And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Dodgers 8, Mets 0: Somewhere on Long Island there’s a guy who
went to last night’s game for the express purpose of booing Manny and
holding up a sign with a syringe on it or something. And, yes, Manny
was booed and was even ejected from the game for arguing balls and
strikes! Dude from Long Island was probably loving it! Too bad, then,
that Manny also knocked in three runs and then, after his ejection,
watched the Dodgers complete a pretty damn dominant performance from
the clubhouse while eating candy and drinking soda or whatever it is
Manny does.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 1: Phun Pfact: Map makers will sometimes slip
in phantom streets or towns or something so that they can tell if a
competing map maker is really just copying their work. I suspect that
the people who put together box scores do the same thing. Evidence: the
“pitcher” named Marc Rzepczynski. He doesn’t really exist. He’s a
copyright protection device. He was created by the NBC Sports people so
that they can tell if Yahoo! is ripping off the scores. At least I’m
pretty sure that’s the case.

Tigers 8, Royals 5: Verlander wasn’t particularly sharp, but he
strikes out 11 because the Royals aren’t particularly sharp either.
According to the game story, Verlander’s 141 strikeouts are the most by
a Detroit pitcher before the All-Star Game in 37 years. Of course that
was Mickey Lolich, and Mickey Lolich used to pitch approximately 598
innings a year back in the early 70s, so Verlander’s feat is far more

White Sox 10, Indians 6: I’m struggling to think of a trade that
was as disastrous for both teams involved as the Perez-DeRosa trade has
been this far for Cleveland and St. Louis. Paul Konerko drove in seven.
Why is it, despite the fact that he’s 33 years-old and has been in the
league for 12 years, that I still think of him as a Dodgers’ prospect?
Same thing happened to me with Robin Ventura for his whole career. No
matter how old he got, I pictured him playing for Oklahoma State in the
1987 College World Series. Maybe the White Sox uniforms have some sort
of time warping effect or something.

Orioles 12, Mariners 4: Luke Scott was a one-man wrecking crew
(3-4, HR, 3B, 7 RBI). From the game story: “Ichiro Suzuki has turned
down MLB’s request to participate in the Home Run Derby.” Wait, what?
The guy hits six homers a year. The only reason they’d want him in
there is as a cynical rating ploy for the Japanese market, which I’m
assuming gets the All-Star broadcast. Good for him for not wanting to
be used like that.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 0: Both Brewers’ bench coach Willie
Randolph and hitting coach Dale Sveum were ejected. I said at the
beginning of the year that it may be awkward for both of these former
managers to be in subordinate roles this year. I’d like to think, then,
that their ejections were really auditions for any managerial openings
that pop up the rest of the year.

Braves 2, Cubs 1: Javier Vazquez continues to get no run
support, but he didn’t need much last night, as he gave a single run in
seven innings. His ERA is down to 2.95, but because his record is only
6-7, he doesn’t make the All-Star Game. Total ripoff.

Pirates 6, Astros 3: I can’t think of a single thing to say about this game, so I’ll say this: my son, Carlo, recently discovered the book Where the Wild Things Are.
He loves it. I loved it when I was a kid, and I love reading it to him.
I think our love of it is based on the fact that, deep down, we both
have anger issues. Nothing crazy — neither of us are violent or
bombastic — but both he and I are easily frustrated and often stomp
around a bit in something not unlike the book’s wild rumpus when things
don’t go just the way we planned. The book, you see, is really about
anger, and how it’s natural and follows a predictable but necessary arc
before resolving itself and how ultimately it’s OK. But the thing is,
the beauty of the book has a lot to do with the fact that it’s only ten
sentences long and can be read in a couple of minutes, even if you
linger on the pictures a bit. It follows that anger arc and resolves
itself pretty quickly, resulting in an almost therapeutic effect. Which
makes me wonder how in the hell they’re going to make a movie out of it.
And why they felt the need to in the first place. I hope my son never
gets wind of the movie, because I don’t want the wonderful few minutes
we spend with the book each night to be sullied in any way.

Sorry Pirates and Astros fans. I’ll try to pay more attention tomorrow night.

Red Sox 5, A’s 2: Round numbers galore: Beckett’s 10th win,
Bay’s 20th home run, Giambi’s 0 for 4. I guess what I’m saying is that
nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Reds 4, Phillies 3: Way to bounce back after getting
slaughtered. A couple of homers for Brandon Phillips and a single off
of Brad Lidge carried the day.

Yankees 10, Twins 2: Production from all over the Yankees’ order in this one, as Cano, Gardner and Cervelli combine to go 7-14 with 6 RBI.

Rockies 5, Nationals 4: Defensive breakdowns killed the Nats,
with the last being a potentially inning-ending comebacker that Joe
Beimel threw to the wrong guy down at second.

Rangers 8, Angels 5: And we’re tied again, as Andruw Jones — on
an unexpected hot streak — blasts a three-run homer in the course of a
big fifth inning. In addition to the game, the Angels lose Vlad to a
knee injury that, while maybe not terribly serious, has to be enough to
keep him from ever playing the field again, right? I mean, he has to be
a DH at this point, doesn’t he?

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3: Four in a row for Arizona, all coming
after Mark Reynolds yelled at everyone on his team. Coincidence? Well,
yes, it most like is a coincidence, actually.

Giants 3, Marlins 0: It’s probably against the rules for Tim
Lincecum to have dressed up in Barry Zito’s uniform and pitch last
night, but he apparently did it anyway (8.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.