And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Red Sox 8, Marlins 2:
David Ortiz continues to heat up, adding a homer and a two-run single
to his increasingly improving statline. Tim Wakefield was strong too.
From the game story: Wakefield is now two starts and five home wins
behind Roger Clemens for the most in Red Sox history in each category.
I suppose that’s something Boston fans were mostly aware of, but you
could stump a decent number of Midwesterners and West Coasters with
that, I imagine.

Reds 7, Braves 2:
This one had a long rain delay, and when that happens, Marty Brennaman
and Jeff Brantley take calls. I caught a bit of it last night. This is
paraphrased, but it’s pretty close to how one call went down:

Marty: Hello, you’re on Reds radio!

Caller: Hey Marty, being from North Carolina, could you tell us who your favorite professional wrestler is?

Marty: Well, I um, er . . .

Brantley [interrupting, with extreme urgency and certainty]: No question about it, my favorite wrestler was The Million Dollar Man, Ted Di-Bi-ase. He was absolutely the best.

Marty and Caller: stunned silence.

I wish to God I was making that up.

Yankees 5, Nationals 3:
Cano went 4-4 and had the tie-breaking hit in the seventh. More game
story fun: “[Alex] Rodriguez greeted fans in Monument Park before the
game. One spectator told A-Rod he was a Phillies fan but he liked him.”
I was going to scoff at the inclusion of this, but then I realized
that, yes, someone publicly admitting that they like A-Rod does
probably qualify as newsworthy.

Rangers 6, Astros 1:
Pudge v2.0 ties Pudge v1.0 for most games caught, but this was the Ian
Kinsler show (3-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI). And Kevin Millwood (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER)
is quietly putting up his best season since his he broke out all
awesome-like ten years ago.

Cardinals 11, Tigers 2:
Verlander proves human after all, posting his worst start since April
17th (4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). In other news, with a 2-1 lead (1934 & 2006
to 1968) the Cardinals can put this series away with a win this week.

Twins 8, Pirates 2:
Some Twins fans took me to task on the NBC blog yesterday for saying
that the Tigers looked to be solidly atop a weak division. I still
think the Central is fairly weak, but I think I should have waited to
declare Detroit solidly atop anything. The Twins are two games back and
they have a force of nature on their team. I repeat: The Superman exists, and he’s Minnesotan.

Royals 5, Diamondbacks 0: Mechetastic! (SHO, 4 H, 6K). GWRBI from Miguel Olivo. What?

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 3:
Ryan Madson blew the save in the ninth, and Clay Condrey barfed the
game away in the tenth, allowing five of the six batters he faced to
score. Madson and Condrey? Weren’t they the original Midnight Express? I’ll have to ask Brantley . . .

Mets 6, Orioles 4:
Bad defense — including a dropped popup to Aubrey Huff with which I’m
guessing Luis Castillo could sympathize — doomed the O’s.

Brewers 7, Indians 5:
Gallardo wasn’t efficient — he threw 61 pitches in the first two
innings — but the Indians didn’t cash in on it like they could have
and Yovani gutted his way to five and the win. So much enthusiasm for
this Indians team in March has devolved into wondering who will trade
for Mark DeRosa. Not exactly how Mark Shapiro drew things up.

Quick rundown of the late games because I’m jammed up with other stuff this morning:

Angels 8, Giants 1: Mike Napoli had a three-run homer and three other hits.
Dodgers 5, A’s 4:
Torre ties Sparky Anderson on the all-time wins list. Anderson still
leads Torre on guest starring spots on WKRP in Cincinnatti.

Mariners 5, Padres 0:
King Felix rules: Two-hit shutout. Kevin Correia was pretty good
himself (8 IP, 2 H, 2 ER), but you can’t win if your homies don’t

Rays 12, Rockies 4:
Colorado’s winning streak ends. How much longer until the deulsion that
they’re contenders does too? Transaction junkies want to know.

White Sox at Cubs: Postponed: I can only imagine that having to
sit in the clubhouse during a rain delay makes Ozzie want to puke even
more than being in the dugout during a ballagme.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.