Boston Red Sox  v Tampa Bay Rays

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Welcome back Clay Buchholz. It’s like you never left. Or at least the early-season version of you never left. Five shutout innings with six strikeouts before making way for a bullpen that was just as stingy. The Red Sox lead in the East is 8.5 games.

Padres 8, Phillies 2: Tyler Cloyd was smacked around for seven runs on nine hits in four innings. Meanwhile, Andrew Cashner limited the Phillies to two runs on four hits and a walk.

Yankees 7, Orioles 5: Homers: Chris Davis with his 49th but Alfonso Soriano had two and Mark Reynolds added one to help the Yankees keep pace in the wild card. Injuries:  Alex Rodriguez tweaked his hamstring, Austin Romine got a concussion and Ivan Nova left early with a sore right triceps. The Bombers limped all season and are now limping to the finish line.

Cubs 9, Reds 1: Edwin Jackson allowed one run in seven innings and hit a homer. Wellington Castillo hit two. I guess you can say the Cubs were [removes sunglasses] … battery powered. [Yeeeeeeahhhhh!!!]

Royals 6, Indians 3: The Indians blew their chance to move within a half game of Tampa Bay in the wild card as they manage nine hits off Mark Jeremy Guthrie (bah, I’m old) but also hit into three double plays behind him. It was the first Royals win in Cleveland in six tries.

Nationals 6, Mets 3: A homer and two doubles for Jayson Werth as the Nats win their fourth in a row. Their run differential is finally at zero. Progress, albeit probably too late.

Angels 12, Blue Jays 6: Five hits — four for extra bases — and five runs scored for Mark Trumbo. Josh Hamilton went 3 for 5 with four RBIs himself.

Braves 4, Marlins 3: Julio Teheran struggled early after a long layoff but settled down. The Braves won this on a walkoff rundown: Craig Kimbrel threw a wild pitch, Marlins pinch-runner Jake Marisnick tried to advance to third, but the ball rebounded right back to Brian McCann who threw Marisnick out. Tough break, kid.

Cardinals 4, Brewers 2: Four wins in a row for the Cards. Wily Peralta took a no-hitter into the sixth but Matt Holliday broke it up with a homer. Shelby Miller continued his mastery of the Brewers. He’s 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee this year.

Pirates 5, Rangers 4: Pittsburgh keeps pace. Francisco Liriano picks up his 16th win and Andrew McCutchen drives in three. A lot of folks around Pittsburgh thought the Pirates would have a lot of trouble heading into Texas, but so far so good.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Pinch hit walkoff homer for Scott Van Slyke in the 11th. Five straight wins by the Dodgers over the Dbacks. That’s how you put an end to the early-season rivalry between the two. And how you win the division with authority. L.A.’s magic number is six.

Tigers 9, White Sox 1: The girlfriend saw it was Rick Porcello pitching, said “eh, Porcello always struggles in Chicago,” and changed the channel to an old “Frasier” episode. It was from 1994. Frasier had an old 386 computer. I realized that watching a 1994 episode of “Frasier” now is like me watching old “Hogan’s Heroes” or “Andy Griffith” episodes when I was in junior high school. The lesson: I’m old. Oh, and Rick Porcello tossed a complete game so it was totally unnecessary to watch “Frasier” anyway. Even though, dudes, it holds up.

Rockies 9, Giants 8: Two homers for Michael Cuddyer, including the tie-breaker in the ninth off Sergio Romo. Cuddyer is now hitting .330 and has a great shot at a batting title. Hunter Pence, meanwhile, drove in six. Given that the Giants scored four runs off Jorge De La Rosa in the first two innings you figured they’d cruise. But a true fact: they play nine innings in baseball.

Twins 4, Athletics 3: Two homers was quite the trend last night. Josh Willingham did it here. The A’s fail to put some distance between them and Texas.

Astros 13, Mariners 2: Houston scored six times in the first three innings then seven times in the final three. Nice bookends.

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.