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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Cubs 17, Phillies 2: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Rhys Hoskins lit up another Cubs pitcher for another home run that extended his rookie home record for yet another day. This time, he victimized Kyle Hendricks with a two-run shot in the first inning, collecting his 10th home run in just 17 games.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, that was all they were able to muster against Hendricks and a scorching Cubs’ offense. The Cubs rode Drew Anderson and Jesen Therrien for seven runs in the seventh, building to a season-best 17-run spread that culminated with another two homers and four runs in the ninth.

Yankees 6, Mariners 3: The Mariners missed an opportunity to slide into the second wild card spot on Saturday, coming up empty-handed against Sonny Gray in seven innings of one-run ball. Kyle Seager and Guillermo Heredia rallied in the eighth, but couldn’t quite close the door against a less-forgiving Dellin Betances in the ninth.

Blue Jays 10, Twins 9: Max “Papa Slam” Kepler did all he could for the Twins during Saturday’s nail-biter, and it still wasn’t enough. The outfielder muscled a grand slam in the eighth inning, bringing the Twins within one run of tying the game.

That narrow lead vanished with the Blue Jays’ two-run response in the bottom of the inning, however, and even a Brian “Doz” Dozier RBI single and run-scoring double play from Joe “Mauer” Mauer wasn’t enough to topple their AL rivals.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 0: Kevin Gausman posted his first shutout of the month, holding the Red Sox scoreless through 7 2/3 while home runs from Tim Beckham and Jonathan Schoop highlighted the offense’s seven-run effort. While this hasn’t been Gausman’s finest season by a long shot, he’s looked marginally better in the second half, lowering his ERA to 4.02 and lighting up batters at a clip of 10.0 SO/9.

Nationals 9, Mets 4: The Nationals would like to hand off a three-game winning streak to Max Scherzer on Monday. That’s still up in the air, at least for now, but with a strong performance from Gio “Double G” Gonzalez and a nine-run rebound on Saturday, they’re heading in the right direction. The Nats didn’t score on a single extra-base hit against the Mets’ Robert Gsellman, building their five-run lead on a smattering of singles and productive outs to stay a comfortable 12.5 games above the second-place Marlins in the NL East.

Athletics 8, Rangers 3: The Rangers picked up right-handed journeyman reliever Paolo Espino on Saturday, which looked like a prudent move on their part after another of their right-handers imploded against the A’s earlier in the day. Granted, Tony Barnette‘s two-run flub was the final nail in the coffin following a similarly disastrous outing from Cole Hamels, who led the club to their second straight loss by giving up six runs on nine hits and three walks. Chad Pinder collected two home runs and Jed Lowrie reached 40 doubles (five shy of his career-best single-season total) to boost the A’s to a 57-72 record.

Pirates 1, Reds 0: This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill shutout, if such things even exist. Gerrit Cole turned in his 11th win of the year and arguably his best start, too, flashing six strikeouts and five hits over seven innings. He made his solo home run look equally as effortless, launching a 95-MPH heater off of Welington Castillo in the sixth inning and setting a new franchise record:

Indians 4, Royals 0: Jason Hammel took a perfect game into the sixth inning on Saturday, but finally met his match in Bradley Zimmer, whose stunning fifth-inning grab and perfecto-snapping single helped lock down the Indians’ third consecutive win.

Edwin Encarnacion also helped the Indians’ winning streak with a seventh-inning home run, his 30th of the year. The slugger now owns 30+ home runs in each of his past six seasons.

Tigers 6, White Sox 3: Like the rest of those suspended over Thursday’s Tigers-Yankees brawl, Miguel Cabrera is waiting for a ruling on his appeal. In the meantime, he’s still eligible to play, and made the most of his time on Saturday after going 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the third.

In related news, it looks like there might be additional repercussions from Thursday’s incidents. Nicholas Castellanos reported a ligament sprain in his left wrist following the fracas, though he couldn’t tell reporters exactly how he sustained the injury or give a definite timetable for his return to the field. He’s expected to have it checked out before resuming his post at third base and, in a best-case scenario, will rejoin the team for Sunday’s finale in Chicago.

Cardinals 6, Rays 4: Tommy “T. Pham” Pham played the hero on Saturday night, clubbing a walk-off 419-footer after the Cardinals stunned the Rays with a four-run comeback to take the lead — and the game.

