Henderson Alvarez

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Marlins 1, Rays 0: Henderson Alvarez tosses his third shutout of the season. Last year the league leaders in that category — Justin Masterson and Bartolo Colon — had three for the whole season. Heck, the league leader had three in five of the past 11 seasons.

Nationals 7, Phillies 0: Ryan Zimmerman had two doubles and handled the only two balls hit to him in left field cleanly in his debut as an outfielder. Jordan Zimmermann pitched eight scoreless innings. Larry Bowa probably blames Dom Brown and then his head probably exploded.

Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Five straight for Cleveland, with the big hit coming on Michael Bourn’s two-run double in the seventh. The Indians, considered dead not too long ago, have made up six games in the AL Central standings since May 18 and trail first-place Detroit by four and a half games.

Mariners 7, Braves 5: Homers done it. Stefen Romero hit a three-run pinch-hit homer in the fourth to tie it at five and then John Buck hit a two-run shot in the seventh. Buck had three hits in all. His homer was his fourth against Atlanta since the start of 2013. He joins Mike Redmond on the Mount Rushmore of Mostly Pedestrian Catchers Who Inexplicably Kill The Braves. Not sure who the other two are, but I’m sure they exist.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2:  A three-run 10th kicked off by Brandon Moss’ second homer of the game gives this one to the A’s. The key to the win, according to Sean Doolittle, is your typical Oakland A’s Moneyball techno-spreadsheet explanation:

“The way the guys were swinging in the 10th inning, it was like they could smell the victory and found a way to get it done,” the A’s reliever said. “That’s typical Oakland A’s baseball.”

God, dude. Get your head out of you computer screen and watch some baseball.

Reds 8, Giants 3: Four straight for the Reds. Four errors for the Giants, mostly caused by Bill Hamilton getting in Tim Lincecum and Hector Sanchez’s heads.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 3: A five-run ninth for Toronto, four of which were charged to Joe Nathan, though three scored on a Brett Lawrie homer given up by Al Alburquerque. Anyone got John Hiller’s phone number?

Orioles 8, Rangers 3: Nelson Cruz always hit well in Arlington and he did so again last night hitting a three-run shot to give him his 21st homer of the season. Adam Jones added four hits and a homer.

Royals 8, Cardinals 7: Kolten Wong’s grand slam ended a 20-inning scoreless streak for St. Louis, but Eric Hosmer’s tie-breaking RBI single in the ninth extended their losing streak to three. The Cards have lost six of seven overall.

Astros 7, Angels 2: Jon Singleton made his major league debut with a couple of strikeouts a couple of errors and his first-ever homer. He also walked with the bases loaded to give him two-RBI on the game. Bud Norris thinks Singleton should’ve gotten four RBI. It would have been better for everyone else, Norris says.

Cubs 2, Mets 1: One in the eighth and one in the ninth for Chicago. The run in the ninth came on a Nate Schierholtz single, for the Cubs’ first walkoff win of the year. Chris Coghlan’s solo shot accounted for the other run. The Mets had a lot of chances to score more than just their one run but failed to capitalize.

Twins 6, Brewers 4: Josh Willingham stays hot, hitting a three-run homer. Since coming off the DL on May 26 he’s hit four of ’em. Also: a dude fell the hell out of a TGI Friday’s and into the bullpen, so that was special.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 2: Back to back homers for Nick Evans and Chris Owings. Evans was filling in for Paul Goldschmidt, who was given the night off. It was Evans’ first homer since 2011.

White Sox 4, Dodgers 1: Jose Abreu went deep again and drove in three overall. Hector Noesi got his first win in 19 starts.

Pirates 4, Padres 1: Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez hit two-run homers and Gerrit Cole and four relievers combined to allow one run. A day after a nine-inning game between these two teams lasted over four hours, this one was done in 2:43.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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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.