And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Cubs 1, Padres 0: It’s not the end, but it certainly is the beginning of the end for the Padres. They need to sweep the Giants to force a playoff for the NL West. They need to sweep the Giants and hope that the Braves lose 2 of 3 in order to get the Wild Card (or, I guess, take two of three from the Giants and hope the Braves get swept). Given that they can’t score a run to save their damn lives, however, neither scenario seems possible. Close — oh so close — but no cigar, it would seem, for the 2010 San Diego Padres.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1: San Francisco clinches no worse than a tie for the West, thanks to a Buster Posey blast. I still think Heyward would be my choice — and I say that objectively, not as a fan boy — but Posey may have won the Rookie of the Year Award for himself with that homer.

Royals 3, Rays 2: There’s a decent chance that this was Zack Greinke’s last start as a Royal. If so, it was a good one (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9K).

Cardinals 6, Rockies 1: A four-hitter for Chris Carpenter busts him out of a terrible slump. The Rockies’ season-ending skid has been sad to watch. Maybe not as sad as, oh, Glenn Danzig wearing his own band’s shirt while carrying kitty litter, but pretty sad.

Marlins 11, Pirates 9: The Feesh had a 10-2 lead night to start the seventh inning, thanks in part to Mike Stanton’s five RBI night. The Pirates fought back, with Pedro Alvarez leading the charge with five RBIs of his own. It wasn’t enough, though, as Florida held on.

Rangers 3, Angels 2: Cliff Lee is ready for the playoffs (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K). His bullpen may not be — the save, she was blown, giving Lee a no-decision — but this all about tuning up right now for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton is supposed to be back tonight. Whether he can swing a bat is, by far, the most important question facing this team.

Brewers 9, Mets 2: Aw, darn. That loss ensures that the Mets will have a losing season. And here I had such hope.  I am sort of rooting for a Mets sweep of the Nats this weekend, though, because Ken Davidoff of Newsday predicted that they’d go 80-82 this season, and I love it when improbable, shot-in-the-dark predictions like that come true.

Reds 9, Astros 4: Bronson Arroyo wins his 17th as the Reds trounce the Astros. Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips all homered. I don’t know if any NL team can beat Philly in the playoffs, but I like the Reds’ chances better than the Braves or the Giants. They have some bats there at least.

Blue Jays 13, Twins 2: A bloodbath for Minnesota, as they gave up two homers to Juan Jose Bautista [sue me, I was sleepy] — one an absolute monster shot — and two more to Edwin Encarnacion. Molina and Snider each had one as well.  Three of them came off Francisco Liriano. I’m not saying it’s time to panic yet, Twins fans, but if you do start panicking, no one is going to think you’re crazy.

White Sox 8, Red Sox 2: Paul Konerko hit a grand slam, spoiling Jon Lester’s shot at 20 wins. At one point, late in the game, the power went out, darkening U.S. Cellular Field. Everyone was calm, though, and eventually the lights came back on. If this had happened in the 70s, there would have been chaos and violence and all manner of mayhem. Man, I miss the 70s.

Athletics 8, Mariners 1: Gio Gonzalez beat the M’s to get his 15th win
of the season. Which, based on my reading of national baseball
commentary, makes him a better pitcher than Felix Hernandez.

Tigers vs. Orioles: Postponed: There is not even silence in the mountains, but a dry, sterile thunder without rain.  Wait, that’s not true. It rained a butt-ton yesterday. Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, for a doubleheader. Till human voices wake us, and we drown. 

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.