Orioles relief pitcher Michael Gonzalez falls off the mound after delivering a pitch against the Red Sox in Baltimore

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Red Sox 15, Orioles 10: Of course. The night after Boston took 16 innings to score one run, they unload for 15 against the O’s. That after getting almost no sleep due to the late night. I said yesterday that the Orioles had their worst series of the season against Boston before the All-Star break, but this one could end up being uglier.

Cubs 6, Phillies 1The heat got to Halladay. I can only assume that at certain temperatures and humidity levels his hydraulic limbs and positronic net start to experience some sort of interface malfunction with the organic components, resulting in cyborg failure.  I’m sure that after a level 2 diagnostic and a purge of his short term memory he’ll be back to work, doing the jobs that we can’t depend on Man to do as reliably, all the while biding his time until he leads the other machines — who have since become self-aware — in a bloody revolt against their creators.

Pirates 2, Reds 0: Charlie Morton didn’t pitch the most efficient game in baseball history — he threw 87 pitches in five innings — but the Reds did nothing against him during that time. Didn’t help that there was an hour and a half delay during the first inning. The Reds did nothing against the rest of the Pirates staff either. Pittsburgh is in first place.

Indians 5, Twins 2, Indians 6, Twins 3:  David Huff throws seven scoreless innings in the first one. The thinking was that he was only making the spot start for the doubleheader and would only be up with the big club for a minute and a Huff, but he may have won himself a job with that outing. You know, he hasn’t stopped talking since I came here? He must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

White Sox 5, Royals 2: Mark Buehrle keeps rolling, pitching better than his record suggests. It was 95 degrees at game time with a heat index of 105.  I have a theory that the idea of the heat index is bunk and that it was made up by a TV meteorologist looking to sexy-up the weather segment of the evening news, but I can’t prove it.  I suppose I could ask my dad, who retired from the National Weather Service.  But how do I know they haven’t gotten to him too?

Yankees 5, Rays 4: Joe Maddon decided to bring in Kyle Farnsworth for the five-out save with a couple runners aboard in the eighth inning. Not something a lot of people would do.  That backfired, as both of the runners came around to score. Alex Torres came into a 4-4 tie in the ninth, loaded the bases and then walked Russell Martin with them loaded and took the loss. This is what people were expecting a lot of from the Rays’ pen before the season began.

Marlins 4, Mets 1: Clay Hensley gave up only one hit in five innings and the bullpen took it home from there. A two-run double for Mike Stanton. No stolen bases for him, though, so his manager is probably mad at him.

Nationals 5, Astros 2: A couple RBI for Ryan Zimmerman and eight innings of two-run ball for Jason Marquis. No one really sweats when playing Houston.

Braves 7, Rockies 4: Derek Lowe was cruising — even got a hit and scored a run — until he ran out of gas in the seventh. Braves held on, however, thanks to another nice game from the McCann-Freeman combination of which I am becoming a giantic fan.  Now if only Jason Heyward would come out of his coma to help them out.

Diamondbacks 3, Brewers 0: Rookie Josh Collmenter tomahawked the Brewers, shutting them down and shutting them out over eight. Really, he tomahawked ’em. Inevitable he goes to the Braves one day, I suppose.

Giants 5, Dodgers 0: Ryan Vogelsong had his way with the Dodgers as well. He now leads the NL in ERA, which is what we all expected before the season began, right?


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 MLB.com’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.