New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 8, Phillies 0: Matt Harvey blanks the Phillies on two hits for six innings and David Wright went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a triple and a homer. I know the Mets have problems, but man, when it goes right for them it’s really pretty. Something about the purity of an ace and a superstar doing what they’re supposed to do that makes a win all the more satisfying to see.

Rays 3, Yankees 1: Chris Archer gave up one run over six innings and James Loney hit a two-run single in the seventh. The two runs allowed in the seventh really were a team effort. Both of the runners who scored — Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist — reached when Ivan Nova hit them with pitches. Then Shawn Kelley walked Evan Longoria to move the runners up, then Boone Logan came in to give up the single. There’s no “I” in team. There’s no “I” in “meltdown” either.

Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: Kind of a mess of a game, with the Tigers down late and Justin Verlander not looking all that hot. But then Boston got sloppy, with Andrews Miller and Bailey combining to let a run in the seventh — with said run scoring on a hit-by-pitch — and then Miller and Daniel Nava got all errory in the eighth as three Tigers runs scored.

Blue Jays 13, Orioles 5: Call it 11 in a row for the Jays as Edwin Encarnacion drove in four and Jose Bautista knocked in three. The Jays now have a seven-game road trip which takes them through Tampa Bay and Boston. They begin the trip only five games back. The AL East is wild, man. Wild.

Twins 5, Indians 3: Emergency starter Pedro Hernandez — which is a lot like a name off-brand video games use when they don’t have the right to use actual ballplayers’ names — gave up two runs over five innings as the Twinkies avoid the sweep. Nick Swisher came back for the Indians and dropped an 0 for 5.

Rockies 7, Nationals 6: Michael Cuddyer homered and went 3 for 4 overall to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. He’s reached base in 40 straight games overall. The Rockies were staked to a 7-0 lead and held on.

Braves 7, Brewers 4: A first inning grand slam for Brian McCann wasn’t all the Braves would need to win, but it was all they needed to not lose. Does that make sense? I sorta feel like it makes sense. Then again, as I’m writing this it’s Sunday afternoon and it’s hot and my brain doesn’t function nearly as well when it’s hot as it does when it’s cooler. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

Cubs 14, Astros 6: Ryan Sweeney drove in six, Anthony Rizzo drove in four and that was more run support than Jeff Samardzija truly needed. 20 runs and 29 hits in this one and it lasted three hours and fifteen minutes. I feel like that’s fast for a game with this much carnage.

Royals 7, White Sox 6: Kinda like the Tigers-Red Sox game as relief pitcher fecklessness/bad defense gave this to the other team. All three of the runs Jesse Crain allowed in the eighth were unearned — keeping his streak of innings without allowing any earned runs intact — but since Crain’s own error led the them being unearned he’s sorta, kinda definitely responsible.

Marlins 7, Giants 2: Two homers for Justin Ruggiano as the Marlins win their tenth in eleven games at AT&T Park. As the defending world champs — who have been better at home than on the road — drop three of four to the freakin’ fish. What is this world?

Dodgers 3, Padres 1: Back-to-back homers by Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in the ninth break a 1-1 tie and then put the Dodgers up 3-1.

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 2: Mat Latos struck out 13 and allowed a run on six hits with one walk in seven and two-thirds, breaking the Dbacks’ four-game winning streak.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3: Kendrys Morales with a walkoff three-run homer in the 10th and he didn’t get hurt celebrating. Raul Ibanez had two homers of his own. Oakland has lost four of five.

Pirates 10, Angels 9: Oh man, Angels. Three in the ninth, four in the tenth for the Buccos in what can only be described as bullpencrapapalooza. Homers in four straight games for Pedro Alvarez.

Rangers 2, Cardinals 1: A three hour rain delay on a Sunday night because the unbalanced schedule makes it nearly impossible for teams to make up games when they don’t see each other in a given city any more. Just dumb. The Rangers are probably OK with it, though, as they get the sweep. It’s the first time anyone has swept the Cardinals this year.

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)
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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)
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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.