And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Sergio Romo.jpgGiants
3, Marlins 2
: Barry Zito is now 5-0 after throwing another gem (7
IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4K). But give mucho credit to Sergio Romo, who atoned for
blowing Tim Lincecum’s game on Tuesday by coming into a bases-loaded,
no-out jam in the eighth to (a) fan Hanley Ramirez on three pitches; and
(b) induce Jorge Cantu to hit into an inning-ending double play.  I
hope Zito bought that man a steak after the game.

Reds 5, Mets 4: I think Jerry Manuel read Ozzie Guillen’s “When I want to quit, I’ll do a lot of stupid things
and make sure they fire me and get paid”
quotes from yesterday morning, because what else could explain (a) taking David Wright out of the game in order to keep Fernando Tatis in it; and (b) using Pedro Feliciano for four straight games, which is only increasing the pressure on an already overtaxed Mets’ pen.

Blue Jays 5, Indians 4: The Tribe are losers of four straight and eight
of their last 10, but this one was particularly painful. Cleveland led
4-2 with two outs in the ninth when Chris Perez gave up a double to Fred
Lewis, Luis Valbuena booted what would have been a game-ending grounder
which allowed Lewis to score and then Perez gave up a two-run shot to
Adam Lind. Perez had been in since there was one out in the eighth.
Asked after the game about using Perez for a five-out save, Manny
Acta made references to Rollie Fingers and Mike Marshall
. Unless
his point was to explain the quality of pitcher that Chris Perez most
certainly is not, I’m not quite sure where he was going with that
comparison.

Pirates 4, Cubs 2: Look kid, we know you’re not Charlie Morton — he can’t pitch and you just did — so just cut the crap. Now tell us: what did you do with Morton? Is he safe? Because if any harm comes to him, well um, aw, forget it.  You gonna be ready to start in five days, “Charlie?”

Phillies 4, Cardinals 0: No one ran onto the field last night. Not even the Cardinals’ hitters, apparently.

Red Sox 3, Angels 1: That’s six straight losses for the Angels. There was a bomb threat before the game. In the game: Big Papi hit a bomb. Coincidence? Why, yes, it most certainly was.

Athletics 4, Rangers 1: This is gonna be one of those years where the AL West champ wins, like, 80 games, isn’t it?

Twins 5, Tigers 4: The sweep. Rick Porcello walked four guys, gave up five hits and allowed five runs in 5.1 innings. After the game he said “it was better.”  Sad thing? He’s not wrong. Miguel Cabrera hit two more runs in a losing cause, and currently has one of the quieter .372/.450/.655 seasons I’ve seen in a long time.

Yankees 7, Orioles 5: Homers from the Nicks and a two-run double from Teixeira give the Yanks a comfortable lead and then the bullpen — after Andy Pettitte’s early exit — takes it home despite the unavailability of both Mo (injury) and Joba (resting).

Braves 7, Nationals 6: A see-saw battle decided with Matt Diaz’s RBI single in the 10th. There had better be a lot more of those in his bat, because Jason Heyward left the game with a groin strain and is probably going to miss a few days, and he has basically been 100% of the offense lately babies.

Astros 4, Diamondbacks 2: The ‘Stros stop the skid on a walkoff jack by Carlos Lee. His first since God knows when, but not this year.

White Sox 9, Royals 2: The Chisox are the Bureau of Reclamation: Freddy Garcia wins, Andruw Jones and Alexis Rios homer.

Rays 8, Mariners 3: Matt Garza pitched eight strong innings to
improve to 5-1 on the season, and helping the Rays win their 20th.
Cliff Lee came out of the gate looking electric, but it didn’t last. He ended up allowing five runs on 10 hits in eight innings. Milton Bradley is getting the help he needs, it seems. The rest of the Mariners need some help too.

Brewers 11, Dodgers 3: The Brewers scored a bunch in the first inning, took a long break and then blew up again in the eighth. I’m not going to say that giving up 11 runs on consecutive nights was unnerving for Dodgers fans, but True Blue L.A. wrote the entire recap of last night’s game in pig Latin.

