Cubs Celebrate

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Cubs 17, Cardinals 5: There’s a score that’ll lead to some deceptive stats for a little while. Team ERAs and averages and run differentials and things like that. Doesn’t make the Cubs good nor the Cardinals bad, but it creates temporary analytical chaos and that’s always a good thing. Anyway, 17 runs in support of Travis Wood is fun. Especially considering that Jeff Samardzija has gotten 15 runs of support over his eight starts. Junior Lake drove in six.

Tigers 4, Orioles 1: Benches cleared after Bud Norris plunked Torii Hunter following an Ian Kinsler home run. No punches or anything or really any shoving and stuff, but it does seem like Norris was throwing at Hunter out of frustration. Rick Porcello won his fifth start in a row and sixth game overall.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 5: Arizona carried a 5-4 lead from the sixth to the ninth but then Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa each hit solo homers and that was that.

Mets 9, Yankees 7: The Mets continue to own the Yankees for some reason. This time after overcoming three-run deficits twice. Four Mets homers, some shaky Yankees relief, a successful bullpen debut for Jenrry Mejia and a gimpy Mark Teixeira — who couldn’t make it to second base on a ball to the wall and then turned into the first out of a game-ending double play — all factored in this one.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 5: Yasiel Puig hit his third homer in four days — this a three-run job — and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He has 26 career homers. This one was the 12th that came on the first pitch. I’m sure that means he’s doing something wrong and destructive to the team. Dan Haren allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings without walking anyone.

Blue Jays 7, Angels 3: Mark Buehrle wins his seventh of the season. He’s the first guy in the bigs to do that. Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie each hit homers. The Jays avoided a four-game sweep. In other news, weekend series that wrap around to Monday were invented by fifth columnists back in the 1940s in order to destabilize society and annoy game recappers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Giants 4, Braves 2: Tim Lincecum had his best start of the year, striking out 11. A lot of pitchers have had their best starts of the year facing the Braves lately. Tyler Colvin and Freddie Freeman each hit homers into McCovey Cove. It was the first time two homers hit the water in the same game since Barry Bonds did it twice himself on May 18, 2002.

Rangers 4, Astros 0: Colby Lewis tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings, striking out eight, and the pen finished the job. Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit homers. Odor’s first as a big leaguer.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4: Jesse Chavez went eight innings and the A’s won their fifth straight. A Jed Lowrie double, a Josh Reddick triple and a Josh Donaldson homer accounted for Oakland’s scoring.

Mariners 12, Rays 5: Felix Hernandez took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a three-run double, but he got staked to a 9-0 lead after three innings and notched his first win in a month anyway. Then he got ejected as he was barking at the umpire while leaving the game, which is probably the best time to get ejected if you have to do so.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

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.