Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Rangers 8, Orioles 2: Adrian Beltre hit two homers on a 4 for 4, 5 RBI night. He has an 11 game hitting streak and is 21 for his last 43. Wrecking crew. — He’s not a member of the All-Star team despite a line of .319/.362/.551. Thank you, Jim Leyland, though, for giving us five middle relievers to choose from in that Final Vote thing. THIS TIME IT COUNTS.

Royals 3, Yankees 1: Third loss in a row for the Yankees. This time they were tied up by James Shields for seven innings. CC Sabathia went the distance but gave up homers to Butler and Lough.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Cole Hamels allowed one run and six hits in eight innings, winning his second straight. The Phillies are now 6-2 in July, having taken series from the Pirates and Braves and now having beaten the Nationals twice in a row.

Rays 4, Twins 1: That’s six straight for the Rays. Granted, they’ve come against the Twins, White Sox and Astros, but wins against bad teams count just as much in the standings as wins against good ones.

Athletics 2, Pirates 1: Dan Straily allowed one run in six and a third and was then optioned to Sacramento because that’s how life works when you’re a fifth starter around the All-Star break. Oakland maintains its half-game lead over the Rangers.

Braves 6, Marlins 4: Justin Upton had been doing a pretty good B.J. Upton imitation for the past couple of months, but last night he doubled twice, homered and drove in two.

Cubs 7, Angels 2: Two homers for Alfonso Soriano. Five in all for the Cubbies. Four straight wins for the Cubs.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 0: Ubaldo Jimenez and three relievers combine for the shutout. Took only two hours and sixteen minutes to get this one in the can.

Brewers 2, Reds 0: Wily Peralta with a three-hit shutout overshadowed Tony Cingrani’s ten-strikeout performance. Peralta’s complete game was the Brewers first in 407 starts, which is pretty amazing.

While Sox 11, Tigers 4: A 6 for 6 night for Alex Rios. Adam Dunn after the game: “That takes people like me two, maybe three weeks to get six.” Dunn did, however, hit a two-run homer off Justin Verlander in the eighth to put the Sox ahead for good as Chicago scored ten runs in the final two frames. Twenty-three hits in all for the Chisox.

Cardinals 9, Astros 5: Seven scoreless innings gives Adam Wainwright his 12th win, tying him for the NL lead. He’s now 13-1 in 15 career starts against Houston with a 1.56 ERA.

Red Sox 11, Mariners 8: Jackie Bradley Jr. flew into Seattle after being called up and hit the tie-breaking homer. Five homers in all for the Sox. David Ortiz stole a base. Weird things happen after I go to sleep.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 1: Ricky Nolasco made his Dodgers debut and allowed only one run in seven. The Dodgers have played eight straight against NL West opponents and have won six of them. They’re still not back to .500, but they’re only 2.5 out of the division lead.

Padres 2, Rockies 1: The Padres finally win a friggin’ ballgame. A complete game for Eric Stults. Bud Black visited the mound to take him out in the ninth but left him in, saying afterward that he remembered what it was like to be in that position when he pitched. Which reminded me that Bud Black was once a starting pitcher. I had somehow forgotten that, having his identity morph in my head into a manager only at some point. That has happened with Mike Scioscia at times too. Not Kirk Gibson yet. Some ex-players always feel like ex-players to me. Some make that jump. I dunno.

Mets 10, Giants 6: A Marlon Byrd grand slam gave the Mets breathing room as they put up five runs in the eighth. The Giants, by the way, have a worse record than the Cubs.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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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.