And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Giants 9, Rockies 5: What a difference a week makes. Heck, not
even a week. Six days after the Rockies beat the Giants on a grand
slam, the Giants do it to the Rockies, courtesy of Edgar Renteria.
Given the Dodgers’ relatively uninteresting play lately, I think I’m
going to squint my eyes until the end of the season and pretend that
this is a bonafide pennant race as opposed to a wild card race.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 0: Papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow-mow,
papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Not that we
should be surprised. Byrd has always done well on 340 days rest.

Royals 3, Mariners 0: More dominance from Zack Greinke (CG, SHO
1 H). We can only hope that the writers are smart enough to realize
come awards voting time that Greinke’s win total is a function of his
team. Given the extremes involved here, I think they will. If he had
won 15-16 wins for a middling team like the Twins or the Brewers,
someone would be tempted to say that Greinke wasn’t a “winner.” That
many wins with a profoundly terrible Royals team will be viewed as a
positive rather than a negative. In other words, he’ll get the Steve
Carlton-in-72 vote.

Angels 9, Athletics 1: After the game, John Lackey talked about
how this Angels team compares to the 2002 team which won the World
Series and on which he made his debut: “Several guys on that ’02 team
will tell you we might not have been the best team, but we were hot . .
. That ’02 team was more of an offense-based team, for sure. We didn’t
pitch that well.” That’s so right. Except for the fact that the 2002
Angels were tied for the best ERA and allowed the fewest runs per game
in the American League.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: Jeff Suppan won on his bobblehead day. In other news, there’s a Jeff Suppan bobblehead day.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 1: Adam Wainwright won on his bobblehead
day. This is somewhat more defensible. Though to be honest, I’d rather
have the Suppan, just for the sake of randomness.

Tigers 4, Rays 3: This is the kind of game the Rays were winning
a year ago. There’s not some magical explanation to it. The pendulum
just swings, ya know?

Mets 4, Cubs 1: Nelson Figueroa (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 10K, RBI) was
a one man team. Really, it was just him, playing all nine positions
like Bugs Bunny vs. the Gashouse Gorillas because the rest of the Mets
are on the DL.

Twins 5, Rangers 3: The Twins scored three runs in the eighth
via a variety of unconventional means, after which Ron Gardenhire said
“We kind of knick-knacked them a little bit.” I think that means that
instead of being pummeled, the Rangers were Hummeld.

Yankees 8, White Sox 3: The Yankees keep winning, and because
they’re doing so well, they continue to mess with Joba Chamberlain,
yanking him after 35 pitches despite there being nothing wrong with
him. At the risk of sounding like one of those cranky old pitchers from
the 60s and 70s, I can’t help but think that Chamberlain is going to
turn out like that kid you knew whose parents would never let leave the
house growing up and then got alcohol poisoning the same week he went
away to college because he had no perspective or life experience. Sure,
you don’t want to let him kill himself now, but there are worse things
in the world than letting the boy pitch and get knocked around a bit.

Orioles 5, Indians 2: Brian Matusz has the best start of his
very, very young career, and spends a lot of time in the game story
talking about how he overcame his initial struggles with adjustments
and video and all of that. The fact that he was facing the Indians
didn’t hurt either.

Marlins 6, Padres 4: “It was a tough weekend for us and today
was nice to salvage the series,” Cody Ross said after the game. The
Padres took two of three. If they had lost the first one and won the
second two, no one on the Marlins would be talking about how the win on
Friday “salvaged the series.” Likewise, if they had won Saturday’s game
but lost on the bookends, no one would feel too good about things. I
use that phrase all the time, but games are games are games.

Dodgers 3, Reds 2: Dodgers pitchers combined to strike out 20
Reds. Nine of those Ks came in the 8th-12th innings, dooming
Cincinnati’s chances to get anything going. Clayton Kershaw still
hasn’t won a game since mid-July, despite the fact that he has a
sub-3.00 ERA since then.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 3: Arizona won the game, but closer Chad
Qualls dislocated his kneecap on the last play of the game and will
probably be done for the year. I’m one of the more squeamish people I
know. Seriously, my daughter lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago
and was out of commission for hours. But nothing makes me cringe more
than thinking about kneecap injuries. Really, it’s taken me ten minutes
to just write this individual recap out because I’ve been alternating
between mild nausea and frantic rubbing of my own kneecaps in an effort
to somehow make the horror of that kind of injury erase itself from my
thoughts.

