A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


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.

What to watch for on the final day of the regular season

Cole Hamels
AP Photo/LM Otero

Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …

American League Wild Card


This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.

American League West


As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.

American League Best Record


If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.

National League Wild Card


Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.

Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.

Video: Joey Votto tips his cap to A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

There was a pretty cool moment in Saturday’s game between the Reds and Pirates.

A.J. Burnett has announced that this will be his final season, so his start Saturday at PNC Park might have been the last time he ever pitches off a major league mound. (Pittsburgh has to make it through the Wild Card Game to get the 38-year-old right-hander another turn).

Aware of all this, Joey Votto made eye contact with Burnett just before his at-bat in the top of the first inning and gave a tip of the cap. Er, batting helmet …