Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


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.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.