And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 12, Rangers 11: This game should be on an episode of “I love the 90s” with play-by-play being done by Hal Sparks and Michael Ian Black. Homers galore, seven RBI from J.P. Arencibia, a seventh inning in which the teams combined for 84 pitches, some bad defense, 22 runs, 27 hits and a running time of nearly four hours. God, I’m surprised any of us survived that era.

Athletics 7, Astros 4:  Houston had a 4-1 lead in the ninth which, statistically speaking, is pretty safe. But as my luddite-leaning friends tell me, statististics don’t play baseball. Three RBI singles and an RBI double in the visitors half of the ninth gave Oakland the win, with Chad Qualls being the recipient of most of the beating. And to top it all off, a foul ball nearly killed the Astros’ social media director.

Dodgers 8, Braves 4: I watched four innings of this. Good: I got some Scully time, watched as the announcement of him coming back for 2015 was made and heard him throw some shade on Dan Uggla (really). Bad: It was a Beckett-Harang matchup, which meant lumbering, deliberate pitching that did not allow me to stay up late enough to catch most of it. Maybe for the best, though, as I didn’t have to witness Matt Kemp’s second homer and the Dodgers score four unanswered runs. Puig had four hits and the Dodgers have won four straight.

Twins 2, Royals 1: Kyle Gibson only allowed a couple of singles in seven shutout innings. The Royals offense has been frustrating all year, but this was one of their lesser performances. Or, as the Hall of Fame might say, one of their fewer performances.

Cubs 4, Rockies 3: People usually refer to the proceedings which outlawed various war crimes as “The Geneva Convention,” but really it was a series of conventions, agreements and protocols which we refer to collectively. You’ve got your protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, your protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, your protocol relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem, your Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, your Protocol for the prevention of 16 inning games between two teams you really don’t want to watch in the first place, etc. In any event, the people behind this game should be on trial in The Hague sometime soon. Their only defense is that this atrocity did allow for something positive to occur, and that’s a position player — Cubs catcher John Baker — pitching and getting the win. Six hours and 27 minutes.

Pirates 3, Giants 1: Francisco Liriano struck out 11 and allowed only one run over seven and the Pirates victimized Tim Hudson for two early homers to hand the Giants yet another loss. This combined with the Dodgers win puts the Giants three games back in the West. Somehow, however, the actual deficit seems to understand the difference between where the Giants are and where the Dodgers are.

Padres 3, Cardinals 1: Tyson Ross wasn’t his sharpest, but he won his third straight start, holding St. Louis to one run and four hits in six innings. It helped that the Cardinals defense wasn’t sharp either, committing three errors. Newcomer Yangervis Solarte homered and scored another run.

Rays 5, Brewers 1: Can’t stop the Rays. They won their 11th game in 12 chances with Alex Cobb strikes out 12 and Ben Zobrist homered and doubled. Since their June 11th nadir, the Rays are 29-12. Someone give me more facts with 11s and 12s in them, stat.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2: Marcus Stroman faced the Sox last week and tied ’em up. He did it again last night. What’s your secret, Marcus? Did you do something special to come to dominate Boston?

“To be honest, no, just execute pitches.”

Such a great command of cliche for such a young man.

White Sox 11, Tigers 4: Jose Abreu homered and drove in four. His homer was his 31st of the year. He also has an 18-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 36 of 37. Detroit played awful defense and newcomer Joakim Soria was pretty terrible. I’m going up to Detroit to see their game on Saturday, so at least they got this stinker out of their system.

Marlins 3, Nationals 0: Henderson Alvarez allowed only three hits but he walked four. Nats never made him pay for it, though. The Marlins did make Jerry Blevins and the Nationals bullpen pay for not pitching well, though. And while I’ll admit I haven’t watched their games closely the past couple of days, based on the names appearing in the box score, it seems like the Nats’ choice of relievers at various points is . . . odd. What say you Nats fans?

Mariners 5, Indians 2: Hisashi Iwakuma was yet another pitcher who tossed seven strong innings last night. But then again, strong innings on the road are what he’s all about lately. Iwakuma is 9-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his last 14 road starts. Asked about it after the game he said he wasn’t aware of that and that he had no secret for his success on the road. Someday he’ll learn to say that he simply “executes pitches.”

Phillies 6, Mets 0: A grand slam for Chase Utley and Cole Hamels cruising for eight innings. It’s the kind of thing which makes Phillies fans pine for ’09, I suspect.

Orioles 7, Angels 6: A walkoff homer for Manny Machado in the 12th. The AP gamer starts out with “The Baltimore Orioles have a knack for winning in extra innings, and it has nothing to do with luck.” Huh. Remember back in 2012 when they won all of those one-run and extra inning games? And everyone said they had a skill for that? And then they didn’t do it in 2013 and everyone realized, hmm, maybe there’s some chance at play there? Nah, me neither. I have no idea what you’re talking about. In any event, if you have a skill at winning games in extra innings, perhaps you should apply that skill earlier in games to save your bullpen? Just a thought!

Reds 3, Diamondbacks 0: Mike Leake pitched shutout ball into the eighth and singled in a run himself. It was Cincy’s second win in 11 games.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.