Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights


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.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.