Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Orioles 4, Blues Jays 0; Rays 4, Yankees 3:  As mentioned yesterday, this combo brings the Yankees lead over the O’s down to one game in the AL East, with the Rays only two and a half back themselves. I don’t suppose we’re so lucky to have a Yankees collapse come a year after the Red Sox collapse, but it’s a possibility I suppose.

Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: The United States Postal Service lost $5.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012. The Red Sox are mailing it in so thoroughly these days, however, that the third quarter will likely have the USPS turning a profit. Seven straight losses for Boston. They’ve been outscored 58-16 in that span.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Washington clinches its first winning season. With that mission accomplished, Mike Rizzo shut down the whole roster.

Indians 3, Tigers 2: I’m not gonna say this game was boring, but my girlfriend — big Tigers fan — is here and was trying to watch this game yesterday. Not just watching it, she was watching the Tigers feed and playing the Rod Allen drinking game. And even with all of that incentive to stay tuned in she was bored out of her gourd. She ended up taking a nap, and that was before she even had a chance to finish more than half a beer.

White Sox 4, Twins 2: Hector Santiago — normally a relief pitcher — actually started this one. And won. And just like that the White Sox are back in first place by a game.

Cardinals 5, Mets 4: The Robot Umps would have gotten this one right. Apparently Carlos Beltran was the guy who told Mike Matheny to appeal the play. I’m sure Mets fans are happy to see Carlos Beltran contributing like that. Wondering why he never did that when he was in New York.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 8: From the game story, describing the scene after Marco Scutaro’s game-winning hit:

Marco Scutaro had just rounded first base when the portly Pablo Sandoval caught him by surprise, tugged on his jersey and bear-hugged the second baseman …

It’s a long season even for the AP beat writers.

Astros 5, Pirates 1: Brett Wallace had three hits including a three run homer. The Pirates have lost 10 of 13. They’re lucky to only be two and a half back in the wild card race.

Marlins 7, Brewers 3: Jose Reyes: run producer. He’s hitting in the three spot now and drove in three. Coincidence? Yeah, probably, but it’s something to do as the Marlins play out the string.

Angels 8, Athletics 3: The A’s lose, ending their nine-game winning streak. Vernon Wells drew two walks and reached base four times in all. So obviously some sorcery was at work.

Phillies 4, Reds 2: Look at that lazy Jimmy Rollins, barely even running the bases. Oh, wait. He hit a three run homer and that was a trot. Carry on then.

Rangers 8, Royals 4: Yu Darvish retired the first seventeen batters he faced. Should have been eighteen, but what should have been strike three to Johnny Giavotella with two out in the fifth ended up being called ball four, which extended the inning and led to the Royals scoring thrice. The Rangers didn’t get too phased by it all, though. They hit five homers. One of them led to Nelson Cruz being plunked on the hiney, after which Michael Young hit another homer. That’s the best way to deal with that garbage, really.

Braves 6, Rockies 1: Kris Medlen is en fuego.

Dodgers 4, Padres 3: Two walkoff wins in a row, this one courtesy of an A.J. Ellis single in the 11th. And he got his jersey shredded for his troubles. That’s … an interesting tradition they have going there.

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.