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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 10, Nationals 4: Adam Frazier had a heck of a game out of the leadoff spot for the Buccos, going 3-for-5 with four RBI. Tanner Roark started for the Nationals but gave up seven runs in five-plus frames. Roark finished 10th in NL Cy Young Voting last year with a 2.83 ERA, but he’s now sporting a 4.73 ERA this season over nine starts.

Rockies 5, Twins 1 (Game 1): Nolan Arenado hit a solo home run in the first inning to put the Rockies up early and they never looked back. Arenado also made a sweet backhand play in the bottom half of the first. While he hasn’t had an explosive month and a half the way Bryce Harper has, it still would not be surprising if he once again winds up in the NL MVP race.

Twins 2, Rockies 0 (Game 2): Jose Berrios pitched one of the best games of the year, blanking the Rockies on two hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Berrios looked lost last year, when he put up an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts, but he’s been much better so far this season. He held the Indians to one run in 7 2/3 innings last Saturday. The Twins now have a slight first-place lead in the AL Central now. Who’dathunkit.

Cubs 9, Reds 5: Six losses in a row for the Reds now. Javier Baez gave the Cubs a large early cushion, crushing a grand slam in the first inning off of Amir Garrett. Kris Bryant also crushed a solo home run to center field in the fourth. Ian Happ collected two more hits to raise his average to .353 and his OPS to 1.324 since being called up.

Tigers 6, Orioles 5: J.D. Martinez stays red-hot as he blasted another homer, a three-run shot. He also drew three walks. In six games since making his season debut, Martinez has five homers and 11 RBI in 25 PA. Three Orioles homered: Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Seth Smith. But the Tigers’ bullpen, surprisingly, was able to hold onto a narrow lead — something that has been a rarity this season.

Rangers 8, Phillies 4: Nine wins in a row for the Rangers now. To be fair, they’ve beaten up on the lowly Padres, Athletics, and Phillies, but still. Ryan Rua struck the big blow in this one, as his fifth-inning three-run home run capped off a five run inning. Martin Perez pitched well, holding the Phillies to two runs on five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings.

Brewers 4, Padres 2: The first-place Brewers added to their lead in the NL Central as the Cardinals had the night off. Leadoff man Eric Sogard collected four hits and three RBI. Eric Thames finally made an appearance, but as a pinch-hitter and he made an out, stranding two runners. Zach Davies put up a quality start, yielding two runs in six innings. For the Padres, Hunter Renfroe went yard again, giving him three in his last five ballgames.

Blue Jays 9, Braves 0: After Wednesday’s fracas, the storyline going into Thursday’s game was centered around Jose Bautista, who flipped his bat after hitting a home run last night. Sure enough, Julio Teheran threw an inside fastball and hit Bautista on the thigh. Both benches were warned and nothing else happened. Thankfully, a better narrative emerged as catcher Luke Maile and starter Marcus Stroman hit back-to-back home runs, becoming the first American League battery to go back-to-back since May 9, 1970, per Sportsnet. That’s before the DH era began. As for the pitching, Stroman was solid but inefficient, lasting only 5 2/3 innings after throwing 103 pitches.

Royals 5, Yankees 1: Danny Duffy’s excellence continued, as he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. Mike Moustakas gave the Royals plenty of breathing room with a three-run home run in the fifth.

Athletics 8, Red Sox 3: Red Sox starter Hector Velasquez got knocked around for six runs in five frames in his major league debut. The A’s hit three homers, including Khris Davis who now has 12 on the year. Trevor Plouffe collected three hits. Every regular in the Athletics’ lineup had a hit except Stephen Vogt.

Dodgers 7, Marlins 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu held the Marlins to two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Yasiel Puig crushed a two-run home run halfway up the bleachers in left field off of Edinson Volquez in the second inning. Statcast measured that one at 442 feet. Kenley Jansen turned in an immaculate inning in the ninth to close out the game. There were a total of three immaculate innings in 2015 and ’16 combined, but we’ve already had four this season: Drew Storen, Craig Kimbrel, Max Scherzer, and Jansen.

Mariners 5, White Sox 4: The Mariners picked up their fifth walk-off win of the season as Guillermo Heredia singled to bring in Jarrod Dyson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jean Segura hit a three-run home run to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. He now has a .359 average and a .915 OPS.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Seems like every game is nothing but a homer fest anymore. Baseball is nothing but dingers now. I wonder if chicks are gettin’ a bit tired of the longball.

Braves 9, Blue Jays 5Dansby Swanson hit a homer in the seventh inning, breaking a 5-all tie and helping the Braves take both games of the two-game set. Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4, walked and hit another homer, his 14th on the year. Overall the NL East may be the worst division, but it’s got the three best hitters in the NL so far this year with Freeman, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.

Nationals 8, Pirates 4: Speaking of Harper and Zimmerman, the former went 2-for-4 with a homer and the latter doubled in two. Harper’s homer almost landed in the Allegheny River. After the game he said this:

“I don’t worry about hitting the ball in the water,” Harper said. “Matt [Williams] used to say, ‘It’s not how far. It’s how many.’ Just trying to put the ball in play, and sometimes it goes over the fence.”

