And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 8, Rangers 2: I suppose the critical mass of people mocking the Yankees’ pickup of Derek Lowe was just too delicious for God or Loki or Fate or whatever controls our world to pass up, because He/it/whatever decided to play it funny with us and allow Mr. Lowe to toss four scoreless innings in relief against the AL’s best offense. And his sweat is in such high form that it doesn’t look like he missed a single outing. A pro’s pro.

Nationals 14, Giants 2: An annihilation, as the Nats rack up 21 hits. The bottom part of the order did the damage here, with Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina each driving in three and Kurt Suzuki driving in four. Only one home run in the game — Espinosa’s. It was just a constant onslaught.

Phillies 4, Marlins 0: Cole Hamels with the seven hit shutout. Man, that’s gonna make him even more expensive in free agency. Oh, wait. Sorry. Was on autopilot there for a minute. I think Hamels made a good move signing that deal and that he belongs in Philly, but I gotta say, him not hitting the market is gonna make this winter a lot more boring.

Padres 4, Braves 1:  Eric Stults and two relievers shut the Braves down. I loved him in “Killing Zoe.”

Blue Jays 3, White Sox 2: Adam Dunn had two homers, including the game-tying yiketty in the ninth, but Carlos Villanueva was otherwise strong. David Cooper won it with an RBI single in the 11th.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: The Dodgers have won four of five and are closing in on these Pirates for the wild card and, for that matter, the Giants for the division. I’ve been expecting them to fall off all year and they just haven’t. Shane Victorino homered and drove in three.

Twins 9, Tigers 3: So apart from that one home start a week ago Friday, Anibal Sanchez has not exactly been bringing the noise since he came over from Miami, eh? He was lit up for five runs on 12 hits in five and a third innings, raising his post-trade ERA to 7.97. Ryan Doumit was 3 for 4 with three driven in.

Cubs 7, Astros 1: When the Cubs and Astros get together you can throw out the record book! I mean, you really, really should throw it out, because if the fans got wind of how bad these two teams are, no one would come to the game. Ah, I keed, I keed. here the irresitable force of stink (the Cubs) displaced the immovable object of stank (the Astros) behind seven innings of solid work from Jeff Samardzija, who struck out 11. Anthony Rizzo was 4 for 5.

Rockies 9, Brewers 6: Mike Fiers was a disaster (2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). The Brewers chipped back slowly after finding themselves down 8-0 but the hole was too great.

Rays 4, Mariners 1: Seven straight for the Rays and ten of 12 overall. This one came behind yet another strong pitching performance, with Alex Cobb allowing one run on four hits over seven. Jose Molina stole a base. His second of the year. That’s something.

Indians 6, Angels 1: Justin Masterson tossed six scoreless and C.J. Wilson drops his fifth straight decision. The Angels are two and a half out in the wild card, eight back of Texas.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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I’m taking the day off to go down to Kentucky to watch horses do horsey things (watch for me photobombing equestrian types on NBC Sports Network). Bill will be along later today and Ashley will be here this evening, but I can’t leave you without the recaps because that’s what I do.

Don’t do anything dumb while your mother and I are out. We’ve marked all the bottles. We’ll know if you’re lying to us.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, Giants 1: It was 1-1 until the 11th inning thanks to Julio Urias, making his 2017 big league debut, and the Dodgers’ bullpen and Matt Moore and the Giants’ bullpen takin’ care of business. The Dodgers got tired of it being close in the top of the 11th, however, beating up on Corey Gearrin, Steven Okert and Hunter Strickland for four runs. Andrew Toles knocked in the go-ahead run with a single. A sac fly, single and a bases-loaded walk finished the scoring. The Giants wouldn’t have even scored the one run if it wasn’t for the Dodgers throwing the ball around.

Nationals 16, Rockies 5: The Nats came into Colorado and scored 46 runs in four games. Which, damn. They put up 11 runs in the seventh inning here, with Bryce Harper hitting a three-run shot. Trea Turner hit for the cycle on Tuesday, finished a triple shy of another cycle Wednesday and hit a double and two singles and driving in two here. Harper is hitting .418/.535/.823 with eight homers and 25 RBI. That’s a 59 homer, 184 RBI pace. I know Harper has a habit of putting up big Aprils and that injuries have derailed him in the past, but this is shaping up to be a really special year for this guy.

Cardinals 8, Blue Jays 4; Cardinals 6, Blue Jays 4: The first game of the twin-bill ended in spectacular fashion with Matt Carpenter hitting a walkoff grand slam in the 11th inning. They wouldn’t have even gotten to extras, however, if it wasn’t for Randal Grichuk‘s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth which tied it up. So much drama in game 1 it’s a shame they had to suit up for fame 2 rather than just go out for drinks. But they did play game 2 and it went swell for St. Louis. Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia and Matt Adams each had three hits. Fowler hit a dinger. The Blue Jays are a total mess. But they’re not the only mess in the bigs right now because . . .

Braves 7, Mets 5: M-E-S-S Mess! Mess! Mess! Six losses in a row and 10 of 11. They’re not scoring. Everyone is getting hurt. Just a disaster. The last time the Mets were this screwed up was just after the All-Star break in 2015 and you know what happened then. Oh, wait, they won the pennant. Eh, let’s let the New York press and Mets fans freak out. Maybe it’s actually warranted this time. Who knows. All I know is that Kurt Suzuki hit a big three-run homer here and when the Braves make you look bad, you’re not living your best life.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander and Hisashi Iwakuma battled. Verlander battled a tad better — allowing only an unearned run in seven innings while striking out eight while Iwakuma allowed only one unearned run in five and two-thirds — but the Mariners got the win anyway. The go-ahead run came thanks to a Ben Gamel RBI single off of Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Can’t trust the Tigers bullpen in a close game. Ever.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2Jeremy Hellickson allowed one run over six innings as the Phillies win their sixth straight. Hellickson is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA on the year. Philly is doing OK right now, but if they aren’t in contention come July, he’s going to be a pretty attractive trade target.

Indians 4, Astros 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run bomb. And I mean bomb. The thing was estimated to be over 450 feet. Corey Kluber struck out ten over seven innings. In addition to being one of the best shortstops around, Lindor is hitting .301/.368/.614 on the year and he’s on a 40-homer pace. That $100 million deal he reportedly turned down is gonna look positively quaint.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Masahiro Tanaka tosses a Maddux. You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Here it was a three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base. Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. They’ve only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored  only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 2: Taijuan Walker struck out 11 and Chris Ownings hit a pair of solo homers. Yasmany Tomas had a two-run homer.

Angels 2, Athletics 1: I had a dream last night that I owed the Oakland A’s $30,000 in medical bills. Something in the dream made it make sense — baseball teams ran hospitals or something — and for whatever reason, my family had used theirs and I was responsible for the bills. My family, by the way, included Ronald Reagan, who was treated at A’s hospital. Insurance wouldn’t cover a lot of his bills because a man had come out of the woodwork claiming to have been his lover, and the insurance company had a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. What I’m sayin’ is that a lot was going on in this dream and I’m a little upset with the A’s over it right now.

Oh, by the way, Ricky Nolasco allowed one runs in five and two-thirds and four relievers combined to shut the A’s out the rest of the way. The Angels scored both of their runs in the first.

I probably do need that day off, eh? See you Monday.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.