Minnesota Twins v Texas Rangers

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Rangers 20, Twins 6:  A lot of people will probably make a football joke here like “heh, Texas missed the extra point and held Minnesota to two field goals!”  That’s hacky.  Try this: in the first five innings the Rangers scored like so:  3 3 3 5 4. Or, birdie, par, birdie, par, par! Lol! Hilarious, right!  Seriously, though, we done with that “watch out for Minnesota” talk yet?

Padres 5, Phillies 4: You don’t see a guy steal home very often. I guess that’s what you get when you lollygag the ball to first base. You don’t see the Padres beat the Phillies very often either, but Aaron Harang continued his nice run and that’s just what happened.

Indians 3, Angels 2: True story: if “Cowboys vs. Aliens” makes good money at the box office, they’re gonna greenlight its sequel, “Indians vs. Angels.”  Though I’m guessin’ people might protest that one based on the title alone. And Dan Haren should probably protest his offense and his bullpen after they combined to render his 10K, 1 ER performance moot.

Mets 4, Reds 2: Jason Isringhausen and the Mets defense made it a bit interesting in the ninth, but Brandon Phillips struck out with the bases loaded to end it.

Yankees 10, Mariners 3: Sixteen straight. How bad is it? They even allowed Derek Jeter to hit a homer and drive in three.

Pirates 3, Braves 1: I probably deserve this for calling Pittsburgh smoke and mirrors in yesterday’s Power Rankings. I still believe it, though, so don’t get too much satisfaction there, Cruel Fate.

White Sox 6, Tigers 3: Chicago, who at times has looked like a train wreck this year, is now only three and a half back of Detroit. Man the AL Central is nuts.

Cardinals 10, Astros 5: Yadier Molina is on fire. He homered for his third straight game and — though we’re not supposed to say it lest we reveal our ignorance of the commonality of the event — he was a triple short of the cycle.

Athletics 7, Rays 5: Oakland continues to score some runs and get some breaks. Here they come back from a 5-2 deficit to win it. Pity none of that happened earlier this season, because they’re back more than a dozen.

Royals 3, Red Sox 1: Tied at one in the 14th, the Royals pulled an accidental squeeze play when Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur both broke on a Mike Aviles bunt attempt. Hey, whatever works. Tons of missed opportunities for the Red Sox who threatened often in extra innings but couldn’t cash anything in.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 5: L.A. took an 8-1 lead into the ninth and had thoughts of frittering it away. In the end, though, they only gave up four runs to the Rockies before closing it down. But hey, unexpected save for Jay Guerra. And that’s all that really matters.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.