Texas Rangers pitcher Darvish reacts after a hit by Houston Astros' Gonzalez goes through his legs in their MLB American League baseball game in Houston

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

39 Comments

Rangers 7, Astros 0: Part of me feels like if the Rangers didn’t score all those runs in the eighth and ninth innings that Darvish would have been fresher and finished this thing off. Part of me feels like if he wasn’t facing the Astros that it would have been over in the sixth. But that’s all silliness. Yu was flat dealing and as the man said: one extra flare — just one gorp. A groundball. A groundball with eyes. A dying quail — just one more dying quail a week… and your perfect game is gone. But it was still friggin’ fantastic.

Indians 4, Blue Jays 1: This game, played indoors, was delayed 25 minutes at the outset. I can only presume this had something to do with Geddy Lee throwing out the first pitch. No doubt he threw the pitch, stepped aside for a 17 minute drum solo then, as the time signature changed three times in two minutes, he launched into some lyrics about a future dystopia. Then the game happened and R.A. Dickey’s knucklers led to J.P. Arencibia to allow about a gajillion passed balls. But relax, Jays fans: it’s only one game. There is not yet any unrest in the forest or trouble with the trees.

Orioles 7, Rays 4: A five-run seventh inning topped off with a three-run homer from Chris Davis kicks the O’s season off in style. This was the O’s first win not led by the bullpen and lady luck since 1970. True story.

Rockies 8, Brewers 4: Bad bullpen work for the second straight day for Milwaukee. It’s like 2012 all over again. Troy Tulowitzki hit a homer and drove in his third and fourth for the year, reminding people that, oh yeah, he’s amazingly good. Ryan Braun hit a homer too. Good thing the Rockies won this one or else Braun’s homer would have led a bunch of self-righteous columnists to call for the game to be vacated.

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 1: Homers from Matt Holliday, Pete Kozma and Jon Jay. Including one that is totally gonna get this guy dumped.

Giants 3, Dodgers 0: Koufax on Monday, Marichal on Tuesday. Wait, I mean Kershaw and then Bumgarner (8 IP 2H, 0ER, 0BB, 6K).

Mariners 7, Athletics 1: Michael Morse had two homers and drove in four.  I have this theory that Morse is gonna have a big season for Seattle and, though he came there in a trade, will help convince some free agent hitters that it’s OK to sign with the Mariners because your offense won’t totally shrivel up. Granted this was a road game, but I still like my theory.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.