New York Yankees Robinson Cano walks off the field as the Chicago White Sox celebrate after Brent Lillibridge made a diving catch to win in New York

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 3, Yankees 2: Rafael Soriano’s tenure in New York could not be starting worse. Last night he came in with a 2-1 lead in the eighth and gave up a two-run homer to Paul Konerko that proved to be the game winner. In the ninth Brent Lillibridge saved the day with two game-saving catches in right field.  With one out and runners on first and second he tracked down an A-Rod fly ball at the wall. Then Robinson Cano hit a sinking liner to right, and Lillibridge made a spectacular diving catch. A strong outing from Gavin Floyd (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 10K).

Indians 9, Royals 4: This series, as the series in Kansas City was last week, is still a battle for first place in the AL Central. Jack Hannahan had two homers and Shin-Soo Choo drove in four.  In other news, according to the AP game story, the back of the t-shirt worn by winning pitcher Justin Masterson has the Charlie Sheen catchphrase “duh, winning!” written on it.  I was prepared to mock this in some way until I looked at the HardballTalk site stats yesterday and realized that one insignificant little post I did mentioning Charlie Sheen received damn nigh unprecedented traffic. Really, it got over ten times the amount of clicks the next most-viewed post got yesterday. To you and me Charlie Sheen is played out. Not so to many, many people, it seems.

Mets 6, Nationals 4: Five straight for the Mets.  Allow me to eschew the details of the game itself so that I may note that Ryota Igarashi got the win despite throwing four pitches which, while totally in keeping with the rules that govern such matters — he was the pitcher of record when the Mets took the lead and, despite his “brief” appearance, he was effective — it’s yet another argument about how silly it is to measure pitchers by their win totals.

Marlins 4, Dodgers 2: On the bright side: Don Mattingly didn’t need to decide who, among his many conflicting choices, is his closer. Ethier extends his hitting streak to 23.

Blue Jays 10, Rangers 3: Adam Lind has had a rough beginning of the season, but last night he had two homers and five RBI. Matt Harrison had nothing — he gave up seven runs in three innings — but hey, it got Brett Tomko five innings of mop up work. I’ve considered writing a short story or, if it can get any momentum behind it a novel, in which an aging  mop up man plays a role. The details are hazy and, as is the case with most of my fiction ideas, I never get very far with it. But whenever I see something like five innings out of Brett Tomko or someone quite like him, the wheels start turning again.

Brewers 3, Reds 2: A rare occurrence: Brewers beat the Reds. They were 0-4 against them this year coming in and had dropped 19 of 22. Solo homers from Braun, Fielder and Weeks did the trick. The Reds only got two hits off Marco Estrada, one of which was a Brandon Phillips two-run homer. Otherwise Mike Leake pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6 K) and deserved a better fate. Indeed, some might say he was robbed.  Not me, but some might.

Mariners 7, Tigers 3: Oh, Ryan Raburn.

Rockies 4, Cubs 3: Two bombs from Todd Helton off James Russell, who have up three homers in all. In his two starts moving into the rotation due to the Cashner and Wells injuries, Russell has given up eight runs on twelve hits in eight innings and has walked as many as he has struck out (4).  The Cubs need to do something new with the rotation before they get buried.

Giants 3, Pirates 2: Two of the Giants’ runs, including the game-winner, came on sacrifices and the other came on a fielder’s choice. Viva small ball.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 1: Giving up 12 hits and walking two more in six and two-thirds is no way to go through life, Clay Buchholz. Zach Britton, on the other hand, allowed one run on five hits in six innings to pick up his fourth win and, I presume, though I haven’t looked at what other AL rookies are doing, an early lead in the AL Rookie of the Year race. Boston’s five-game winning streak is over. Vlad Guerrero, by the way, is the only man in Major League Baseball with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title at the moment who has not walked once this season. 87 at bats and counting.

