Clayton Kershaw

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 2, Braves 1: Ho-hum, complete game with nine strikeouts for Clayton Kershaw, who s now 13-2 with a 1.71 ERA. He needed to be sharp yesterday, though, as Julio Teheran allowed only two runs over eight. Yasiel Puig’s homer in the third proved to be the go-ahead run.

Diamondbacks 7, Pirates 4: Andy Marte — who I was surprised to see is still alive and walking the Earth and playing baseball and stuff — was called up from Reno yesterday and then broke a tie with a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth. Also: the dude is only 30. I have no idea how he is both living and not 48-years-old. I feel like someone ought to investigate this for identity theft or something. I am pretty sure that he was a Braves prospect back when they played in Boston, in fact.

Blue Jays 6, Astros 5: Nolan Reimold hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking solo shot in the ninth. Jose Bautista and Dioner Navarro hit bombs of their own.

Reds 3, Marlins 1: The Reds scored the tying run in the eighth inning on a sac fly thanks to a controversial plate-blocking call. Watch it here. I realize you can’t block the plate without the ball, but Jeff Mathis got the ball while Zack Cozart was, as far as I can tell, still back in biology class in middle school or something. It — along with Johnny Cueto striking out nine and allowing one run in seven innings — decided the game. More on this later this morning at HBT.

Phillies 10, Nationals 4: The Phillies had 17 his and put up a ten-spot, led by Grady Sizemore’s three his and three RBI. But there was bad news for the Phillies too, as Cliff Lee had to leave the game with an elbow injury. He hasn’t been good since he’s been back and now one has to wonders whether he’ll be back at all. On the bright side, this led to one of the more fun pitcher wins ever: Antonio Bastardo came in to relieve Lee in the third. He threw two pitches and was out of the inning. Then he got the W since he was the pitcher of record when the Phillies scored five in the top of the following inning.

Mariners 6, Indians 5: Mike Zunino’s two-run homer in the eighth inning gave ’em the win. Adding Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia gave ’em hope. Good day for Seattle yesterday.

Angels 1 Orioles 0: Tyler Skaggs and six relievers combined on a five-hitter over thirteen innings. Unfortunately for Skaggs, the reason they needed six relievers is that he had to leave the game with forearm tightness in the fifth inning. Had a no-hitter going at the time too. Albert Pujols knocked in the game’s only run in the top of the 13th.

Cardinals 6, Padres 2: Not to be outdone by the Angels, Shelby Miller and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and Miller didn’t have to leave the game with an injury. Oscar Taveras hit a two-run homer.

Royals 6, Twins 3: Yet another game in which the win was overshadowed by an injury. This time Eric Hosmer who fractured his finger. Meanwhile, Alcides Escobar hit a two-run triple and Yordano Ventura allowed only one earned run over seven innings while striking out seven.

Cubs 3, Rockies 1: The Cubs take three of four in the battle of the basement-dwellers. Jake Arrieta struck out seven while allowing one run on three hits.

White Sox 7, Tigers 4: For Detroit the highlight of this game was Austin Jackson having to come out of the game in the middle of an at bat in the seventh inning after being traded to the Mariners in the David Price deal. Nice standing ovation from the crowd as he goes too. Meanwhile, the Tigers lost for the fifth time in six games so, um, yeah, get here soon, Mr. Price.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

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.