Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Rangers 6, Angels 5: They were up then down then bang! Jurickson Profar with the walkoff blast. This one would’ve been way easier, however, if Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre all hadn’t committed errors in the second inning, allowing three unearned runs. But it was a must-win game and the Rangers won.

Indians 6, Twins 5: A win, sure, but the way Chris Perez nearly coughed up a 6-1 lead the day after getting a vote of confidence from Terry Francona has to make Cleveland nervous. Apart from mopup duty or innings eating in games where the Tribe has, like, a 12-run lead, he’ll likely be watching the rest of this series from the bullpen bench.

Rays 4, Yankees 0: The Rays finish off a sweep of the Yankees with ease — they outscored New York 17-3 — but the real story here was the farewell of Mariano Rivera. It wasn’t a save situation, but his final home game was pretty familiar stuff: zeros across the board apart from the innings pitched and pitch count. And the way he was taken out of the game was as touching as can be.

Braves 7, Phillies 1: Jason Heyward was 5 for 5 and David Hale allowed only one run over six innings. See, Brian McCann? That’s how you keep the opposition from crossing home plate.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 2: Alexi Amarista hit an RBI single in the 11th inning, ending the home portion of the Padres season. They were 45-36 at home this year. Not bad for a team that, overall, has only won 75 games. Since I got back late Monday I’ve been trying to convince my bosses at NBC that I’d perform better in San Diego too, but they’re not buying it.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2: Miguel Gonzalez pitched seven innings of two-hit ball. Matt Wieters homered. After the game Wieters said “that was vintage Miggy” of Gonzalez’s performance. Gonzalez has one and a half years experience.

Brewers 4, Mets 2: Johnny Hellweg beaned David Wright in the head. Wright is OK, but damn, I hope these final meaningless games are worth it for Wright. The beaning wasn’t intentional. Afterward Hellweg said “That’s the last guy on the team I want to hit.” I’d be curious to see his list of priorities.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: This could’ve been the final game for Tim Lincecum in a Giants uniform. If so, not too bad: seven innings, eight hits, two runs and a no-decision. Angel Pagan’s homer in the eighth broke a 2-2- tie.

Royals 3, White Sox 2: David Lough hit a two-run homer and Jeremy Guthrie pitched well. It was the Royals’ 84th win, which is their best total since 1993.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.