And That Happened: Sunday's scores and recaps

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Reds 8, Indians 1:
It was Brandon Phillips’ birthday and he beat up his old team to
celebrate (3-5, 3 RBI). But he overplayed it: “It’s good to have a game
like I did today, especially on my birthday and against the guys you
used to play for. Today, I was like, ‘I’m going to show the Indians
what they missed out on.'” Please, Brandon. They gave you 462 major
league plate appearances and you gave them .206/.246/.310. They also
gave you parts of four seasons in Buffalo, and you gave them
269/.329/.411. It’s nice of you to show them what they missed out on,
but maybe if you had showed some of it, oh, 5, 6, 7 years ago, you’d be
the starting second baseman for the Indians today. But happy birthday

Braves 2, Red Sox 1:
Look, you can spin it any way you want to, Boston fans, but you got
beat by a kid with a mullet yesterday. But he’s a good kid. Hanson’s
last three starts: 17.1 IP, 9 hits, 0 ER. And that ain’t against no
tomato cans, neither: that’s against the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the
Reds in that playpen they call a ballpark.

Yankees 4, Mets 2:
Mariano Rivera got his 500th save. More impressive: he drew a
bases-loaded walk, giving him his first career RBI in 15 seasons.
Francisco Rodriguez gave it up, which in some cosmic way illustrates
the vast gulf between those two pitchers in my mind. How do you walk
Mariano Rivera? Nerves is all I can think, and you can bet your ass
that if the situation was reversed, Rivera would never have walked
Rodriguez, because Rivera’s body temperature runs at a constant 57

White Sox 6, Cubs 0:
Jon Danks shut out the Cubbies over seven innings, and the bullpen
handled the last two. One of the few reasons I’m sad that the
interleague season is over is that it will provide fewer opportunities
for Ozzie Guillen to talk smack to Cubs’ fans. Here he was over the weekend:
“White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was asked why attendance was so low at
the Sox-Dodgers series, and said: “Because our fans are not stupid like
Cubs fans. They know we’re (expletive).” Guillen said Cubs fans will go
watch any game at Wrigley Field because “Wrigley Field is just a bar.”

Phillies 5, Blue Jays 4:
You hate to throw this out there on a day he won, but to me it’s the
most interesting thing that came out of this game: Jamie Moyer, who
allowed three home runs, has now allowed 483 in his career, passing
Phil Niekro for third all-time. He’s a lock to pass Fergie Jenkins, who
is in second place at 484, but he’s almost certainly going to need to
go into next season to beat out Robin Roberts for that all time lead at
505. He’s under contract for 2010, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t
want to see him hold on and take the record.

Royals 3, Pirates 2:
Greinke wins his 10th and, thanks to a rain delay, gets a bit of a rest
too, coming out in the seventh after throwing only 80 pitches. The
Pirates’ highlight of the day didn’t come in Pittsburgh: “Ian Snell,
the former Pirates’ No. 2 starter who was demoted Thursday after
deciding he needed a change of scenery, struck out 13 in a row after
walking the leadoff batter Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis against
Toledo. He finished with 17 Ks and two hits allowed in seven innings,
throwing 70 of 108 pitches for strikes. Indianapolis won 2-1 in 10
innings.” I think that (a) he probably needs to come back to
Pittsburgh; and (b) if I struck out 17 guys in a game and got a
no-decision I’d be pretty damn pissed.

Nationals 5, Orioles 3:
Adam Dunn hit a home run that reached the B&O warehouse on the
bounce, traveling an estimated 442 feet. The Nats got another run when
Josh Willingham scored on a single. He was dead to rights at home
plate, but Matt Wieters dropped the ball, missing the tag. Which leads
to a theological question: Can Matt Weiters allow himself to make an
error? If so, then it seems that he could cease to be omnipotent. But
if not — if he is somehow precluded from allowing himself error —
perhaps he is not omnipotent to begin with. Think about that one for a
minute and get back to me. Either way, though, the answer to this
question is less important than the act of asking it. You see, Matt
Weiters is sitting at .234/.289/.390, which means that I have to use up
all of these Wieters = God jokes quickly, because they’re rapidly
approaching their expiration date.

