Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman wipes sweat from his forehead during the first inning of the Orioles' MLB baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Twins 19, Orioles 7: This was a multifaceted butt-whupping, but it got started with Chris Tillman’s butt. Which is a shame considering that five short months ago he was in the Best Shape of His Life. All of those runs for the Twins despite hitting only one homer. It was a Gashouse Gorillas-style conga line around the base paths. I wish Ron Gardehire had kept Anthony Swarzak in the game for a third inning of relief, however, because this game really needed a save.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Did you know that Kevin Youkilis was the first player who was ever traded by a team to then face his old team in a baseball game?  It’s true! At least if you read the stuff in the Boston papers over the past couple of days. Youk was good enough — he went 3 for 4 — but Adrian Gonzalez drove in four, including a three-run homer. Aaron Cook allowed zero earned runs over seven innings.

Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Well, we missed out on any Ozzie Guillen-Bryce Harper fights, so it sort of feels like a letdown. But Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer and Carlos Lee drove in two.

Indians 3, Rays 2: 11 pitchers were used in a nine inning game. A ball that was initially called a homer was changed to a double after a replay review revealed the initial call to be incorrect. If Bud Selig had his way the latter would never happen because it screws up the pace of the game. Sometimes you just have to laugh so you don’t cry.

Diamondbacks 5, Reds 3: The Reds announce that Joey Votto is going to have surgery and then they go out and find themselves down 4-0 in the first inning, effectively ending things before they start.  There have been better nights in Cincinnati.

Mariners 9, Royals 4: Gonna go out on a limb and say that the Royals did not win the Jonathan Sanchez-Melky Cabrera trade. Sanchez: 1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R. His ERA balloons to 7.76. Casper Wells drove in five with a three-run homer and a two-run triple.

Yankees 6, Blues Jays 3: Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam, but that was the least of the Blue Jays worries last night, as they lost Jose Bautista for what will likely be an extended period. Tendon problems on power hitters = potential ugliness.

Tigers 8, Angels 6: Quintin Berry had three hits, two stolen bases and scored twice. Brennan Boesch had a two-run homer. Detroit has won 11 of 15 and are now two and a half behind the White Sox. I called them a sleeping giant before the All-Star break. The giant stirs.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: A nice duel between Lance Lynn and Mike Fiers, but neither figured in the decision thanks to Jonathan Axford giving up three runs on three hits and two walks while blowing a 2-0 lead in the ninth.

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: Ryan Howard hit his first homer and, in doing so, picked up his first RBI of 2012. And tonight: Roy Halladay comes back. Slowly but surely the Phillies are becoming the Phillies again. But I strongly suspect it’s too late.

Astros 2, Padres 0: The Astros vs. the Padres had an official attendance of 26,000+. I assume the promotion was “free money night” or something.  Houston finally wins one on the road.

Rockies 5, Pirates 4: This one went into a rain delay in the top of the ninth with the Rockies up by three. I was tempted, before I went to sleep, to simply write it up, figuring that it was over. Then I thought “eh, Coors Field, anything can happen.” Wise choice, as the Pirates tied it up after the grounds crew dried it up when Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run bomb. Dexter Fowler won it on a sac fly in the bottom of the ninth. I wonder how many actually stuck around for that.

Cardinals take 1-0 NLDS lead over the Cubs behind John Lackey’s brilliant outing

John Lackey
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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John Lackey flirted with a no-hitter but settled for 7 1/3 terrific, shutout innings to beat the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday. The right-hander held the opposition to two hits and a walk while striking out five. Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist struck out two to finish the eighth without issue. Closer Trevor Rosenthal worked around a one-out walk and a two-out single in the ninth to seal the 4-0 win, recording all three outs on called strike threes.

Lackey brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but lost it quickly when Addison Russell hit a ground ball single up the middle to lead off the frame. Russell would steal second base but was stranded.

Opposing starter Jon Lester wasn’t too shabby himself, relenting three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings. The first run came around in the first inning on Matt Holliday‘s RBI single, which followed a one-out double by Stephen Piscotty. Tommy Pham pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot in the eighth inning and launched a solo home run off of Lester to double the Cardinals’ lead. Lester walked Matt Carpenter before exiting. Pedro Strop came in and promptly served up a two-run home run to Stephen Piscotty.

The closest the Cubs came to scoring was when Dexter Fowler sent a deep fly ball to right field with a man on base and two outs in the sixth inning, but Randal Grichuk caught it with a foot or two to spare in front of the fence on the warning track.

The two clubs will play Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday at 5:30 PM EDT. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and oppose Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia.

Astros err in letting Scott Kazmir start sixth

Scott Kazmir
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Scott Kazmir went winless with a 6.52 ERA in six September starts. He allowed 41 hits, eight of them homers, in 29 innings, posting an 18/11 K/BB ratio. When the Astros got five innings of two-run ball from him Friday against the Royals, they should have thanked their good fortune and moved right along to the pen.

And they knew this. They must have. Josh Fields got up in the pen after Kazmir issued a one-out walk in the fifth. The left-hander got out of the frame, making himself eligible for the victory in what was then a 4-2 game, but it was still very surprising to see him come back out for the sixth, particularly with the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist (.926 OPS against lefties) and right-handed Lorenzo Cain due up.

Kazmir retired Zobrist, but he gave up a double to Cain. He was then pulled, even with the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming up. Manager A.J. Hinch had committed my biggest baseball pet peeve: he sent his starter back to the mound with the idea of pulling him after his first mistake.

It worked out terribly. Oliver Perez gave up a pair of soft hits to Hosmer and Kendrys Morales before walking Mike Moustakas. Fields then entered and walked the unwalkable Salvador Perez to tie the game at 4. The Astros gave up another run in the seventh and lost the game 5-4.

Maybe that’s the way it would have worked out anyway. Kazmir did give up just the one baserunner. It might not have even harmed the Astros if Perez had better luck.

Still, the thinking that went into the decision was disturbing. It’s always better to bring that reliever in with no one on base when you can. That’s especially the case with this Astros pen, which lacks a double-play specialist, much less a Wade Davis. But anyone in that pen would have been a better choice than sending Kazmir out to face Zobrist and Cain for a third time. Hinch needs to be more aggressive going forward.

Cardinals’ giveaway incorrectly claims ownership of 2001 division title

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The Cardinals have won so many division titles, it’s tough to keep track of them all. At least, it would be tough if it weren’t for Baseball Reference.

40,000 rally towels were given away to fans at Busch Stadium ahead of Friday’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cubs. The towel listed all of the years the Cardinals won the NL Central… and 2001. That year, they tied with the Astros for the best record in the National League at 93-69. However, because the Astros won the season series 9-7, they were awarded first place and the Cardinals took the Wild Card.