Michael Pineda

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Michael Pineda was the whole story. Both for pitching a shutout into the seventh and for having some gunk on his hands that sorta looked like pine tar but which, because no one complained about it or brought it to the umps’ attention, couldn’t be examined or dealt with in any way. It was gone by the fifth, so let’s just put this one in the file along with Clay Buchholz’s Bullfrog sunscreen and pretend it never happened. Haha, kidding. We’ll be talking about it all day because that’s what we do. Here, let me start things off: “Heh, more like Michael Pine-tar-eda, amirite?” Eh, sorry. We’ll work on that.

White Sox 7, Indians 3: If I told you Danny Salazar struck out ten of the first 11 batters he faced, you’d think he had a good night. Welp, no. He had a crappy night, those strikeouts notwithstanding (3.2. IP, 6 H, 5ER, 2 BB, 2 HR). Jose Abreu, however, had a fantastic night, homering once off Salazar and once off the inappropriately named Josh Outman. Abreu is hitting .300/.383/.725 on the young season.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5:  Tony Campana and Cliff Pennington don’t start much, but the former had four hits and the latter three Pennington. And the former drove the latter in for the go-ahead run in the 10th. The Dbacks took two of three.

Mets 6, Braves 4: Eric Young got three hits, stole three bases and scored four times. He stole five bases in the three-game series. Any team not running wild on the Braves isn’t doing it right, by the way, as Evan Gattis and Ryan Doumit have shown that they really aren’t a threat to base runners with even a modicum of speed. Justin Upton hit two homers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: The Brewers have won six straight, all on the road. In Philly, the scored 25 runs and notched 38 hits in a three-game sweep. Ryan Braun was 6 for 12 with 10 RBI in the series, giving him 24 RBI in 21 career games in Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies should totally trade for him. He’d look great there. Plus: they’d cheer for him like crazy, current claims by Phillies fans to their superior ethics and morals notwithstanding.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 4: Former big league knuckleballer Steve Sparks is a radio broadcaster for the Astros. Yesterday, as he did once last year, Sparks tossed knuckleballs in BP to Astros hitters to prepare them to face R.A. Dickey. Then, as last year, they weren’t too fazed with R.A. Dickey, notching five runs on six hits in seven innings. Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven while striking out six.

Nationals 7, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg was on point, striking out 12 over six and two-thirds. His only mistake was a solo home run surrendered to Marcell Ozuna to make it 2-1 Nats, but a five-spot by Washington in the eighth — including an Ian Desmond grand slam — secured things after Strasburg departed.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Down 4-0 in the seventh, the Pirates rallied for five, via a three-run shot from Pedro Alvarez and a two-run pinch hit homer from Travis Snider. That blew a nice pitching performance from Travis Wood (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER 9K).

Athletics 6, Twins 1: Dan Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings even though he had nothing approaching his best stuff. You can do that when you’re facing the Twins, of course.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.

Yankees to host AL Wild Card Game after Astros lose to D’Backs

Jacoby Ellsbury, Tony Pena
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Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.

The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.

The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.

The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.