And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 10, Astros 0: A simply unbelievable night for Matt Cain.  As we noted last night, this was among the best games ever pitched in the history of baseball. Perfection is one thing. Doing it while striking out 14 is dominant perfection.  And don’t try to diminish it by saying “hey, it was the Astros.” Their offense is respectable this season. And Cain only faced the opposing pitcher one time.

Mets 9, Rays 1: When you east coasters went to bed I bet you thought R.A. Dickey was going to have the best game of the night among pitchers, huh?  And it was good. Dickey tossed a one-hitter, striking out 12. The Mets are appealing the one hit, though, arguing it was an error. Um, OK, I guess David Wright — the man who would be charged with the error — won’t mind. But it’s not like Dickey is gonna get a dogpile and a pie to the face out of this if it is overruled. All of the joy of a no-hitter tends to come in the moment, ya know?

Cardinals 1, White Sox 0: Last night I decided to go retrogeek so I dialed up a couple of Star Trek TNG episodes on Netflix and let my dork flag fly.  One of them I watched was “Parallels,” a seventh season number in which Worf finds himself shifting among alternate universes. A pretty good one. Partially because it featured a lot of late-model Counselor Troi with a part big enough for her to hang around a lot — which was something I certainly appreciated back in 1993 — but not so big to where the writers’ inability to give her anything approaching decent dialogue or things to do would ruin the episode.

The gist of the episode was that any moment in time presents infinite possibilities and that all of those possibilities actually do occur, just in parallel universes.  So, for example, back in February, the Chris Carpenter in our universe was injured and went on the DL.  But in some other universe, Carpenter was fine and has taken his turn in the Cardinals’ rotation every time out.  If that were to happen here, Lance Lynn would not have won his tenth game last night, would not have struck out 12 and would not have lowered his ERA to 2.42 after seven and a third shutout innings.

Rangers 1, Diamondbacks 0: The other episode I watched was “Tapestry,” because I love me some Q. It had absolutely nothing to do with Matt Harrison shutting out the Dbacks for seven and a third and Craig Gentry singling in a run. Unless of course it was found out later that Harrison winning this one caused some future problem for him that he wished never happened, the win was undone by an omnipotent being, it caused Harrison to totally lose his mojo and he then begged to have time set right again, whatever the consequences.

And now that I think about it, I probably could have more easily shoehorned the Mets/R.A. Dickey recap into “Tapestry” if I wanted to, imagining a future where Dickey is awarded the no-hitter only to have it ruin his life somehow. I imagine his conversations with Q would be way more interesting than Matt Harrison’s at any rate.

Tigers 8, Cubs 4: Brennan Boesch went 4 for 5 and drove in two and Jhonny Peralta went 3 for 4 and drove in two more. Ramon Santiago drove in two also, but both came on groundouts. I guess I’d feel OK with that if I were him, even if it wasn’t quite as fun.

Phillies 9, Twins 8: The Phillies had six-run leads twice, almost blowing both of them but ultimately holding on. Jim Thome was big, driving in four. Too bad the Phillies can’t use a DH all season.

Red Sox 10, Marlins 2: Any team in baseball streakier than the Marlins this year? They’ve gone from cold to hot to cold again. Maybe Ozzie should talk up some despot once again and try to jump start things.   “I love Gul Madred.  A lot of people have wanted to kill Gul Madred for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still here.”

Reds 5, Indians 3: Mat Latos gave up two runs over seven innings and Brandon Phillips went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer. Oh, and Derek Lowe called Dusty Baker out after the game with one of those “he knows what he did” rants that are always so amusing.

Orioles 7, Pirates 1: Jake Arrieta wasn’t even supposed to be there yesterday. It was Brian Matusz’s start, but he knocked himself in the face in the batting cage the other day. Arrieta was up to the challenge, however, as he struck out nine over seven innings, ending a personal six-game losing streak and helping the O’s win their fourth straight.

Yankees 3, Braves 2: New York comes into Atlanta and takes three straight. Just like 1996 all over again.

Nationals 6, Blue Jays 2: Stephen Strasburg continues his outrageously good year, striking out eight in six innings and winning his eighth game. Tyler Moore is 25 and is just now getting his footing in the majors, but after a two-homer five RBI day, it looks like he’s gonna make it after all.

Royals 4, Brewers 3: John Axford doesn’t blow a lot of saves, but he blew a two-run lead in the ninth here, giving up a two-run triple to Alcides Escobar, sending it to extras.  In the 11th, Kameron Loe loaded the bases, was yanked for Jose Veras and Veras walked Mike Moustakas on five pitches. Ballgame.

Angels 2, Dodgers 1: Erick Aybar doesn’t hit a lot of homers. Indeed, the game-winning shot he hit in the ninth inning of this one was his first all season. Aybar was also involved in a weird play in which he “dropped” a line drive with a runner on first, but began a double play when he picked up the ball. Umpire Sam Holbrook ruled, however, that Aybar did it on purpose, called the batter out but sent the runner back to first. I can’t recall ever seeing that happen in a game.

Padres 1, Mariners 0: The third 1-0 game of the night. From the files of the unexpected: Jason Marquis threw six and third shutout innings. Shame he has an “r” in his name. If he didn’t he’d be way more badass.

Athletics 10, Rockies 8: Seven straight losses for Colorado, this after leading since the bottom of the first. Brandon Inge hit a two-out, two-run double in the ninth to plate the winning run and an insurance run. Michael Cuddyer hit two homers in a losing cause. Not to be a poop-stirrer, but at what point does Jim Tracy get canned here?

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.