The win went to Tyler Lyons, who combined with John Brebbia for two shutout innings following Mike Leake‘s four-run, three-homer appearance.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1: Madison Bumgarner stymied the Diamondbacks with seven beautiful innings of two-run ball, which proved too great a task for the Giants’ offense as they dropped their 20th one-run loss of the year. Taijuan Walker, whose 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball were rewarded by a pair of homers from A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez, improved to 7-7 on the year as the D-backs cruised to a 1.5-game lead in the wild card standings. In other words, just your standard Giants/Diamondbacks 2017 matchup.

Marlins 2, Padres 1 (11 innings): Both the Marlins’ Odrisamer Despaigne and Padres’ Dinelson Lamet played hard to get on Saturday, allowing a collective two runs and six strikeouts over the first six innings. Cory Spangenberg stole home to put the Padres on the board, while Marcell Ozuna grabbed hold of his 31st home run of the season to knot the game 1-1. Miguel Rojas plated the deciding run in the 11th inning, scoring Derek Dietrich on a sac fly for the Marlins’ walk-off win and their sixth victory in seven games.

Amid all the hubbub, Ichiro Suzuki and his lone pinch-hit single made franchise history, too:

Rockies 7, Braves 6: The Rockies still need another 1.5 games to catch the Diamondbacks for the first NL wild card spot, and they made a good-faith effort to close the gap with a late rally against the Braves. Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu stepped up in the ninth, smashing a pair of home runs to give the Rockies a much-needed three-run lead.

Things got too close for comfort in the bottom of the inning with Matt Adamstwo-run shot, but it took Jake McGee just one Brandon Phillips double play to polish off the win.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 0: Clayton Kershaw‘s return can’t come soon enough. The Dodgers’ ace lasted five innings in his Triple-A rehab start on Saturday, issuing one run and eight strikeouts as he continued to work back from a back injury. Things didn’t go nearly as well for his big league teammates, who were felled in a five-hit shutout by Zach Davies and an airtight Milwaukee bullpen.

Angels 7, Astros 6: It’s never too early or too late in the season to be reminded of this helpful PSA:

Of course, it’s much easier to weather a 40-minute delay and five-run deficit if you can be assured of an Andrelton Simmons three-run, go-ahead home run for your troubles.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Phillies 6, Dodgers 2: Rhys Hoskins drove in four. The first one came on an RBI single off of Yu Darvish in the sixth. The next three came in an epic at bat against Pedro Baez in the sixth in which Baez threw Hoskins ten straight fastballs in the high 90s. Baez got Hoskins to a full counts and Hoskins fouled off four straight pitches before delivering a bases-clearing double. The Phillies, one of baseball’s worst teams, have now beaten the Dodgers, the team with baseball’s best record, on two straight nights when they trotted their two best pitchers out to the mound in Clayton Kershaw and Darvish. This is why no one is a guarantee to do anything in the postseason, by the way. If a team like the Phillies can put you down 0-2 despite you going with your aces, anyone can. And if you’re down 0-2, there’s a great chance you’re not making it to the next round.

Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Bupkis until Jackie Bradley Jr. scores on a Brad Brach wild pitch in the 11th inning for Boston’s second straight 11-inning win over the O’s in a row. Before all of that  Drew Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman tossed six and a third and eight innings, respectively, of shutout ball. Gausman, who retired the first 14 batters he faced, deserved better. Boston has won 10 of 13.The Orioles have lost 11 of 13.

Brewers 1, Pirates 0: Domingo Santana hit a solo home run off of Trevor Williams in the top of the fourth for the game’s only scoring. Chase Anderson tossed six shutout innings for Milwaukee, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter. The Brewers won for the ninth time in 11 games and, because of the Rockies’ loss, are now only one game behind the Rockies for the second Wild Card.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2: Marcus Stroman allowed one run over seven innings to snap a personal five-game winless streak. Darwin Barney drove in three, the first two coming on a two-run shot to open the game’s scoring. Alex Gordon hit baseball’s 5,694th home run in 2017 in the top of the eighth inning, setting a new single-season record.

Cardinals 8, Reds 7: Big night for Dexter Fowler, who hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and a go-ahead double in the 10th. He’d then come around to score on an error by the Reds to give the Cards a two-run margin, which was necessary given that Scooter Gennett hit a homer in the bottom of the tenth that would’ve otherwise tied the game again. Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong also homered for St. Louis.

