Travis Hafner

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: Carlos Villanueva threw six shutout innings. Too bad he couldn’t stay in to throw more, because the Indians rallied like crazy in the ninth with an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single and then the big shot: the Travis Hafner walkoff grand slam. That’s some serious dramatics right there, babies. Almost enough to make me feel OK to call him “Pronk” again, which seemed kind of ridiculous when he was in the middle of three blah years.

Cubs 10, Nationals 9: Facepalm. actually, make that a double facepalm. The Nats had an 8-0 lead heading into the sixth inning and they couldn’t seal the deal. Livan Hernandez deserves most of the blame here. Or maybe Davey Johnson. Dude just ran out of gas. Probably shoulda been pulled when the Cubs started doing a conga line around the bases in the sixth. This is one of those games that those of you who want to say that the Nats could be frisky have to deal with, because frisky teams don’t lose like this very often.

Rays 5, Yankees 1: Bartolo Colon didn’t have nothin’ (5.2 IP, 10 H, 5 ER), so the competitive part of this game ended early, leaving everyone to focus on Derek Jeter’s at bats. He got one hit, so he needs two more.

Red Sox 10, Orioles 4: One of the least fun thing about following games on Twitter: when fans of a team (in this case the Yankees), voice their displeasure at team in a totally different game (in this case the Orioles) for allegedly laying down against the the team (in this case the Red Sox) who is in a race against the team for which they root (back to the Yankees).  I mean, until we see money changing hands between the Red Sox and Orioles, we have to assume that this is simply a matter of Baltimore sucking every time they visit Fenway Park, not some underhanded scheme.

Braves 6, Rockies 3: Freddie Freeman continues his rampage, hitting a three-run homer in the third inning that put the Braves up for good. The Braves themselves are on a rampage, winners of nine of their last ten. Now it’s three against the Phillies — whom they trail by two and a half games — to take them into the All-Star break.

Marlins 5, Astros 0: Brad Hand — who I know damn well is gonna make me break out “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” quotes at some point this season even though that’s a totally hack thing to do — shut out the Astros for seven innings on two hits.

Twins 6, White Sox 2: Phil Humber was rocked like a hurricane. And to be clear: that’s bad when the Scorpions aren’t involved. Joe Mauer played first base and went 3 for 5 with two RBI. Hurm.

Tigers 3, Royals 1: Remember those games where Max Scherzer used to strike out, like, eleventeen guys? Well, this wasn’t one of those games — he only k’d two — but ’twas enough. “Twill serve. Homers for Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly, each of whom sound more like characters on “Mad Men” than baseball players.

Brewers 5, Reds 4: Rickie Weeks was 2 for 3 with a three-run homer. Zack Cozart was 1 for 3 with a run scored in his major league debut.

Diamondbacks 4, Cardinals 1: Arizona has won four of six. St. Louis has lost four of six. Justin Upton hit a big home run.

Rangers 6, Athletics 0: In light of what went down, I really don’t feel like riffing on this game at the moment.

Now we get to the late west coast games where, every night it seems, someone is throwing a complete game or shutting someone out for seven or eight innings or whatever. Viva la pitching.

Giants 2, Padres 1: All Barry Zito does is win baseball games.  Well, at least since he came back from the DL. Eight innings of four-hit ball.

Angels 5, Mariners 1: Jered Weaver tosses a complete game to win his 11th. Now he probably starts the All-Star Game on Tuesday. The offense he faces there will be slightly better than the bunch from Seattle.

Dodgers 6, Mets 0: Clayton Kershaw flummoxed the Mets for eight innings, shutting them out on five hits and striking out nine. The Dodgers made the most of their seven hits and two walks.

The Mets break out the whuppin’ sticks, rout the Dodgers 13-7

Cespedes d'Arnaud

So often in life the anticipation of something outpaces its reality. For Mets fans tonight, it was the exact opposite. They had a grand old time. The Mets broke out the lumber and overwhelmed the Dodgers 13-4 to take a 2-1 lead in NLDS.

So much of that anticipation was about revenge, really. Hitting Chase Utley if he was in the lineup, perhaps, or at the very least sending some sort of retaliatory message the Dodgers’ way in response to Utley breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg on Saturday. But with Utley out of the lineup — and the notion that base runners matter a whole heck of a lot in a playoff game — Matt Harvey just set out to pitch, not plunk. And Mets hitters set out to beat the living heck out of Brett Anderson and a couple Dodgers relievers. Living well is the best revenge, and for a major league team, winning baseball games is living well.

