And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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Giants 9, Rockies 1: Lincecum comes back after missing a start
and looks pretty good. He’s been sharper — he gave up six hits and
walked four — but he struck out 11 and gave up a single run in seven
innings. San Francisco climbs to three and a half of back of the

Cubs 2, Brewers 0: How many people looked at the schedule last
spring and figured this series would matter? If it had mattered, we
would all be marveling at Ryan Dempster’s clutch September performance
(8 IP, 4 H — all singles — 0 ER). But it doesn’t matter, not by damn
sight, so I’ll use this opportunity to rate the top 5 Swayzes:

(1) Red Dawn: “I never HEARD of it!” Tell me you didn’t
see this movie as a kid and then wish, if only for a few moments, that
the Russians and Cubans really would invade. I had an emergency
backpack full of supplies in my closet and everything;

(2) Road House: “Pain don’t hurt”;

(3) Point Break: Where have you gone Johnny Utah, Buckeye Nation turns its lonely eyes to you;

(4) Next of Kin: This one was more ridiculous that Road House and Red
Dawn put together, yet no one ever mentions it. Greatly, greatly
underrated flick;

(5) Dirty Dancing: I really don’t like this one, but if you were 14
years-old in 1987 and you pretended you liked it, some girl somewhere
was gonna make out with you, and for that dorks like me thank you, Mr.
Swayze, wherever you are.

Yankees 5, Angels 3: Mark Teixeira hit a triple that made Torii Hunter lose his shoe (amazing pic of it here).
Brett Gardner scored the go-ahead run on a double steal + throwing
error extravaganza. With this makeup game, the Angels have three games
in three days in three cities (Chicago, New York and Boston). Later in
the evening as they lied awake in bed, with the echo from the
amplifiers ringing in their head, they smoked the day’s last cigarette,
remembering what she said, etc.

Reds 3, Astros 1: Jay Bruce makes his return after two months on
the shelf and hits the go-ahead single. Outside of that time he told
everyone that he doesn’t care what supplements he takes, I don’t
believe I’ve given Bronson Arroyo a moment’s thought in the second
half. So color me shocked that he now has 13 wins and is threatening to
send his ERA under 4.00.

Athletics 9, Rangers 0: Brett Tomko (CG SHO 5 H) has underwear
older than all of the A’s other starters, but he’s a been a better
pitcher than just about all of them this year too.

Tigers 6, Blue Jays 5: Nobody puts Aubrey in a corner! Down
three in the bottom of the ninth, Huff hits a three-run homer and the
Tigers go on to win it in 10. OK, sorry about that. I’m taking this
Swayze thing a bit harder than I thought I would.

Rays 8, Orioles 4: The losing streak ends in Baltimore, with the
Rays scoring as many runs last night as they did in their previous
seven games combined.

Twins 6, Indians 3: Jeremy Sowers leaves with a 3-0 lead after
seven innings and then watches the bullpen give up six runs in the
eighth. My Cleveland friends are so fed up with this garbage that
they’re actually wanting baseball season to end so they can turn their
full attention to the Browns. Think about that for a few minutes.

Cardinals 11, Marlins 6: St. Louis survives an emergency Todd
Wellemeyer start by blasting the living hell out of Ricky Nolasco, Matt
Lindstrom and three other Marlin pitchers. Matt Holliday = this year’s
Manny Ramirez: he’s batting .371 with 48 RBIs in 47 games since the
July 24th trade. In that time the Cardinals are 33-14.

Dodgers 6, Pirates 2: To the extent anyone was really worried
about L.A., know that 10 of their last 18 games are against Pittsburgh
and Washington, and many of them will likely go like this one.

Diamondbacls 4, Padres 2: Arizona pulls within two games of San
Diego in the battle to avoid last place. Given the absence of any real
pennant races this year, this is worth following.

Concerns over Jon Lester’s throwing ability much ado about nothing

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Going into Thursday night’s NLCS Game 5, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts planned to have his team be annoying and distracting on the base paths for Cubs starter Jon Lester. Lester, you see, has a hard time making throws when he’s not pitching from the rubber, as seen here.

The Dodgers got an immediate opportunity to test their strategy, as Enrique Hernandez drew a four-pitch walk to start the game in the bottom of the first inning. Hernandez was taking leads between 15 and 25 feet, just taunting Lester to throw over to first base. Lester never did. And despite being given the luxury of such a large lead, Hernandez never attempted to steal second base.

