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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 7, Red Sox 4: A three-run walkoff homer for Asdrubal Cabrera in the 12th inning to give the Tribe a three-game sweep. With rain delays and extra innings the game took seven hours, ending at 2:02AM. Six straight wins for the Indians.

Mariners 2, Braves 0:  Hisashi Iwakuma and two relievers combined for a six-hit shutout. Stefan Romero ,who came into the game hitting .204, hit cleanup. Lloyd McClendon was asked about it and he said “Somebody has got to hit there. I don’t have Bonds, so it’s going to be Romero.” Romero hit a triple a single and scored a run. When things are going well they’re going well. Five straight wins for Seattle.

Athletics 7, Yankees 4: Two homers for Yoenis Cespedes and the A’s bounce back from a 4-0 deficit to win going away. Four straight losses for New York, which has been outscored 21-0 in the seventh inning-on over that span. They’ve lost 12 of 16 at home.

Padres 3, Pirates 2: San Diego scored three runs and won the game despite getting just one hit. And it wasn’t even an RBI hit. It was a bunt single in the first inning. You can do that when you take nine walks from Pirates pitchers. Their runs came via a sac fly, an error and a bases-loaded walk. Viva the smallest of small ball.

Nationals 8, Phillies 4: Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 in seven innings and the Nats’ bats beat up on A.J. Burnett and the reeling Phillies. Anthony Rendon had a homer and a two-run single. The Nats have won four of five and are a game and a half out of first. Perhaps this is the run everyone expected but which never came last year.

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 2: Ugly loss for the Tigers. After falling behind 3-2 in the sixth they loaded the bases with nobody out and then the next three hitters went down in ignominious and unproductive fashion. Maybe it’s just as well, as it would’ve been slightly more dispiriting to have the bullpen surrender five runs in the final two innings to blow a lead than it was to see the bullpen surrender five runs in the final two innings to merely increase a previously-existing deficit.

Giants 3, Reds 2: Juan Perez and Michael Morse homered in the sixth inning to account for all the Giants’ runs. The Giants win their 10th of 13 and have the best record in baseball. Bay Area World Series, anyone?

Marlins 5, Rays 4: That’s nine straight losses for the Rays, though it obviously wasn’t their greatest loss last night.

Cubs 5, Mets 4: Starlin Castro made an error in the first inning that cost the Cubs three runs, but then he proceeded to go 3 for 4 with three RBI to make up for it. Edwin Jackson won this ugly game. But then again, pretty much all Edwin Jackson games are ugly. That’s kind of his thing.

Orioles 6, Rangers 5: Chris Davis had a three-run shot for the O’s to make two games in a row in which former Texas-sluggers-turned-Orioles-sluggers abused the Rangers. They should’ve had Rafael Palmeiro throw out the first pitch to Sammy Sosa or something. Adrian Beltre had two homers in a winning personal effort despite a losing team effort.

Diamondbacks 16, Rockies 8: Trying to think how much money you’d have to pay me to watch an entire four hour, nine inning game featuring 24 runs on 34 hits. Just not my cup of tea. It was Miguel Montero’s cup of tea, however. According to the game story, Montero said before the game that he felt like he’d get five or six RBI. He got six RBI. I feel like that’s the sort of brash prediction he’d disparage if a young teammate made it, but let’s leave that alone for now.

Cardinals 5, Royals 2: Matt Carpenter had five hits including the go-ahead double in the 11th, helping to end the Cards’ three-game losing streak. That’s the Cardinals’ eighth straight win at Kauffman Stadium, however.

White Sox 2, Dodgers 1: John Danks and three relievers combined for a two-hitter. The Dodgers are skidding out of control, having lost six of eight while watching the Giants take an eight-game lead in the division. The worst it ever got last season — when Don Mattingly was almost fired before the Dodgers’ summer surge — was nine and a half games.

Twins 6, Brewers 4:  Oswaldo Arcia homered and drove in four. That’s three homers in ten games for Arcia since being called up.

Angels 4, Astros 0: Garrett Richards tossed eight shutout innings and in one of those innings struck out the side on nine pitches. He’s the second guy to do that this week.

It’s May 4 and Daniel Murphy is still out-hitting Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals' Daniel Murphy hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy flirted with the cycle in Wednesday afternoon’s 13-2 drubbing of the Royals, as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of singles, a two-run double, and a solo home run. That brings his triple-slash line on the season up to .398/.449/.663. Comparatively, teammate Bryce Harper — the defending NL MVP and arguably the best player in baseball — is currently hitting .266/.372/.649.

