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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 6, Red Sox 3; Rays 5, Yankees 2:  Tied. The details sort of don’t matter anymore. All you need to know is that the City of Boston now has permission to vomit. Continuously. Through Wednesday.

Phillies 4, Braves 2: The Braves are just a lousy team right now in every facet of the game. And you know what? I’ve gotten to the point where my love of chaos has overtaken my devotion to the Braves. On one level this sucks. On another level, this is kind of fantastic in some sick and twisted way.

Astros 5, Cardinals 4: But even if the Braves are lousy, the Cardinals still have to capitalize on their lousiness. And they didn’t. Depending on Octavio Dotel to give you two quality innings is the sort of thing that leads to that. Dotel gave up a leadoff double to Brian Bogusevic and then committed an error on Jason Bourgeois‘ sacrifice attempt and couldn’t field a subsequent bunt from Angel Sanchez.

Rangers 4, Angels 3: A lot of people gave me crap yesterday for not including the Angels in posts about the AL wild card. Well, sorry. Now they’re eliminated, however, so I guess it didn’t matter.

Tigers 14, Indians 0: Doug Fister vs. Ubaldo Jimenez in the battle of the mid-season pickups. Advantage: Fister. Eight shutout innings with nine strikeouts. Oh, and the 14 runs on 18 hits didn’t hurt.

Reds 6, Mets 5: I’m not gonna say this game was an exercise in going through the motions, but the Reds and Mets combined to use 34 players.

White Sox 4, Blues Jays 3: Ozzie Guillen was released from his contract as soon as this game ended. When reached for comment, Guillen said “#$&%!” Glad to see he stayed true to form until the end.

Royals 7, Twins 3: Melky Cabrera notched his 200th hit of the season in this one. In other news, the word has gone completely and utterly insane and we’ll all be lucky to survive the damn week.

Giants 3, Rockies 1: Seven shutout innings for Ryan Vogelsong, capping off a pretty doggone good year for him. He went 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA and absolutely no one, except maybe Vogelsong himself, expected it.

Padres 2, Cubs 0: My brother and his co-workers were at this game. The tickets were a reward from their manager at In-N-Out Burger for meeting some summer sales goal. He called me from the ballpark before the game and read the Cubs’ lineup to me.  I told him you get what you pay for. Mat Latos wasn’t impressed with them either (7 IP, 2 H, o ER, 9K).

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Justin Smoak’s three-run homer broke the tie in the sixth and held up.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 2: Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer which kept him in the lead in that category and extended his RBI lead, but an overall 1 for 4 night pretty much ends his triple crown hopes.

Pirates 9, Brewers 8: And though it was in a loss, Ryan Braun’s pinch hit RBI double allows him to keep whatever small buffer he has over Kemp in the MVP race. I’m a Kemp man, but my sense of it is that more people lean Braun anyway.

Nationals 6, Marlins 4: And we’re one more game closer to the end of them playing games in whatever it is the heck they call that monstrosity of a ballpark in Miami.

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.