And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights


Rays 5, Tigers 0: The no-no for Matt Garza. Indeed, there were only three hits in the whole game. Unfortunately for Max Scherzer and the Tigers, one of them was a grand slam.  For Garza, only one walk — and that guy was erased on a double play — making it a near-perfecto. It was the fifth no-hitter in baseball this year. Only 17,000 witnessed it live.

Twins 19, Royals 1: Just a magical night last night I guess as right on the heels of Garza’s performance, Zack Greinke and the Royals bullpen combine for a 20-hitter. How often does a 4 for 4, 4 RBI night not stand as the game’s best hitting line? That was Danny Valencia’s. Joe Mauer, however, pulled a 5 for 5, 7 RBI night out of his hat, however.

Red Sox 6, Angels 3: Dan Haren’s debut with the Angels ended early when a comebacker smacked him in the arm. It swelled up but Haren thinks it’s just a flesh wound. He’s going to be reevaluated today. If he has to miss some time, boy howdy, that would be bad luck for Anaheim.  For Boston, two homers from Big Papi and the return of Victor Martinez made the night a nice one.

Phillies 5, Rockies 4: Philly sweeps the Rockies despite a near-meltdown by Brad Lidge in the ninth. After the game Lidge said “it just goes to show that you never know what’s going to happen.”  Ya know, Brad, with you we kind of do know what’s going to happen. We just don’t know if the self-inflicted wounds will be fatal or not.

Cubs 5, Astros 2: Carlos Silva now has 10 wins on the season. Pitchers who do not have 10 wins: John Lackey, Cliff Lee, Francisco Liriano, Trevor Cahill, Johan Santana, A.J. Burnett, Matt Cain, Dan Haren, Tommy Hanson . . .

Brewers 3, Reds 2: Jim Edmonds hit a two-out pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning that proved to be the game winner. He’s hitting .283/.353/.513 despite being in tremendous pain from various injuries and despite taking 2009 off.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is his last year, but it’s been a gutsy friggin’ year for a guy who may or may not ultimately be Hall of Fame worthy, but who probably won’t get as much consideration as he probably deserves.

Yankees 3, Indians 2: Another homer for Curtis Granderson — a two-run job that put the Yankees ahead for good in the eighth — and one for Nick Swisher, but none for Alex Rodriguez. Which sucks. Not because I really care too much about 600, but because I’m really tired of the live cut-ins that ESPN is doing with his at bats. Jake Westbrook had a nice start going until that bomb, having given up only two hits. The trade bonuses in his contract may prevent him being dealt, but maybe he raised an eyebrow or two.

Marlins 4, Giants 3: The Feesh are now above .500. But get this: after the game the Marlins announced that Chris Coghlan may miss 6-8 weeks with a knee injury. How’d he get it? He hurt himself while delivering a pie to the face of Wes Helms’ following Sunday’s walkoff win over the Braves.  Coghlan can expect a call from Kendry Morales’ lawyer any day now for stealing his bit.

White Sox 6, Mariners 1: John Danks (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). out-pitches King Felix for his fourth straight win. A nice catch for Ichiro though, robbing Mark Kotsay of a homer.

Blue Jays 9, Orioles 5: It was 80s night at Rogers Centre last night with 80s music, clothes and
all that jazz. The Orioles’ didn’t participate, however, as they were
often quite good in the 80s. Jose Bautista hit his 28th homer as the Jays beat the O’s for the tenth straight time. Another short night for the O’s starter. After the game Juan Samuel said “we just can’t continue to do this or we’re going to kill those guys down in the bullpen.” In the team’s defense, there have been times this year when just such a thing was called for.

The Cubs’ NLCS finish was one for the history books

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Chicago Cubs fans hold a sign after the Chicago Cubs defeated 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 Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Cubs obliterated the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS, riding nine shutout innings to their first pennant win since 1945. Here’s what you should know about their historic finish:

  • By virtue of the Cubs’ 71-year World Series drought, Jon Lester and Javier Baez became the club’s first and only postseason MVPs in franchise history. The World Series MVP award was first distributed in 1955, while the NLCS MVP awards have been issued since 1977.
  • Lester and Baez are also the first co-MVPs of the Championship Series since the 1990 Reds celebrated left-hander Randy Myers and right-hander Rob “Nasty Boy” Dibble following the team’s ninth pennant win (per’s Jenifer Langosch).
  • Anthony Rizzo’s fifth inning solo shot in Game 6 tied him with Miguel Cabrera, Alex Gonzalez, and Kyle Schwarber for the most postseason homers hit at Wrigley Field, with three (per Comcast SportsNet’s Christopher Kamka).
  • Rizzo and Willson Contreras’ home runs were the first Clayton Kershaw had given up in the playoffs since Game 4 of the 2015 NLDS. The twin blasts also accounted for a fifth of the total home runs Kershaw had given up in 2016.
  • Clayton Kershaw’s Game Score of 33 was not only the lowest the left-hander had put up since the start of the 2015 season, but the lowest the Cubs had seen from an opposing pitcher in the postseason since 1989. During Game 4 of the 1989 NLCS, Giants’ right-hander Scott Garrelts pitched 4 2/3 innings with eight hits, four runs, and two homers en route to a 6-4 loss and a 33 Game Score.
  • By contrast, Kyle Hendricks’ Game Score of 86 was the third-highest among Cubs’ postseason starters, ranking just below Jake Arrieta’s 11-strikeout complete game during the 2015 wild card tiebreaker and Orval Overall’s three-hitter in Game 5 of the 1908 World Series.
  • The last major league season to feature an ERA leader on the Cubs’ roster was 1945, also the last season in which the Cubs rode to the World Series. In 2016, the MLB ERA leader is Game 6 winner Kyle Hendricks (2.13 ERA); in ‘45, it was left-hander Ray Prim (2.40 ERA), who capped a dominant year with a loss against the Tigers in Game 4 of the World Series and blown save in Game 6.
  • Not to be overlooked in the lefty’s gem on Saturday night: Hendricks and Aroldis Chapman combined to face the minimum number of batters, at 27. According to MLB Stat of the Day, only the 1956 Yankees had also faced the minimum batters in a postseason game, though they did it with just a bit more panache.
  • With Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Albert Almora Jr., Javier Baez, and Addison Russell penciled into the lineup, the Cubs became the first MLB team to utilize five starters under 25 years old to clinch the NLCS (also via MLB Stat of the Day).
  • If you want to talk postseason drought, the Cubs-Indians World Series will set a precedent for combined championship-less streaks, at 174 years between the two clubs (per ESPN Stats & Info).
  • Speaking of unpleasant streaks, there’s this: with the Dodgers’ loss in the NLCS, they’ve now gone to the postseason four consecutive times without participating in a World Series showdown. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, that’s a first in major league history.


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)
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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: