And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights


Yankees 8, Rays 7: There won’t be complaints about the bullpen management this morning. After Ivan Nova got beat up through four and two-thirds (and Boone Logan gave up a homer), Chamberlain, Wood, Robertson and Rivera held the Rays scoreless. The Rays pen was a bit more porous, allowing the Yankees to tie it in the sixth and surrendering the game-winning homer to Jorge Posada in the 10th. Oh, and Carl Crawford got thrown out at third to end the game, trying to advance on a fly out to right. Why would the Yankees want to sign that palooka this winter when they have Greg Golson?

Twins 9, White Sox 3: The White Sox have not yet been pronounced, but they see a bright white light and an almost unnatural feeling of calm is washing over them. Wait! Who’s that? Why, it’s the White Sox’ beloved dead grandma, beckoning for them to join her! Run toward the light, Chicago! Run towards the light!

Padres 7, Rockies 6: That sound you hear is Colorado blowing a great opportunity. The Padres take another from them, thanks in part to a Matt Stairs two-run homer in the eighth, and now have a three and a half game lead over the Rockies. I’m not gonna lie: I thought the Padres would crumble in this series, but they’re showing some serious fortitude.

Dodgers 1, Giants 0: The Dodgers were one-hit — really, just one hit — but scored on a Juan Uribe error in the sixth. Clayton Kershaw allowed four hits, but nothing but blanks on the scoreboard, for his first career complete game shutout. The Giants get pushed a game and a half back in the West.

Nationals 6, Braves 0: I guess that means the Braves still lead the wild card race, but it’s a fact: you are not deserving of a playoff spot if you go out and get shut the hell down by Livan freakin’ Hernandez in mid-September. You’re just not. Dude has been a nemesis since 1997, but I can’t muster any ill-will towards him. The Braves are just not good enough to see this thing out, and I and anyone who roots for them are just going to have to get cool with that.

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: The Phillies, on the other hand, are good enough. Cole Hamels struck out 13 in six and two-thirds. The Phillies, by the way, have set their rotation up so that Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt all face the Braves next week. Way things are going, they could throw Matt Beech, Danny Cox and Shane Rawley at Atlanta and they’d be just fine.

Mets 9, Pirates 1: R.A. Dickey was spectacular (CG, 5 H, 1 ER). Zach Duke got shelled, with Angel Pagan and Carlos Beltran combining to drive in six. I just started reading “Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging 70s.” I know they had their problems and everything, but the 1970s Pirates were way more interesting than this crew.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 2: Randy Wells pitched eight strong innings against a Pujolsless lineup and the Cubbies denied Adam Wainwright his 19th win. The Cardinals season is ending on about as lousy a note as it can for a contender, yet they still draw 40,000 fans a game.

Royals 11, Athletics 3: Anyone wanna tell me where Wilson Betemit’s .313/.394/.537 season came from? Because, really, this is nuts. Not a ton of plate appearances, I realize, but someone is going to pay this dude too much money based on this partial season of near-brilliance. Yeah, it’ll probably be the Royals, but still. A two-run homer and two RBI singles in this one.

Astros 3, Brewers 2: Houston has won 11 of 15. They’re 70-75. It may be a long shot, but if the Braves continue crumbling, my official rooting interest for the last two weeks of the season may have to be Houston to finish at .500.

Diamondbacks 3, Reds 1: Daniel Hudson was pretty darn awesome against the National League’s best offense (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K). Bet the White Sox woulda liked having him around these past few weeks, no? I won’t even speculate about these next few years lest a bunch of south siders put their heads in ovens.

Indians 4, Angels 3: Shelley Duncan hit two home runs. This will make my daughter extremely happy when I tell her this over her pancakes later this morning. He’ll forever be her Joe Shlabotnik.

And speaking of my kids: I do almost all of my writing in my den. My den is directly below my son’s room. A couple of minutes ago, something large slammed into the floor of his room above my head. I ran up the stairs and found the boy crawling back into bed. He managed to whisper “fell . . . out” before he put his head down and started snoring again. Anyway.

Orioles 11, Blue Jays 3: Six runs in the seventh inning and six shutout innings from Jake Arrieta. The Orioles need now only go 6-11 in their final 17 to finish with fewer with 100 losses.

Rangers 11, Tigers 4: Texas was down 4-1 in the fourth and then scored ten unanswered runs. Well, they weren’t totally unanswered. They were just answered by a ton of creative profanity from Jim Leyland rather than any other runs.

Red Sox 9, Mariners 6: The Bosox trailed 5-4 before David Ortiz hit a three-run eighth inning homer off Brandon League to take the lead. Why M’s manager Daren Brown even let League — a righty — pitch to Ortiz when he had a lefty ready in the pen is a mystery. But hey, I suppose there’s value in hastening the Mariners season to as quick an end as possible at this point.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.