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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 2, Athletics 1: Felix Hernandez allowed one run over eight to beat Jon Lester who allowed two runs over eight. This is exactly why the A’s — and everyone else for that matter — wants to avoid the wild card. Because there’s a chance the M’s will have the other one and your whole season will depend on outdueling Felix Hernandez.

Braves 7, Phillies 4: I’d say the Braves scored a week’s worth of runs here, but that may be generous given the week they’ve had. But hey, who am I to be pessimistic? Oh, wait, that’s exactly who I am to be pessimistic. Just so you know, though: I’ve been this way about this team since the Reagan Administration, so if they somehow win the wild card and actually go someplace in the playoffs, I fully reserve the right to immediately get excited and confident and stuff. Then when they crap out, I get to act like it was inevitable. As a Braves fan, this is our way.

Cardinals 1, Pirates 0: St. Louis won on a ninth inning walkoff single from Peter Bourjos. It was against Mark Melancon, who Clint Hurdle went to (a) on the road in a a tie game; and (b) stretched for two innings. Which I think is fantastic and I wish more managers would do. Can’t blame Hurdle for the strategy. But it is, unfortunately, a strategy that managers rarely if ever use these days, which suggests Hurdle was a bit desperate to get the win in order to avoid the sweep. Or maybe he’s not desperate. Because this sounds like a man who has his priorities straight:

We’re not going to back down. We’ll take the day off. We’re going to catch our breath and try and set some stakes down in Chicago.”

I have to assume that was intended by Hurdle to be “steaks” and not “stakes.” And if it was “steaks,” he’s my kind of manager. Hope you had a nice time last night, guys.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 1: Brian McCann with the big night: three singles, a homer and three driven in. Random from the game story: the Sox and Yankees are the two lowest scoring teams in the AL. I wonder what the betting line on that would’ve been back in March.

Nationals 8, Dodgers 5: A wild one. And not just because of this guy:

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A fourteen inning affair that saw the Nats plate three in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers tie it up in the bottom of the ninth on an error, a two-run Carl Crawford homer in the bottom of the 12th to keep the Dodgers alive, and then a 14th-inning rally to give the Nats the game. Adam LaRoche drove in five after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth, for cryin’ out loud. Someone go check on my friend in the black shorts there, though. I’m worried that he couldn’t handle this kind of game.

Orioles 6, Reds 0: Miguel Gonzalez with the four-hitter for his first career shutout. Yesterday my girlfriend randomly noticed that she was getting all kinds of email offers for late season Reds tickets. There’s a reason for that.

Rockies 9, Giants 2: Two homers for Chris Dickerson and Nolan Arenado hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth. Despite the Rockies’ crap year and the Giants recent rebound, Colorado takes the season series from San Francisco, 10-9.

Indians 7, Tigers 0: Danny Salazar with an eight-hit shutout in which he struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. This on the heels of his five scoreless innings against Kansas City last week and a three in his start against the Astros before that. Justin Verlander, however, struggled into the seventh and ultimately ran out of gas.

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Matt den Dekker had three hits, including a bunt single in the eighth, after which he came around to score the go-ahead run on Travis d’Arnaud’s double. Giancarlo Stanton homered for the third straight game.

Blue Jays 7, Rays 4: Homers from Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion and a 4 for 5 day from Adam Lind helped the Jays win this one, ensuring their first series win at Tampa Bay since April 2007.

Cubs 6, Brewers 2: Jorge Soler had a two-run double and now has ten RBI in his first seven games. The Cubs sweep the reeling Brewers. They now sport a mere half-game lead over Atlanta for the second wild card.

Royals 4, Rangers 1: Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer and Jason Vargas shut the Rangers out for six and two-thirds. The sweep. I know Dallas always basically stops paying attention to the Rangers in August and September in favor of the Cowboys — and, heck, probably does so to some extent even in the middle of the summer — but I have to imagine that is more pronounced this year than ever.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1: Daniel Hudson made his first big league appearance since June 26, 2012, tossing a shutout inning. Two Tommy John surgeries later and the guy who showed so much promise is back. Here’s hoping that elbow stays healthy. And how about this quote:

“Even if I go out tomorrow and it blows again, it was all worth it,” he said. “It was a long time coming. Thankfully today came.”

Man.

Twins 11, White Sox 4: Kennys Vargas homered for the second consecutive game and drove in three runs. It’s been a bleak year in Minnesota, but Vargas’ .319/.340/.511 line since being called up is promising.

Astros 4, Angels 1: Chris Carter socked two homers and drove in three. He has 35 on the year — one behind Nelson Cruz and Giancarlo Stanton for the major league lead — and has 22 homers and 52 RBIs since July 1. Not too shabby.

The Mets are set to host the NL wild card game

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets is congratulated after hitting a two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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In the end, the Mets’ march into the playoffs played out just how they imagined: three innings of a Bartolo Colon perfecto, four combined innings of one-run ball from five different relievers, a James Loney home run. Well, maybe it looked a little different when they drew it up.

Colon guided the Mets through five innings for his 15th win of the year, striking out six and giving up a two-run homer in the fifth. Behind him, the Mets combined for five runs off of RBI base hits from T.J. Rivera and Jose Reyes, finding an edge with Loney’s go-ahead homer in the sixth and a bonus RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the ninth inning. Despite a pair of well-placed home runs by Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, the Phillies found themselves in scoring position just twice and were unable to close the two-run gap to tie the game.

The Mets’ 5-3 win over the Phillies clinched their spot in the postseason, sans tiebreaker. They also secured home-field advantage for Wednesday’s wild card game, during which they’ll face either the Cardinals or the Giants. On Friday, the wild card winner will advance to the Division Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

As MLB.com’s Jeff Passan and Joe Trezza simultaneously pointed out, it will be an unconventional playoff run for the Mets, who approach October without Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Neil Walker, David Wright, Zack Wheeler, or Ben Zobrist. Now, if ever, seems like an appropriate time for some champagne.

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.