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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Royals 4, Indians 3: The Indians came just four games shy of tying the 1916 Giants’ all-time 26-game winning streak, an incredible run that was stopped in its tracks by Lorenzo Cain and Mike Minor on Friday night. Cain put up the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the sixth inning, capping a four-run spread while the Indians struggled to get back on top. Minor sealed the deal for the Royals in the end, allowing a bloop single to Yandy Diaz before closing out the ninth with three straight strikeouts for his first save of the year.

Hey, think about it this way: The Indians may be done chasing history, but at least everyone will show up wearing clean underwear today.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 0: Sometimes, you have to pretend you know what you’re doing and hope no one catches on. Sometimes, you just need to read the ball better.

You can’t pin all the blame on Jayson Werth: Corey Seager exploited an Edwin Jackson fastball for a three-run homer, while the whole of the Nats’ offense couldn’t scare up more than four hits against Alex Wood and the bullpen. With the win, the Dodgers extended their winning streak to three games, their longest such run since August 25. They still need six more wins to clinch the NL West title.

Cubs 8, Cardinals 2: As long as there has been an enforceable strike zone, there have been quibbles between pitchers and umpires. Friday’s game was no exception, inciting an especially salty dispute between Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey and home plate ump Jordan Baker following a botched call in the fifth inning.

At least Joe Maddon didn’t expect anyone to keep their cool. “That’s the definition of insanity,” he told reporters following the game. “Why would I think he’s going to change in that particular moment? God bless him. I never want him to change. He’s not going to change, so why expect that? It happened, we reacted, and the rest of the group came together.”

Granted, he might have felt differently had the Cubs not won so handily, skirting their division rivals with four shutout innings and an impressive seven-run explosion in the sixth.

Athletics 4, Phillies 0: Maybe it was Daniel Mengden’s expertly-trimmed handlebar mustache or the way he slung his changeup, but whatever the case, the Phillies couldn’t figure him out. Mengden fired nine scoreless innings for his first career complete game shutout, issuing two hits and seven strikeouts and tacking on a base hit of his own.

Yankees 8, Orioles 2: The Yankees kept pace with the Red Sox again on Friday, maintaining their three-game deficit in the AL East as they try to prevent Boston from gaining a steep advantage in the last two weeks of the regular season. Luis Severino went eight strong and Didi Gregorius smashed his 22nd home run of the season, tying Derek Jeter’s single-season record for most dingers by a Yankees’ shortstop.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Red Sox 13, Rays 6 (15 innings): Let’s not pretend that this isn’t exactly what any of us (non-baseball player types) would look like against Chris Sale, Supreme Strikeout Leader:

Unlike the rest of us, Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t down for long. He stung the right field bleachers with a game-tying jack in the 14th inning and harnessed a pair of extra bases with five-star catches on the warning track. The Red Sox ran the Rays’ bullpen right into the ground in the 15th, however, piling on seven runs to take the win.

Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Friday was a day for snapping streaks, and thankfully for the Tigers, that meant the end of their six-game skid. Anibal Sanchez went toe-to-toe against Carson Fulmer, each distributing one run over six innings, and Sanchez’s 11 strikeouts decorated his best start of the season. Mikie Mahtook supplied the winning run, pouncing on a 3-2 slider from Juan Minaya to send the Tigers home with a win.

Reds 4, Pirates 2: The Reds trotted out a tried-and-true strategy during Friday’s opener: solid pitching and a lot of home runs. Homer Bailey suppressed Pittsburgh’s offense with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Joey Votto, Zack Cozart and Scott Schebler swatted a handful of solo home runs for a two-run advantage. The Reds are angling to surpass the Pirates for fourth place in the NL Central, which… sounds like the epitome of September baseball.

Braves 3, Mets 2: When you’re down 26 games in the division standings and three games from elimination in the wild card race, there are things you want to see:

And things you don’t:

This one went to the Braves, who needed just one run to top the Mets after rookie Sean Newcomb settled into a groove.

Brewers 10, Marlins 2: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Marlins/Brewers series was relocated to Miller Park on Friday. The Brewers did everything they could to accommodate their guests, relinquishing home field advantage and decking out the ballpark with palm trees and multicolored seashells and flamingoes.

The only accommodation they couldn’t make was on the scoreboard, where they trounced the Marlins with an eight-run lead after homering for the cycle with Eric Thames‘ solo shot, Stephen Vogt‘s two-run knock, a three-run homer from Domingo Santana and Neil Walker‘s grand slam.

Astros 5, Mariners 2: James Paxton returned to the mound for Seattle, but didn’t find the conditions nearly as favorable as Felix Hernandez had on Thursday night. He nearly hit his pitch count in just 1 1/3 innings, scattering three runs over four hits and two walks before getting pulled for Ryan Garton. The Mariners are still just 3.5 games back in the wild card race, but neither the Twins nor the Angels appear ready to relinquish their hold on second and third place just yet. The Astros, meanwhile, are gunning for the title with two wins to go.

