And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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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.

The Dodgers have a “strong interest” in Yu Darvish

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The Dodgers lost Clayton Kershaw yesterday. For how long we do not know, but he has missed a lot of time in the past with previous back injuries so it’d be somewhat optimistic to assume that he’s going to hit the disabled list for ten days, come back and be the Clayton Kershaw of six days ago without any muss or fuss. L.A. has also lost Brandon McCarthy to the DL, so while their division lead is comfortable at the moment, there could be some rough waters ahead.

In light of that, this rumor — which emerged before Kershaw left yesterday’s game against the Braves — may be one to watch in the next couple of days:

As we noted last week, the Rangers are looking at the possibility of moving Darvish, who will be a free agent at the end of this year. The Dodgers would seem to be an excellent landing spot for him.

Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.44 ERA and has struck out 143 batters to only 43 walks in 133.1 innings. While he has missed time with injury in recent years, he’s the sort of talent that one could easily see going on an ace-like run. If he did that for a Dodgers team that, otherwise, seems to be at its peak of competitiveness, it’d be worth the heavy price they’d have to pay to get him.

Old folks like me remember such runs from starters picked up at the deadline. Doyle Alexander cost the Tigers John Smoltz in 1987, but he also propelled them to the AL East crown. The Astros had to give up Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen to get Randy Johnson in 1998, but he went on an historic tear after arriving in Houston and helped the club to 102 wins and the NL Central title. As both of those clubs learned in the playoffs, of course, one ace and a division title do not a season make, but you can’t even make your season if you don’t have the horses.

It’s too soon to say whether the Dodgers will have the horses in their rotation to go farther than those two teams did, but they’d have a lot better chance with Darvish, would they not?

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 8, Blue Jays 1: Sometimes I’ll talk about a “quintessential [team] win.” When I say that I mean a win that seems like something that someone in the team’s marketing department would dream up. The stuff of program and media guide covers. Something that dovetails nicely with a season ticket sales campaign. The most obvious version of that is “Team Ace pitches wonderfully, Team Leader hits well and Team wins.” This game fit that mold, constituting a quintessential Cleveland Indians win. In it Corey Kluber fanned 14 Jays in seven and two-thirds innings while allowing one run on five hits while Michael Brantley singled home one run and knocked in two more with a homer. If the Indians were mapping out their season back in February, there would be a healthy number of games like this. It’s almost enough to make you want to say that a team should get one-and-a-half wins for such an outcome instead of just one.

Reds 6, Marlins 3: Sal Romano allowed one run over six innings and doesn’t seem to hold a grudge about being unceremoniously dumped from the art department of Sterling Cooper after season three. Scooter GennettEugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart all homered as the Reds avoid a sweep. Really, though: how do you not show Sal in the “Mad Men” series finale? How do you not let us know what happened to him? I’m still salty about that.

Athletics 3, Mets 2: Marcus Semien, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman all homered for Oakland, with Chapman’s breaking a 2-2 tie in the seventh. That made up for him getting picked off third base with no outs in the fifth, which is not a cool thing to do. Daniel Gossett got the win after allowing two runs over six. This was Bob Melvin’s 999th win as a big league manager.

Rangers 6, Rays 5: Two homers for Rougned Odor, the second one coming back to back with a Carlos Gomez bomb in the eighth. The Rangers sweep and the Rays, once again, lose a game in which they held a lead. They’ve done that 31 times this year, actually, which leads all of baseball. They’re 51-48 and 3.5 games out of first place. Imagine if they were even slightly better at locking down leads.

Orioles 9, Astros 7: The Astros fell behind by three runs twice but came back each time. They actually took a one-run lead in the sixth, but Baltimore tied it back up. That’s where it stood, tied 7-7 in the eighth, when the O’s scored two to take the lead. That set the stage for Zack Britton‘s first save since April. It was a record-breaking save, too: his 55th consecutive save without blowin’ on, breaking the AL mark set by Tom Gordon almost 20 years ago. The MLB mark is still a ways away: Eric Gagne’s 84 straight from 2002-04. Of course Gagne was juiced to the gills, but a record is a record.