Murphy has always been an above-average hitter, but this level of hitting is something else. Of course, he flashed it in the post-season last year when he homered in six consecutive games, helping the Mets advance past the Dodgers in the NLDS and sweep the Cubs in the NLCS.

The Nats signed Murphy to a three-year, $37.5 million contract in January. If Neil Walker, acquired from the Pirates to replace Murphy, wasn’t hitting so well, the Mets would probably be jealous. Walker is hitting .296/.330/.582 with nine home runs and 19 RBI.

Video: Jon Lester tosses his glove to get the out

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
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It’s always fun when this happens. Cubs starter Jon Lester snagged a grounder hit back up the middle by Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the second inning. The only problem was that the ball got stuck in the webbing of his glove. Rather than fight to pry the ball out, Lester just lobbed his glove over to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to get the first out of the inning.

Lester has had issues throwing baseballs to first base, so maybe it was a good thing the ball got stuck in his glove.

Lester did this last year, too, by the way.

Alex Rodriguez lands on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez follows through on a single to right off a pitch from Texas Rangers' Shawn Tolleson in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. The Yankees lost 3-2. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez strained his right hamstring running out a ground ball in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Orioles. The club announced it has placed him on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher James Pazos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Rodriguez lands on DL hitting .194/.275/.444 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 80 plate appearances.

Dustin Ackley replaced Rodriguez in Tuesday’s game, but the Yankees will likely cycle a handful of players in and out of the DH spot while Rodriguez heals.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola pitches to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
AP Photo/Tom Lynn
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We were treated to a handful of games this afternoon but we still have eight night games left. Let’s talk about the Phillies.

I wrote this preview of the Phillies just before the season started, predicting them to win only 65 games, which would mark only a marginal improvement over their 63-win season last year. In my defense, I wasn’t alone, as almost every expert as well as the projections had them finishing under 70 wins. And yet, here they are 27 games into the season with 16 wins. That’s on pace for a 96-win season. What the heck.

Aaron Nola pitched seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in a 1-0 victory on Tuesday, marking the Phillies’ sixth shutout of the year, the best mark in the majors. Even as the Phillies prepared to draft him, Nola was described as “major league ready” but no one expected him to be quite this dominant. In his first 19 major league starts, Nola has a 3.37 ERA with a 112/26 K/BB ratio over 117 2/3 innings. This year, not only has Nola been extremely stingy with the walks, but he’s been missing bats at an elite level. He’s only 22 years old.

Nola is joined in the rotation by Vincent Velasquez, the pitcher who highlighted the return from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade. The right-hander made headlines in April with a 16-strikeout performance against the Padres and currently stands with a 1.44 ERA with a 39/10 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings. Unlike Nola, Velasquez was billed as a future ace or a dominant eighth- or ninth-inning guy.

Then there’s Jerad Eickhoff, who came over in the Cole Hamels trade last year. Though he has a ho-hum 4.15 ERA, Eickhoff is occasionally dominant as evidenced by his 32/5 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings. He has a pretty curve. Look at it. Eickhoff probably won’t be an ace, but he wasn’t considered to be a future mainstay in the rotation when the Hamels trade went through. All he’s done so far is exceed expectations. Nola-Velasquez-Eickhoff makes for an outstanding start to a long-term starting rotation.

The offensive tools aren’t quite where the pitching is yet for the Phillies, as third baseman Maikel Franco has wavered between looking like Mike Schmidt and looking completely lost at the plate. He has only five hits (zero home runs) in his last 37 plate appearances. Shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford isn’t there yet, nor is outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and outfielder Cornelius Randolph. There’s certainly a lot of hope on the horizon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Phillies fan, but wearing rose-colored glasses isn’t a crime of which I’ve been often accused over the years. It has been one headache after another being a Phillies fan between 2012-15. The front office under former GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. was stubborn and out of touch. Now, under new president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak, the team has a goal and is seeing it through. No, the Phillies won’t win 96 games this year — they probably won’t even win 80 — but they’re certainly further along than a lot of us gave them credit for being.

The Phillies play game three of a four-game set in St. Louis tonight at 8:15 PM EDT. Lefty Adam Morgan will oppose the Cardinals’ Mike Leake.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 6:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Baltimore Orioles (Tyler Wilson), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Rubby De La Rosa) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Alex Wood) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly), 7:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) @ Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon), 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Phil Hughes) @ Houston Astros (Mike Fiers), 8:10 PM EDT