Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Braves 10, Cubs 3: Chipper Jones was named to the All-Star team and then went out and put up a 5-for-5, 4 RBI night. Dude even stole a base. Which is nuts considering he was rejected from the leg transplant list as an unsuitable recipient at least five years ago. Of course I talk about him like he’s an doddering old man when he’s just over a year older than me. Either way, glad to see him leaving this game with something still left in the tank, even if the body is rusting a fair amount.

Brewers 13, Marlins 12: Wildness. The Marlins were down 9-2 entering the seventh, came back to tie it at 11 in the eighth and  took a one-run lead in the 10th. Then Aramis Ramirez tore their guts out with a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the tenth to walk it off. Of course the game took four hours and twenty-eight minutes, so Rick Reilly probably missed his dinner reservation. Pity.

White Sox 19, Rangers 2: Um, yeah. Let us not dwell only on Roy Oswalt being drawn and quartered to the tune of 11 runs on 13 hits in four and two-thirds. Let us also note that Chris Sale won his 10th game and lowered his ERA to 2.19. Didn’t need 16 runs of that support he got.

Mets 11, Phillies 1: Daniel Murphy and David Wright each drove in four and Jon Niese outdueld Vance Worley. What? I can use the word “outdueled” even if Worley got rocked. Just think of it as a duel between a master swordsman and a fat kid holding a piece of licorice

Rays 7, Yankees 4: Yankees had a 3-0 lead, blew it and lost. But they are in Tropicana Field, and it’s their own personal Hell, so I understand.

Pirates 8, Astros 7: Walkoff for Drew Sutton. The Pirates are eight games over .500 for the first time since 1992. Some of you probably weren’t born in 1992.

Blue Jays 6, Royals 3: Lots of blown leads/big comebacks last night. This one by the Jays, who were down 3-0 and then scored six unanswered runs. Well, unanswered by other runs. I suppose the Royals answered it with a lot of profanity and stuff.

Nationals 9, Giants 3: Remember last time out when we thought Tim Lincecum had finally figured it out? Yeah, turns out that was merely a function of the Dodgers sucking. Last night he was beat up again, allowing eight runs and nine hits in three and a third for one of the worst starts of his career. We gotta ask: is the dude hurt or what? Because this is not natural.

Dodgers 3, Reds 1: Luis Cruz doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh, took third on the relay throw and then on a squeeze play that wasn’t — Johnny Cueto threw the ball too high for the hitter to make contact — Cruz was credited with a steal of home. Never mind that the throw went skipping to the backstop and could have been a wild pitch, it’s a steal of home because Cruz was running first. I’d say 75% of all steals of home plate don’t really look like we imagine what a steal of home looks like.

Padres 9, Diamondbacks 5: Young Trevor Bauer is highly touted, but if you get beat around by the Padres, you need a little more seasoning. Not that it was all good news for the Padres: Andrew Cashner had to leave after two innings due to a strained side.

Orioles 5, Mariners 4: Robert Andino homered in the top of the ninth to put the O’s over. Wei-Yin Chen was perfect for six and a third innings.

Rockies 3, Cardinals 2: Tyler Colvin is one of the few recent bright spots for Colorado. He’s 24 for 67 his last 18 games with seven homers and 22 RBIs. Last night his three-run blast was all the offense the Rockies needed.

Athletics 3, Red Sox 2: Alfredo Aceves blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth by allowing three singles and a sac fly. The Sox had a chance to pad that lead in the top of the inning but ran their way out of it when Nick Punto popped up a bunt which caused Mike Aviles to get doubled off first and then Ryan Kalish was caught stealing third base. Viva small ball.

Indians 9, Angels 5: Zach McAllister, who I got to see in Columbus earlier this year, so I’m gonna like him, showed some moxie. He was staked to a 4-0 lead, blew it in the fifth and was down 5-4, but regrouped and held on as his teammates scored some more and saved him. Lots of rookies would crumble in that situation.

Twins 8, Tigers 6: Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham each hit homers. Those two have been the freakin’ Bash Brothers for Minnesota this year. Good story for the Tigers though: Darin Downs pitched a scoress ninth inning. Downs fractured his skull and suffered brain swelling after getting hit by a line drive while pitching for Tampa Bay’s Double-A team in 2009. Guy could have died, and here he is now in the majors. Pretty incredible.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.