Tigers 4, Astros 3:
I made fun of Russ Ortiz quite a bit early in the season, but he just
finished with a 1.90 ERA for June. I even added the dude to my
Scoresheet team, though that probably tells you more about the quality
of my Scoresheet team than it does Russ Ortiz. He got a no-decision
here, but for that he can blame Edwin Jackson and the Astros’ bats.
Brandon Inge hit a two-run homer off Jose Valverde with two outs in the
ninth inning to win it.

Rays 5, Marlins 2:
David Price bounces back after a hellish outing against the Phillies,
this time holding the Marlins to one run on two hits in six and a
third. That makes five straight wins for the Rays, who after seventy
some-odd games of fooling around now look ready to make a serious run
in the second half.

Twins 6, Cardinals 2:
The extent to which the Cardinals have been a one man gang this year
was illustrated by the fact that their new edition — super ute Mark
DeRosa — hit cleanup in his first game with the team. Mark DeRosa has
been a lot of things in his career, but a cleanup hitter has never
really been one of them. In fact, before yesterday, he had only started
four games as a cleanup hitter in his entire career. Of course, three
of those came this year with the Indians, which tells you the dire
offensive straits they’ve been in as well.

Mariners 4, Dodgers 2:
L.A. has lost four of five, but they can get away with it with their
lead. More interesting “the Dodgers hadn’t decided whether they’ll
discipline reliever Ronald Belisario after the 26-year-old rookie was
arrested early Saturday morning on suspicion of DUI in Pasadena.” I
anxiously await the Bill Plaschke column in which he decries the
horrible example set by Belisario and declares that whatever punishment
the Dodgers mete out to him is insufficient. Because clearly Plaschke
thinks that drunk driving is worse than steroid use, doesn’t he?

Rockies 3, Athletics 1:
The A’s have dropped five in a row. As for the Rockies, Aaron Cook has
been somethin’ special recently, giving up a single run in four of his
last five starts.

Angels 12, Diamondbacks 8:
A straight steal of home by Gary Matthews, Jr. was pretty spiffy. Four
Arizona errors were not. The Angels finish interleague play 14-4,
including an 8-1 mark in NL parks.

Padres 2, Rangers 0:
Chad Gaudin allowed one hit over eight innings for the Padres. The box
score says it was 99 degrees at game time. Seems like it’s always hot
down there, no matter when you come. It’s the kind of heat that holds
you like a mama holds her son. Tight when he tries to walk, even
tighter if he runs.

Giants 7, Brewers 0:
Ryan Sadowski (who?) stymies the Brewers in his major league debut (6
IP, 4 H, 0 ER). He’s bumped Jonathan Sanchez to the pen. Sanchez must
have been mad: he plunked Prince Fielder and then struck out the side
in his one inning of work.

The Mets break out the whuppin’ sticks, rout the Dodgers 13-7

Cespedes d'Arnaud

So often in life the anticipation of something outpaces its reality. For Mets fans tonight, it was the exact opposite. They had a grand old time. The Mets broke out the lumber and overwhelmed the Dodgers 13-4 to take a 2-1 lead in NLDS.

So much of that anticipation was about revenge, really. Hitting Chase Utley if he was in the lineup, perhaps, or at the very least sending some sort of retaliatory message the Dodgers’ way in response to Utley breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg on Saturday. But with Utley out of the lineup — and the notion that base runners matter a whole heck of a lot in a playoff game — Matt Harvey just set out to pitch, not plunk. And Mets hitters set out to beat the living heck out of Brett Anderson and a couple Dodgers relievers. Living well is the best revenge, and for a major league team, winning baseball games is living well.

It didn’t start out so well for Harvey, as Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs in the top of the second with a third run scoring on a Curtis Granderson error on the same play. It was 3-0 Dodgers early and Mets’ fans sphincters’ clenched. But only momentarily.

The Mets came right back in the bottom of the second with four runs with a Travis d'Arnaud single and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Curtis Granderson. In the next inning d’Arnaud hit a two-run shot. In the fourth Daniel Murphy singled in a run and Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run bomb to left to make it 10-3. The Dodgers got one back in the top of the seventh but New York scored three more of their own in the bottom half. It was never a ballgame after the third inning.

