ATH Express: Last night's scores and highlights


This isn’t a full-blown And That Happened. Too much other stuff going on for that. But baseball games did occur last night, so you all should have a place where you can discuss them. So . . .

Nationals 8, Phillies 1: Not even 10 AM yet and all of the “see, I told you Roy Oswalt was no savior” people are coming out of the woodwork. Didn’t hear any of that yesterday afternoon.  Personally, I think the Phillies should never have traded away the ace they used to have. Of course I’m talking about Kevin Gross. Floyd Youmans is NOT the answer people!

Braves 6, Reds 4: Jason Heyward with a big two-run RBI in the 10th. When that happened I went “yay!”  Then, when Martin Prado was writhing in pain due to injuring his finger I curled up into a fetal position.  I’m still in that position actually, and won’t be out of it until we hear that it’s OK. Hell of a way to type, though.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: 0 for 4 for A-Rod. Man, that guy is just never gonna make it in New York.

Diamondbacks 9, Mets 6: This fall, as the Mets are watching the playoffs from their homes, they’ll probably be thinking of just how badly they were abused by the Dbacks this year.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 5: Detroit takes the first game in the battle of the What Coulda Beens. Yes, that’s the second time in three days I’m writing off the Red Sox. Wanna fight about it? Jose Valverde got a shaky as all hell save, throwing nearly 60 pitches. John Hiller nods approvingly.

Blue Jays 8, Indians 1: Jose Bautista hits a grand slam. I can’t decide if his continued power display means that the Jays should keep him or be even more intent on trading him as his value peaks.

Astros 5, Brewers 0: J.A. Happ shuts out the Brewers on two hits over six innings in his Houston debut.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: After learning what we learned last night about the Edwin Jackson thing I think the Twins should call Kenny Williams and tell him that they’d totally trade him Joe Mauer — and send cash in the deal — if only he could find some way to get Barry Zito or Carlos Lee or someone to flip back in a trade.

Royals 7, Orioles 5: FOX and TBS were seriously considering broadcasting this series nationally this weekend, but then those kill-joy human rights groups chimed in, putting the kibosh on the deal.

Cardinals 1, Pirates 0: The rain dealy (2:22) was almost as long as the game (2:38) as Chris Carpenter, Jeff Karstens and all of the relievers not named Javier Lopez kept the opposition scoreless.

Twins 5, Mariners 3: Matt Capps makes his debut for the Twinkies. He comes out to Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” by the way. He got the save!  So maybe the Twins didn’t make a huge mistake.

Rockies 17, Cubs 2: Sometimes I miss the old Coors Field. Nice to see it come back once in a while.

Angels 9, Rangers 7: First loss of the year for Tommy Hunter, who got shelled.

Marlins 4, Padres 2: Miguel Tejada’s presence somehow didn’t will the Padres to victory. Huh.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5: Brian Wilson wasn’t available due to back spasms, so Jonathan Sanchez, Chris Ray, Denny Bautista and Sergio Romo combine to handle the ninth inning and create/fend off a late Dodger rally.

Eh. This feature is way more fun to write at 11PM the night before while half-crocked on Maker’s Mark.

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:

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.