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


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].

The Mets break out the whuppin’ sticks, rout the Dodgers 13-7

Cespedes d'Arnaud

So often in life the anticipation of something outpaces its reality. For Mets fans tonight, it was the exact opposite. They had a grand old time. The Mets broke out the lumber and overwhelmed the Dodgers 13-4 to take a 2-1 lead in NLDS.

So much of that anticipation was about revenge, really. Hitting Chase Utley if he was in the lineup, perhaps, or at the very least sending some sort of retaliatory message the Dodgers’ way in response to Utley breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg on Saturday. But with Utley out of the lineup — and the notion that base runners matter a whole heck of a lot in a playoff game — Matt Harvey just set out to pitch, not plunk. And Mets hitters set out to beat the living heck out of Brett Anderson and a couple Dodgers relievers. Living well is the best revenge, and for a major league team, winning baseball games is living well.

It didn’t start out so well for Harvey, as Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs in the top of the second with a third run scoring on a Curtis Granderson error on the same play. It was 3-0 Dodgers early and Mets’ fans sphincters’ clenched. But only momentarily.

The Mets came right back in the bottom of the second with four runs with a Travis d'Arnaud single and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Curtis Granderson. In the next inning d’Arnaud hit a two-run shot. In the fourth Daniel Murphy singled in a run and Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run bomb to left to make it 10-3. The Dodgers got one back in the top of the seventh but New York scored three more of their own in the bottom half. It was never a ballgame after the third inning.

Brett Anderson was the author of the damage through three, Alex Wood gave up the four runs in the fourth and hung on in the fifth in what became mop-up duty. Harvey was done after five and took the win. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but he did strike out seven and was good enough. Some late damage from the Dodgers, including a three-run homer in the ninth from Howie Kendrick, was too little, too late. Granderson and d’Arnaud did the damage for New York, driving in five and three runs, respectively.

Once the competitive portion of this game was over, the Mets’ crowd turned to more important matters. Chanting things like “We want Utley!” Don Mattingly didn’t give him to ’em, probably because there was no downside to smacking him after the game got out of hand. But no upside either. Because of that stuff about living well, remember?

Now it’s on Clayton Kershaw to save the Dodgers from elimination [looks at watch] tonight, technically. If he doesn’t, his detractors will write another page in their Big Book of Clayton Kershaw Playoff Failures. If he does, we get a Game 5 back in Los Angeles.

Maybe Chase Utley gets into one of those.

Jake Arrieta beatable, but still unbeaten

Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta gave up as many earned runs Monday against the Cardinals as he had in his previous 13 starts combined, yet the Cubs still won 8-6.

It’s the 15th straight time the Cubs have won a game started by Arrieta, who is set to finish first or second in the Cy Young balloting announced next month. Their last loss in an Arrieta-pitched game was when the Phillies’ Cole Hamels no-hit them on July 25. They won the previous four before that, too, so make it 19 of 20.

The outing could go down as Arrieta’s last of the season, though that would require the Cardinals beating the Cubs in back-to-back games to finish the NLDS. The more likely scenario at this point is that Arrieta starts Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers or Mets.

Arrieta, though, was vulnerable in this one, turning in his shortest start since June. Even in the shutout of Pittsburgh in the wild card game, the Pirates had chances in the middle innings (most notably before Starling Marte‘s well-hit grounder with the bases loaded turned into a double play in the sixth).

Tonight, he walked two in a row at one point, after not walking a single batter in his previous three starts. He gave up his first homer in six starts. The wind was a factor in tonight’s eight-homer barrage, but Jason Heyward‘s two-run shot off Arrieta went against the grain in left-center.

So, if nothing else, the illusion of impenetrability is now gone. Arrieta can be gotten to, if primarily in short bursts. That’s not going to do anything for the Cardinals — at least not unless Arrieta is called on to pitch an inning or two in Game 5 — but it’ll probably come into play later in the postseason.

Ding-Dong! The Cubbies ride homers to a 2-1 series lead

Jorge Soler

The wind was blowing out of Wrigley Field on Monday night, but mostly for the home team. Makes you think that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all about the wind.

The Cubs hit six homers off of Cardinals pitching, one each from each of the first six batters in their lineup. Three of them came against Michael Wacha, who Mike Matheny inexplicably let bat for himself in the top of the fifth and take the hill in the bottom of the fifth and on to a third time through the Cubs’ order. He was shaky as it was, and quickly put a runner on and then allowed a two-run homer to Kris Bryant to make it 4-2. One batter later Kevin Siegrist came in and let Anthony Rizzo take him VERY deep to right field to make it 5-2.

Jason Heyward made it interesting in the top of the sixth with a two run shot to make it a one-run game but then Jorge Soler hit a two run shot in the bottom half and Dexter Fowler hit one in the eighth to make it 8-4. You can’t trade solo shots for multiple two-run jobs. You wanna get the Cardinals? Here’s how you get ’em. They pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! They hit a solo homer, you hit a bunch of two-run shots. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get the Cardinals!

Not that the Cardinals didn’t do a lot. They scored four runs in five and a third against Jake Arrieta, who hadn’t been damaged like that since June 16. But five Cubs relievers held mostly firm. You tell me before the game that they got to Arrieta like that and I tell you they won. But nope.

Now it’s 2-1 Cubs in a best of five. They go tomorrow with Jason Hammel and try to eliminate the Cards. Who had best figure out how to counter the Cubs’ power.