Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


White Sox 3, Twins 0: Mark Buehrle threw seven and two-thirds shutout innings. And the game came in at two hours four minutes. Knock me over with a feather. Most underrated pitcher of the past decade?

Cubs 7, Giants 0: Great pitching all-around for the Chicago clubs last night. A two-hit shutout for Randy Wells. Once you adjust for the fact that it came against the Giants, it’s worth, oh, a 9-hit, 3-run performance, which is still very, very good.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 1: The Diamondbacks win their seventh straight and open up a five game lead in the west. Given that the Giants don’t seem to have a first gear let alone an extra one, is this thing over?

Phillies 3, Reds 2: Cole Hamels looked really, really good in his return from the DL (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7K, 0 BB). He got the no decision, but it was the right call by Manuel to pull him when he did. The pen was rested and there’s no sense taxing that arm now when it will be needed in October. Shane Victorino’s two-run homer in the eighth was the big blow. Yonder Alonso, sadly, didn’t have any opportunities for adventure down at third base for the Reds. Placido Polanco did for the Phillies, though, and he let a run in on a throwing error, so take that Alonso-haters.

Mets 2, Marlins 1: Mets 5, Marlins 1: A four game winning streak for the Mets. These two came behind nice outings from R.A. Dickey in the first game and Dillon Gee in the second.

Indians 2, Athletics 1: Tough luck loss for Brandon McCarthy, who struck out ten and gave up two runs in eight innings. But David Huff was sharp himself, shutting out the A’s on three hits over six and then letting four relievers seal the deal.

Yankees 3, Orioles 2: I think New York has been in Baltimore for seven or eight weeks now. A two-run homer for Nick Swisher. David Robertson gave up his first home run all year, but it ended up not mattering. Six strong innings from Freddy Garcia.

Blue Jays 7, Rays 3: Johnny Damon hit two homers, but Jose Bautista hit one and his teammates played better and they won, so that makes him more valuable. At least I think that’s how that works. I’m actually kind of confused about it all.

Royals 9, Tigers 5: The Royals rapped out 18 hits, pummeling Max Scherzer. Kansas City is only 17 and a half back!

Astros 7, Pirates 4: Wandy Rodriguez struck out 13 and Carlos Lee hit a three-run homer. Probably worth noting that since the Pirates little mid-season surge ended they’ve actually been no better than the Astros.

Dodgers 4, Padres 1: A complete game for Clayton Kershaw. Three hits for the now-contrite and perhaps not-as-hurt-as-he-initially-let-on Andre Ethier.

Mariners 5, Angels 3: A two-run eighth inning homer by Mike Carp puts the M’s over the top. Sadly, the Angels did not have Trout available to counter Carp. And if you think I’m not gonna beat that one into the ground in the coming years, well, you’re just not familiar with my work.

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.