Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 1, Giants 0: In 1968, a gallon of gas cost 34 cents, the average cost of a car was $2,282 and the federal minimum wage was $1.60.  In other news, Clayton Kershaw (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 12K)  beat Tim Lincecum (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Mets 6, Cardinals 5:  The walkoff homer from Angel Pagan in the bottom of the tenth. But he doesn’t get all of the kudos. Some are owed to Jason Isringhausen, who gave a valiant effort in two innings of relief, including striking out Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman consecutively between the ninth and tenth innings.

Rockies 3, Braves 2: Carlos Gonzalez with the walkoff RBI single off Eric O’Flaherty. Why was Eric O’Flaherty, the Braves third best reliever, pitching with runners on in the ninth inning instead of one of the Braves’ All-Star relievers? Because the damn book says you (a) use your setup man in the eighth inning, so yep, Johnny Venters had to be in there in the eighth; and (b) you never use your closer in a tie game on the road because then the gods up on Olympus will release the friggin’ Kraken and innocent women and children will be killed. Or at least that’s what Fredi Gonzalez’ book says, because that’s the way he manages.

Angels 9, Rangers 8: A six-run sixth inning brings the Angles back to beat the Rangers, ending their winning streak. All good things must come to an end. Or, if you’re an Angels fan, all bad things, I suppose.

Twins 7, Indians 5: Danny Valencia was the hero  For the second day in row, singling in what proved to be the winning run. The Twins and Tribe split the series, further establishing that no one really wants to win the AL Central.

Phillies 9, Cubs 1: Two homers for Jimmy Rollins.  Vance Worley gave up one run over eight innings as the Phillies win it in a laugher.  Game time temperature was 97 degrees with high humidity and the Phillies had a huge lead all game, so why Worley pitched eight innings I have no idea. I mean, it’s not like Phillies pitchers have been affected by the heat in Chicago already or anything.

Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Andrew Miller walked six guys in five and two-thirds innings and the Orioles still couldn’t score. That’s just kinda sad.

Astros 3, Nationals 2: Break up the Astros. They’ve won two in a row — and a series —  for the first time in a month. Jason Michaels with the game-winning single in the 11th.

Reds 3, Pirates 1: Chase d’Arnaud had two critical errors, one in the first, one in the fifth, that let the Reds score a couple of runs.  Of course, when you only score one run yourself, you don’t leave yourself that much of a margin for such things.

Yankees 4, Rays 0: Anyone else getting the distinct impression that the Rays are falling out contention? Freddy Garcia is no slouch, but he shouldn’t shut you out into the seventh inning if you have any designs on contending.

Padres 14, Marlins 3: Not Ricky Nolasco’s night (1.1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER). And, mere hours after I voiced dread over the prospect of Ryan Ludwick being traded to the Braves, he drives in four runs.

Blue Jays 11, Mariners 6: It just keeps getting worse for the Mariners, who drop their 11th straight. A three-run homer for Travis Snider, who drove in five on the night. Homers for Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion as well.

Athletics 7, Tigers 5: Hideki Matsui hit his 500th career home run (NPB + MLB of course). He also hit the go-ahead-for-good RBI single in the seventh. Eleven pitchers were used in this one. I note that because it seems odd to see that this season. It’s far less common than it was even just a couple of years ago. I suppose depressed offense will do that for you.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Runners at first and third with two out in the 11th, and Ozzie Guillen calls for Sergio Santos.  Santos goes 3-1 to Billy Butler and then throws a wild pitch, allowing Alex Gordon to score from third. Ozzie probably blew a gasket.

Brewers 5, Diamondbacks 2: Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks all hit RBI singles in the 10th inning.  Academic though given the carnage in this one: Stephen Drew broke his ankle and Carlos Gomez broke his collarbone. This obviously hurts both teams playoff chances.

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.