Matt Williams was a great player, but man he seems kind of boring.

Rays 6, Indians 4: The Rays hit five homers in all. Corey Dickerson hit two of them, one of them went 450 feet. After the game Dickerson took issue with that estimate and said he thought it went farther than 450. Guess he never met Matt Williams. Danny Salazar gave up four of the homers. No word if he thinks that “you just have to tip your cap” to the Rays hitters.

Orioles 13, Tigers 11: An extra innings homer is pretty special. Chris Davis hit two of them. He led off the 12th with a solo shot as the O’s scored three. The Tigers matched those three runs in the bottom half, however, giving Davis another chance. In the 13th he hit a two-run drive to give the O’s their winning margin. OK, maybe Matt Williams was right about that whole quantity thing. In other news, the Orioles led 7-1 after three innings, only to squander that lead and then some, requiring a Mark Trumbo homer in the ninth to force extras. Seven total dingers in this game. J.D. Martinez drove in five in a losing cause.

Astros 12, Marlins 4: A huge early lead allowed Dallas Keuchel to have a short, 70-pitch night and leave after five, confident that he’d go on to get his 7th win of the year. Jake Marisnick hit two two-run bombs. The Astros have the best record in baseball.

Rangers 5, Phillies 1: Yu Darvish rung up nine strikeouts in seven one-run innings, notching his 50th career win. Maybe I should say he did it in “seven inning, in which he allowed one run overall.” “Seven one-run innings” could mean he allowed one run in each of them. It reminds me of an old SNL sketch in which Ed Asner played the supervisor of a nuclear power plant who told his employees “remember, you can never put too much water in a nuclear reactor.” He leaves and they’re not sure if that means don’t put too much in or, alternatively, that it’s impossible to put too much in. Then it explodes and everyone dies. That was in the Joe Piscopo years, I believe. I realize the Dick Ebersol SNL years don’t get as much pub as the Lorne Michaels ones, but those were the first ones I watched and there was some real quality there that has been lost to history. And not just the Eddie Murphy stuff. Anyway, (a) I’m old; and (b) The Rangers have won seven in a row and, after a horrific start, have pulled to .500.

Cubs 9, Reds 5Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber homered, giving the Cubs the win. It also happened to give Joe Maddon his 1,000th career win as a manager. He celebrated by drinking wine during the press conference:

Somewhere Darren Rovell is tweeting about how much that cost the Gatorade people in forgone postgame drink visibility rights or some nonsense.

Rockies 7, Twins 3Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run homer, drove in three and had three hits on the night. The Rockies early season success is notable enough, but it’s even more notable that they’re 12-5 on the road. Somewhere Darren Rovell is tweeting about how much damage the Rockies are doing to their brand, which was forged in part on road game futility. The AP gamer contains the sentence “Phil Hughes had another disappointing outing.” At least someone is keeping on-brand.

Red Sox 6, Cardinals 3: The second of two former World Series matchups on the night (first person to name the other one in the comments wins a free HBT subscription for life). Here Mookie Betts homered and drove in two, Jackie Bradley Jr. went deep too. Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs and five hits. It was only the Cardinals second loss in ten games.

Yankees 7, Royals 1: CC Sabathia tossed shutout ball into the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit a three-run homer and Chris Carter hit a two-run shot. Sabathia is 13-5 in 21 career starts at Kauffman, which ties him for the most career wins there by a visiting pitcher. “I love pitching here,” Sabathia said. “It’s my favorite park.” I’m too lazy to look at which visitor has the most wins at the K. Gonna guess Verlander — has to be someone from the unbalanced schedule era, right? — but I have no idea.

UPDATE:

Diamondbacks 5, Mets 4: Nothing is going right for the Mets lately. They botched a rundown and let Paul Goldschmidt steal home in the process, so that was fun. Yasmany Tomas hit a homer in his fifth straight game against the Mets. Zack Greinke allowed four runs on five hits while striking out eight in six and two-thirds. Not great, but good enough against a team that has taken shooting itself in the foot to new heights. Or depths.

Angels 7, White Sox 6: The Angels had a three-run lead in the ninth but couldn’t hold it. Then the Chisox took a 6-5 lead in the 11th, but couldn’t hold it. Cameron Maybin had five hits on the night, his final one a game-tying double. Then Albert Pujols singled home the winning run for the walkoff win. It was the Angels’ seventh walkoff win this year.

Athletics 9, Mariners 6: “Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.” Unless you’re the A’s, as this one ended well in their view. They were down one heading into the ninth only to put up five runs thanks to a two-run homer from Matt Joyce and a three-run shot from Mark Canha. The former came off of Steve Cishek, the latter off of Marc Rzepczynski. This a day after their usual closer, Edwin Diaz, walked the whole dang ballpark. I’m no expert, but I think it’s possible the M’s have some bullpen issues.

