Al Alburquerque

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights


Indians 11, Tigers 10: You may call it sloppy, but say that a walkoff balk is the perfect way to end a long, sloppy, horribly pitched baseball game.Al Alburquerque did the balking, but let’s not hang it on him. It was Phil Coke who started the fire, allowed the first run and put the eventual runner who scored on base. The Indians sweep the Tigers, two via walkoffs. Curse of the Zubaz streak stands at three.

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4: Edwin Encarnacion homered twice for the second day in a row and the Jays beat the Sox again. Time is a flat circle.

Yankees 4, Cubs 2: Once again Jeff Samardzija pitches a gem — seven shutout innings here — once again he has nothing to show for it. The Cubs could only score one run off something called Chase Whitley and a second run off of Adam Warren. Meanwhile, the Yankees rallies for two off Hector Rondon and the Cubs’ porous defense in the ninth and then plated two more in the 13th thanks to a wild pitch and an RBI single. Samardzija is now 0-4 despite a 1.46 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

Reds 2, Nationals 1: Manager Bryan Price held a team meeting. Not before the game but in the dugout right before the fourth inning, which Zack Cozart called a “kick in the butt.” The Reds scored both of their runs in that fourth innings, so let’s all go along with the idea that the pep talk worked.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fifth to break a 3-3 tie and Nick Tepesch won for the first time in ten months.

Dodgers 4, Mets 3: Adrian Gonzalez homered for the third straight game and Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back homers of their own. More significantly: Hyun-Jin Ryu came off the DL and provided six quality innings.

Pirates 9, Orioles 8: Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 4 with an RBI Starling Marte and Ike Davis had three hits and two RBI each. The Pirates win for the third time in nine games.

Athletics 3, Rays 2: You know you’re living right when you only get one hit in a game and still win. That one hit was a Brandon Moss solo shot. Otherwise, the A’s scored twice via non-conventional means. An error-walk-walk-fielder’s choice-error combo in the second inning.

Brewers 6, Braves 1: Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first inning and Kyle Lohse had absolutely no problem with the Braves’ bats.Manager Ron Roenicke credited skipping batting practice before the game for the Brewers’ bounceback after a Tuesday night shutout and says there will be no batting practice again today. Eventually that’ll stop working and they’ll talk about needing to get back in the cage. I know a lot of scientists who love baseball, but I sometimes wonder if baseball drives scientists crazy.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: Jeremy Guthrie, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined on a four-hitter and the Royals got just enough offense.

Marlins 14, Phillies 5: Fourteen runs on fourteen hits including a Marcell Ozuna grand slam. And a sick, sick Giancarlo Stanton catch in the fifth inning.

Angels 2, Astros 1: A two-hit, one-run complete game for Jered Weaver. Albert Pujols hit his 13th homer of the year.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Allen Craig hit a bases bases-loaded grounder with no one out in the 12th, but Chris Ownings’ wild throw home, allowed Matt Holliday to score the winning run.

Giants 5, Rockies 1: Three solo homers from the Giants who are — get this — third in team home runs in all of Major League Baseball. Not the sort of thing you’d expect. They were 29th last year. 30th the year before.

Twins 2, Padres 0: Phil Hughes with seven shutout innings. He’s now 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA. Those numbers would probably be impossible if he was still pitching in Yankee Stadium, but it’s still gotta be a bit baffling to Yankees fans to see Phil Hughes, you know, not stink.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.