And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 3, White Sox 1: All Cody Ross does is hit three-run homers. The walkoff one here was his third in two days.

Mets 9, Nationals 5: David Wright his a two-run and a three-run homer. He’s like a poor-man’s Cody Ross! R.A. Dickey is the first player in the NL to notch 13 wins.

Rays 6, Indians 0: And David Price is the first pitcher in the AL to 13 wins as he allows only two hits in seven shutout innings. Jose Molina — Jose Molina! — stole a base. Remember when I said that the Red Sox needed to be fined for allowing Adam Dunn to swipe one? The Indians should be fined and flogged.

Cubs 4, Marlins 2: The Cubs beat Mark Buehrle in his return to Chicago. They went 5-1 on the homestand. I feel like writing posts today about how they should add pieces at the deadline for their playoff run. OK, maybe not, but not a bad week for the Cubbies.

Mariners 6, Royals 1: Jesus Montero was — dare I say it? — a triple short of the cycle. Felix Hernandez was quite Felix Hernandezy, allowing one run over eight innings

Orioles 4, Twins 3: Read the box score for the details of this game if you want them. I’m far more fixated on this post-game quote from Buck Showalter regarding the Twins offense: “That’s a pretty tough lineup to go through.” There’s an epidemic in baseball these days. And epidemic in which everyone feels the need to say nonsense about something in an effort to appear to be showing respect. I appreciate the polite impulse, but really people.

Reds 7, Diamondbacks 6: The Diamondbacks were up 6-0 after the finished batting in the sixth. Then Brandon Phillips woke up and hit a three-run homer in the sixth, a two-run double in the seventh and then scored the go-ahead run.

Tigers 5, Angels 1: The Tigers have won 10 of 12. The rest of the American League probably wishes they killed them when they had the chance.

Braves 3, Giants 2: The Braves had three hits total. Two of them were homers. Efficiency, baby.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: A dog of a game. Literally. The A’s have won 11 of 13.

Padres 1, Astros 0: Edinson Volquez tossed his first career shutout in one-hitting the Astros.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.