Justin Upton

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2: Justin Upton with the walkoff homer, served up by Santiago Casilla in the 10th. It was Upton’s first game-ending homer ever. He also had a single and a double on the day, but remember, don’t you dare say that he was a triple short of the cycle, because that’s just dumb, man.

Nationals 7, Cardinals 4: Upton wasn’t the only one walking off in the 10th inning:  Danny Espinosa with the three-run walkoff jack. Anyone think St. Louis is gonna look back at this series in September and say “man, how did the Nats give us so much crap?”

Phillies 3, Marlins 0: A three-hitter for Cliff Lee. He also drove in the only run that the Phillies would end up needing. So yeah, I guess he’ll stick at this level.

Braves 9, Mets 8: Atlanta wins on a walkoff balk in the 10th. Sad: the Braves still have a celebration at the plate as if it were a bases loaded double. Sadder still: that, given how crappy their offense has been, the celebration was sorta justified.

Cubs 12, Brewers 7: Fukodome had a huge day and Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena also went deep. Which is sort of like what most Cubs games would have been like if all of the huge money gambles on veterans Jim Hendry has made over the years had always paid off on the upside. A train wreck of a day for Zack Greinke (5.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 10K).

Athletics 8, Royals 4: This has nothing to do with this game, but APBA Guy will be along in the comments soon to recap it better than me anyway:  a shallow entertainment gossip website I like to go to sometimes summed up the “Moneyball” trailer that has been floating around thusly: “So this movie tells the story of how the worlds most boring sport added math to create a system that doesn’t work. Holy sh*t, can I go stand in line now?”  I ain’t gonna lie: I lol’d.

Pirates 5, Astros 4: Everyone gets well in Houston. That’s four straight wins for Pittsburgh. A three-run homer for Garrett Jones. Andrew McCutchen’s hitting streak ended in this one despite the fact that he had a single. Weird, I know.

Twins 1, White Sox 0: Combine Mark Buehrle on his game with the White Sox not hitting themselves, and you’re going to get a short game. This one: 2:09, and the Twins on top thanks to eight shutout innings by Nick Blackburn. A Michael Cuddyer homer was the only offensive noise here.

Yankees 3, Rangers 2: The Rangers get swept for the first time all year. The hero of the day for New York: Brian Gordon, a 32-year-old who, until a couple of days ago, was in the Phillies organization and who was making just his fourth ever major league appearance. The previous three were for Texas back in 2008, but in this one he gave the Yankees a solid spot start, allowing two runs in five and a third. Nice story. Too bad it will be beat into the ground today by the overzealous New York press like it’s their very own Jim Morris thing, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a nice story.

Tigers 6, Indians 2: Detroit takes two of three from the Indians, have won 13 of 18 total, and now have first place to themselves. Jim Leyland: “We’ve got a little something going, but it’s such a long grind. I don’t get carried away.”  Actually, he gets carried away a lot, but he’s just deciding not to in this instance, which is kind of cute.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 3: Jeremy Guthrie pitched well but strained his back, left early and got a no-decision, so that’s kind of a bummer.

Red Sox 4, Rays 2: Eleven wins in twelve games. A road trip on which they go 8-1.  The Red Sox are in juggernaut territory.

And now a brief programming note: Beyond the recaps I won’t be blogging today (my HBT companions will be, of course).  Why am I out?  Because the missus and I are taking a three-day romantic getaway. Where? Bourbon country. And yes, the bourbon is the object of the romance and the entire point of the trip. Take that, wine country fancy pantses.

Do what you love in life, people. It’s the key to happiness.

See you Monday.

Settling the Scores: Friday’s results

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Norichika Aoki #8 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run off of starting pitcher Raul Alcantara #50 of the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Raul Alcantara was in the business of distributing home runs on Friday night.

Robinson Cano caught the tail end of a 94.1 m.p.h. fastball in the first inning, driving it to center field to put the Mariners on the board. In the second, Norichika Aoka found his fourth home run of the year on a similarly-placed heater. The Mariners then targeted Alcantara’s off-speed stuff, picking on the right-hander’s changeup and slider to get two more home runs in the third: the first, another dead-center blast by Cano, and the last, a bomb by Nelson Cruz that popped off the center field wall and survived an umpire review.

Taijuan Walker, who enjoyed the spike in run support from his 3.6 average, was not immune to the home run bug either, giving up the first and only run of the night on Ryon Healy’s 102-m.p.h. home run in the sixth inning.

While Walker excelled at run prevention, he also came one walk shy of hitting a career-high mark, with five walks spread over six innings. Seattle’s bullpen stepped in for three perfect innings to close out the game and, despite six perfect frames from Oakland relievers Zach Neal and Daniel Coulombe, quashed the A’s hopes of closing a four-run gap.

The Mariners’ win on Friday puts them one game back of the wild card; if they take the rest of the series and the Tigers and Blue Jays lose one of their remaining weekend games, the Mariners will tie for the remaining wild card spot. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez on the hill this weekend, winning shouldn’t be an issue. Getting the Blue Jays to collapse against the Red Sox (and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers against the Braves) is another story.

Here are the rest of the box scores from Friday’s games. Keep an eye out for the first modest bat flip of Jose Bautista‘s career, Madison Bumgarner‘s eighth RBI of the year, and the Orioles’ three-homer inning.

Orioles 8, Yankees 1

Marlins 7, Nationals 4

Mets 5, Phillies 1

Cubs 7, Reds 3

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Tigers 6, Braves 2

Rangers 3, Rays 1

Rockies 4, Brewers 1

White Sox 7, Twins 3

Indians 7, Royals 2

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 3

Angels 7, Astros 1

Mariners 5, Athletics 1

Giants 9, Dodgers 3

Video: Holliday’s home run a fitting goodbye for Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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If tonight was his last night in a Cardinals uniform, Matt Holliday made the most of it.

After sitting out most of the second half with a fractured thumb, the 36-year-old was activated from the disabled list on Friday and slotted in as a pinch-hitter during the seventh inning of the Cardinals’ 7-0 shutout. What happened next could hardly have elicited more sentiment had it been scripted:

The solo shot was Holliday’s first home run as a pinch-hitter, and his first home run of any kind since August 9. The triumphant moment might have been the last of its kind in St. Louis, as it was reported earlier today that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Holliday’s option in 2017.

Prior to the game, the left fielder released a statement in which he expressed his gratitude for the past eight seasons with the Cardinals’ organization:

I would like to thank Mr. Dewitt, Mo and the entire ownership group for the opportunity to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I am proud of what we have accomplished on and off the field during the past seven years. I have also been humbled by the incredible support and participation in our Homers for Health program.

It has been an honor to play in front of such great fans and for such a historic organization. I can honestly say it has been a dream come true.

While I’m disappointed this could be it here in St. Louis, I understand that it might be time to move on.

I’d like to express my love and admiration for Tony, Mike and all of the coaches and staff that I have had the pleasure to do life with these past seven-plus years.

The most emotional part of this is my teammates and the relationships I’ve built with some of these guys over the years. Particularly, Adam and Yadi, to be considered part of the core with two of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.

Finally, I’m eternally thankful for the Lord bringing me to the city of St. Louis in August of 2008. Lots of cool stuff has happened since then. On behalf of my wife Leslee and our children Jackson, Ethan, Gracyn and Reed: Thank you!