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. 

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.