Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 2, Mariners 1: I, for one, welcome our new Adam Jones overlords. Jones was the hero of the day, hitting what proved to be the game-winning home run and making an absolutely sick, sick catch.

Royals 2, Angels 0: No one did bupkis until the bottom of the ninth when Jeff Francoeur reached on a single and then Billy Butler won it with the walkoff jack off Scott Downs. Adam Jones is still our new overlord, but Butler can be his adjutant general.

Nationals 2, Phillies 1: John Lannan beats the Phillies for the first time in 14 starts as the Nats take two of three. And while I gave props to Adam Jones’ catch as one of the best I’ve seen all year, Laynce Nix’s lay-out-and-slide catch in this one was pretty spectacular too. He assists Butler with light typing and other clerical tasks in the New Adam Jones World Order.

Yankees 4, Athletics 2: The Yankees have beat the A’s ten times in a row. They saw the A’s at the paddock before the second race, outside the men’s room when they placed their bet. They saw the A’s before they even got up this morning.

White Sox 7, Red Sox 4: Boston loses their fourth straight. Paul Konerko hit the go ahead single in the seventh and hit a two-run homer in the ninth that disabused the Red Sox of any notion that they were coming back. It’s not Yankees-A’s level pwnage, but Chicago owns the Red Sox lately. They’re getting so comfortable that they’re thinking about renting some of the Red Sox out to tenants. You know, making the most of their investment.

Pirates 9, Mets 3: The meek shall inherit this game. Jason Bay puts a major charge into a ball but it’s swallowed up by a (a) a giant ballpark; and (b) an outrageous display of range and leather by Andrew McCutchen. Meanwhile, the Pirates score five runs in the top of the seventh inning with five infield hits. Oh, and Kevin Corriea leads baseball in wins with eight. Yes, you heard me: a Pittsburgh Pirate leads Major League Baseball in wins.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: Miguel Cabrera drove one over the left field wall with two on to put the Tigers out of the Twins’ reach. Wait — just got served with a motion by Cabrea’s lawyers. They say that there’s no proof that Cabrera drove it and that at no time did Cabrera admit to anyone in any position of authority that he did, in fact, drive it. Well, crap.

Braves 4, Padres 3: Tommy Hanson wasn’t as sharp as he can be, but he was good enough on a steamy night (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER). The usual bullpen trio of O’Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel close it out. Which is awesome now but will be less awesome come September when they’re all making like Mike Marshall and pitching their 100th game. But as Twitter follower @Bengoodfella told me last night: “I try to be positive about it. In two years, the Braves will have three relievers with totally new elbow ligaments.”

Indians 13, Blue Jays 9: Despite so many runs being scored, there was no standout RBI whore in this one for the Indians. Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore and Matt LaPorta each had three, which I guess makes this more of an RBI menage a trois situation. Rajai Davis had four for Toronto, so I guess that’s a little whorish. And what’s simply crazy: the Jays had back-to-back-to-back triples in the fifth inning. It’s not often that you even see two in a row, let alone three. Cool.

Reds 4, Brewers 3: There has been a bit of a lifeless feel in the Reds games I’ve watched lately. That wasn’t the case here as Joey Votto and Jay Bruce hit two-run homers as the Reds came back from a late 3-0 deficit. The best 1-2 punch in the game? Name me a better one then.  Francisco Cordero got his 300th career save.

Rangers 3, Rays 0: Colby Lewis had eight innings of shutout ball. Nelson Cruz was 3 for 4 with an RBI and Elvis Andrus drove in two. Tampa Bay has lost eight of 12 and now have to head west on a long road trip. If that trip goes sideways it could be tough for them to hang in the East.

Astros 3, Cubs 1: Houston sweeps the Cubbies. They’re only two behind Chicago in the Central now, too.

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 5: Justin Upton will get the ups for the walkoff single, but give some credit to Willie Bloomquist. He was on first base and then, with Ryan Roberts up, Bloomquist took third from first base on a hit and run that ended up as an infield chop to third.  Nice heads up play by Bloomquist, making it much easier for Upton to drive him in.

Giants 7, Cardinals 5: It wasn’t Tim Lincecum’s best day (6.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER), but Nate Schierholtz came up big in the ninth to tie things up and then drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th. And this one had a light delay. No, not a slight delay, a light delay.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Ubaldo Jimenez with the four hit shutout. He averaged between 93-94 m.p.h. with his fastball last night, which is supposedly a problem for him. Guess it wasn’t a problem against L.A.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.