And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, Rangers 4: The platonic ideal of a late-dynasty Yankees game: Four hits for Jeter, homer for A-Rod, a CC Sabathia win and a Mariano Rivera save.  In other news, I sorta feel like I wanna be the guy who starts writing the breathless “can Derek Jeter hit .400?” articles. Maybe I’ll do one later today.

Giants 6, Mets 1, Giants 7, Mets 2: In the first game, Lincecum  finally pitches like Lincecum. Well, not really like Lincecum — more like a shadow of Tim Lincecum who likes to walk guys — but after his first couple of stinkers, this was quality. Madison Bumgarner ties up the Mets in the nightcap.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 1: Eleven straight losses for K.C., ten at home. In other news, someone you love lost their job since 2008 while Ned Yost remains gainfully employed. For now.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: Jason Motte came in to lock down a 2-1 lead in the ninth, but the Cubbies had different ideas: walk, walk, groundout to put both runners in scoring position and then a Joe Mather two-run RBI single to win it for Chicago. A great Jaime Garcia start was waster (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).  If Tony La Russa was still alive, Motte would be working mopup duty tomorrow and La Russa would be claiming that the Cardinals never had a closer, and who are you talking about anyway?

Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Cody Ross homered in the 7th to tie it and homered again in the ninth to put the Sox ahead for good. Jon Lester wasn’t sharp — he gave up five runs in seven — but the pen actually held Minnesota scoreless for two innings, which is a cause for celebration with the Sox.

Dodgers 7, Braves 2: I watched the first couple innings of this. Between listening to Vin Scully and watching Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp play, I’m sorta tempted to turn heel on my Braves and root for the Dodgers this entire series. It was especially easy to do last night what with Jair Jurrjens becoming this year’s version of 2011 Derek Lowe and over four innings of Livan Hernandez Time.

Diamondbacks 9, Phillies 5: The return of an effective Justin Upton (2 for 3, HR 2 RBI). I may have said on the HBT Extra going up today that Kyle Kendrick filling in for Cliff Lee wouldn’t be horrible. Which just goes to show you that you can’t believe anything you see on video (3 IP, 11 H, 7 ER).

White Sox 4, Athletics 0: Jake Peavy throws a three-hit shutout, overshadowing another great Bartolo Colon start.

Brewers 6, Astros 5: Ryan Braun was 3 for 4 with a double, homer and two RBI, breaking a 2 for 20 slump. Zack Greinke struck out nine in six innings. As go the Brewers stars, so go the Brewers.

Rockies vs. Pirates: POSTPONED: When the rain falls, there’s magic in our lives. When the rain falls, we’re happy deep inside. When the rain falls, it cleans away the corners of our minds.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).