Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 1: I took my bike out for a spin for the first time in a while last evening. It was a nice ride on a nice night. At least apart from the crazy, over-the-handlebars wreck I got into at the corner of Alpath and Johnston Road. There were no apparent injuries at the time — not even a scrape — and I got up and rode away before anyone saw me. But as I went to bed last night my ankle became very grouchy and it hurts like the dickens this morning. It’s basically telling me “stick to the treadmill, old man.”  Meanwhile, a nearly 50 year-old man in Colorado pitched effective ball into the seventh inning and drove in two by hauling ass down to first on an infield single. Sigh.

Rangers 4, Athletics 1: I watched a lot of this and I can offer you my expert opinion: Yu Darvish is pretty good. He moves his record up to 6-1 after seven and two-thirds innings of one-run ball.  Bonus: at one point during the game the Rangers announcers had an extended conversation about the rapper B.o.B., which is something I didn’t need to hear.

Indians 9, Mariners 3: It’s not often you see a line like this from Felix Hernandez: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 3 BB and only three strikeouts. Eric Wedge after the game: “Felix just had an off-day. He’s human. I think sometimes we forget about that.” It’s easy to forget that, actually. Normally it takes only twenty, thirty questions, cross-referenced, to figure that out. With Hernandez it took 100. Wait … he doesn’t know, does he!

Marlins 8, Braves 4: Miami stays hot, notching their 12th win in 15 games in the month of May. Mike Minor has another ugly start for the Braves. Freddi Gonzalez gave him a vote of confidence after the game, but I see Gwinnett in his future.

Reds 6, Mets 3: Todd Frazier hit two homers. The second off of D.J. Carrasco, who got released right after the game. A heckuva couple of nights for Carrasco.

Astros 8, Brewers 3:  Carlos Lee drove in three and Bud Norris pitched seven strong. The Astros — who were supposed to be historically bad — and the Brewers — who were supposed to contend — have the same 16-21 record.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1: Hiroki Kuroda was shellacked and Kyle Drabek … wasn’t. Homers from Edwin Encarnacio, Jose Bautista, Kelly Johnson and J.C. Arencibia.

Nationals 7, Pirates 4: Adam LaRoche had a double a homer and four driven in. Gio Gonzalez struck out ten in seven innings. Four runs is something of an offensive outburst for the Pirates lately.

Phillies 9, Cubs 2: It was tied up heading into the eighth and then Philly scored seven runs in the last two innings. Hector Luna hit a grand slam and Carlos Ruiz hit a homer of his own. Meanwhile, Placido Polanco left the game in the seventh with a knee contusion. Because the Phillies need more injured infielders. The Phillies are at .500.

Twins 11, Tigers 7: Is it time to press the panic button yet?  Kinda feels like it. As was prophesied in the spring, horrible defense — every member of the Tigers infield committed an error — made Rick Porcello’s night harder than it needed to be, which is saying something given that he kinda stunk anyway. Oh, and Austin Jackson left with an injury, and he’s been hitting better than just about anyone on that squad.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1: There was a scary moment when Will Rhymes passed out after taking first base upon being hit by a pitch on the forearm in the bottom of the eighth.  As Marc Topkin reports, when he came-to, the medical staff asked him what his name was and he said “Batman.” Granted, Batman didn’t even pass out when the leader of the Mutants nearly killed him in “Dark Knight Returns,” so no fastball is gonna give him trouble, but we’ll give Rhymes credit for pluck.

Padres 4, Dodgers 2: Chase Headley homered, doubled and drove in three. If was his fifth homer of the year. Last year he hit only four.

Orioles 4, Royals 3: 0 for 6 while stranding a bunch of runners through the first 14 innings? No worries, Adam Jones hit a homer in the 15th to lift the O’s to victory in a mini-marathon. I say mini, because they had that 17 inning game against the Red Sox less than two weeks ago. I guess it’s their thing.

Cardinals 4, Giants 1: David Freese hit a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh and Skip Shumaker pinch hit in the eighth and delivered with a two-run double. Jaime Garcia struck out nine.

Angels 7, White Sox 2: More signs of life from Albert Pujols. Three hits on Tuesday and a three run homer in this one. And a study in contrasts: Jerome Williams allowed ten hits and only two runs. Gavin Floyd allowed ten hits and seven runs.


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.