Rockies 6, Padres 5: Ian Stewart hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the 12th, breaking out of his slump and giving the game to the Rockies. And yes, I did forget this game when I first published the post this morning. I can’t tell you why. Maybe it’s because my brother — who is from San Diego — has been visiting me for a week, I’m getting a little tired of it and I’m just being passive aggressive about all things San Diego.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Saturday’s action

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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It’s the last Clayton Kershaw start of the regular season. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

The Dodgers already have the NL West in the bag, but they’re still fighting for home-field advantage against the Nationals. Should the two teams end up with the same regular season record by Monday morning, the edge will go to the Dodgers, who have a better head-to-head record this year. Kershaw has already been announced as the starter for Game 1 of the NLDS, while the Nationals have kept their lineup close to the vest for the time being.

Facing the Dodgers is Giants’ left-hander Ty Blach, who is poised to make the second major league start of his career this afternoon. The Giants are in a precarious position heading into the last two games of the year and have the potential to force a three-way tie among NL wild card contenders. A thorough breakdown of the wild card and home-field advantage possibilities has been outlined here.

You can find more from Saturday’s action below.

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Phil Klein), 1:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 1:05 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Wade Miley) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 4:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) @ San Francisco Giants (Ty Blach), 4:05 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen) @ Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark), 4:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) @ Cincinnati Reds (Tim Adleman), 4:10 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 4:15 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmerman) @ Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair), 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Hector Santiago) @ Chicago White Sox (James Shields), 7:10 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez), 7:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi) @ Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis), 8:05 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta) @ Colorado Rockies (Jeff Hoffman), 8:10 PM EDT

San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley), 8:10 PM EDT

Houston Astros (Collin McHugh) @ Los Angeles Angels (Tyler Skaggs), 9:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Jharel Cotton) @ Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma), 9:10 PM EDT

Settling the Scores: Friday’s results

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Norichika Aoki #8 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run off of starting pitcher Raul Alcantara #50 of the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Raul Alcantara was in the business of distributing home runs on Friday night.

Robinson Cano caught the tail end of a 94.1 m.p.h. fastball in the first inning, driving it to center field to put the Mariners on the board. In the second, Norichika Aoka found his fourth home run of the year on a similarly-placed heater. The Mariners then targeted Alcantara’s off-speed stuff, picking on the right-hander’s changeup and slider to get two more home runs in the third: the first, another dead-center blast by Cano, and the last, a bomb by Nelson Cruz that popped off the center field wall and survived an umpire review.

Taijuan Walker, who enjoyed the spike in run support from his 3.6 average, was not immune to the home run bug either, giving up the first and only run of the night on Ryon Healy’s 102-m.p.h. home run in the sixth inning.

While Walker excelled at run prevention, he also came one walk shy of hitting a career-high mark, with five walks spread over six innings. Seattle’s bullpen stepped in for three perfect innings to close out the game and, despite six perfect frames from Oakland relievers Zach Neal and Daniel Coulombe, quashed the A’s hopes of closing a four-run gap.

The Mariners’ win on Friday puts them one game back of the wild card; if they take the rest of the series and the Tigers and Blue Jays lose one of their remaining weekend games, the Mariners will tie for the remaining wild card spot. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez on the hill this weekend, winning shouldn’t be an issue. Getting the Blue Jays to collapse against the Red Sox (and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers against the Braves) is another story.

Here are the rest of the box scores from Friday’s games. Keep an eye out for the first modest bat flip of Jose Bautista‘s career, Madison Bumgarner‘s eighth RBI of the year, and the Orioles’ three-homer inning.

Orioles 8, Yankees 1

Marlins 7, Nationals 4

Mets 5, Phillies 1

Cubs 7, Reds 3

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Tigers 6, Braves 2

Rangers 3, Rays 1

Rockies 4, Brewers 1

White Sox 7, Twins 3

Indians 7, Royals 2

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 3

Angels 7, Astros 1

Mariners 5, Athletics 1

Giants 9, Dodgers 3