Phillies 6, Brewers 3: Rookie Nick Williams remained hot, homering driving in three. Howie Kendrick knocked in two himself. Starter Jerad Eickhoff got into the act too, smacking two hits and driving in two himself. He also pitched six strong innings.

Tigers 9, Twins 6: This one was tied at two in the seventh when everyone apparently woke up and started to hit, with Detroit scoring seven runs in the final three frames and Minnesota scoring four. Seven is more than four, though, so you know how this ended. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the seventh and he, James McCann and Alex Presley had three hits apiece. The game lasted four hours and nineteen minutes. Woof.

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Nine straight losses for Chicago. This one stung, too, as they had a 4-3 lead in the eighth. That’s when Whit Merrifield homered to tie things up. In the ninth, Mike Moustakas singled and then Alcides Escobar was hit by a pitch. New White Sox reliever Tyler Clippard was brought into the game and promptly gave up a walkoff double to Brandon Moss. The trade deadline brings lots of changes in baseball, but some things remain the same.

Rockies 13, Pirates 3Trevor Story, Pat Valaika and Mark Reynolds each hit two-run homers in the sixth inning, a frame in which the Rockies scored seven in all, so yeah. Kyle Freeland got his first start since July 9 (he made one relief appearance to keep sharp) and he allowed two runs on six hits over six innings.

Angels 3, Red Sox 2: Rick Porcello was dealing quite efficiently, but a Mike Trout homer tied it at two in the sixth inning and a Luis Valbuena solo shot put the Angels up for good in the seventh. That efficiency allowed Porcello to pitch the entire game, needing only 96 pitches, giving him the rare CG-loss. Cool? Angels starter Parker Bridwell and two Angels relievers were also efficient, needing a combined 106 pitches to get through the whole thing, meaning this contest lasted only two hours and thirteen minutes. It came one day after the 20th anniversary of Greg Maddux needing only 76 pitches to toss a complete game against the Chicago Cubs. That one lasted two hours and seven minutes.

Padres 5, Giants 2: All the scoring was over with by the fourth inning. The fact that the Padres scored four in that inning was the difference. Wil Myers homered in the first — the third straight game in which he went deep — and Jabari Blash doubled in two in the fourth. Padres starter Dinelson Lamet allowed two runs in all and pitched into the seventh.

Yankees 6, Mariners 4: The Yankees take three of four, winning their first series in six weeks, a stretch in which they went 0-8-2, series-wise. The bullpen had been a big reason for all of those losses, but they shined here, with Chad GreenDellin Betances and Daniel Robertson combining for 4.1 perfect innings before Chapman bent but didn’t break in closing it out. For all of the crap they’ve gone through, New York remains a mere two and a half back of Boston.

Dodgers 5, Braves 4: A win, but an unpleasant one for Los Angeles, as starter Clayton Kershaw had to leave after two innings due to pain in his back that is going to place him on the disabled list. He’s suffered from back issue in the past, costing him a good bit of time. We’ll know more how much time after he undergoes an MRI today. As for the game, the Dodgers had a three-run lead in the eighth before Matt Adams tied it up with a three run homer off of Kenley Jansen of all people. Logan Forsythe saved his and everyone else’s bacon, however, with a walkoff RBI single in the 10th. Nice win, but a bad day for the Dodgers.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 2: The Dodgers weren’t the only one to lose a starter after two innings: Stephen Strasburg was knocked out of this one with “achiness” in his forearm. That was his term, not the medical staff’s, as they did not go to the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College. Dusty Baker turned things over to the bullpen and five relievers combined to allow two runs over seven innings to give Washington the win. They had a cushion, though, as Brian Goodwin hit a leadoff homer and the Nats scored four runs in the first.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 3: Willson Contreras hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Schwarber went deep as well and Jose Quintana allowed three runs over six innings to give the Cubs their eighth win in nine games, pulling them into a tie for first place, a mere tenth of a percentage point ahead of the Brewers. We were all waiting for the Cubs to wake up. They’re up.