A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 6, Tigers 1: The offense continues to snooze. And the Tigers are getting so little respect that some clever wags out there are calling them the “Kittens.” That’s just sad, dude. Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham did most of the damage for the Sox.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1: Fifth straight for Philly, as Phillies-fan commenters slowly creep back into HBT comment sections after a season of mostly silence. Hey, that’s what hope does for you I guess. Welcome back, fellas. Just don’t pretend that you didn’t check out for five months is all I’m asking.

Nationals 5, Mets 1: Gio Gonzalez notched his 19th win — walked five, but the Mets couldn’t capitalize — and Ryan Zimmerman, Kurt Suzuki and Ian Desmond all hit homers. Bryce Harper also broke his belt in the middle of the game while diving for a ball in the outfield. I’m assuming this is symbolism of some sort. Maybe a harbinger. Perhaps a metaphor? Eh, that English minor was obtained over 17 years ago. I’m fuzzy.

Twins 7, Indians 2: First line of the AP recap:

Samuel Deduno struck out six in seven innings and Pedro Florimon made two stellar defensive plays . . .

I refuse to believe those are real people. Sorry. Just not buying it.  Viva September baseball for non-contenders.

Brewers 4, Braves 1: When you have a couple of teams surging meeting each other it tends to be a Thunderdome series: two men enter, one man leaves. The Braves played the roll of Master Blaster here. That is, if walking four dudes in the seventh inning to help throw gas on the fire was what Master Blaster did.

Padres 11, Cardinals 3: For the Dodgers, Pirates, Phillies and the Brewers — or anyone else with pretensions of snagging that second wild card slot that looks vulnerable at the moment — the Cardinals are being quite accommodating. San Diego unloaded an industrial sized can of Whoop-Ass that someone found in the basement of the Western Metal Supply Company, exploding for 11 runs on 17 hits.  Cameron Maybin hit a two-run homer, Will Venable had three RBI. The Cards have lost four of five and now hold a one game lead for the last playoff spot.

Rockies 6, Giants 5: Rockies pitcher Alex White, of all people, homered off Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong’s recent nightmare stretch continues. I don’t want to spoil it for you if, later on, you plan on seeing this one at the theater, but Vogelsong says it’s because he’s “just not making pitches.” Didn’t see that coming.

Cubs 4, Astros 1: Dave Sappelt — another fictitious guy who I think some wiseacre inserted into the box score — scored on a wild pitch. The Cubs quest to not lose 100 gets a boost.

Athletics 3, Angels 1: The A’s are supposed to be crumbling now because of injuries, a tougher late-season schedule and lots of road games. Not happening yet. Jarrod Parker tossed seven innings of three-hit ball.

Reds 4, Pirates 3: Fourteen innings, won by Ryan Ludwick with an infield single. That’s four straight losses for the Buccos and — get this — 21 of 30.  And if you think that’s ugly, get a load of this.

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.

Matt Holliday wants to return in 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals after he hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.

It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.