Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Angels 4, Tigers 3: Watched most of this one as I painted a couple of rooms in my house. Two highlights of the game for me were (1) overhearing my girlfriend use some really bad language the second or third time the Tigers left the bases loaded; and (2) Tigers color commentator Rod Allen, when describing Prince Fielder’s swing on his homer, say “he lifts, and separates.” So I guess Prince Fielder is now a bra. As for that first part, it happened so often that when Mark Trumbo finally hit the walkoff homer in the 13th it had been three hours since she had written the game off.

Rays 8, Athletics 1: Roberto Hernandez — who, if he had any style, should call himself “Fauxsto Carmona” — got his first win since coming out as Roberto Hernandez. The A’s, like the Braves, were once hot and now are not. From the AP Gamer:

One day after having a DJ play music in the clubhouse to help relax his team, Maddon had a magician doing card tricks Sunday.

“It’s about just keeping the guys ready, keeping the guys loose,” Maddon said. “I want them to be prepared mentally, and not be exhausted mentally whenever they go out on the field. Things like that, I do things to break it up.”

Maddon is like the CEO at a 1999 dotcom startup. “Look, guys! We have a foosball table! And a free soda! It’s not work if it’s fun!

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 4: Colorado’s eight game winning streak comes to an end.  Didi Gregorius hit a home run and singled to start a two-run rally in the ninth inning. And he still has a name that sounds more like a character from “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” than a ballplayer, but that’s OK.

Rangers 11, Mariners 3: Leonys Martin, Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre each hit homes. Nelson Cruz did too, but his was a grand slam. The sweep.

Indians 5, Astros 4: Drew Stubbs made a slick over-the-shoulder catch in the first inning which turned into a double play, halting any further damage in a rocky start for Ubaldo Jimenez. He later homered. Thinking about creating a marco that writes” ____ take two of three from Houston” with one keystroke.

Twins 5, White Sox 3: Everyone had the Twins at 8-7 through 15 games, right? The White Sox are losers of 9 of 12.

Giants 5, Padres 0: Seven shutout innings for Barry Zito who has apparently chosen to alternate good and bad starts as opposed to go on extended hot and cold streaks. Always keeping us guessing. He won’t be pigeonholed. Buster Posey hit his first homer of the year. And he was still out at second in the 2010 NLDS.

Brewers 4, Cubs 2: Seven wins in a row for the Brewers, who started so poorly. Ryan Braun hit a home run. He was later ejected for tossing his bat. And because Major League Baseball has it in for him, man.

Pirates 4, Braves 2: The Buccos take three of four from the previously-hot Braves, powered by two RBI from the previously-ice cold Clint Barmes because baseball. And because of those yellow caps and pullover jerseys, but I went over that last week.

Royals 4, Red Sox 2; Royals 5, Red Sox 4: The Royals sweep the doubleheader, winning the second game on a bases loaded walk in the 10th. Have a day Greg Holland: saves in both games with five total strikeouts.

Mets 2, Nationals 0: Dillion Gee gets his first win with a nice start and the Mets take two of three from the Nats. They were aided by Jayson Werth not really thinking.

Dodgers 7, Orioles 4: L.A. snaps a six-game skid. Mark Ellis drove in three. Jake Arrieta walked the ballpark and hit a batter.

Reds 10, Marlins 6: Joey Votto started the year slow but he had three hits and a homer on Saturday and did it again on Sunday. Don’t hate the Marlins. They’re performing a fantasy team assistance service here.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 4: J.P. Arencibia hit his seventh homer of the year, helping the Jays avoid the sweep. Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera had good games too. All three of those have been mentioned in HardballTalk posts for either being in trouble or angering people for some reason over the past few years than for baseball stuff. Viva Evil.

Phillies 7, Cardinals 3:  Erik Kratz scored the tying run in the seventh and hit a three-run homer to break things open in the eighth. Michael Young has a 12 game hitting streak. He was also called “a professional hitter” by Dan Shulman once. Now that he’s actually hitting well he’ll probably lose that moniker soon.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.