Brett Anderson was the author of the damage through three, Alex Wood gave up the four runs in the fourth and hung on in the fifth in what became mop-up duty. Harvey was done after five and took the win. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but he did strike out seven and was good enough. Some late damage from the Dodgers, including a three-run homer in the ninth from Howie Kendrick, was too little, too late. Granderson and d’Arnaud did the damage for New York, driving in five and three runs, respectively.

Once the competitive portion of this game was over, the Mets’ crowd turned to more important matters. Chanting things like “We want Utley!” Don Mattingly didn’t give him to ’em, probably because there was no downside to smacking him after the game got out of hand. But no upside either. Because of that stuff about living well, remember?

Now it’s on Clayton Kershaw to save the Dodgers from elimination [looks at watch] tonight, technically. If he doesn’t, his detractors will write another page in their Big Book of Clayton Kershaw Playoff Failures. If he does, we get a Game 5 back in Los Angeles.

Maybe Chase Utley gets into one of those.

Jake Arrieta beatable, but still unbeaten

Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta gave up as many earned runs Monday against the Cardinals as he had in his previous 13 starts combined, yet the Cubs still won 8-6.

It’s the 15th straight time the Cubs have won a game started by Arrieta, who is set to finish first or second in the Cy Young balloting announced next month. Their last loss in an Arrieta-pitched game was when the Phillies’ Cole Hamels no-hit them on July 25. They won the previous four before that, too, so make it 19 of 20.

The outing could go down as Arrieta’s last of the season, though that would require the Cardinals beating the Cubs in back-to-back games to finish the NLDS. The more likely scenario at this point is that Arrieta starts Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers or Mets.

Arrieta, though, was vulnerable in this one, turning in his shortest start since June. Even in the shutout of Pittsburgh in the wild card game, the Pirates had chances in the middle innings (most notably before Starling Marte‘s well-hit grounder with the bases loaded turned into a double play in the sixth).

Tonight, he walked two in a row at one point, after not walking a single batter in his previous three starts. He gave up his first homer in six starts. The wind was a factor in tonight’s eight-homer barrage, but Jason Heyward‘s two-run shot off Arrieta went against the grain in left-center.

So, if nothing else, the illusion of impenetrability is now gone. Arrieta can be gotten to, if primarily in short bursts. That’s not going to do anything for the Cardinals — at least not unless Arrieta is called on to pitch an inning or two in Game 5 — but it’ll probably come into play later in the postseason.

Ding-Dong! The Cubbies ride homers to a 2-1 series lead

Jorge Soler

The wind was blowing out of Wrigley Field on Monday night, but mostly for the home team. Makes you think that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all about the wind.

The Cubs hit six homers off of Cardinals pitching, one each from each of the first six batters in their lineup. Three of them came against Michael Wacha, who Mike Matheny inexplicably let bat for himself in the top of the fifth and take the hill in the bottom of the fifth and on to a third time through the Cubs’ order. He was shaky as it was, and quickly put a runner on and then allowed a two-run homer to Kris Bryant to make it 4-2. One batter later Kevin Siegrist came in and let Anthony Rizzo take him VERY deep to right field to make it 5-2.

Jason Heyward made it interesting in the top of the sixth with a two run shot to make it a one-run game but then Jorge Soler hit a two run shot in the bottom half and Dexter Fowler hit one in the eighth to make it 8-4. You can’t trade solo shots for multiple two-run jobs. You wanna get the Cardinals? Here’s how you get ’em. They pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! They hit a solo homer, you hit a bunch of two-run shots. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get the Cardinals!

Not that the Cardinals didn’t do a lot. They scored four runs in five and a third against Jake Arrieta, who hadn’t been damaged like that since June 16. But five Cubs relievers held mostly firm. You tell me before the game that they got to Arrieta like that and I tell you they won. But nope.

Now it’s 2-1 Cubs in a best of five. They go tomorrow with Jason Hammel and try to eliminate the Cards. Who had best figure out how to counter the Cubs’ power.