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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Orioles 5, Red Sox 2: Manny Machado said hello to the Boston fans who probably aren’t big fans of his given the recent dustups between the O’s and Sox. He did so via a homer, a couple of runs batted in and some solid glovework at third base. The Boston fans, in turn, said hello to Adam Jones via racial slurs and throwing peanuts at him. I think Machado’s way of saying hello was far more polite and sporting.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 1: Three in a row for the Jays. Marco Estrada allowed one run over seven. Jose Bautista hit a homer. So did Ryan Goins, but that wasn’t nearly as cool as his two-run sac fly. Really:

That was a great catch by Ellsbury, but such is life. It was the first two-run sac fly in baseball since 2014.

Tigers 7, Indians 1: Tyler Collins hit a three-run homer in the second as the Tigers gang up on Trevor Bauer for seven runs on seven hits, drawing five walks. Detroit has taken three of four from the Indians so far this year. Last year the Indians beat the Tigers 14 out of the 18 times the teams faced one another.

Reds 4, Pirates 3: Pittsburgh only had three hits in the whole game. All three of them were solo homers. They also had two errors, and both were costly. Billy Hamilton doubled home the winning run in walkoff fashion in the bottom of the 10th. That winning run, was scored by Arismendy Alcantara, who was on second base thanks to an errant pickoff throw from Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson just before. One of the Reds other runs also scored thanks to a Pirates error. That was Hamilton, who was on base in the sixth inning thanks to a Phil Gosselin error, then scored on an Adam Duvall three-run homer.

Rays 4, Marlins 2: The Battle of Florida. As far as battles go that’s less Gettysburg than, say, Dranesville, but it’s all the same to the soldiers involved. Here Jake Odorizzi came back for his first start in a couple of weeks due to a bum hamstring. He was solid, allowing two runs, one earned, in five innings of work.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Best thing about baseball is that there’s a game almost every day, providing a chance to put what happened yesterday behind you pretty quickly. One day after getting shellacked 23-5 by the Nats, and a few hours after finding out that Noah Syndergaard would be lost for an extended period, the Mets beat the Braves and were able to go to sleep soundly. Michael Conforto homered and drove in three. Jose Reyes homered as well.

Phillies 10, Cubs 2: With four in the first and three in the second the Phillies had an insurmountable lead before some people even took their seats. Tommy Joseph hit a three-run homer and Aaron Altherr had three RBI of his own. Michael Saunders and Freddy Galvis also homered as the Phillies snap a three-game losing streak.

Astros 6, Rangers 2: Things got chippy before the game as Alex Bregman of the Astros tweeted out a misspelled taunt. Then they got chippy during the game as guys threw at each other causing the benches to clear. It started when Andrew Cashner hit two guys in the first two innings, which I’m going to take as an anniversary homage to Dock Ellis’ famous “do-the-do” game, which went down 43 years ago yesterday. Later, Lance McCullers threw a fastball behind Mike Napoli, which led to the benches clearing, though no one threw punches because no one ever throws punches in baseball anymore. As far as the baseball went, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel each hit RBI doubles in a five-run seventh inning which brought the Astros from behind.

Royals 6, White Sox 1: Kansas City snaps a nine-game losing streak. Eric Hosmer and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers and Jason Vargas allowed one run over six. Vargas, who is 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA in five starts, is one of the Royals’ few bright spots in the early going.

Brewers 7, Cardinals 5: Travis Shaw hit a three-run shot off Seung Hwan Oh to break a 4-4 tie with two outs in the top of the 10th. Dang thing went about 450 feet. Earlier in the game Jonathan Villar hit homer himself. Dang thing went about 450 feet. There were six homers hit in the game. Dang balls were flying out all over the dang place in dang St. Louis last night. Dang.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw on the hill, at home, where he’s been unbeatable for a year, against a struggling, punchless Giants team. Baseball doesn’t care about streaks and patterns though. Baseball just happens. So, naturally, the Giants hit a couple of homers off of him, touching the best pitcher in baseball for four runs, three earned, in six innings. Hunter Pence had a two-run bomb and Buster Posey hit a solo shot. The unearned run against Kershaw came when Kershaw himself threw away Gorkys Hernandez‘s bunt which allowed Hernandez to reach second. He would then score on Christian Arroyo’s single. I hate how pitcher’s own errors lead to unearned runs. It’s like my kid leaving plates of crusty old food congealing on them in their bedrooms and then claiming they’re not responsible for the ants, but whaddaya gonna do? About the unearned runs, I mean. I know what to do about the plates. I stand in their doorway with my hands on my hips and angrily say “THIS is how we get ants!” Then they do nothing about it. Oh well, only 5-6 years and then they’re some college’s problem.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.