Aroldis Chapman and Dusty Baker

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 5, Angels 4: Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton finally upped their averages north of .000 — each went 1 for 4 and drove in a couple — but not enough to matter. Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the ninth against the top of the order. Mike Trout singled but then he got Aybar — who sacrificed — Pujols and Hamilton, with his velocity going up a couple miles per hour each pitch. It was a nice closing job, but boy howdy I’d like to see him start a game at 93 and slowly crank it up to 99, Verlander-style, someday.

Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: Pettitte-to-Mariano. If you’re struggling, go back to what works. This has worked for about 17 years or so. In other news, the Yankees and Red Sox played a game against each other that lasted two hours and thirty eight minutes. I didn’t think such things were possible, but it actually happened.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: An impressive outing from Jeremy Guthrie (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9K). Then the hard-throwers in the bullpen did their thing for three innings. This is what the Royals pretty much drew up happening every game this season. It won’t, but this is what success looks like for this team.

Twins 8, Tigers 2: We all laughed a bit yesterday afternoon when the Tigers signed Jose Valverde. But after watching Brayan Villareal stink up the joint to the tune of fives runs in two-thirds on an inning, it’s not as if Valverde would be the worst part of this bullpen. At the moment the entire bullpen is the worst part of the bullpen.

Cubs 3, Pirates 2: I watched way more of this one than the Angels-Reds game which was on TV at the same time. Guess I just wanted to see teams I’ll see less of over the course of the year. Travis Wood was good and Carlos Marmol was his usual shaky self. My favorite thing was the Pirates, though. In the seventh inning, with the Cubs up 1-0, Clint Hurdle had his cleanup hitter bunt with a fast runner on second and no one out. The cleanup hitter could not get the bunt down and strikes out. The next two batters pop out and strike out. Oh, and the fast runner stole third in the meantime. Maybe if they had one more out. Maybe if Hurdle put a guy in the cleanup spot that he trusted to, you know, clean up.

Padres 2, Mets 1: Eric Stults and five relievers combined for 14 strikeouts and kept the Mets scoreless until the ninth. If you had New York at 162-0, well, sorry.

Nationals 6, Marlins 1: I suppose if you had the Marlins at 0-162 that you still have a lot of life in that proposition. But hey, at least they finally scored a run. The Nats’ 2-3-4 hitters combined to drive in all six of the team’s runs. I suppose Werth, Harper and Zimmerman are gonna do that a lot.

Orioles 6, Rays 3: Chris Davis, have yourself an Opening Week. He homered for the third straight day and drove on four. For the series he went 7 of 11 with three homers, three doubles and 11 RBI. And if we’re gonna mention the Nats’ 2-3-4, we should mention the O’s 3-4-5. In taking two of three from Tampa Bay they went 17 for 37 with four homers, six doubles, 13 runs scored and 15 RBI.

Phillies 2, Braves 0: Cliff Lee dominated, allowing only two hits — both singles — and striking out eight. Last year Cliff Lee didn’t win his first game until the fourth of July. Speaking of wins, this was the first time in 24 tries that the Braves lost a Kris Medlen start. Which, to be honest, makes me happy in some strange way. Seemed like that streak — which stretched over years, a Tommy John surgery and a lot of improbable stuff — was giving people a sense that this kid was somehow magical rather than simply good and fortunate. And from there it’s a short slide to people thinking pitcher wins matter. If you want to see how awful it is when people think that, just ask folks if they think Cliff Lee is still an ace. Those poor deluded sods who say “no” are basing this on his win total last year.

Athletics 8, Mariners 2: L.A. Woman-era Jim Morrison hit a homer and drove in four runs for Oakland. Wait, sorry. That was Josh Reddick. Michael Morse homered for the third straight day.

Blue Jays 10, Indians 8: J.P. Arencibia hit two homers. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista did too. But some bad news: Bautista left the game early with a twisted ankle. Probably not serious, but Toronto needs him healthy all year.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets flips his bat after hitting a walk off home run in the tenth inning to defeat the Miami Marlins 2-1 in a game at Citi Field on August 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 1, Twins 0: Tied at zero for nine innings and then, in the tenth, the Indians use a bunt single, a single, a fielder’s choice and then a final, walkoff single by Jason Kipnis to send the Twins to their 11th straight loss. The win was fun and stuff, but Cleveland has scored one run or less in seven of its last eight games and that’s kinda concerning.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but Josh Donaldson homered. So did Jose Bautista. Toronto keeps a two-game lead over the Red Sox, who also won, for the division lead, while Baltimore falls four games back. It’s getting a bit scary for the Orioles, who have lost four of five and are now only one game ahead of the Tigers and two games ahead of the Royals and Astros for the second wild card.

