Indians celebration

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

61 Comments

Indians 4, Rangers 3: Excitement in Cleveland. David Murphy’s two-run homer with one out in the ninth tied it up and sent it to extras. Michael Brantley’s leadoff homer in the 12th ended it. That’s a three-game sweep for the Indians. Murphy, who played for the Rangers until this year, went 12 for 25 with seven RBIs in seven games against the Rangers this season. That’s gotta feel good.

Giants 9, Mets 0: As has often been the case in this pitching-dominant year, there were several great pitching performances yesterday. A lot of seven shutout innings kinds of things. Madison Bumgarner was not content with seven. He went the distance, striking out ten and allowing only two hits. Meanwhile, Hunter Pence smacked two homers. His first was a two-run shot which scored the first two and only two runs the Giants would need all game.

Diamondbacks 3, Pirates 2: The game ended as Dbacks baserunner Nick Ahmed slid into second base — or the general vicinity of it anyway — with his arms raised, deflecting the throw to first that may have completed the double play, only to deflect the ball thereby allowing the winning run to score. Was he trying to interfere with the ball? Yeah, probably. But when you’re the Dbacks you care way more about the unwritten rules, not the rules that are actually written down.

Royals 4, Athletics 2: James Shields was on cruise control, retiring the first 15 batters he faced. He ended up allowing two runs over eight. The Royals have won nine of 11 and are only a game and a half out of a wild card slot.

Padres 4, Braves 3: Everth Cabrera singled in the winning run in the 10th for the Padres’ second straight walkoff win in extras. Meanwhile, the Braves have lost six and row and now find themselves three and a half back of Washington and two out of a wild card slot. It’s fun just watching their season just slip away like this.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 1: Scott Feldman tossed a complete game, scattering eight hits and run. Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez each drove in two. Melky Cabrera had his hitting streak snapped at 10.

Cubs 7, Dodgers 3: Josh Beckett continues to struggle, tossing 94 pitches in four innings. Well, he did pitch into the fifth, but gave up a double to the opposing pitcher and then a homer to Chris Coghlan which put the Cubs ahead to stay. One single later and he was lifted. When Beckett is good he’s good. When he’s bad he is stomach-turning.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $10,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Twins 16, White Sox 3: Danny Santana had five hits and four RBI in what, eventually anyway, became a laugher. Minnesota sent 14 batters to the plate in the eighth. Then in the ninth Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer hit back-to-back-to-back homers. Party time.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: John Lackey wins his Cardinals debut after allowing two runs in seven innings. When he left the game, however, he stood to be the loser, but the Cards rallied for three in the seventh. Biggest reason they were able to rally? Matt Garza leaving the game after six with an oblique injury. Until then he had allowed only one hit and had needed only 71 pitches through those six.

Angels 7, Rays 5: There was a delay in this one after a lightning strike led to a partial power outage. No word on whether the Tampa station that is fascinated with urban infrastructure had anything to say about this. For what it’s worth, I spent the weekend in downtown Detroit and I had a lovely time. Mike Trout was 3 for 4 and drove in a couple. Jered Weaver picked up his 12th win.

Nationals 4 Phillies 0: Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 over seven shutout innings as Washington and Philly split four games. Of course when your competition in the division is stinking on ice like the Braves are, you can split series forever and still build your lead.

Orioles 1, Mariners 0: Chris Tillman tossed seven shutout innings himself and the pen gave the O’s two more. Nick Markakis’ first inning homer was the only scoring in the game. Tough luck loss for Hisashi Iwakuma.

Reds 7, Marlins 3: A fifteen-hit attack for the Reds. Fourteen of them were singles. Four of them came from Todd Frazier. Billy Hamilton scored thrice.

Tigers 4, Rockies 0: The sweep, as Anibal Sanchez strikes out 12 in seven innings and Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer. He homered the night before too. I was at that game on Saturday night. It was Fiesta Tigres at Comerica Park, when baseball’s Latino culture is celebrated. I had three darn good tacos and purchased a V-Mart shirsey with “Tigres” in script on the front instead of the English D. I sorta love it.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 7: When I went to bed it was 7-7 in the fifth and it felt like the game would never end. When I woke up I discovered that Brett Gardner hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth. He had three hits overall. He has five homers in his past six games.

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)
Getty Images
1 Comment

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)
Getty Images
7 Comments

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.