And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Strasburg walks off.jpgNationals 5, Pirates 2: A star is born.

Giants 3, Reds 0: Not to be a killjoy or anything, but Matt Cain’s game score (76) was one better than Strasburg’s (75). Cain was dancin’ with the Devil, though, recording 16 fly ball outs in a park where you don’t want to be giving up a ton of fly balls.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 0:  And not to be a further killjoy, but Jeff Niemann was better than both Strasburg and Cain, shutting out the bashingest team in baseball on two measly hits.

Mets 2, Padres 1: And while we’re listing outstanding pitching performances, let’s not forget Mike Pelfrey, who went nine and gave up a single
run on five hits. Ike Davis hit a walkoff tater in the 11th too, which means that Strasburg wasn’t the only NL East rookie to have a nice night either.

Phillies 10, Marlins 8: Speaking of NL East rookies, how about Mike Stanton’s big league debut? It was a good one — 3 for 5, all singles and a run scored — but the Marlins’ pitchers and defensive game decided not to show up, basically gifting this game to the Phillies.

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: More great starts! Ted Lilly (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB,
8K, higher game score than Strasburg) and Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 4 H, 0
ER, 2 BB, 7K). Of course neither of them figured in the decision.

Rangers 7, Mariners 1: King Felix decided that he wasn’t going to be one of those sheeple, mindlessly joining in last night’s pitching party. No, he was his own man: 6 IP, 8 H, 7 ER.  Colby Lewis was game, though (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER).

Twins 7, Royals 3: Hey, yet another kickass pitching performance: Kevin Slowey, seven shutout innings in which he gave up only three hits.  Meanwhile, Zach Greinke joins Felix Hernandez in the non-conformists club (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).  I guess those two are just the toast of 2009 compared to this Strasburg kid.

Dodgers 1, Cardinals 0: I’m struggling to recall a night with more great pitching lines. Let’s add Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Carpenter to the mix: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER 6K for Kuroda, 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 5K for Carpenter.

Athletics 10, Angels 1: The A’s pitching was more of a group effort, with Vin Mazzaro going only five innings and four relievers joining him in collectively allowing one run on eight hits. The real star of the game was Kurt Suzuki, who went 4 for 5 with a homer and four RBI.

Red Sox 3, Indians 2: Tim Wakefield not only baffled the Tribe and got
the win, but he passed up Roger Clemens as the all-time Red Sox innings
pitched leader. Assuming Strasburg stays on regular rest, he gets the
Indians next. For those of you who think he only had a great night
because he faced a crappy lineup in the Pirates, well, you can just go
on thinking it, because there will be no evidence to the contrary
presented for a couple of weeks.

Tigers 7, White Sox 2: Armando Galarraga wasn’t perfect but he was good enough to win, scattering seven hits and two runs over five innings. Matt Thornton imploded for the Sox, giving up five runs on three hits and two walks in a mere third of an inning.

Yankees 12, Orioles 7: The Bombers bash the Orioles into submission, led by a Curtis Granderson grand slam and Nick Swisher’s five RBI night. Chad Gaudin coming in and giving up four runs in garbage time can’t be too comforting, though.

Braves 7, Diamondbacks 5: The Braves should have had a hell of a lot more runs than this, but they stranded 14 runners. Between that and Kris Medlen hurting his non-pitching shoulder while running the bases this could have been a disastrous night. Instead it was merely bad with a silver lining. Medlen should be fine. If he slides like that again, however, he’ll probably be fined until Hell won’t have it.

Astros 4, Rockies 3: Here’s the downside of following the draft: As a Braves fan I remember when they drafted Matt Belisle and I followed his career for a good while. Then he shows up and loses a game like this one and my first thought is “Matt Belisle? He’s got to be 42 years old now.”  He just turned 30.  I invested a lot of time in his development years and I’m not sure what I got out of it besides a misleading impression of the guy’s age.  Sometimes it’s just better to be surprised by some guy who shows up in the big leagues.  Now get off my lawn.

Matt Holliday wants to return in 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals after he hit 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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Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.

It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.

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