And That Happened: Wednesday’s playoff highlights

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I turned on the Cardinals-Nats game just before 1PM. I had baseball on my television and did not leave the house — heck, didn’t leave my little den here — for the next 12 hours and change. Two walkoffs. It was absolutely glorious. I’m half-tempted to petition Major League Baseball to expand the playoffs even further so we can have even more games packing our October afternoons and evenings.

OK, maybe not. But as the man sang, it was a good day.

Yankees 3, Orioles 2: Raul. Ibanez. What else can you say? All you can do is to grab the New York papers and see which miserable misanthrope columnists decides to turn this into a story about A-Rod sucking instead of a story about a two improbable bombs from an improbable hero. That’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Athletics, Tigers 3: The Tigers took the 3-1 lead into the ninth and faced Jose Valverde. Who had absolutely nothing, and Coco Crisp hit the walkoff single. Mercy, mercy me. Detroit may be bumming at the moment, but they do have Justin Verlander, so it’s not time to jump out of a window yet, Tigers fans.

Cardinals 8, Nationals 0: Like I said yesterday, don’t blame the Strasburg shutdown. The Nats being down 2-1 has been a total team effort.

Giants 8, Reds 3: If I would have told you beforehand that Barry Zito was going to walk three dudes in the first inning and be pulled before the end of three, you would not have predicted a Giants victory. But as everything else that happened yesterday shows us, baseball is freakin’ ridiculous.  A deciding Game 5 today.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.