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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 2, Athletics 1: Collin Cowgill with a two-out, walkoff homer in the bottom of the 14th inning. Which was great and gave the Angels their fifth straight win, but may not have been as impressive as the throw Yoenis Cespedes made in the eighth inning to nail Howie Kendrick at the plate:

I mean, sure, he deserves to have all of us respect-the-gamesplain to him that one shouldn’t airmail it past the cutoff man like that, but apart from his nearly inexcusable fundamental lapse there, it was, like, maybe the best throw any of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

Cardinals 1, Rays 0: Adam Wainwright won his ninth game after tossing seven shutout innings. Two more shutout innings for the Cards pen brings the Rays’ scoreless streak up to a whopping 28 innings. They have lost 14 of 15 too. The Cards have three straight shutouts too, but it’s the good kind. You know, the kind you win.

Mets 6, Brewers 2: Taylor Teagarden hit a grand slam in his Mets debut. Travis d’Arnaud sighs mightily from Las Vegas. Also: Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched six effective innings, lowering his ERA to 2.95 and upping his record to 3-0. So, yeah, it was a pretty good night for heretofore uninspiring castoffs.

Twins 4, Blue Jays 0: The power-packed Blue Jays are suddenly punchless, having been shutout for the third time in four games. See, above comment about the Cardinals for an explanation of that. Kevin Correia allowed six hits, walked one and struck out one in six innings.

Phillies 5, Padres 2: Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and A.J. Burnett was effective. Hard not to be effective against the Padres these days.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 1: My daughter, Mookie, is on summer vacation. Yesterday it was raining and she walks downstairs and turns on the TV. I hear her flipping around a bit in the next room as I’m working. She passes silly documentaries about killer bees that she usually eats up like crazy, passes Nickelodeon sitcoms aimed at tweens. She lands on the only baseball game on TV — this one — and starts watching. Two last place teams on a Tuesday afternoon had the full attention of my ten-year-old daughter for a good hour or more. I walked by once to check and she was engrossed. Not in some showy way in which she was wanting to demonstrate that she likes baseball. Not because she stopped changing channels then and just got stuck. She just wanted to watch baseball on TV and did, and I can’t think of anything that would make me happier than that.

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

Cubs 7, Pirates 3: Gregory Polanco’s debut is why this game was interesting, but Anthony Rizzo‘s homer, two doubles and three RBI is why this game was won. Polanco went 1 for 5 and had one of Rizzo’s double bounce off his wrist so, yes, there will be better days for the big prospect.

Nationals 2, Giants 1: Doug Fister outduels Madison Bumgarner, allowing no runs over seven to Bumgarner’s two runs over seven.

Royals 9, Indians 5: The Indians scored 17 runs on Monday but they were shut out by Jason Vargas into the eighth inning last night. After that he and the pen faltered a bit, but nine runs — three driven in by Eric Hosmer — is a good cushion to play with.

Braves 13, Rockies 10: The Braves jumped out to a 7-0 lead and, given the way Coors has been playing for the past week or so, and given the Braves’ bullpen woes of late, I thought “eh, maybe get a few more just in case.” They added a touchdown and missed the extra point but they pretty much needed all of that. Atlanta had a season-highs of 16 hits and 13 runs, including a grand slam from Andrelton Simmons.

Yankees 3, Mariners 2: An RBI single for Jacoby Ellsbury helped the Yankees win and helped him extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Also, Derek Jeter was reanimated for the evening: he had two hits and scored two runs.

Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Brandon Workman handled the first six and two-thirds innings of the shutout and the bullpen carried the rest. The game’s sole run came on a Mike Napoli RBI single in the third.

Dodgers 6, Reds 1: Josh Beckett with six shutout innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk. This after a two-hour rain delay. Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner each had two hits and Beckett had one of his own. L.A. has won three in a row and four of five.

Marlins 8, Rangers 5: I had no idea they had such a streak going, but the Marlins win was their 13th in a row vs. an American League opponent. Christian Yelich had four hits and four RBI.

Tigers vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: Another rainy day New York City. Softly sweet, so silently it falls. Crosstown traffic crawls. Windy, wet and gray New York City. No one here I really want to see. Friends and family. Suddenly serene. The air is fresh and clean. Another rainy day New York City.

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.