Astros 6, Cardinals 5: The bullpen strikes again! The Astros were down 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth but scored two runs, one on a Mitchell Boggs wild pitch. The runner had reached third on a Yadier Molina passed ball. Hey, anyone who saw it: was it really a passed ball? And, for that matter, was the wild pitch really a wild pitch?  Boggs thought it was after the game, for what it’s worth, but those things are sometimes subjective. Regardless, Boggs didn’t settle down after that, allowing three more singles including the walkoff RBI by Bill Hall.

Braves 8, Padres 2: David Ross was another of many two home run hitters from Tuesday night and Jair Jurrjens tossed a complete game.

Diamondbacks 7, Phillies 5: Roy Oswalt got rocked. On the bright side, the Phillies scored 5 runs for the first time since April 9th!

Angels 8, Athletics 3: Second baseman Alexi Amarista just got promoted from Salt Lake City. Alexi Amarista is five feet seven inches tall. Alexi Amarista hit a two-run double and added a third RBI with a sacrifice. I know it’s early and we’ve yet to see if he gets his uniform duty a lot, but his size, his position and his quick start may force us to allow a non- American white person into Club Scrappy! For the A’s, Brandon McCarthy didn’t exactly fool anyone (5.1 IP, 7 R, 14 H).

Rays vs. Twins: POSTPONED: Walked in the corner of the room, junkyard fool with eyes of gloom. I asked him time again: Take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, the rain, the rain, the rain, the rain, my rain now [cool instrumental breakdown].

Jose Fernandez was remarkable on and off the field

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins poses for photos on media day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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Jose Fernandez’s love for baseball was born in Santa Clara, Cuba. It was there, alongside childhood friend and St. Louis Cardinal Aledmys Diaz, that he devoted hours to makeshift games of baseball. Often alone, often without a teammate, a playing field, or even a baseball, Fernandez would spend hours lobbing baseball-sized rocks in the air, hitting them with sticks, and circling imaginary bases.

The dream was to play in the Cuban National Series, a 16-team league that formed when the original Cuban League disbanded in 1961. When Fernandez became a teenager, however, his stepfather, Ramon Jimenez, defected to the United States. It took Jimenez 13 attempts before he made a successful escape, and soon he sent for his wife and children. Whatever baseball aspirations Fernandez had took a backseat to his own treacherous journey from Cuba to Florida.

After two unsuccessful attempts and two months in a Cuban prison, 15-year-old Fernandez, his mother, and his stepsister tried again. The voyage was tumultuous; at one point, Fernandez’s mother fell overboard. Fernandez dove in after her and helped her swim 30 yards back to the boat. It took another month and change before Fernandez was settled in Florida with his family, and from there, his baseball career appeared to flourish overnight. He enrolled in Braulio Alonso High School and pitched during two championship runs with the Florida Class 6A state champions, working a 13-1 record and 2.85 ERA in his senior year with two no-hitters.

By 2011, several weeks before his 19th birthday, Fernandez was selected by the Miami Marlins in the first round of the MLB draft. His ascension through the minor leagues was even more remarkable. In his first season with Single-A Greensboro, Fernandez contributed six innings of a combined no-hitter, pitched to a combined 1.75 ERA and 158 strikeouts between Greensboro and Advanced-A Jupiter, and was distinguished as the preeminent Marlins minor league pitcher of the year.

If the transition from Miami’s minor league circuit to the big league stage was a rocky one, Fernandez hid it well. He debuted with the Marlins on April 17, 2013, holding the Mets to five innings of one-run ball and striking out eight of 19 batters. Only six major league pitchers under 21 years old had struck out at least eight batters during their major league debut; at 20 years old, Fernandez was the seventh.

The rest of his rookie season was no less groundbreaking. Fernandez worked a 2.19 ERA, second only to Clayton Kershaw’s 1.83 mark among qualified starting pitchers, appeared in his first All-Star Game, was named Rookie of the Month in two consecutive months, and capped his year with a staggering 4.1 fWAR. The Marlins didn’t just find their next ace in Fernandez; they found one of the best starting pitchers of the decade.

