And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and recaps

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Tigers 7, White Sox 6:
A bullpen collapse in the ninth inning for the Tigers transformed a
relatively easy win into an extra innings salvage job, but Detroit will
take it. OK, maybe “easy” isn’t the right word, because this game
featured yet another lackluster Dontrelle Willis start. Disastrous? No,
but I don’t know that giving up three run on five hits with five walks
in five innings is good enough to keep giving Dontrelle Willis turns in
the rotation. The last few times out he did OK the first time through
the lineup, so maybe they should give him a go in the pen. I mean,
given what happened in this game, it’s not like anyone else out there
is so deserving of their job.

Marlins 4, Cardinals 3:
That’s five straight losses for St. Louis, which isn’t a common
occurrence. That they lost with Chris Carpenter on the hill is even
more uncommon. That Albert Pujols is 0 for his last 15 goes beyond
uncommon and into the realm of the eschatology.

Angels 4, Rays 3:
Another close loss for the Rays. They’re 29-31, yet they’ve outscored
their opponents 330-284, which should translate to a record roughly
five games better than they’ve got. Not that life is fair or anything.
I went bald at 25 and Leonardo DiCaprio has castoffs that look like this, so I’m not going to sit and cry for the Rays’ bad luck.

Orioles 3, Mariners 1:
Is it just me, or have these two teams been playing each other
constantly for, like, three weeks? Brad Bergesen certainly acted as if
he was sick of the Mariners, dispatching them with nary a run scoring
over eight innings. When the Orioles scored in the first, it was their
first lead in 35 innings.

Mets 6, Phillies 5:
That stupid New York bandbox allowed seven home runs. Man, they really
need to do something about — er, what’s that? This was in Citi Field?
I thought that was Yellowstone East? Well, then, it must have been some
meat pitcher hurling fat pitches — er, what’s that? Johan Santana was
on the mound for the Mets? When you combine this with the Pujols thing,
I’m pretty sure we experienced two of the seven signs last night.

Braves 4, Pirates 3:
Braves win, blah, blah, blah. The best news was that Jeff Francoeur was
benched, showing up only to play defense in the ninth. That’s the kind
of player deployment I can get behind.

Red Sox 7, Yankees 0:
Beckett allows nothin’ but a piddling infield hit and David Ortiz of
all people hit a shot over the centerfield wall. The Yankees are now
0-6 against Boston this season.

Indians 8, Royals 4: And with that, the Royals are back in last place. Maybe the tide is turning on that whole apocalypse thing.

Blue Jays 9, Rangers 0:
A two-hit shutout over seven innings for Brian Tallet shut the Rangers
down. Ian Kinsler (0-4) has seen his OPS drop over 100 points since the
middle of May.

Rockies 3, Brewers 2: The Rockies have won six in a row. Milwaukee had no baserunners after the fourth inning.

Cubs 7, Astros 1: A ninth inning Lance Berkman home run was all the Astros could muster. Maybe they were just tired. I mean, I assume that Drayton McClane doesn’t allow the players to bring in their own energy bars and Gatorade into the game, so it’s a given that they’re going to flag as the season wears on.

Reds 3, Nationals 2: Johnny Cueto (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) is putting together one hell of a season that no one is really talking about.

Dodgers 6, Padres 4:
Andre Either smacks two dingers, thus imperiling that whole “drive in a
zillion runs while only hitting a handful of homers” thing. Not that I
suppose he cares.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 4:
Pablo Sandoval had four hits and drove in three runs and Matt Cain
sucked it up on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff working.

Twins 10, A’s 5:
A laugher until the ninth, when Gardenhire, letting Scott Baker try to
finish off a shutout, had to use three different bullpen arms to
staunch the bleeding. The heart of the A’s order — the third through
seventh batters — went 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).