Blue Jays 4, Twins 3: The Twins played up Bartolo Colon‘s first-ever “Big Sexy” Night at the ballpark, but the Blue Jays didn’t succumb to his charms for long. After four scoreless innings, Kevin Pillar broke through with a solo homer in the fifth, while Josh Donaldson‘s long ball in the sixth snapped a homer-less streak of six consecutive games:

A two-run rally in the seventh propelled the Blue Jays to their first win of the series, dropping the Twins to a slim two-game lead in the wild card standings.

Rockies 6, Padres 1: Speaking of wild card leaders, the Rockies preserved their 2.5-game advantage over the Brewers with a solid outing from Tyler Chatwood, who turned in 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball before Wil Myers‘ 457-footer forced his exit in the sixth. Chatwood provided his own run support, too, putting the Rockies on the board with a two-RBI single in the second inning.

Angels 6, Rangers 6: Both the Angels and Rangers made compelling arguments for their place in the postseason, but it was the Angels’ five-run inning that put them over the top on Friday. The run support couldn’t have been more timely or more welcome, especially on a bullpen day. Mike Scioscia trotted out seven relievers to keep the Rangers’ bats at bay, starting with two scoreless frames from Bud Norris and ending with Blake Parker‘s sixth save of the season.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2: The Diamondbacks may not be in line for a division title, but they only need seven more wins to lock down a spot in the playoffs. Robbie Ray turned in seven innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for his 14th win of the year, while Jeff Samardzija did everything he could to play spoiler to the D-backs’ efforts, crafting his own eight-inning gem and scoring the Giants’ second and final run of the night.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Look, the Dodgers did just fine without Clayton Kershaw. They went 23-10 in his absence, matching last year’s 91-win total and garnishing their first-place status in the NL West with a seven-game win streak. Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Hyun-Jin Ryu rounded out a mostly-healthy, mostly-dominant rotation that managed to maintain its fifth-best ranking across both leagues, only slightly tempered by a five-game losing streak at the end of August.

With Clayton Kershaw, however, the Dodgers are a different beast altogether. The lefty returned from a 40-day on the disabled list with his 16th win of the season, expending 70 pitches over seven innings of two-hit, seven-strikeout ball. Chase Utley provided the solitary RBI single of the evening, allowing the Dodgers to snap their skid and improve to a full 16 games above the second-place Diamondbacks. Heaven help the contender slated to face this pitching staff come October.

Cubs 2, Braves 0: Speaking of shutdown performances, John Lackey did his best Clayton Kershaw impression during the Cubs’ series opener on Friday afternoon. He wielded seven scoreless frames against the Braves, striking out five of 24 batters and allowing three runs in his best performance of the season. It’s a refreshing change of pace for the right-hander, who entered Friday with a 4.98 ERA and hasn’t given up fewer than five runs in an outing since August 16.

Balancing out the highlight reel? One Kyle Schwarber infield single, which inspired one of Javier Baez‘s incredible sprints in a 6.73-second dash from second base to home plate.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Doug Fister and Sonny Gray matched wits — er, pitches — on Friday night, duking it out in the series opener of their final matchup of the regular season. Each hurler went seven strong, but Fister emerged a clear victor after holding the Yankees to one run and four hits, while Gray took his ninth loss of the year after issuing three home runs to Eduardo Nunez, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez. Still, with as evenly matched as the rivals appear to be this season, there’s no reason to think the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka won’t return on Saturday to settle the score.

Reds 7, Pirates 3: First-inning back-to-back RBI doubles from Joey Votto and Adam Duvall supplied all the momentum the Reds needed on Friday, bringing them to an even 5-5 record in their last 10 games. The same couldn’t be said for the Pirates, who dropped to a season-worst nine games below .500 after a shaky five-run performance from Gerrit Cole.

Orioles 1, Blue Jays 0 (13 innings): Depending on the angle you choose, it takes a lot of skill and/or a lot of missed opportunities to shut out a team for 12 straight innings while also getting shut out. Luckily for the Orioles, they found the Blue Jays’ moment of weakness in the 13th inning, using Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to engineer the first and only run of the four-hour, 27-minute marathon.

Schoop’s late-game heroics notwithstanding, it was Steve Pearce who took home the award for the crowd-pleasing play of the night:

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: When your team is 15 games behind the division lead, six games behind the nearest wild card spot and two below .500, you have to take your excitement where you can find it. For the Marlins, that excitement took the form of rookie left-hander Dillon Peters, who tied two impressive franchise records after striking out eight of 27 batters in seven scoreless innings during his Major League debut. The win still went to the Phillies, however, who utilized Andres Blanco‘s RBI groundout to grab the go-ahead run in the ninth.

