And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 4, Marlins 3: The Braves clinch a playoff berth on a Freddie Freeman walkoff jack. It only guarantees them a slot in the one-game gimmicky thing next Friday, but that beats the hell out of last September. The only thing that would have made this better is if Heath Bell, as the the Marlins walked to the clubhouse, went up to Ozzie Guillen and told him that he wouldn’t have blown the save if Ozzie wasn’t such a jerk and kept him from closing.

Tigers 3, Royals 0: Anibal Sanchez comes up big, tossing a three-hit, ten-strikeout shutout, and the Tigers take advantage of an earlier White Sox loss for the first time in what seems like forever. Things are all tied up in the AL Central.

Indians 4, White Sox 3: Tied up because the Sox’ 9th inning rally off Chris Perez, though quite promising for a while, fell short. Russ Canzler had a big day. Meaningless but fun: Canzler has played two games against Chicago this year and he is 4 for 8 with two homers and a double and three driven in.

Phillies 6, Nationals 3: A four game lead with eight to go is pretty safe, but really Washington, you don’t want to be doin’ this. Not that I’m gonna stop you from doin’ this, but dudes, seriously. Not the best night ever for Cole Hamels, but he won his 16th, which sets a new high for him.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: This series could be the Brewers’ Waterloo. And I’m not talking about the one on Highway 89 northeast of Madison.  The loss, combined with the Cardinals win drops them four and a half back in the wild card.

Cardinals 4, Astros 0: About that Cardinals win: Jaime Garcia tossed seven shutout innings. I haven’t checked it, but I bet — win or lose — the Astros have had the most impact on the NL playoff race this year. Be it knocking off the Phillies or laying down to the contenders, the Astros have paid a rich and meaningful role in the pennant race.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 0: Another classic six-pitcher shutout. Viva September. Aaron Laffey led the way with five innings of goose eggs.

Twins 5, Yankees 4: I guess Denard Span wasn’t lying when he told Adam Jones he was trying to help the O’s the best he can. Span drove in two and the Yankees can’t put any more daylight between themselves and the Orioles. The gap remains one and a half.

Angels 5, Mariners 4: Angels pitchers strike out 20 M’s batters — Greinke fanned 13 in five innings himself — and hold on for a 5-4 victory. Justin Smoak had two bombs in a losing effort. Losing team effort, anyway. His effort was smashing, baby.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2: David Price continues to be a beast. He notches his 19th win while striking out 13 Red Sox. Jeff Keppinger’s second inning three-run shot was all the Rays needed.

Pirates 10, Mets 6: At least Pittsburgh managed to avoid being mathematically eliminated for an extra night. Which is something. Approximately 236 players were used in this game.

Rockies 10, Cubs 5:  DJ LeMahieu singled, doubled and tripled but had his shot at the cycle cut short due to rain, as this one was called after six and a half innings. Stinks for him, but ending a late-season Cubs-Rockies game early is a positive in humanitarian terms. Indeed, I view the rain as evidence that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Diamondbacks 7, Giants 2: Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in five. Tim Lincecum had been on track but then pinches off a Seven run on five hit four inning performance heading into the playoffs. Troublesome.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Edinson Volquez had seven shutout innings as the Dodgers continue to sink.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2: George Kottaras hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning. He hit it off Mark Lowe who, for reasons which are clear only to Ron Washington, was pitching in a tied game in the 10th inning. This is the sort of magic that folks point to when they say that Washington, however good a manager he is over the long haul, costs his team individual games.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.