even the best and brightest of the Mariners’ glory days appeared as little more than a blip on my radar.

The Mariners enter Sunday with a 14% chance of securing a ticket to the playoffs. They’ll kick off the series finale at 2:10 PM EDT, during which Seattle’s Taijuan Walker will take on Minnesota lefty Hector Santiago. Neither pitcher looked dominant on the mound last week, with both Walker and Santiago lasting just 5  innings in their previous starts and giving up three runs and six runs in their respective outings.

What should have been an easy sweep for Seattle turned ugly on Saturday night as the Mariners battled their way to a 3-2 loss in Minnesota. Nelson Cruz‘s mammoth two-run homer was the only saving grace for an offense that has produced at a .263/.334/.437 clip in September. With a three-game set against the Astros on Monday and a final homestand against the A’s next weekend, it’ll take a significant push to propel the Mariners into October baseball.

Should they beat the odds and snap a 15-year playoff drought, however, I’ll be following every step of the way this time — whether the postseason goes the way of the Double or a Geronimo Berroa home run. (Just don’t make me give up my nachos.)

You can find more from Sunday’s action below.

New York Yankees (Michael Pineda) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada), 1:07 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 1:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 1:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Detroit Tigers (Matt Boyd), 1:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Jake Thompson) @ New York Mets (Robert Gsellman), 1:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Braden Shipley) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 1:35 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (A.J. Cole) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Tyler Glasnow), 1:35 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 2:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Daniel Wright) @ Houston Astros (Joe Musgrove), 2:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker) @ Minnesota Twins (Hector Santiago), 2:10 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Oakland Athletics (Jharel Cotton), 4:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Tyler Anderson) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy), 4:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Ty Blach) @ San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard), 4:40 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester), 8:08 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins: POSTPONED

Settling the Scores: Saturday’s results

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Denard Span #2 of the San Francisco Giants, right, is congratulated by Roberto Kelly #39 after hitting a two-run home run during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 24, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Amid the clash and clatter of division races, wild card nail-biters, and postseason finishes, the Giants and Padres played a baseball game.

It wasn’t a particularly brilliant game — Madison Bumgarner surrendered five runs and a season-high three homers over six frames, while the bullpen blew a one-run lead in the seventh — but it served its purpose in the end. Denard Span’s 10th inning home run cemented the Giants’ 82nd win of the season, scooting them half a game up in the wild card standings and keeping the Dodgers from clinching the division.

Granted, the Dodgers only need one more win (or, alternatively, a Giants’ loss) to lay claim to the division title, and it’s almost certain that they’ll take the NL West on Sunday. A division title may be out of reach for the Giants, but they’ll still face fierce competition from the Mets and Cardinals for a wild card spot heading into the last week of the season.

Here are the rest of the box scores from Saturday’s games. Keep an eye out for Dustin Pedroia‘s grand slam, Josh Reddick‘s grand slam, and Hunter Renfroe’s first career home run.

Royals 7, Tigers 4

Cardinals 10, Cubs 4

Rangers 5, Athletics 0

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 0

Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Orioles 6, Diamondbacks 1

Nationals 6, Pirates 1

Marlins 6, Braves 4

White Sox 8, Indians 1

Reds 6, Brewers 1

Angels 10, Astros 4

Phillies 10, Mets 8

Twins 3, Mariners 2

Giants 9, Padres 6 (10 innings)

Dodgers 14, Rockies 1