Marlins 5, Mets 4: The Marlins rallied for three runs against their old friend A.J. Ramos in the ninth to tie things up and force extras and then J.T. Realmuto hit a walkoff solo homer in the bottom of the tenth. After the game Don Mattingly said that he knew they could get to Ramos:

“We’ve seen him have innings like that,” Mattingly said. “He gets himself in a little bit of a mix and usually gets out of those.”

Am I the only one getting the “dude talking smack about his ex-girlfriend after he sees her out with another guy but is trying not to sound upset” vibe here?

Cubs 2, Rays 1: Seven straight wins for the Cubs, this one as Joe Maddon makes his return to Tropicana Field for the first time since leaving the Rays for the Cubs. If this is also an ex-girlfriend thing, the Rays were much bigger men about it, giving Maddon a video tribute and all of that before the game. Maybe it’s more like the quintessential “California Divorce” where everyone stays friends and stuff. God, who does that? Anyway, Cubs starter Mike Montgomery took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, Kyle Schwarber hit his 28th home run of the season.

Nationals 4, Braves 2: Max Scherzer allowed two runs on five hits over seven and struck out seven. Only seven? He must’ve been sick. He did cross the 250 strikeout threshold, however, and he did avenge last week’s loss, also to the Braves, in which he gave up seven runs. It’s the fourth straight year he has struck out at least 250 batters. he’s only the fourth pitcher to ever do that, following Ferguson Jenkins, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. Nope, Nolan Ryan never did it. You can look it up. Ryan Zimmerman drove in two to give him 101 RBI on the year.

Astros 3, White Sox 1: Jose Altuve homered and drove in two and Alex Bregman hit an RBI double. Collin McHugh allowed one run over five and four relievers finished the job.

Yankees 5, Twins 2: CC Sabathia allowed Minnesota to load the bases on his first four pitches, including two bunt singles, which likely ticked him off. He got out of that jam and then worked from behind for a bit, but ultimately righted the ship and went six inning, allowing the two runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Brett Gardner drove in a couple. That’s nine of 11 for the Yankees. The Twins have lost four of five, but remain a game and a half ahead of the Angels who . . .

Indians 6, Angels 4: . . . lost to Cleveland. Everyone loses to Cleveland, though, right? That’s 25 of 26 wins for them, in fact. Jay Bruce had a triple and a double among his three hits and Austin Jackson singled four times. Mike Clevinger allowed one run over six.

Athletics 9, Tigers 8: The A’s were down 8-5 in the eighth when Jed Lowrie hit a go-ahead grand slam. The A’s were down by four runs at one point, in fact, but no lead is safe when you’re the Tigers. Oakland’s Matt Olson homered for the fifth straight game and has 15 dongs in his last 21 games. As I wrote yesterday, you really should be paying attention to this guy.

Rangers 3, Mariners 1: It was 1-1 in the eight following a Martin PerezMike Leake pitchers’ duel. That’s when Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff double, Shin-Soo Choo hit a sac fly to plate the go-ahead run and Elvis Andrus knocked in Delino DeShields with a single for some insurance. DeShields wasn’t just an innocent bystander, though. He reached on a bunt that put Will Middlebrooks, Gomez’s pinch-runner, on third and in position to score on Choo’s sac fly.

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 2: A.J. Pollock hit two homers, including a leadoff blast, but Padres starter Travis Wood settled down and allowed only the two runs over six innings. He also (all together now) drove in two runs himself on an RBI single in the bottom of the third to give the Padres a 5-1 lead.

Giants 4, Rockies 3: The Rockies held an early lead but the Giants tied it and won it with a walkoff sac fly from Hunter Pence. Fun thing about that: the Rockies were playing a five-man infield, leaving only two men in the outfield, so Pence’s fly ball had a really good chance of dropping for a hit. And, given that it was a walkoff situation, it made no difference to the outcome of the game whether the ball was caught or not. Carlos Gonzalez ran hard to catch it, though, almost certainly out of instinct, turning it into a sac fly instead. I picture Pence and Gonzalez on the dinner speech circuit one day, long after they retire, beefing or bragging about that play to the laughter of crowds.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.