Indians 3, Tigers 2 (Game 1): The Indians struck first during Friday’s doubleheader, vaulting over the Tigers with seven strong innings from Carlos Carrasco and a game-winning RBI single from Francisco Lindor in the ninth. The real kicker, however, came in Game 2…

Indians 10, Tigers 0 (Game 2): …when Cleveland’s offense joined forces for a 10-run spread in the first six innings, supplemented by six shutout frames from Mike Clevinger and a dominant run by the bullpen to preserve the shutout. Not only did it mark the Indians’ ninth straight win, tying a season-high streak, but it was their second doubleheader in three days following a two-game sweep of the Yankees on Wednesday.

Rangers 10, Angels 9: No lead is safe in the AL wild card race these days. The Angels discovered that the hard way on Friday, losing a one-run squeaker after Carlos Gomez scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning. The Rangers still trail the Angels by 1.5 games in the wild card standings, but look poised for a comeback after taking three of their last five games this week.

Mariners 3, Athletics 2: While we’re on the topic of wild card contenders, the Mariners kept themselves in the running after a solid debut from Mike Leake, who joined the team in a swap with the Cardinals prior to Thursday’s deadline. Leake stayed just ahead of opposing starter Sean Manaea, scattering two runs, a walk and seven strikeouts over seven innings as the Mariners cooked up a one-run lead with Kyle Seager‘s go-ahead sacrifice double play in the third. The win positioned the Mariners a mere 3.5 games back of the second wild card spot, but it won’t be an easy road to get there: entering Saturday, Orioles, Angels, Rays, Rangers and Royals are still hovering within four games of playoff contention.

Rays 3, White Sox 1: Logan Morrison generated runs for both teams on Friday, collecting his 34th home run of the season with a 407-foot blast in the first inning, allowing Kevan Smith to score on his throwing error, and taking back the lead with an RBI single in the third. From the third inning on, the Rays’ Blake Snell had everything under control, combining with the bullpen for seven consecutive scoreless innings and returning the club to .500 with their 68th win of the year.

Brewers 1, Nationals 0: Ryan Braun‘s frustrations reached a boiling point during the fourth inning of the Brewers’ series opener, feeding into a confrontation with home plate ump Mark Ripperger that led to the sixth ejection of his career.

Manager Craig Counsell backed Braun’s choice to argue balls and strikes, telling reporters, “He’s fighting and trying to get the right pitches called on him. That’s all he’s doing — he’s fighting for it.” This time, at least, it didn’t seem to hamper the club’s efforts on the field, and Jimmy Nelson drove Milwaukee to their third straight win following his career-best 11-strikeout performance.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 5: How’s this for dominant: Taijuan Walker distributed so many strikeouts on Friday night that he didn’t need his defense until the third inning. He whiffed eight batters for the first eight outs of the game, finishing his outing with 10 K’s and only three hits in five innings. He helped power the D-backs at the plate, too, plating a run in the second inning to bring his season totals to a career-best 10 hits and four RBI.

Cardinals 11, Giants 6: The Giants’ skid ran to four straight losses after a rare implosion from Sam Dyson, who entered the ninth inning with a 5-5 tie and left it with a four-run deficit. Albert Suarez fared little better, relieving Dyson with one out and a runner on first and promptly giving up a two-run homer.

The Cardinals now sit four games back of a wild card spot, while the Giants, uh, are trending in the opposite direction.

Mets, Astros (postponed): Few things are better than weekend baseball, but this is one of them:

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 9, Indians 1: Doug Fister put forth a dogged performance last night, tossing a complete game one hitter, with his only mistake a leadoff solo homer surrendered to Francisco Lindor in the third pitch of the game. After that: nine full innings of no-hit ball which doesn’t technically count for anything special but which was pretty darn cool all the same. Eduardo Nunez drove in five behind him with a three-run homer and a two-run double. Jackie Bradley, Jr. doubled. Fister, however, was obviously the top dog here.

Yankees 13, Tigers 4: Since the Rays’ Logan Morrison said that Sanchez should not be in the Home Run Derby Sanchez has hit 12 dingers to Morrison’s five. Last night Sanchez homered twice. One of them went nearly 500 dang feet. I’d say he’s vindicating the choice pretty well. Masahiro Tanaka allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings in his first appearance since hitting the DL with shoulder inflammation. Nicholas Castellanos hit two homers in a losing cause for Detroit, including an inside-the-park homer with two outs in the ninth, giving the masochists sho hung around something to cheer for.

