And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Jim Joyce looks on.jpgTigers 3, Indians 0: So, did anything notable happen in this game?

Mariners 2, Twins 1: Between a tornado warning (see the Cubs-Pirates recap at the bottom) and the Armando Galarraga stuff I was unable to pay any attention to Ken Griffey’s retirement before this game.  I will remedy that later today.

Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 0: I watched way more of this game than I should have. Guess it was morbid fascination combined with being lulled into a state of happy by Vin Scully’s voice. It totally screwed with my judgment too. In the 14th inning, Scully, after the second out, said something to the effect of “hope you don’t have any plans everybody . . .” before catching himself and saying ” . . . because unless Garret Anderson can do something here we’ll be heading to the 15th.”  My comment on Twitter at the time wasIt’s possible that Vin thought there were already
three outs there, but more likely that he’s just realistic about Garret
Anderson’s chances
.” Of course Anderson then singled in Matt Kemp, ending the game.

Braves 2, Phillies 1: Hit this one up yesterday afternoon.  Atlanta now goes to face a Dodgers pitching staff that (a) hasn’t given up a run in forever, but (b) has to be tired after consecutive extra-inning performances.

Yankees 9, Orioles 1: The whole Yankees starting lineup was back for the first time in forever last night. Now that they’re done with that practice squad in the orange, black and gray uniforms they get to see how they play against real teams. UPDATE:  Oops, sorry about that. They have one more game against the practice squad. Forgive me, but my brain is a bit fried this morning.

Rays 7, Blue Jays 3: Lord Almighty, the Rays like the late-inning drama, no? Carl Crawford’s ninth-inning grand slam didn’t put the Rays ahead, but it certainly put the game out of reach, as Tampa Bay puts up a six spot in the final frame for a come-from-behind victory.

Padres 5, Mets 1: At some point, just before I went to bed early, early this morning (yeah, I’m functioning on almost no sleep right now) I suffered this moment of panic, wondering if, between the Armando Galarraga thing, Griffey’s retirement, the Braves sweep of the Phillies and all of the amazing late-night action, if there was just too much baseball drama to handle. This one may have put me over the edge. Adrian Gonzalez 11th inning grand slam. Just an unreal day of baseball yesterday.

Red Sox 6, Athletics 4: Big Papi — we can call him that now that he’s hitting like Big Papi again — hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth. He was 2 for 2 with a double, that homer and two walks. Can a guy win Comeback Player of the Year for coming back from adversity that occurred in the same season?

Brewers 7, Marlins 4: Where would the Brewers be without Yovani Gallardo? In addition to giving up two runs in seven innings with four strikeouts, he hit a dinger.

Rangers 9, White Sox 5: Vlad Guerrero was scratched after getting popped in the eye by a ball at the batting cage during BP (the practice kind of BP, not the kind that spilled all that oil). He was not needed, however, as Matt Treanor homered and drove in four and Michael Young had three hits.

Astros 5, Nationals 1: Back-to-back wins for the Astros for the first time in nearly a month. Three errors for Ian Desmond, who now has 14 on the year.

Angels 7, Royals 2: Torii Hunter homered, doubled, singled and drove in three runs as the Angels take their sixth win in eight games.

Cardinals 4, Reds 1: Chris Carpenter allows only one run on four hits over eight innings to bring the Cards back into a tie for first place. Big boo-boo here: runner on first and third in the seventh, and Scott Rolen — the guy on first — got smacked by a ground ball. Just one of them things.

Giants 4, Rockies 1: A two-run double for the slumping Aaron Rowand and one run on four hits over eight innings for Chris Carpenter Matt Cain helps the Giants avoid the sweep.

Cubs vs. Pirates: Postponed. I’m assuming this was the same weather system that blew threw my town a few hours earlier. We had tornado warnings and all kinds of fun stuff. My wife and kids and I were the basement for a while. While down there, my son found an old wooden Louisville Slugger I’ve had since I was a kid. My daughter looked at the name on it and asked “Daddy, who’s Gorman Thomas?”  My answer: “He was one of Harvey’s Wallbangers, dear.”  The my wife made me explain a little more thoroughly.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).