And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights


White Sox 15, Royals 5: Ladies and gentlemen: your first place Chicago White Sox.  Chicago has made up 10 games since June 9th, going from 9.5 out to .5 up. Without question, the most unexpected surge of the year. Yes, they had help from the Twins and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers’ poor play, but Ozzie Guillen’s squad is on fire. It has to kill them to be taking four days off right now, but it’s a break they’ve earned even if it’s one they don’t want.

Twins 6, Tigers 3: Which of these two are going to get it together and chase down the White Sox? I still like Minnesota overall. Maybe this win heading into the break will turn their heads around. Awful last week or so, though, no question about it.

Mets 3, Braves 0: Johan Santana pitches his second gem in a row, shutting out the Bravos over seven. It was merely a series-salvager, however, as the Mets dropped two of three to Atlanta over the weekend. Carlos Beltran comes back on Thursday, and we’ll see if that’s enough to launch New York forward.

Cardinals 4, Astros 2: What, Jeff Bagwell taking over as hitting coach didn’t bring immediate dividends? You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say that firing Sean Berry and replacing him with a team legend was just a P.R./scapegoat move. Wait, forget I said anything. That’s just crazy talk.

Phillies 1, Reds 0: A four game sweep of a good team heading into the break has to give the Phillies some amount of relief after a roller coaster first half. Still — and not to take a thing away from Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels, who pitched Saturday’s and yesterday’s gems, respectively — Philly needs to figure out how to score some freakin’ runs, and fast.

Yankees 8, Mariners 2: The Yankees won it easily but anonymous front
office sources later said that the way the Mariners played was
totally bush league
that it was horsesh– that they had to
split the gate

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: Dice-K allowed two runs and six hits, pitching into the seventh, while walking none and
striking out five. Only threw 88 pitches too.  I think the guy is totally schizophrenic, though, so next time look for 97 pitches (42 strikes, 55 balls) in, like, four innings.

Brewers 6, Pirates 5: Milwaukee went down 3-0 in the second, tied it up, went down 4-3 in the sixth, tied it up and then went down 5-4 in the ninth and won it on a two-run walkoff homer from Corey Hart.  Like I said in the Power Rankings not too long ago: Milwaukee has had a bad first half, but unlike some other teams in dire straits, they’ve never looked or felt like they were packing things in.

Rays 6, Indians 5: Walkoff RBI single for Jason Bartlett as the Rays take three of four from Cleveland and hit the break on a roll. Cleveland walked ten dudes, and you’re just not going to win doing that.

Marlins 2, Diamondbacks 0: Your standard six-pitchers-combine-for-a-shutout shutout. More amazing than the Marlins’ pen combining to keep Arizona off the board, however, was the fact that the Arizona bullpen threw four shutout innings of its own. That’s equivalent to like 40 real bullpen innings.

Padres 9, Rockies 7: San Diego salvages one of the three-game series in order to stay two up of the red hot Rockies and the less-hot-but-still-chugging Dodgers. A Matt Belisle throwing error on a comebacker allowed the Padres to go ahead in the eighth and Heath Bell got the five-out save to ice it.

Athletics 5, Angels 2: Trevor Cahill, the A’s starter in this one, was replaced on the All-Star roster by Jered
Weaver, the Angels starter in this one. But . . . since he can’t pitch on Tuesday either, he was replaced by A’s reliever Andrew Bailey who also pitched in this one. He’s a reliever though, so I guess that’s cool.  Weaver’s contract calls for a $50K bonus for making the All-Star team, by the way, and I assume he gets it for the 11 seconds he was on the squad. I’m picturing Angels owner Arte Moreno sitting in his office with a rather dazed look on his face right now.

Orioles 4, Rangers 1: The Orioles take four straight from the Rangers, which included some long balls on Saturday to render Cliff Lee’s Texas debut an ignominious one. Baltimore’s season may be a loss from a horse race perspective, but there’s a lot of pride to be regained and — let’s face it — some good old fashioned spoilin’ to be done. The Orioles are a more talented team than their record suggests. Maybe they can at least make the most of a bad situation.

Dodgers 7, Cubs 0: I can’t decide if that little 55 mile per hour
eephus/curve/whatever it is pitch Vicente Padilla throws is totally
annoying or the coolest thing ever. I mean, I like garbage pitches like
that as a matter of course. But I can’t enjoy watching Padilla do it for
some reason. Still, it was effective as all get out last night.

Giants 6, Nationals 2: Three RBI for Travis Ishikawa, who has been raking since the Molina trade, which gave him a chance to get out of the pinch hitting role. Since then the Giants have been scoring runs by the bucketful too. Coincidence, I think not.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Getty Images

After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.