Scott Hairston

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 16, Tigers 9: The Mets blast the Tigers’ pitching for the second night in a row (though the Tigers blasted back a bit themselves). Everyone in the Mets’ starting lineup hit, including Scott Hairston, whose bases loaded triple in the first broke it open, after which he did some lame antlers thing or whatever it was. Really, I don’t even. Point is, the Mets have scored 52 runs on 69 hits in their past four games. Phil Coke was a disaster for Detroit. His stint as a starter may have to end soon, because it just ain’t working.

Braves 5, Mariners 3: The Braves take their eighth win in ten tries, beating King Felix of all people. Ten hits. All singles. Eric Wedge left Hernandez in for 127 pitches for some reason.

Twins 1, Dodgers 0: Scott Baker continues to impress. He has a 3.16 ERA and a strikeout/walk ratio of 100/28 in 105 innings.

Reds 4, Rays 3: Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run homer in the fourth. I’m still not forgetting that he missed a ball during long toss that hit me in the arm during spring training. And I don’t care if it is my fault that I was standing right behind him. I believe he was subject to some sort of implied covenant to protect dumb bloggers.

Indians 6, Diamondbacks 2: Four hits and an RBI for Orlando Cabrera. He has raised his batting average by five points since I made fun of him for being an Ayn Rand fan. I’m going to take credit for that. Not because I believe I’m responsible, but because, as a Rand fan, it probably angers him that someone else could be responsible for his self improvement.

Angels 1, Nationals 0: Dan Haren: two hits over seven and a third shutout innings. Davey Johnson has not won a game as a major league manager since Bill Clinton was president.

Padres 4, Royals 1: San Diego continues to roll. This one was aided by Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer combining to butcher a popup that they each lost in the sun, leading to a big unearned-run inning for the Padres. I guess they don’t have sun in Omaha, so it’s understandable that those two had their troubles.  San Diego is now out of the cellar.

Cardinals 5, Orioles 1: Chris Carpenter looked like Chris Carpenter, allowing a single run in a complete game.  The Orioles starting pitching — which most of us felt would be the difference between the O’s being respectable this year and being a punching bag — has turned into something of a punching bag of late.

Phillies 2, Red Sox 1: For once John Lackey looks good — and hell, he even drove in a run with a double — and what happens? The vaunted Bosox offense can’t get anything going. But hey, the Phillies have all of those aces.  Wait, what? It was Vance Worley? Well, then. Oh, and for what it’s worth: Gonzalez in right and Ortiz at first were a non-factor in this game, both for good and for ill.

Blue Jays 2, Pirates 1: Yet another low scoring game on a night full of low scoring games. Brandon Morrow Ks 10 in seven innings.

White Sox 3, Rockies 2: A ninth inning rally off Huston Street, capped by a sac fly that scored Carlos Quentin boosts the Sox over the Rox. Two nights in a row that the game between these two has been decided by a close play — or what should have been a close play — at the plate.

Rangers 3, Astros 2: Two homers for Ian Kinsler. One of which came after he was hit in the stomach by a pitch but, because umpire Bob Davidson said he was trying to bunt, wasn’t awarded first base. Lucky for him I guess.

Yankees 5, Brewers 2: Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. Which is kind of impressive because I was of the impression that Martin was near death and was going to stagger his way through the rest of the season an injured heap. Just kind of a vibe I had.

Marlins 3, Athletics 0: Five-hit shutout for Ricky Nolasco. Two RBI for Hanley Ramirez. That’s how this stuff is supposed to go for Florida.

Cubs 2, Giants 1: A serious duel between Ryan Dempster and Tim Lincecum, though neither got the decision. Carlos Marmol came in to the game in the ninth to lock down the 1-0 Cubs lead but couldn’t, allowing one of Dempster’s runners to score. But never fear, Aramis Ramirez is here, and he singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

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.