It ended up costing the Dodgers a run. After Justin Turner struck out, Corey Seager lined a single to center field. Hernandez, large lead and all, should’ve been well on his way to third base, but he settled for staying at second base. Carlos Ruiz then flied out to right field on what should’ve been a sacrifice fly. Hernandez instead just advanced to third. Howie Kendrick grounded out to end the inning with the Dodgers having scored no runs.

In the bottom of the second inning with two outs, Joc Pederson dropped down a bunt, but Lester was able to field it and make a bounce-throw to Anthony Rizzo at first base to end the inning. Lester stared angrily into the Dodgers’ dugout as he walked off the field. If it were me, I’d have been glaring angrily not because the opposing team was attempting to exploit my weakness, but because the strategy is so poor.

The bunting would continue in the seventh inning as first baseman and noted power hitter Adrian Gonzalez tried to sneak a bunt past Lester on the right side of the infield. Second baseman Javier Baez was able to scoop it up and fire to first. Gonzalez was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned upon replay review.

Lester countered the Dodgers’ bunting and greedy lead-taking by just pitching his game. He went seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 108 pitches. The Cubs went on to win 8-4, taking a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. A worthy consideration for the National League Cy Young Award based on his regular season performance, Lester now has a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings spanning three starts this postseason. Turns out, the yips isn’t debilitating if you’re really good at your main job.

Cubs swat their way past the Dodgers 8-4 in NLCS Game 5

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Addison Russell #27 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

During the regular season, the Cubs had the second-best offense in baseball behind the Rockies, averaging 4.99 runs per game. It was the best after debiting the Rockies for playing in Coors Field. There was no way, after getting shut out in NLCS Games 2 and 3, that the offense was going to stay dormant much longer. They broke out for 10 runs in a Game 4 victory on Wednesday night. They scored eight more to beat the Dodgers 8-4 in Game 5, taking a 3-2 NLCS lead.

The Cubs took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when leadoff batter Dexter Fowler greeted Kenta Maeda with a single to center field. He’d come around to score on a one-out double by Anthony Rizzo who, like teammate Addison Russell, hadn’t hit much until breaking out in Game 4.

Starter Jon Lester was able to silence the Dodgers’ offense despite their strategy of attempting bunts and taking big leads, knowing Lester has trouble throwing when it’s not from the pitching rubber. They managed just one run, coming around in the fourth inning to knot the game at 1-1 when Howie Kendrick doubled, stole third base, and scored on an Adrian Gonzalez ground out.

Ultimately, Lester lasted seven innings, holding the Dodgers to five hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 108 pitches. Addison Russell allowed him to leave with a lead, slugging a two-run home run off of reliever Joe Blanton in the sixth to break the 1-1 tie.

The Cubs tacked on plenty of insurance in the top of the eighth against reliever Pedro Baez, which proved to be rather necessary. Russell reached on an error by Baez, Willson Contreras singled, and Albert Almora, Jr. moved both runners up a base on a sacrifice bunt. Dexter Fowler then hit a single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, but Baez didn’t break to cover first base. Gonzalez wasn’t able to beat Fowler to the bag, allowing the Cubs’ fourth run to score. Kris Bryant hit a weak grounder to third base and he was able to beat that out as well, pushing across another run in the process. Anthony Rizzo lined out, but Baez prolonged the inning by walking Ben Zobrist. Ross Stripling relieved Baez, but he served up a bases-clearing double to Javier Baez, making it an 8-1 ballgame. Jason Heyward, as has often been the case, popped up feebly, mercifully ending the inning with the Cubs having hung up a five-spot.

Pedro Strop took over for Lester in the bottom of the eighth. He gave up a double to Andrew Toles, then hit Justin Turner to begin the inning. Though Strop was able to induce a ground ball double play from Corey Seager, Carlos Ruiz followed up with a double to left-center to push in a run. Howie Kendrick flied out to send the game to the ninth.

Closer Aroldis Chapman took over with a six-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. He issued a leadoff walk to Gonzalez, then served up a single to Yasiel Puig. Joc Pederson grounded out, but Josh Reddick knocked in Gonzalez and moved Puig to third with a single to center. Toles plated Puig with a sacrifice fly, making it 8-4. Turner grounded out to shortstop to end the game, finalizing the victory for the Cubs.

The two clubs will take Friday off to travel back to Chicago. Game 6 will take place at Wrigley Field at 8:00 PM EDT. Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers opposite the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks.