And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 4, Rangers 1: Jered Weaver remains insanely good, winning his fifth while pitching a complete game, striking out eight and walking no one while allowing a lone run. Your move, Dan Haren.

Marlins 6, Pirates 0:  Man, they were right about Charlie Morton looking just like Roy Halladay! Both of them got beat up while surrendering six runs on ten hits in their most recent starts. The resemblance is uncanny, really.

Tigers 3, Mariners 2: Rick Porcello had his strongest outing of the year so far, getting tons of groundouts and pitching into the seventh. It ended up being a decent enough west coast swing for Detroit, which has somehow won six of nine despite seeming to have the air of a team in crisis. That sometimes happens when teams from back east head out west. We sort of ignore their games unless there’s a real reason to focus on them the next morning, be it a big win or an ugly loss. Win 3-2 games? Eh, that may have been on Mars, and we thus pay little attention.

Phillies 4, Brewers 3: This was a fun one to watch live while simultaneously surfing the web yesterday. Chris Narveson was cruising and a bunch of people were tweeting about how deceptive he was and effective he was and how people should take notice. And I swear, just as I was reading one of these pro-Narveson pieces, he gave up the three-run jack to Placido Polanco, which tied the game. This is my favorite moment from the game, though. Braun ended up being safe at home, but I feel kind of Ed Sedar. You get the sense that he’s used to being overruled. Maybe by Mrs. Sedar. The exact moment of mental detachment is so easy to see. It wears so sadly comfortably on him.

Nationals 8, Cardinals 6; Cardinals 5, Nationals 3; The Nats should have won the first one in a walk, seeing as though they jumped out to a 7-0 lead by the third. It was somewhat close, though, thanks to some bad defense and bullpen work by the Nats in the middle innings. Jake Westbrook is a mess right now. Mitchell Boggs got his first save as the Cardinals new closer in the second game. At this time I would like to remind everyone that split doubleheaders always make me feel like life is nothing but a futile and pointless struggle. I like doubleheaders — don’t get me wrong — but the natural order of things demands that baseball players go to sleep having moved one step forward or one step back. A split doubleheader opens the door to too much existential thought.

Rockies 10, Giants 2: Lincecum and Sanchez stymied the Rockies, but they got to Cain (4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER). For those who care, Jorge De La Rosa got the best of Mark DeRosa in the battle of the De/Rosas.

Cubs 2, Padres 1; Padres 5, Cubs 4: Reed Johnson hit a walkoff homer in the 11th inning for the first game. A game in which Dustin Moseley got no run support for the fourth straight outing. He’s got a 1.40 ERA and nothin’ to show for it. The Padres got back at the Cubbies in the nightcap, jumping out to a four-run lead against James Russell, who showed once again that, as a fill-in starter, he makes a pretty good reliever. And yes, more existential thought here.

Astros 4, Mets 3: Where do you go from “blah, blah, blah, blah?”  I mean, as I explained I liked that approach, but it seems that with a team like the 2011 Mets, you may not want to shoot the wad with your apathy and disgust in game 17. Anyway, maybe you don’t leave R.A. Dickey in as long as Terry Collins did. Or maybe that’s hindsight. R.A. Dickey is awesome.

Orioles 5, Twins 4: The Twins were the cure for whatever ailed the Orioles. Baltimore has taken two in a row from Minnesota after dropping eight straight. Matt Weiters had a two-run homer and has six RBI over his last two games. The Twins need special graphing calculators with an extra battery pack to calculate six RBI.

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 2: Bartolo Colon made his debut as a Yankees starting pitcher and he did better than Phil Hughes had done (6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7K).  Curtis Granderson had a homer, a triple and a couple RBI as he continues to hit with some serious power in the early going.

Red Sox 5, Athletics 3: Hey, the Sox won a road game! Against Gio Gonzalez, no less, who had been as hot as any pitcher in baseball not named Jered Weaver. Homers by Kevin Youkilis and Jed Lowrie did him in.

Diamondbacks 3, Reds 1: The once-hot Reds have lost six of seven and are now a .500 team.  Ian Kennedy was smacked with a comebacker on the mound but stayed in the game and got the win.

Rays 4, White Sox 1: That’s seven straight in the terlet for Chicago and eight wins in nine games for Tampa Bay. The Rays are now at .500 and, unlike the Reds, are happy about that fact. A.J. Pierzynski got ejected in the bottom of the six for arguing balls and strikes. Ozzie Guillen on why A.J. got run: “he said not a nice thing to the umpire.” That’ll getcha every time (NSFW language!)

