Giants Cubs Baseball

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.

The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.

For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dodgers clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
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Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.

The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.

Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.

It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.