Giants Cubs Baseball

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Cubs 5, Giants 2: Just your standard hit-a-tying-homer-off-the-World-Champs’-closer-in-the-ninth/hit-a-three-run-walkoff-homer-in-the-13th-inning kind of game for the Cubbies. Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto did the honors on those homers, respectively. Another in a long series of wasted Matt Cain starts for the Giants.

Tigers 5, Mets 2: Justin Verlander watched the Mets’ blitzkrieg from the dugout on the previous two nights and apparently decided that enough was enough. He has been sharper lately — he only struck out 6 — but he only allowed a run in seven innings. After the game Verlander trotted out the old “good pitching beats good hitting” saw. Which is something that is only said after someone pitches well. Because, by definition, if the hitting wins it wasn’t good pitching.  Think about that for a while and it will blow your friggin’ mind.

Yankees 5, Brewers 0: CC Sabathia was dominant, striking out a career high 13, all of them swinging. Those who watched said that his slider was the best it has ever been. Some days you just wake up with a spring in your step, I guess. Mark Teixeira hit his 300th career homer, and now leads the majors in bombs this year with 25.

Marlins 5, Athletics 4: The Feesh almost frittered away a 5-0 lead when the A’s charged late, but the defenses held. June, mercifully, is over for the Marlins. They finish the month with five wins.

Red Sox 5, Phillies 2: Anyone who had guessed that Jason Varitek was going to hit two homers in this one, raise their hand. Not so fast … everyone. Cole Hamels left early, but it really didn’t matter, because Jon Lester was on point (7 IP, 2H 0 ER). The Sox’ shaky bullpen made it look closer than it ever felt.

White Sox 6, Rockies 4: Colorado blew a 4-1 lead and Juan Pierre hit the go-ahead single in the 10th. Chicago takes two of three from Colorado and now head back to Illinois to face the Cubs.

Pirates 6, Blue Jays 2: Jeff Karstens yields but two runs over seven innings. The Jays, as is their wont, get a couple of runs on dingers, but are unable to string anything else together.

Cardinals 9, Orioles 6: I think I said something about “Lance Berkman not being able to keep this up” during yesterday’s HBT Daily video. The answer, as always, is that I’m a moron. Two homers for Berkman as the Cardinals complete the series sweep of Baltimore. A series they utterly dominated.

Astros 7, Rangers 0: Wandy Rodriguez and three relievers combine for the four-hit shutout. Jason Michaels had a homer and three RBI. The win snaps an eight game home losing streak for Houston.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.