Indians 7, Royals 5: Luke “Opening Day Starter” Hochevar ran out of gas in the sixth inning and the Tribe made him pay for it. But was it really running out of gas, or was it brain lock on Hochevar’s part? He balked twice in the sixth inning, the second one bringing a run home. Those who saw the balks (I didn’t) said they were legit, non-ticky-tack calls. Then, despite allowing four runs in that ugly sixth, Ned Yost allowed Hochevar to come out for the seventh, and he promptly walked the first two hitters he faced who also came around to score. Not sure what Ned was thinking, but given that the Royals mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, one wonders if the outcome would have been different if Yost had gone to one of the live young arms in his pen a bit more quickly.

Dodgers 6,  Braves 1:  Derek Lowe had nothing going for him other than his usual copious amount of frothy sweat. L.A. treated him like a batting practice pitcher, snagging five runs on nine hits in three innings. Normally this would make me mad, but I feel for the Dodgers. They’re orphans now, so they should be treated with patience and care.

Report: Blue Jays weighing extension for Marco Estrada

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The Blue Jays aren’t ready to say goodbye to Marco Estrada just yet, according to a report by FanRag’s Robert Murray. Murray hears that the club is interested in re-signing the right-hander, whose two-year, $26 million contract is set to expire with the end of the 2017 season. According to unnamed sources within the organization, the team has yet to discuss the specifics of an extension, but both sides have stated interest in working out a deal. While the veteran righty appeared to be on his way out after getting claimed on revocable waivers earlier this month, the Blue Jays were either unable or unwilling to arrange a trade in the 48-hour window following the claim.

Estrada, 33, has been a mainstay of the Blue Jays’ rotation since 2015. He hasn’t looked quite himself this season, however, going 5-8 in 25 starts with the club and toting a 5.09 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 9.2 SO/9 through 139 2/3 innings. His slump can be partially attributed to a string of rough starts in June and July; more recently, he snapped a streak of three consecutive quality starts with a 10-hit, six-run affair against the Rays. He’ll look to rebound on Sunday when he takes the hill against the Cubs for the team’s series finale.

Command issues aside, there’s no question that Estrada has been productive during his three-year run with the club, earning his first career All-Star nomination in 2016 and posting a cumulative 6.7 fWAR from 2015 through 2017. He still has a bit of work to do to return to the 3.48-ERA, 165-strikeout totals of yesteryear, but barring another slump, seems likely to don a Blue Jays uniform again in 2018.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Cubs 4, Blue Jays 3: The Blue Jays didn’t look any more comfortable at Wrigley Field on Saturday than they had during Friday’s series opener, dropping their second straight game after Anthony Rizzo sealed the go-ahead run on an RBI single in the seventh inning. The Cubs, meanwhile, reveled in Jose Quintana’s second quality start of the month and delighted the crowd with a two-RBI effort from Ian Happ and footage of David Ross jumping out of a plane — a stunt that would have doubled in entertainment value had Ross successfully convinced manager Joe Maddon to join in the fun.

Pirates 6, Cardinals 4: Neither the Pirates nor the Cardinals had relievers to spare when a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay disrupted their contest in the second inning. Chad Kuhl and Michael Wacha were forced to return to the mound after the downpour subsided, both to very different results. Wacha struggled to regain command of the strike zone, slipping on two home runs and a productive double play as the Pirates built a five-run lead in the second. Kuhl, on the other hand, limited the Cardinals to one run over five innings, setting down six strikeouts and clubbing a second-inning double en route to his sixth win of the season.

Dodgers 3, Tigers 0: Curtis Granderson made his Dodgers debut on Saturday, scoring on Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI single in the seventh inning to put the club on the board. The win, capped by a smart Yasmani Grandal home run in the ninth, marked the Dodgers’ sixth straight victory and placed them in the history books alongside the 2004 Rays and 2006 Red Sox with 13 consecutive Interleague wins in a single season.

Mariners 7, Rays 6: Mitch Haniger is back from the disabled list, a point he emphasized in the third inning of Seattle’s win with his first career grand slam:

The Rays returned with three solo shots in the last third of the game, but fell just short of the tying run after Edwin Diaz shut down the top of the order in the ninth. With the win, the Mariners positioned themselves half a game back of a wild card spot, though they’ll need to edge the Angels and Twins to avoid any potential tie-breakers.

Angels 5, Orioles 1: Albert Pujols didn’t get any closer to tying Jim Thome’s home run record on Saturday, but that didn’t stop teammate Mike Trout from entering the history books. Trout clubbed two home runs in the Angels’ first win of the weekend, becoming the third Major League player with six consecutive 25+ homer campaigns before his age-26 season. Luis Valbuena, while a good 511 home runs shy of Pujols’ career record and 94 home runs and six years too late to match Trout’s milestone, also collected two home runs to back a solid effort from JC Ramirez.

