Mariners

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and hghlghts

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Mariners 6, Blue Jays 3: Yesterday was all about Kansas City. Let’s now look at what Seattle is doing. The M’s have now won seven of eight and are tied with the Tigers for the second wild card spot. They’re nine games over .500. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but can you imagine a world in which the Royals and Mariners both make the playoffs and the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers do not?

White Sox 3, Giants 2: Chicago blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but then Gordon Beckham hit a two-out RBI single in the 10th. Tough no-decision for Chris Sale who struck out 12 over eight shutout innings.

Padres 4, Rockies 1: The Padres have won four in a row. Odrisamer Despainge tossed shutout ball for seven innings, striking out eight. Not bad a for a junkballer.

Cubs 3, Brewers 0: Kyle Hendricks with seven and a third shutout innings. In six starts since making his big league debut, he is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA with only nine walks in 41 and two-thirds innings. Everyone talks about the Astros collection of young talent. The Cubs’ is not too bad.

Angels 7, Phillies 2: I haven’t checked the stats but I bet teams which put up seven-run sixth innings don’t lose a lot of games. I bet that goes for teams that put up seven run any inning. Or seven runs across any number of innings. Basically, scoring seven runs is a good way to win baseball games. The Angels needed this. It was just their second win in seven games and the offense had been struggling.

Marlins 3, Cardinals 0: Jared Cosart outpitches Adam Wanwright, posting seven shutout innings. I’m getting to the point here where I’m about to simply write “the pitcher for the winning team tossed seven shutout innings” for every recap. I could save a lot of time with that approach. Use it to watch cartoons and stuff in the morning.

Astros 10, Twins 4: Chris Carter homered twice and drove in five. He has 15 homers since July 1. Too bad the season doesn’t start on July 1. He was hitting .181 on that date and is now up to .230.

Nationals 7, Mets 1: Four homers backed Doug Fister, who — guess what? — had seven shutout innings. Rookie Michael Taylor, making his big league debut, hit one of the homers. Then — and I am not making this up — a ballboy tossed it to a fan in the stands, not realizing it was a keepsake for Taylor. They got it back, though. I hope the kid in the stands drove a hard bargain.

Athletics 11, Royals 3: Jon Lester struck out nine over six innings and Jeremy Guthrie got knocked around pretty badly, halting the Royals’ winning streak at eight. But they remain in first place because  . . .

Pirates 4, Tigers 2: . . . the Tigers keep losing. Edinson Volquez kept Detroit in check as Tigers starter Robbie Ray couldn’t make it beyond five. Robbie Ray last night. A guy named “Buck Farmer” today. On a team that less than two weeks ago it had more starters than it knew what to do with.

Red Sox 3, Reds 2: Jonathan Broxton threw a ball high-and-inside to Yoenis Cespedes, brushing him back. Next pitch: Cespedes hit a 433-foot home run. Someone send the video of that to Tony La Russa and explain to him that that’s how you retaliate for chin music. Cespedes has reached base in every game as a Red Sox. Red Sock? Um, as a player for Boston.

Rangers 3, Rays 2: The walkoff walk in the 14th inning. Four straight balls from Cesar Ramos to Adam Rosales. Ramos didn’t make Joe Maddon happy. After the game he said, “Just throw a strike there. Give us a chance.” Yikes.

Dodgers 4, Braves 2: We’ve now reached the “Craig needs to find a team to root for in the playoffs this year” portion of the season. Please leave your submissions in the comments. I will not root for the Nationals on division rival grounds and I won’t root for the Yankees or Red Sox on general principle, but that does not appear to be an issue this season. Anyone else is fair game at the moment. Probably not the Cardinals, though, actually. I have nothing against them but so many Cardinals fans think I hate their team and have it in for them that I’m not going to give them an excuse to let go of their derangement. It’s too hilarious.

Yankees vs. Orioles; Diamondbacks vs. Indians: POSTPONED: Come on take a walk on the wild side.  Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain. You like your girls insane. Choose your last words, this is the last time. Cause you and I, we were born to die

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.