And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights


Markakis swing.jpgOrioles 4, Red Sox 3: Juan Samuel gets his first win as the O’s manager
and the O’s get their first win in ten games. Nick Markakis breaks an
0-14 slump with the game-winning RBI single in the 11th. According to
the game story, they were doing the shaving cream pie in the face thing
in the clubhouse after the game. Really Baltimore? I’m not saying we
always did it right back in the day, but if my Babe Ruth league coach
caught us celebrating like that after one win in the middle of a crap
stretch we’d be running in the outfield for the next six hours.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Manny Parra strikes out ten Redbirds, including
four in one inning. He didn’t get the win, though, Zach Braddock did.
Note: “Zach Braddock” is not the secret identity of a teenage super
hero, no matter how much it sounds like it is. It’s merely the name of a
pitcher on the Milwaukee Brewers. As far as you know.  Anyway, the
point is, Braddock did not get a pie in the face as a celebration. He
got a beer shower, which is a far better way of celebrating baseball
accomplishments. Especially in a game between teams from Milwaukee and
St. Louis.

3, Diamondbacks 2
: Ubaldo shut the Dbacks down through seven, but
was obviously out of gas to start the eighth giving up a double, a
dinger and a walk before being lifted. His scoreless innings streak
ended at 33 and his ERA shoots way the hell up to 0.93, so like, I guess
he’s some kind of scrub now or something.

Angels 9, Mariners 4: Mike Napoli had four hits including a two-run homer as the Halos sweep the M’s, outscoring them 27-7 in the series. Anaheim’s fifth straight win overall. Ron Roenicke was the acting manager because Mike Scioscia was attending his daughter’s high school graduation. I think that was just a cover story, though. Because as everyone know, Roenicke went 4-0, sweeping these same Seattle Mariners, as a fill-in skipper when Scioscia was suspended for four games back in 2006. So, yeah, Roenicke is a Mariners-killer.

Astros 6, Cubs 3: After dropping five out of six, Chicago now has to fly to Pittsburgh for a makeup game tomorrow and then right on to Milwaukee for a series against the Brewers. There they go, playin’ the star again. There they go, turn the page.

Athletics 5, Twins 4: Oakland avoids the sweep behind Gio Gonzalez’ seven strong innings. Game story: It was Little League day, and “Some 275 Little Leaguers from [Dallas] Braden’s hometown of Stockton attended.”  Given that they’re from the 209, I’m guessing they’re the toughest and most tattooed bunch of 12 year-olds west of the Mississippi.

Giants 6, Pirates 5: Brian Wilson blows the save and gets the win, which is a scoring decision that would be utterly impossible if I ruled baseball. Lincecum still struggled with his control, but not as badly as his last couple of starts, walking only two this time out.

Rays 9, Rangers 5: A game that lasted over four hours and, according to Joe Maddon and the Rays who complained about it, the heat was something fierce. Seems like it’s always hot down there, no matter when you come. It’s the kind of heat that holds you like a mama holds her son. Tight when he tries to walk, even tighter if he runs.

Royals 7, Tigers 2:  Brian Bannister is great in day games and great against the Tigers, so this one was no surprise. Next up: the 1935 Yankees are going to trade for him and see if they can’t steal that pennant from Detroit. Game aside: I totally need this shirt, don’t I?  Yeah, I thought so. See honey! They don’t think $35 is too much for a t-shirt, so you should let me buy it!

Reds 5, Nationals 4: We’ll all remember where we were the first time Stephen Strasburg charted pitches in the Major Leagues. Matt Capps blew his third save in four chances.  Note: ever since Capps met my friend Megan at that charity ball last month, his ERA has gone from 0.98 to 3.62. Watch out, boys, she’ll chew you up.

White Sox 8, Indians 7: The Chisox rally from down 6-2 to salvage one against the Tribe. Mark Buehrle continues to struggle, as he needed 95 pitches just to get out of the third inning. He has struggled since the end of last year, really. The lesson here: Armando Galarraga was very lucky not to have thrown that perfect game. It’s the kiss of death, brother.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: All hail Javy Vazquez. The man who was booed gave up one hit and two runs in seven innings against a team that has knocked the cover off the ball this year. That’s two outstanding starts in a row for Javy. Of course the last one was against Baltimore, so weigh that however you’d like.

Mets 7, Marlins 6: The Mets were down 5-0 in the sixth before asploding. Jeffy Francouer’s three-run bomb in the seventh tied it up and Ike Davis hitting into a double play — but plating a run all the same — drove in the game-winner. The Marlins now get Mike Stanton, by the way, and he hits ten homers a game so this losing with a mere six runs thing is officially now a thing of the past.

6, Phillies 5
: The Padres took the lead in the 10th. The
Phillies tried to rally in the bottom of the inning, with Placido
Polanco reaching on a walk. Chase Utley was up next and he singled to
center, but Tony
Gwynn Jr. nailed Polanco trying to make it to third
. Sweet play, as
the ball was softly hit and Gwynn never got a chance to plant and throw.

5, Braves 4
: The Braves took a 4-1 lead but then squandered both it
and many other opportunities to with the game. In more uplifting news,
the Dodgers made it Jose Lima tribute day, having his son throw out the
first pitch and playing video of Lima singing the National Anthem and
“God Bless America.”

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.