And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 5, Braves 3: A gut punch of a game for the Braves. Having rallied back against Clayton Kershaw in the 9th — Mattingly, seriously, what was he still doing out there? — and having squandered their own opportunities in extra innings, they watch as Matt Kemp hits his second walkoff homer of the week. Given the way they’ve been going, I want to say that the Braves merely tying it up was the best victory they’ve had all season. Blah. Oh well, at least I got four games of listening to Vin Scully in. Yesterday’s musing about how James Loney and Jamey Carrol basically have the first name but are called something different — concluding with “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” — is the kind of thing no one else on the planet could pull off without being corny, but Scully makes it work. Really, about 60% of his stuff is corny but works fabulously. Even a dreadful game (from my perspective) is enjoyable when he’s talking.

Marlins 9, Pirates 5: Scott Cousins and Brett Hayes combined for seven RBI. In other news, guys named “Scott Cousins” and “Brett Hayes” could easily have been members of a mid-1980s NWA tag team. I picture them working the Mid South region as mild heels but capable of an occasional face turn when pitted against Russians, possibly partnered up with Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a six-man match. After they beat the Russians, though, Cousins and Hayes attack Duggan with folding chairs when they perceive him to take two much credit while holding the mic after the match. This sets off a feud lasting several months. Buddy Landel and Mr. Wrestling II are involved somehow too, but I’m not quite sure where they fit yet. Give me some time on that one.

Cardinals 5, Nationals 0: A two-hit shutout for Kyle Lohse and a homer by Albert Pujols help do in the Nats. True story: I was taping today’s installment of HBT Daily during this game yesterday — yeah, we do Friday’s a day in advance; sue me — and Tiffany and I were talking about Albert Pujols’ slump the very moment he hit his homer.  What a narrative killer.

Reds 7, Diamondbacks 4: The Dbacks were going for the sweep, but Mike Leake and the Reds steal one on getaway day.

White Sox 9, Rays 2: Jeff Niemann has been pretty terrible for the Rays this year. He’s had one good start in five this year and was a disaster in the second half of last season. Omar Vizquel, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin each had a couple of RBIs.

Twins 3, Orioles 1: A pitchers’ duel with Scott Baker getting the best of Jeremy Guthrie. Jim Thome — who hadn’t had a hit since Sunday — hit a homer and an RBI single.

Mets 9, Astros 1: The Mets bust out the whuppin’ sticks for the first time in a while — it was the most runs they’ve scored in a game since the third day of the season — getting homers from David Wright, Ike Davis and Mike Nickeas of all people. Jason Bay returned and went 1 for 4 and scored a couple of runs.

Royals 3, Indians 2: We learned the other day that Chris Perez comes out to the song “Firestarter.” I guess that since he was on the road last night he didn’t get his song, but at least his pitching matched it in spirit. Called in to lock down a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals got three hits off him, with the last one — a two-run Melky Cabrera single  — giving the Royals the walkoff win. Cabrera also gunned down Carlos Santana at the plate in the eighth inning.  Overall: a 2-2 split and a well-played series for the two most surprising teams in baseball.

Phillies 3, Padres 0: Roy Oswalt and three relievers combine to shut out woeful Padres offense. Mat Latos continues to fail to inspire confidence (4.1. IP, 4 H, 3 ER).

Mariners 1, Athletics 0: King Felix makes one lone run stand up, because that what he does. An Adam Kennedy homer plated it. This is what 1968 must have felt like.

Red Sox 4, Angels 2: Josh Beckett and Tyler Chatwood were pretty even in regulation, but an Adrian Gonzalez double and a Jed Lowrie sac fly in the 11th was the difference.  And check this out: some moron decided to throw crumpled up dollar bills at Carl Crawford while he was in the on-deck circle. Nice protest. Those dollars are just going to get picked up by the grounds crew who will give them to Arte Moreno who will then not give them to a worthy free agent next year. Actually, maybe he’ll just give them to Vernon Wells.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”