Cubs 13, Reds 9: A weird day for Chicago: Ben Zobrist was scratched from the starting lineup because he was late getting back from an offday in Nashville because he misplaced his rental car. There’s probably more to that story but let’s leave it go for now. Late in the game Kris Bryant suffered a minor injury which caused Joe Maddon to put Anthony Rizzo at third base for an inning because it was “fun.” Really:

“Looking at it, the only thing left was (catcher Alex) Avila at third, which is no fun, or Rizzo at third and Avila at first, which is fun, and that’s why we did it,” Maddon said.

Oh that wacky Joe Maddon.

As for the game, the Cubs were down 6-3 after five innings but rallied for ten runs in the final four to win it going away. Zobrist hit a double as a pinch hitter late. No word on whether he got lost on the way back to the team hotel.

Dodgers 8, Pirates 5: The Dodgers used six pitchers in the game without any of them going more than two innings. Their disabled list — the disabled list! — right now has a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Yu Darvish and Julio Urias. Doesn’t matter, though. Nothing seems to stop them. Here the offense propelled them. Chris Taylor had three hits and drove in three runs. Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer. In the sixth, Adrian Gonzalez got his 2,000th career hit and was promptly knocked in by Corey Seager to put the Dodgers up for good.

Marlins 12, Phillies 8; Marlins 7, Phillies 4: This doubleheader was a home run fest, as the teams combined for 14 bombs in the two games. Giancarlo Stanton hit his 46th homer and Ichiro — Ichiro? — hit a pinch-hit three-run bomb in the first game. Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto hit homers too. In the nightcap Ozuna went deep again and Christian Yelich joined him. Yelich likewise robbed the Phillies’ Nick Williams of a homer with a sweet grab over the fence.

Athletics 6, Orioles 4: Ryon Healy hit two homers and Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis joined him. Three of those homers came off of Ubaldo Jimenez, who has given up 29 this year. A’s starter Paul Blackburn was cruising with four shutout innings under his belt when he was hit on the wrist by a comebacker in the fifth and was forced to leave the game. X-rays came back negative, however, which is a positive.

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 4: J.D. Martinez hit a first inning three-run homer and Patrick Corbin allowed one run on four hits over eight innings. Reliever Matt Koch struggled in the ninth, allowing three runs, which set the stage for Fernando Rodney to get a cheap as hell save by tossing only two pitches.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Chris Archer struck out ten in six innings and Lucas Duda and Corey Dickerson homered. This is, based on just my gut, having done the recaps, as opposed to looking at the actual schedule, the 135th time the Rays and Jays have played this season.

Braves 4, Mariners 0: Lucas Sims allowed three runs over six shutout innings and three relievers completed the blanking. Nick Markakis homered and singled in a run. The Braves also scored on a play that featured multiple rundowns:

I wish I could hear Skip Caray call that one.

Twins 4, White Sox 1Jorge Polanco homered for the third time in two days and Kyle Gibson turned in his best start of the season, allowing one run over seven while striking out eight. If the season ended today the Twins would be the AL’s second Wild Card team. Also if the season ended today, the World Series would take place in September, which would be hella weird.

Nationals 4, Astros 3: Howie Kendrick tripled in two and Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer as the Nats came back from an early 2-0 deficit. The Nats don’t play the Astros often, but they have beaten them in nine straight meetings dating back to 2012. It’s 13 of 14 if you count back to 2011. Houston was in the NL in 2011 and 2012, of course. They should still be there but I suppose that’s the topic of another rant.

Royals 3, Rockies 2: The Indians scored one run on only one hit in their loss to Boston. The Rockies scored two runs on two hits in their loss to Kansas City. Here Danny Duffy allowed only one hit, but it was a two-run homer to Nolan Arenado, which followed a walk. By then the Royals had scored three thanks to a passed ball, an infield single and an RBI double. After that four Royals relievers kept Colorado hitless for the final three frames.

Padres 12, Cardinals 4Yangervis Solarte drove in six runs thanks to a couple of RBI doubles — one which cleared the bases — and a two-run homer. Austin Hedges added a two-run homer and Matt Szczur singled in a couple as the Padres romped. They were getting a lot of bad mojo out of their system, too. Coming in to this game the Padres had scored only six runs over their previous four games combined and Solarte had only driven in six runs in the previous two weeks.

Angels 10, Rangers 1Albert Pujols hit his 610th career homer — a three-run shot — passing Sammy Sosa for 8th on all-time list, and for first on the all-time list for homers from a foreign-born player. He also doubled in a run. Ricky Nolasco only allowed one run but couldn’t make it five innings, so he didn’t get the win. Three Angels relievers shut Texas out over the final four and a third, however.

Brewers 4, Giants 3: Travis Shaw hit a two-out double in the seventh inning to bring the Brewers back from behind and give manager Craig Counsel his 200th win. The Giants are bad, folks.