Zack Greinke

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 8, Cubs 0: Zack Greinke mowed ’em down (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 12K). That young man is gonna make a lot of money when he hits free agency this fall.

Blue Jays 4, White Sox 0: Brandon Morrow tosses a two-hit shutout. Dude has really put it all together this year.

Braves 2, Marlins 1: Randall Delgado and the holy trinity of Venters, O’Flaherty and Kimbrel two-hit the Fish. Freddie Freeman left the game with a hand injury sustained while sliding into second and Jose Reyes’ relay throw hit him in the hand. Total b.s.: second base umpire Adrian Johnson called Freeman out for interference even though there was obviously zero intent on his part to mess with the throw. He was just in a normal sliding motion. Between this and the Santana no-hitter call it has not been a great week for Adrian Johnson.

Reds 5, Pirates 4: Lovin’ a meaningful battle between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, guys. It’s like the 70s all over again. Except the Reds are no longer in the NL West, which never made a lick of sense to me, but whatever. Ryan Ludwick drives in three.

Nationals 5, Mets 3: Adam LaRoche hit a three-run homer and drove in four overall as the Nats keep their two-game lead in the East. I think the phrase I’ve uttered on radio broadcasts more than any other in the past two weeks is “the Nats are for real.”

Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Baltimore really needs to find some way to make their games against the Sox in Fenway more challenging. Maybe they can spot Boston a run or make the pitcher bat or something.  It’s the seventh straight win by the O’s in Boston and 12th of 15.

Indians 9, Tigers 6: Michael Brantley hit a three-run homer in the first that would not have happened if it wasn’t for Brendan Boesch misplaying one in right to extend the inning. Just the prettiest bunch of baseball we’ve seen played by the Tigers this year.

Giants 6, Padres 5: The Giants have won eight of 10 overall, beating up once again on the lowly Padres. I know I’ve mentioned it a lot, but I can’t wait to take my kids to their first big league game in San Diego a week from Monday. Knowing them, they’ll instantly become Padres fans. Which I suppose is nice because it means that they’ll never have that complacent, not-satisfied-with-anything-but-first-place fan attitude.

Yankees 4, Rays 1: Ivan Nova gave up one run over eight innings. Homers from Teixeira and Cano, RBI doubles from Swisher and Chavez.

Dodgers 6, Phillies 5: Chris Capuano can give up four runs in five innings and get his eighth win. Cliff Lee looks longingly from the opposing dugout. Freddy Galvis left the game with back pain. Because the Phillies need an injury to an infielder.

Twins 4, Royals 2: Results schmesults. The thing that mattered the most here was Felipe Paulino leaving the game due to a strained groin after throwing 13 pitches.

Cardinals 4, Astros 3: St. Louis jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three and then held on. Allen Craig with a homer and an RBI single.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 1: Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in three. He has a 14 game hitting streak.

Athletics 2, Rangers 0: Bartolo Colon allowed five hits while shutting out the Rangers over eight. Yoenis Cespedes singled, doubled, tripled, drove in a run and scored. Cespedes is batting .375 (9-for-24) with a home run and five RBIs in six games since coming off the DL.

Mariners 8, Angels 6: Michael Saunders had another great game and finishes up the M’s road trip having gone 19-for-39 with two homers and five driven in.

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.