Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 1: Three bombs for Juan Uribe and four driven in. What a season for the guy who, in his first two years in Dodger blue, looked lost and, frankly, over. This year he’s hitting .279/.334/.476, is playing excellent defense at third and who has been, by all accounts, a great guy in the clubhouse whether he’s been struggling or not. Oh, and Uribe was so good last night it’s easy to overlook the fact that Ricky Nolasco didn’t give up an earned run into the seventh inning. Oh, and the win eliminated the Giants from NL West contention, which is kinda sweet for those of the Los Angeles persuasion.

Cubs 2, Reds 0:  Travis Wood with seven shutout innings and a couple of solo homers was enough for the Cubs to stop Cincy. Until looking at his stat line I totally forgot Wood was with the Reds previously. What else am I forgetting? [starts to write things all over his body like Guy Pearce in “Memento.”]

Orioles 4, Yankees 2: Managers got chippy in this one after Joe Girardi accused Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson of stealing signs in less-than-calm fashion and then Buck Showalter came racing over to confront Girardi about it in less-than-calm fashion. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Lyle Overbay hit home runs, but it wasn’t enough as Chris Tillman allowed only those two runs and the O’s scored four on a couple of sac flies, a single and a double.

Nationals 9, Mets 0: Well that was a dominant win. Gio Gonzalez with a one-hitter and eight strikeouts and Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each drove in three. A forfeit is officially scored 9-0 too. Maybe the Mets woulda been better off just staying home?

Indians 4, Royals 3: Ten strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings for Ubaldo Jimenez. The Royals playoff hopes, at four games back of the wild card and four teams above them, seem pretty over.

Braves 5, Marlins 2: Atlanta snaps its four-game losing streak with a five-run fourth inning. All of their hits came in the fourth too, which is kinda efficient. And kinda worrisome too, but let’s worry about that when they can’t score runs in the playoffs. Kris Medlen got the win. He started 1-6 and this brought his record up to 13-12.

Twins 6, Angels 3: Jered Weaver has a history of dominating the Twins but he didn’t last night. Trevor Plouffe drove in three. “Trevor effing Plouffe. Plouffe was magical. He was like a GD unicorn.”

Pirates 1, Rangers 0: And with that, the Buccos have their first winning season since 1992. That’s great for history. More important for the Pirates is that Gerrit Cole was effective, tossing seven shutout innings. All they could manage off Yu Darvish was an RBI double from Pedro Alvarez, but that was enough.

Giants 3, Rockies 2: Eliminated when the Dodgers won — and one more loss from total playoff elimination — but they won anyway. Brandon Belt hit an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth. Tim Lincecum went eight innings allowing two runs and a no-decision. The next significant thing the Giants have to do is figure out what to do with him — or whether to do without him — next year.

White Sox 5, Tigers 1: Chris Sale, who allowed one run over eight innings and struck out eight. Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera and Jim Leyland were ejected in the first inning because people really, really prefer to see home plate umpire Brian Gorman way more than the likely two-time MVP. So hard for Gorman, always signing autographs, posing for photos with fans and still having to make time to go out and perform at the highest levels on the field like fans expect. Let’s hear it for the star of the game.

Astros 6, Mariners 4: Houston with a four-run rally in the ninth to give them the victory. One of the runs that inning came when Justin Smoak threw a ball home on a foul out and hit the guy in the on-deck circle. Smallest crowd of the season at Safeco Field.

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.