Nationals 4, Phillies 0: Seven shutout innings for Tanner Roark in which he allowed only four singles. If you’re a fan of the rebuilding Phillies take some solace that Jake Thompson pitched pretty well. Also ignore the fact that Jayson Werth, who was a member of your last World Series winning team, hit a homer against your guys.

Red Sox 9, Rays 4: Rick Porcello wins his 18th game. Brock Holt had three hits and drove in two, Chris Young hit a tie-breaking two-run double and Mookie Betts hit his 30th homer. If you’re handicapping the Cy Young race, know that while Porcello leads all of baseball in wins and tops the ERA in K/BB ratio, he is tenth in ERA in the AL, ninth in strikeouts and is first in run support. Really nice season and kudos to him to not giving up free passes, but I don’t think it’s safe to say he’s the best in the Junior Circuit.

Tigers 4, White Sox 3: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered with a runner while the Tigers were down one in the eighth inning to put them ahead for good. Big day for Salty yesterday as he also got on record saying “it’s pretty disgusting” for someone to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Mets 2, Marlins 1: Yoenis Cespedes hit a walkoff homer in the tenth to bring the Mets into a tie with the Marlins, two and a half back of St. Louis for the second wild card. New York got five shutout innings from Rafael Montero to help balance out Jose Fernandez’s six scoreless frames for Miami. Jose Reyes scored on a wild pitch to tie things up at one in the eighth. It looked pretty ugly too, as Reyes slid in head first as the Marlins pitcher covering came in sliding on his knees, slamming into him:

Cardinals 6, Brewers 5: Down by two, the Cardinals scored two in the eighth and then one in the ninth when Jonathan Villar‘s throw to first to nail a bunting Yadier Molina was wild, allowing Stephen Piscotty to score from second. Mike Matheny after the game, commenting on that play:

“Put pressure on them. That’s it. Make them make plays.”

Because he knew that would happen and not result in a double play, which it almost did?

Rangers 6, Mariners 3: Yu Darvish allowed three runs – two of them were on base when he left and were allowed to come around by the reliever who inherited them —  but struck out nine in six and two thirds innings while Carlos Beltran had three hits including a homer.

Cubs 8, Pirates 7: Chicago rallied for two in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extras and then, down by one in the bottom of the 13th, rode four singles to score two and win the game in walkoff fashion. Miguel Montero‘s bases loaded pinch hit to left field off of Jeff Locke plated the game-winner in the form of Kris Bryant. This was a five hour game that went after midnight on the heels of the Cubs not getting back to Chicago until the wee hours Monday morning due to a delayed flight from Los Angeles.

Astros 6, Athletics 0: Joe Musgrove and four relievers combined for a four-hit shutout. “Joe Musgrove” would also be an excellent name for a backup quarterback. You know, that senior who, outside of garbage time in blowouts, has held the clipboard for all four years but who, when that golden boy recruit who was supposed to be so special stumbles in week three vs. Tulsa or whoever, you are convinced would be a better choice. Face it, dude: he’s not that good and will likely be a graduate coaching assistant next year. Maybe some CFL time at most on the power of him coming from this program and working in this system, but you’re spending too much of your time laying your wishes on his blank canvas of a college career. It’s a nice fall day for crying out loud, enjoy the game if you want to, but maybe spend some time outside before and after and gain some perspective.

Royals 8, Yankees 5: Close until the seventh inning when the home team struck for five. Alicides Escobar of all people hit a three-run homer that inning and Kansas City added two more to make it 8-1. They then held on as the Yankees rallied for four in the eighth. The Royals won for the 18th time in 22 games, closing to within two games of the second AL wild card.

Rockies 8, Dodgers 1: I repeat, close until the seventh inning when the home team struck for five. This time Alicides Escobar did not hit a three-run homer because he wasn’t there. DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run double, though. Earlier Nick Hundley hit for a two-run homer.

Angels 9, Reds 2: Mike Trout, Albert PujolsKole CalhounC.J. Cron and Jefry Marte all hit homers. Trout, Calhoun, Pujols and Marte all were a triple shy of the cycle. Which, as I noted the other day is not really a thing, but it’s a thing when four different dudes do it, I think.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s 2017 option vests, but salary still undetermined

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Hisashi Iwakuma #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.

Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).

This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.