Toronto Blue Jays vs Cleveland Indians

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Blue Jays 7, Indians 4: I was invited to go to this game by the Indians, where I would have watched it for free from the Tribe Social Suite. Because of family entanglements I was not able to go, and when I sent the Indians my regrets, I was very sad about it. But 16 innings on a 44 degree day, with beer sales being cut off for more than half the game? Er, kinda glad I didn’t go.

What I missed, of course, was an excellent Justin Masterson getting boned and a bunch of near-fisticuffsmanship, en route to the longest game in Opening Day history. J.P. Arencibia won it with a three-run homer in the 16th. Casey Kotchman and Colby Rasmus each went 0 for 7, which surpasses golden and platinum sombreros by a mile. I think they were unobtanium sombreros. Good show!

Reds 4, Marlins 0: Johnny Cueto tossed seven shutout innings as the Marlins did their part to contribute to the NL East’s collective offensive ineptitude on this Opening Day v3.0.  Indeed, the entire division played yesterday, and they scored a total of four runs.

Phillies 1, Pirates 0: Eight shutout innings, two hits, no walks and five strikeouts for Roy Halladay. Ho-hum. Remember when we were supposed to care about his lack of velocity? Nah, me neither.

Tigers 3, Red Sox 2: Wrote this up yesterday, both here and here.  So for now, I’ll leave you with this depiction of Jose Valverde’s day.

Mets 1, Braves 0: The Red Sox and Braves both lose in dispiriting fashion. It’s like 2011 never ended. Not that the Braves didn’t have a couple of chances, but they’re the Braves and they don’t win games unless three guys hit homers and stuff.  Johan Santana got headlines for being impressive — and given his recent history, he was impressive — but Atlanta squandered a couple of good opportunities here.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: The Cubs waste a fantastic Ryan Dempster start in which he struck out ten in seven and two-thirds. Stephen Strasburg was nearly as good, but neither figured in the decision. Ian Desmond singled in the winning run in the ninth.  The Cubs, in contrast, ran their way out of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-runner Joe Mather was thrown out trying to score on a grounder to third. Too bad my little league coach wasn’t there to yell at Mather to make sure the ball got through. He was really good at teaching 11 year-olds that.

Dodgers 5, Padres 3: Clayton Kershaw started this game despite suffering from a nasty flu that had him vomiting and — according to Vin Scully — having diarrhea. Which I’m going to go out on a limb and guess was the first and last time in his 60+ year career that Scully said the word diarrhea during a broadcast.  Kershaw looked like he was going to be able to hold up for a while — he threw three shutout innings and he even hit a double — but ran out of mojo. Five Dodgers relievers held the Padres off, while Edinson Volquez walked in two runs with the bases loaded. Matt Kemp hit a homer and was caught stealing, so his quest to become the first member of the 50/50 club was partially successful.

Only one more Opening Day, folks!

Marlins defeat the Mets, then pay their respects to Jose Fernandez on the pitcher’s mound

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Miami Marlins players all wearing jerseys bearing the number 16 and name Fernandez honor the late Jose Fernandez before the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The Marlins were somehow able to muster up the strength not only to play Monday night’s game against the Mets, but also win it convincingly one day after losing Jose Fernandez in a tragic boating accident. The Marlins and Mets helped pay tribute to Fernandez prior to the start of the game as outlined here.

When the game started, the Marlins came out of the gate with a bang. Dee Gordon homered in his first at-bat, then the club hung a four-spot in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning to chase starter Bartolo Colon and take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Mets chipped away for two runs in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run homer and tacked on one more in the eighth, but ultimately fell short by a 7-3 margin.

Gordon finished 4-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. Justin Bour went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, and a walk along with an RBI and two runs scored.

A.J. Ramos, who closed out the win, placed the ball on the pitcher’s mound for Fernandez. The Marlins huddled around the mound and said a prayer. The players huddled closer to the rubber on the mound, then left their hats behind as they retreated to the clubhouse as fans at Marlins Park chanted, “Jose, Jose, Jose.”

In a post-game interview, Gordon called his first-inning home run “the best moment of my life,” as NBC 6 Sports reports.

Indians defeat Tigers, clinch AL Central for first division title since 2007

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 7: Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Progressive Field on September 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.

Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.

In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.

Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.

The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.

Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.

The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.

The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.