Twins 5, Diamondbacks 0: The Diamondbacks were toppled in a rare shutout on Saturday, taking their second consecutive loss after an even rarer implosion from ace right-hander Zack Greinke. Greinke expended 96 pitches and a season-high four walks in four innings, while Minnesota trounced the D-backs with a five-run spread in the fourth. The righty’s early exit will put a strain on Arizona’s bullpen during their series finale as the club tries to stop their skid and retake their one-game lead over the Rockies in the NL wild card race.

Reds 11, Braves 8: It looked like Robert Stephenson‘s luck may have finally taken a turn for the better. The rookie right-hander grabbed hold of his first win of the year on Saturday, backing the team’s 11-run outburst with five innings of two-run, three-strikeout ball. Cincinnati’s bullpen was far from flawless, especially after Blake Wood surrendered four runs in the ninth, but Scooter Gennett‘s go-ahead grand slam in the top of the inning gave the Reds enough of a cushion to pull off the series win.

Mets 8, Marlins 1: Marcell Ozuna wore several hats during Saturday’s loss to the Mets, from sole run producer to professional outfield field balloon patrol.

Despite his best efforts, the Marlins couldn’t rally against Rafael Montero, who helped snap a five-game losing streak after scattering one run and five strikeouts over six innings.

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3: Newly-returned from the disabled list, CC Sabathia stifled the rival Red Sox through six innings while Todd Frazier belted the winning run with a 363-footer in the sixth. The Sox still sit four games up in the NL East, however, and commemorated the loss with a solo shot by 20-year-old Rafael Devers, who bounced a home run off the Green Monster for the third homer he’s collected in as many games against the Yankees. For the record, no Major League player under the age of 21 has managed the feat since Babe Ruth in 1915.

Astros 3, Athletics 0: Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman learned an invaluable lesson during the club’s 3-0 shutout on Saturday: If you’re thinking of running on Boog Powell, don’t.

Indians 5, Royals 0: Trevor Bauer may not understand why he dominated during the Indians’ shutout on Saturday, but that didn’t make him any less grateful for the win. “It’s backward,” Bauer was quoted by MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “I wasn’t sharp. I didn’t punch people out. I had a lot of balls hit hard. And no runs. So I don’t know. I’ll take it.” Bauer flummoxed the Royals through 6 1/3 innings, granting seven hits and two free passes while the Indians put up a modest five-run backing against Jason Vargas.

Rangers 17, White Sox 7: The Rangers hit season highs in almost every category on Saturday, dismantling Derek Holland and the rest of the White Sox with a whopping 17 runs, 20 hits and 36 bases. Home runs from Rougned Odor, Mike Napoli and Shin-Soo Choo crowned their efforts as the White Sox took their sixth loss in seven games and dropped to a disappointing 21.5 games back of the division lead.

Brewers 6, Rockies 3: Jesus Aguilar hasn’t been pencilled into the starting lineup since August 16, but that didn’t stop the rookie pinch-hitter from making his presence felt. He cranked a two-RBI home run off of Greg Holland in the ninth, giving the Brewers an edge as they tried to stay ahead of the Diamondbacks for the first wild card spot in the National League. Key defensive moves also played a role in the win, not the least of which was a rare 2-6-2 double play to nab Neil Walker at the plate and close out the first inning:

Padres 3, Nationals 1: Yangervis Solarte played spoiler to Stephen Strasburg on Saturday, taking the right-hander deep on a 1-2 pitch in the first inning for his 13th home run of the season. It was the fatal flaw in an otherwise pristine outing, during which Strasburg distributed four hits, two runs and eight strikeouts in six innings. That’s not too shabby for a pitcher coming off the disabled list with elbow issues, and certainly enough to put the Nats’ minds at ease as they push into the postseason. The Padres still have a 12-game gap to close if they want to contend this October, which will require them to scoot past the Pirates, Marlins, Cardinals, Brewers and Diamondbacks for a wild card spot.

Phillies 12, Giants 9: Denard Span didn’t come to mess around. The Giants’ centerfielder squared up the first pitch he saw from the Phillies’ Jared Eickhoff, postmarking it to the right field corner in the first inning. He needed just 15.79 seconds to touch home plate again, logging his first inside-the-park home run since he legged one out in Little League.

The Giants’ offense mustered up an additional eight runs behind Span’s initial effort, but had no way of preventing Ty Blach and Josh Osich from returning all nine runs and then some. The Phillies’ win, powered by a seven-run explosion in the sixth inning and Ty Kelly‘s go-ahead grand slam, was their second in 10 games and snapped a six-game skid.