And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Albert Pujols running.jpgCardinals 9, Cubs 1: Things people were doing for about ten seconds and then suddenly pretending that they never did: (1) listening to swing music; (2) playing poker; and (3) wondering if it was possible that Albert Pujols was no longer the best player in baseball. Pujols: 3 for 3 3 HR, 4 RBI; Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, awful, your story about that miracle draw on the river of that hand you shouldn’t have even been in anymore, still boring as hell.

Tigers 10, Athletics 2: I once got stuck in Toledo for a two-week trial, and when I came back I appreciated my non-Toledo existence as the precious gift from The Maker that it truly is. Life felt fresh again and, for a little while at least, I approached my responsibilities with a renewed sense of purpose and gusto. I think Max Scherzer feels the same way (5.2 IP, 2 H, 14K).  Oh, and becoming father for the second time agrees with Miguel Cabrera: 4 for 5 with a double a homer and 4 RB. Cabrera is 8 for 13 with four homers in the three games since the birth of his daughter.

Marlins 1, Phillies 0: The Phillies’ offensive woes were forgotten for a minute thanks to Roy Halladay’s perfect game, but the fact is that they still only scored four runs in three games on their trip to Florida. Sure, the Marlins only scored three, but they’re not the ones who were supposed to pummel the opposition all year.

Braves 5, Pirates 2: I wrote a proto-epitaph for Chipper Jones on Thursday, and in the four games since then he’s gone 6 for 12 with 5 RBI, including yesterday’s pinch hit job, which proved to be the game-winner. All but one of those hits were singles so I suppose we could still ask where Jones’ power is, but let’s not bury the guy just yet.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 5: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the opposing team rallied off the Dbacks’ bullpen and went on to win the game.  That makes seven straight losses for Arizona, who was outscored 23-6 in the series.  Oh, and Buster Posey starts out his 2010 major league season by going 6 for 10 with two doubles and four RBI for the Giants.

Angels 9, Mariners 7: Three-run walkoff homer for Howie Kendrick in the bottom of the ninth. No Los Angels of Anaheim were injured in the celebration of this event.

Padres 3, Nationals 2: Two homers for Ryan Zimmerman, but the pinch hit RBI single from the Padres’ Nick Hundley in the 11th was the bigger blow. By the way, it’s fun to look at box scores with names like Gwynn and Hundley and Stairs in it. Gives me a retro-90s vibe. Oh wait, I forgot: Matt Stairs is the same dude from the 90s. Nothin’ retro about that.

White Sox, 8, Rays 5: Jayson Nix came off the bench to hit a grand slam and help the Sox earn a split with the Rays. Tampa Bay went 2-5 in the past week. Why they need to go and screw up my power rankings like that I have no idea, but it’s pretty darn inconsiderate.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 3: I like the nine strikeouts in five innings from Clayton Kershaw, but I don’t like the 97 pitches in five innings. It’s a win and wins are nice, but having to use five pitchers when your ace takes the hill is the kind of thing that has to make managers tear their hair out. Oh, and it was Manny Ramirez’s birthday yesterday. Joe Torre didn’t give him the start, though, because he correctly presumed that Ramirez would be distracted all afternoon thinking about all the places he’d go after the game to get free stuff.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 1: See, that’s how you pitch efficiently: Ricky Romero: CG, 6 H, 1 ER, 7K, 102 pitches.

Red Sox 8, Royals 1: David Ortiz hit a homer, Jon Lester was solid for seven and Mike Cameron doubled twice and drove in two, capping an 18-11 month for the Bosox.

Mets 10, Brewers 4: Apart from not fooling Rickie Weeks — who hit two homers — R.A. Dickey had himself yet another nice game (7 IP, 9 H, 4 ER). Helps when you don’t walk anybody.  The Mets’ ten runs on 16 hits was their biggest offensive game of the season.

Yankees 7, Indians 3: The Bombers were down 3-0 entering their half of the seventh and then they were all, like, Derek Jeter two-run single and Mark Teixeira three-run homer. The Yankees fans were all “cool” and the Tribe fans were all like “dude . . .”

Astros 2, Reds 0: It was ugly hot and humid here in Columbus yesterday, and a good rule of thumb is to add approximately 4.7 misery points to the Columbus, Ohio icky and muggy scale in order to find out what it’s like in Cincinnati. Based on that formula — and based on the fact that the game was scoreless for the first nine innings, but not scoreless in a “wow these pitchers are awesome” kind of way — I am quite pleased that I passed on the tickets I was offered to this game.

Twins 6, Rangers 3: Tough game. Derek Holland left in the second inning with shoulder soreness and the ninth inning closed with Denard Span slamming into Orlando Hudson as Span made the game-ending catch.

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

Video: Holliday’s home run a fitting goodbye for Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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If tonight was his last night in a Cardinals uniform, Matt Holliday made the most of it.

After sitting out most of the second half with a fractured thumb, the 36-year-old was activated from the disabled list on Friday and slotted in as a pinch-hitter during the seventh inning of the Cardinals’ 7-0 shutout. What happened next could hardly have elicited more sentiment had it been scripted:

The solo shot was Holliday’s first home run as a pinch-hitter, and his first home run of any kind since August 9. The triumphant moment might have been the last of its kind in St. Louis, as it was reported earlier today that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Holliday’s option in 2017.

Prior to the game, the left fielder released a statement in which he expressed his gratitude for the past eight seasons with the Cardinals’ organization:

I would like to thank Mr. Dewitt, Mo and the entire ownership group for the opportunity to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I am proud of what we have accomplished on and off the field during the past seven years. I have also been humbled by the incredible support and participation in our Homers for Health program.

It has been an honor to play in front of such great fans and for such a historic organization. I can honestly say it has been a dream come true.

While I’m disappointed this could be it here in St. Louis, I understand that it might be time to move on.

I’d like to express my love and admiration for Tony, Mike and all of the coaches and staff that I have had the pleasure to do life with these past seven-plus years.

The most emotional part of this is my teammates and the relationships I’ve built with some of these guys over the years. Particularly, Adam and Yadi, to be considered part of the core with two of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.

Finally, I’m eternally thankful for the Lord bringing me to the city of St. Louis in August of 2008. Lots of cool stuff has happened since then. On behalf of my wife Leslee and our children Jackson, Ethan, Gracyn and Reed: Thank you!