Phillies 3, Braves 2: Games like this don’t make me feel too hot
either. First Chipper throws away the bunt in the seventh, and then
Garret Anderson just butchers the Carlos Ruiz “double” that put the
Phillies ahead for good. Continued failure to support Jurrjens. Just —
further failure. At times like these I have to remember that, for most
of the year anyway, I’ve been on the “2010 is the Braves’ year” train,
believing that the team brass was really thinking that too, even if
they could never admit it. I still think that’s right, but that little
hot streak earlier this month is the kind of thing that makes you
forget.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets flips his bat after hitting a walk off home run in the tenth inning to defeat the Miami Marlins 2-1 in a game at Citi Field on August 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 1, Twins 0: Tied at zero for nine innings and then, in the tenth, the Indians use a bunt single, a single, a fielder’s choice and then a final, walkoff single by Jason Kipnis to send the Twins to their 11th straight loss. The win was fun and stuff, but Cleveland has scored one run or less in seven of its last eight games and that’s kinda concerning.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but Josh Donaldson homered. So did Jose Bautista. Toronto keeps a two-game lead over the Red Sox, who also won, for the division lead, while Baltimore falls four games back. It’s getting a bit scary for the Orioles, who have lost four of five and are now only one game ahead of the Tigers and two games ahead of the Royals and Astros for the second wild card.

Nationals 4, Phillies 0: Seven shutout innings for Tanner Roark in which he allowed only four singles. If you’re a fan of the rebuilding Phillies take some solace that Jake Thompson pitched pretty well. Also ignore the fact that Jayson Werth, who was a member of your last World Series winning team, hit a homer against your guys.

Red Sox 9, Rays 4: Rick Porcello wins his 18th game. Brock Holt had three hits and drove in two, Chris Young hit a tie-breaking two-run double and Mookie Betts hit his 30th homer. If you’re handicapping the Cy Young race, know that while Porcello leads all of baseball in wins and tops the ERA in K/BB ratio, he is tenth in ERA in the AL, ninth in strikeouts and is first in run support. Really nice season and kudos to him to not giving up free passes, but I don’t think it’s safe to say he’s the best in the Junior Circuit.

Tigers 4, White Sox 3: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered with a runner while the Tigers were down one in the eighth inning to put them ahead for good. Big day for Salty yesterday as he also got on record saying “it’s pretty disgusting” for someone to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Mets 2, Marlins 1: Yoenis Cespedes hit a walkoff homer in the tenth to bring the Mets into a tie with the Marlins, two and a half back of St. Louis for the second wild card. New York got five shutout innings from Rafael Montero to help balance out Jose Fernandez’s six scoreless frames for Miami. Jose Reyes scored on a wild pitch to tie things up at one in the eighth. It looked pretty ugly too, as Reyes slid in head first as the Marlins pitcher covering came in sliding on his knees, slamming into him:

Cardinals 6, Brewers 5: Down by two, the Cardinals scored two in the eighth and then one in the ninth when Jonathan Villar‘s throw to first to nail a bunting Yadier Molina was wild, allowing Stephen Piscotty to score from second. Mike Matheny after the game, commenting on that play:

“Put pressure on them. That’s it. Make them make plays.”

Because he knew that would happen and not result in a double play, which it almost did?

Rangers 6, Mariners 3: Yu Darvish allowed three runs – two of them were on base when he left and were allowed to come around by the reliever who inherited them —  but struck out nine in six and two thirds innings while Carlos Beltran had three hits including a homer.

Cubs 8, Pirates 7: Chicago rallied for two in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extras and then, down by one in the bottom of the 13th, rode four singles to score two and win the game in walkoff fashion. Miguel Montero‘s bases loaded pinch hit to left field off of Jeff Locke plated the game-winner in the form of Kris Bryant. This was a five hour game that went after midnight on the heels of the Cubs not getting back to Chicago until the wee hours Monday morning due to a delayed flight from Los Angeles.

Astros 6, Athletics 0: Joe Musgrove and four relievers combined for a four-hit shutout. “Joe Musgrove” would also be an excellent name for a backup quarterback. You know, that senior who, outside of garbage time in blowouts, has held the clipboard for all four years but who, when that golden boy recruit who was supposed to be so special stumbles in week three vs. Tulsa or whoever, you are convinced would be a better choice. Face it, dude: he’s not that good and will likely be a graduate coaching assistant next year. Maybe some CFL time at most on the power of him coming from this program and working in this system, but you’re spending too much of your time laying your wishes on his blank canvas of a college career. It’s a nice fall day for crying out loud, enjoy the game if you want to, but maybe spend some time outside before and after and gain some perspective.

Royals 8, Yankees 5: Close until the seventh inning when the home team struck for five. Alicides Escobar of all people hit a three-run homer that inning and Kansas City added two more to make it 8-1. They then held on as the Yankees rallied for four in the eighth. The Royals won for the 18th time in 22 games, closing to within two games of the second AL wild card.

Rockies 8, Dodgers 1: I repeat, close until the seventh inning when the home team struck for five. This time Alicides Escobar did not hit a three-run homer because he wasn’t there. DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run double, though. Earlier Nick Hundley hit for a two-run homer.

Angels 9, Reds 2: Mike Trout, Albert PujolsKole CalhounC.J. Cron and Jefry Marte all hit homers. Trout, Calhoun, Pujols and Marte all were a triple shy of the cycle. Which, as I noted the other day is not really a thing, but it’s a thing when four different dudes do it, I think.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s 2017 option vests, but salary still undetermined

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Hisashi Iwakuma #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.

Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).

This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.