And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights


Mets 3, Braves 2: I get the sense that we’ll be calling this one the “Francoeur Game” for some time. A bad route by Frenchie on what should have been a single to right led to the Braves’ second run, but then (a) Kyle Farnsworth walked Francouer on four pitches in the seventh and he came around to score; and (b) Frenchie hit the winning home run off Billy Wagner in the ninth. I can’t be mad at Francoeur. The guy’s not evil and he used to be part of my baseball life. Good for him for doing something great in the course of such an awful season. That dinger probably made his year, and everyone should get that kind of joy in their lives once in a while, even if it pains some of us to have to watch it.

Rays 6, Twins 4: Three-run bombs by Sean Rodriguez and B.J. Upton and now the Rays are in first place.  Why?

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 2: That’s why. Rickey Romero tosses a complete game two-hitter. But New York writers can’t be bothered to break down a great pitching performance by the opposition. No, they have to latch onto or create some narrative to explain the outcome in a way that creates a Yankee hero or a Yankee goat.  To wit: I haven’t seen the column yet, but after this game ended last night the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan tweeted that his story for today would be that the Yankees are “letting 600 get in their heads.”  As if anyone on the team cares beyond what it means for dumb reporters’ questions after the game.  Nothing to do with Girardi penciling in a peculiar bottom of the order. Nothing to do with Romero throwing bullets. It’s not even just an A-Rod story anymore. No, the whole damn team is infected by 600-itis!  Brilliant! UPDATE: Kernan didn’t disappoint: “The milestone has become a millstone around the neck of A-Rod and the Yankees.” Oy.

Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Fisticuffsmanship!  Well, pushing, shoving and jawing anyway. Josh Beckett hit a couple of dudes. So later Indians’ relievers Justin Germano and Jensen Lewis threw behind the backs of Papi and Beltre, respectively, which led to he aforementioned shoving and jawing and then ejecting. As for the baseball, Mike Lowell smacked a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw.

White Sox 12, Tigers 2; Tigers 7, White Sox 1: Like I said a couple of weeks ago: split a double-header and it’s like you wasted a day. Like you’ve ended on a note of ambiguity instead of being able to go to bed with the satisfaction of a win or the emptiness of a loss. With at least said emptiness being a resolved note, rather than a dissonant one. But a split? Runnin’ to stand still, baby. Ha La La La De Day. Ha La La La De Day, ha La La De Day.

Phillies 6, Marlins 1: Roy Halladay struck out nine over seven innings and had a two-run single to boot. The Phillies have lost a ton of position players, but Halladay has been there all year, and there’s no way to overstate how huge that has been.

Orioles 6, Angels 3: Buck Showalter’s Orioles are undefeated.

Pirates 7, Reds 6: The Reds came close to fighting back from a 7-1 deficit but fell a tad short. Hard core Pirates fans and fantasy junkies will be interested to note that Joel Hanrahan appears to have been given closer’s duties in Pittsburgh following the trade of Octavio Dotel. The rest of you can continue reading up on Steelers’ camp.

Astros 18, Cardinals 4: I’m becoming convinced that the NL Central is really a rec softball league.  Best part of this rout: Tony La Russa had infielder Aaron miles pitch the ninth inning yet somehow resisted the urge to play the matchups and yank Miles with a situational lefty infielder later in the inning.

Brewers 4, Cubs 3: When you strike out ten dudes in your major league debut you should probably win that game. Tough stuff for the Cubs’ Thomas Diamond, I guess.  The Cubs just couldn’t get the timely hit to support the kid.

Dodgers 2, Padres 1: The Ted Lilly deal is a good one so far. Lilly allowed only one run on two hits over seven without walking a dude. The Padres’ lone run came from one of their deadline pickups, Miguel Tejada, who hit a first inning dinger.

Mariners 3, Rangers 2: The M’s not only scored their first run since Friday, but they snapped their seven game losing streak too. Not that they really brought out the lumber: “They singled us to death,” Ron Washington said after the game.  Hey, whatever gets the job done.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 1: Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, then was beaned by a pitch in the sixth. Reynolds on the pitch from Colin Balester: “I guess the pitch just got away from him.” I truly hope so. There’s nothing uglier in baseball than pitchers hitting a dude on purpose simply because they hit a homer.

Royals 3, Athletics 2: Alex Gordon was 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, and came around to score the winning run on a fielder’s choice by Gregor Blanco in the ninth. I wonder if they’d take Kyle Farnsworth for Gordon?

Giants 10, Rockies 0: Jonathan Sanchez strikes out nine Rockies in six shutout innings and Colorado does nothing to stop the Giants’ bats (note: I’m still having trouble getting my mind around the Giants having bats).  That sound you hear is all hope abandoning the few remaining riders of the Rockies’ bandwagon.

Piscotty returns to Cardinals lineup after concussion

Stephen Piscotty
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.

Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.

What to watch for on the final day of the regular season

Cole Hamels
AP Photo/LM Otero

Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …

American League Wild Card


This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.

American League West


As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.

American League Best Record


If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.

National League Wild Card


Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.

Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.