And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 10, Nationals 2: Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton each hit two-run homers and Andrelton Simmons added a three-run shot of his own. The Nats have lost five times this season, all of the at the hands of the Braves. This continues the pattern from last season when the Braves took 13 of 19 from Washington.

Padres 5, Tigers 1: Max Scherzer has started three times this season. The Tigers have scored three runs for him. Contrast this with last season when he enjoyed some of the best run support in baseball. Not that he was all that sharp here. Jedd Gyorko and Xavier Nady homered and the Padres took two of three from the Tigers.

Giants 5, Rockies 4: A walkoff bomb into McCovey Cove for Brandon Crawford. Just like the Braves own the Nats, the Giants own the Rockies, at least at home. They have beaten Colorado 15 of the last 18 times these two have played in AT&T Park.

Athletics 3, Mariners 0: Scott Kazmir and four relievers combine for the shutout and Yoenis Cespedes broke a scoreless tie in the eighth with a two-run homer. And even though he got the no-decision, hats off to Chris Young. He started his first game since September 2012 and tossed six shutout innings. Not bad for a guy who battled shoulder trouble all last year and then was released just before the end of spring training.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 4:  And we should come up with a definition for an Edwin Jacksonian start. This one seemed pretty Jacksonian, as he threw 114 pitches, walked a lot of guys and gave up four runs on eight hits. Like, it’s not bad. Not good either, of course. Generally inefficient. Kind of frustrating. Certain points where you watch him and think “man, he should be doing better than this.” You know, the sort of pitching in which Jackson has specialized for his entire career. Anyway, Matt Carpenter drove in three. The Cubs drop their ninth straight series.

Angels 14, Mets 2: Bartolo Colon gave up three homers in the space of seven pitches in the first inning, to Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez, respectively. Hank Conger hit one off him later. In contrast to Max Scherzer, C.J. Wilson has had 23 runs of support in his last two starts. Of course he was excellent here anyway, allowing two runs over seven innings.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: The Brewers have won nine straight and are now 10-2 on the season. It’s the best start the Brewers have had since they went 13-0 to begin the 1987 season. That was one of my favorite teams ever, by the way. Just so many cool dudes on that club and they were insanely fun to watch when you got the chance (which wasn’t often because, dudes, it was 1987 and there wasn’t nearly as much baseball on). Of course one of the things that made them fun was their wild unpredictability. After starting 13-0 they all but negated that with a 12-game losing streak in early May on the way to a 91-71 record. Which looks nice, but was only good enough for third place in the excellent AL East that season. Anyway, I’m sure they’re hoping for a little more consistence in the early going this year.

Rangers 1, Astros 0: Martin Perez tossed eight scoreless and had four double plays behind him. The Astros dropped two 1-0 games to the Rangers in this three game series.

Phillies 4, Marlins 3: Chase Utley had three hits including a homer and is now sporting a pretty spiffy line of .500/.565/.875 on the young season. He’s got six doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI. All this even though he missed three games with the flu. Makes you wonder how his past few seasons would’ve been with healthy knees. The Phillies sweep the Marlins. 

Twins 4, Royals 3: Kind of a crazy game. The Royals had a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the eighth. Minnesota took the lead when, with the bases loaded,  Chris Herrmann hit one back to pitcher Wade Davis. Instead of an easy home-first double play, Davis tossed it clear past the catcher, allowing two runs to score. And the game ended with Mike Moustakas being called out when he looked at a pop fly and got in the way of catcher Kurt Suzuki who was trying to field it. That’s interference and it was the last out of the game. Good effort, Royals.

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 3: The Jays rattled off 17 hits and Mark Buehrle won his third game of the season, lowering his ERA to 0.86. Also: a game in which a team scored 11 runs and had 21 base runners ended in two hours and forty five minutes. Last week there was a game that ended 1-0 that lasted nearly three and a half hours. God Bless Mark Buehrle. Would that more pitchers worked as quickly as he does.

Reds 12, Rays 4: Chris Heisey hit a grand slam and and Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in four. In other news, I went down to the Reds-Rays game on Saturday and spent the night at the same hotel at which the Rays were staying. When I was leaving to come home yesterday morning, all of the Rays’ suitcases were lined up by the valet waiting to be taken to the charter flight. David Price’s golf clubs were sitting there — his uniform number on a tag on the bag — with no one nearby. I feel like you all should congratulate me for my restraint in not stealing David Price’s golf clubs when I totally, totally could’ve.

Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 6 : The sweep. Adrian Gonzalez homered for his fourth straight and drove in ten during this three-game series. The Dbacks have started the season out abysmally, and already find themselves six games back of the Dodgers.

White Sox 4, Indians 3: Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer off John Axford in the ninth to rally the Sox from one down.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: A two-run homer for Carlos Beltran and seven and a third solid innings from Ivan Nova. The Yankees’ third run came on a fielder’s choice which was originally ruled a double play. Joe Girardi challenged, however, and batter Francisco Cervelli was ruled safe at first on the replay. John Farrell came out and yelled at the umpiring crew about it and was immediately ejected because, well, you just can’t do that. But the day before baseball admitted it got a replay call wrong that went against Boston and Farrell was obviously still steamed. After the game he said it was “extremely difficult to have any faith in the process that’s being used” for replay. Expect more on this in the coming days.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.