This isn’t to say that Fernandez was perfect — no player is. Reports surfaced in November 2015 that the 23-year-old hurler was working under a strained relationship with the Marlins’ brass, refusing to adhere to dugout protocol and asking president of baseball operations Michael Hill when he would be traded. Per Andy Slater of slaterscoops.com, the higher-ups in the Marlins’ organization weren’t the only ones frustrated with their star pitcher. Casey McGehee reprimanded Fernandez for showing up late to the clubhouse, and unnamed players also expressed their hope that Fernandez would struggle on the mound in future starts as a consequence for his arrogant behavior.

Following the report, several players stepped forward in Fernandez’s defense. According to a report by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the worst criticism levied at Fernandez was that he occasionally acted his age. (Brian McCann, who confronted Fernandez in a benches-clearing brawl after the rookie’s first career home run, might have agreed.) Others, like right-handers Dan Haren and Tom Koehler, vocalized their support for the pitcher despite any underlying tension surrounding his potential departure.

Whether or not the rumors had merit, Fernandez was spared the chopping block during his lengthy recovery process in 2014 and 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In 2016, he again proved his dominance on the mound. Through 186 ⅔ innings, the 24-year-old posted 16 wins, a staggering 12.49 K/9 rate, a 2.86 ERA and career-high 6.2 fWAR. It should have been just the second outstanding season of a lengthy career; instead, it was his last.

In the wake of today’s tragedy, it is difficult to dwell on Fernandez’s professional accomplishments. We know that he was more than the sum of his innings pitched in Miami, more than a feel-good story or a testament to the resilience of other players who defected from their home countries in pursuit of a better life. By all reports, he was a man of incredible courage, a cherished son and grandson, and a remarkable talent on the field. His life, as with any other, should be valued not for what he did or did not do, but simply because he existed.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Sunday’s action

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning at Safeco Field on September 19, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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The last time the Mariners qualified for a postseason berth, I was eleven years old. My lone memory of the Mariners’ historic 116-win season has been reduced to a brief conversation with my father over nachos at our local Mexican restaurant. The details of our conversation are lost to me now; with an upbringing specifically tailored to Seattle Seahawks football, even the best and brightest of the Mariners’ glory days appeared as little more than a blip on my radar.

The Mariners enter Sunday with a 14% chance of securing a ticket to the playoffs. They’ll kick off the series finale at 2:10 PM EDT, during which Seattle’s Taijuan Walker will take on Minnesota lefty Hector Santiago. Neither pitcher looked dominant on the mound last week, with both Walker and Santiago lasting just 5  innings in their previous starts and giving up three runs and six runs in their respective outings.

What should have been an easy sweep for Seattle turned ugly on Saturday night as the Mariners battled their way to a 3-2 loss in Minnesota. Nelson Cruz‘s mammoth two-run homer was the only saving grace for an offense that has produced at a .263/.334/.437 clip in September. With a three-game set against the Astros on Monday and a final homestand against the A’s next weekend, it’ll take a significant push to propel the Mariners into October baseball.

Should they beat the odds and snap a 15-year playoff drought, however, I’ll be following every step of the way this time — whether the postseason goes the way of the Double or a Geronimo Berroa home run. (Just don’t make me give up my nachos.)

You can find more from Sunday’s action below.

New York Yankees (Michael Pineda) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada), 1:07 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 1:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 1:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Detroit Tigers (Matt Boyd), 1:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Jake Thompson) @ New York Mets (Robert Gsellman), 1:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Braden Shipley) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 1:35 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (A.J. Cole) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Tyler Glasnow), 1:35 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 2:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Daniel Wright) @ Houston Astros (Joe Musgrove), 2:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker) @ Minnesota Twins (Hector Santiago), 2:10 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Oakland Athletics (Jharel Cotton), 4:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Tyler Anderson) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy), 4:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Ty Blach) @ San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard), 4:40 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester), 8:08 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins: POSTPONED