It didn’t start out so well for Harvey, as Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs in the top of the second with a third run scoring on a Curtis Granderson error on the same play. It was 3-0 Dodgers early and Mets’ fans sphincters’ clenched. But only momentarily.

The Mets came right back in the bottom of the second with four runs with a Travis d'Arnaud single and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Curtis Granderson. In the next inning d’Arnaud hit a two-run shot. In the fourth Daniel Murphy singled in a run and Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run bomb to left to make it 10-3. The Dodgers got one back in the top of the seventh but New York scored three more of their own in the bottom half. It was never a ballgame after the third inning.

Brett Anderson was the author of the damage through three, Alex Wood gave up the four runs in the fourth and hung on in the fifth in what became mop-up duty. Harvey was done after five and took the win. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but he did strike out seven and was good enough. Some late damage from the Dodgers, including a three-run homer in the ninth from Howie Kendrick, was too little, too late. Granderson and d’Arnaud did the damage for New York, driving in five and three runs, respectively.

Once the competitive portion of this game was over, the Mets’ crowd turned to more important matters. Chanting things like “We want Utley!” Don Mattingly didn’t give him to ’em, probably because there was no downside to smacking him after the game got out of hand. But no upside either. Because of that stuff about living well, remember?

Now it’s on Clayton Kershaw to save the Dodgers from elimination [looks at watch] tonight, technically. If he doesn’t, his detractors will write another page in their Big Book of Clayton Kershaw Playoff Failures. If he does, we get a Game 5 back in Los Angeles.

Maybe Chase Utley gets into one of those.

Jake Arrieta beatable, but still unbeaten

Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta gave up as many earned runs Monday against the Cardinals as he had in his previous 13 starts combined, yet the Cubs still won 8-6.

It’s the 15th straight time the Cubs have won a game started by Arrieta, who is set to finish first or second in the Cy Young balloting announced next month. Their last loss in an Arrieta-pitched game was when the Phillies’ Cole Hamels no-hit them on July 25. They won the previous four before that, too, so make it 19 of 20.

The outing could go down as Arrieta’s last of the season, though that would require the Cardinals beating the Cubs in back-to-back games to finish the NLDS. The more likely scenario at this point is that Arrieta starts Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers or Mets.

Arrieta, though, was vulnerable in this one, turning in his shortest start since June. Even in the shutout of Pittsburgh in the wild card game, the Pirates had chances in the middle innings (most notably before Starling Marte‘s well-hit grounder with the bases loaded turned into a double play in the sixth).

Tonight, he walked two in a row at one point, after not walking a single batter in his previous three starts. He gave up his first homer in six starts. The wind was a factor in tonight’s eight-homer barrage, but Jason Heyward‘s two-run shot off Arrieta went against the grain in left-center.

So, if nothing else, the illusion of impenetrability is now gone. Arrieta can be gotten to, if primarily in short bursts. That’s not going to do anything for the Cardinals — at least not unless Arrieta is called on to pitch an inning or two in Game 5 — but it’ll probably come into play later in the postseason.

Ding-Dong! The Cubbies ride homers to a 2-1 series lead

Jorge Soler

The wind was blowing out of Wrigley Field on Monday night, but mostly for the home team. Makes you think that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all about the wind.

The Cubs hit six homers off of Cardinals pitching, one each from each of the first six batters in their lineup. Three of them came against Michael Wacha, who Mike Matheny inexplicably let bat for himself in the top of the fifth and take the hill in the bottom of the fifth and on to a third time through the Cubs’ order. He was shaky as it was, and quickly put a runner on and then allowed a two-run homer to Kris Bryant to make it 4-2. One batter later Kevin Siegrist came in and let Anthony Rizzo take him VERY deep to right field to make it 5-2.

Jason Heyward made it interesting in the top of the sixth with a two run shot to make it a one-run game but then Jorge Soler hit a two run shot in the bottom half and Dexter Fowler hit one in the eighth to make it 8-4. You can’t trade solo shots for multiple two-run jobs. You wanna get the Cardinals? Here’s how you get ’em. They pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! They hit a solo homer, you hit a bunch of two-run shots. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get the Cardinals!

Not that the Cardinals didn’t do a lot. They scored four runs in five and a third against Jake Arrieta, who hadn’t been damaged like that since June 16. But five Cubs relievers held mostly firm. You tell me before the game that they got to Arrieta like that and I tell you they won. But nope.

Now it’s 2-1 Cubs in a best of five. They go tomorrow with Jason Hammel and try to eliminate the Cards. Who had best figure out how to counter the Cubs’ power.