Brewers 6, Padres 2: Five first inning runs for the Brewers held up. Milwaukee leads all of baseball in bombs, but all of those runs, plus their sixth run later, came without the aid of a home run. Chicks loved this one, I bet. At least the ones who showed up at Petco last night, which wasn’t many.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Rich Hill came back and allowed one run over five, but Ty Blach allowed only one run over seven for the Giants and his bullpen was better. Not that the Dodgers’ pen was bad or anything, but Brandon Crawford did single home a run in the sixth for the winning margin. Brandon Belt homered for the fourth time in six games. The Giants have won five of six.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Friday’s slate featured Joe Mauer‘s first career walk-off home run, Zack Greinke‘s impressive run at Coors Field, and Tommy Pham’s breakthrough at the plate. Here are the rest of last night’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 3, Cubs 2: Brett Gardner has been on a tear lately, and Friday was no exception. Down 2-0 in the ninth inning, the Yankees’ left fielder deposited a three-run homer just under the scoreboard in Wrigley Field, his sixth such blast in six games.

Behind Gardner’s game-winning knock, the Yankees turned in a solid performance against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks. Michael Pineda allowed two runs and struck out six batters in six innings (and recorded his first hit as a Yankee, to boot), and Aroldis Chapman capped the bullpen’s three scoreless innings with his seventh save of the season.

Reds 13, Giants 3: Amid the Reds’ 13-run onslaught, the Giants’ Christian Arroyo did something cool: he hit a home run off of Bronson Arroyo. (Get it? It’s cool because they have the same last name. Oh, and they attended the same high school, too, albeit 18 years apart.)

Despite the nifty coincidence, the Giants lost badly after Matt Cain imploded, allowing ten hits, nine runs and six walks and leaving the bullpen to bear the remaining four runs and seal their 19th loss of the year.

Pirates 4, Brewers 0: A two-hour, 27-minute rain delay dampened the Brewers’ chances of getting a run on Friday evening. The gloomy weather forced starter Chad Kuhl to pitch through just three innings before the tarp was rolled out, and when the rain finally let up, Wade LeBlanc took the mound — and the win — in his stead. LeBlanc helped the Pirates’ efforts at the plate, too, contributing his first RBI base hit since 2011 and lifting the club to a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

Orioles 4, White Sox 2: The Orioles had to improvise a new game plan after Wade Miley exited in the first inning, taking back-to-back line drives off of his left wrist and leg. Luckily, Miley’s injuries were minor, and Baltimore soldiered on with right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who tossed six scoreless frames to hold a 2-0 lead through the seventh inning. It didn’t hurt that Chris Davis had a monster night as well, going 3-for-3 with a 427-foot home run to clinch the Orioles’ 18th win of the year.

Mets 8, Marlins 7: If the Mets were concerned about their four-run deficit, they didn’t show it. Following a catastrophic six-run inning, during which they issued six hits, an intentional walk and a hit by pitch to the Marlins, the Mets rebounded for a five-run spread in the seventh, collecting two RBI singles and an RBI double to knot the score 7-7. The game-winning knock was decidedly less impressive, ending on Wilmer Flores’ bases-loaded walk to drive in the go-ahead run and cement the Mets’ first win of the series.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 4: If there’s unresolved beef between the Blue Jays and Rays, Kevin Kiermaier doesn’t want any part of it. The Rays center fielder was forced to exit in the fourth inning of Friday’s 8-4 win after taking a 91.5 m.p.h. fastball to his right hand. It was unclear whether or not the hit by pitch was intentional, but it follows another tense moment between the teams from last Sunday, when Chris Archer appeared to target Jose Bautista with a pitch that just missed the slugger’s hip. “Who knows what his thought process is or anything,” Kiermaier told reporters following the game, “but any time you miss up and in, I think us batters, no matter what the situation, you have a reason to be mad about it.”

Cardinals 10, Braves 0: Tommy Pham has been a kind of enigma for the Cardinals over the last four years, but one thing was clear during last night’s win: the center fielder can rake.

Behind Pham’s breakout? Not tweaked mechanics or a new swing, but contact lenses. The 29-year-old’s new lenses helped him manage a chronic eye disease called kertoconus, which causes blurry vision due to a misshapen cornea, allowing him to literally see the ball and hit it.

Nationals 4, Phillies 2: Some historical records are better left unbroken. Just ask Nationals’ reliever Matt Albers, who snapped his 102-game streak of games finished without a save during Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. Albers converted his first save opportunity in the ninth inning, plunking Cesar Hernandez before inducing two strikeouts and a game-ending groundout from Maikel Franco.

It was a grueling path to the most basic benchmark for relief pitchers, taking Albers through 12 seasons in the majors and bringing him within three games of tying former major leaguer Ryan Webb and his 105-game streak. No one else has come within miles of the record, which is now being chased by the Giants’ George Kontos, with 63 consecutive games finished sans save.

Twins 4, Red Sox 3: It took Joe Mauer 14 years and 132 home runs, but circumstance and power finally aligned for his first career walk-off homer during Friday’s 4-3 nail-biter against the Red Sox. After leading 3-1 through eight innings, Minnesota hurler Brandon Kintzler handed Boston the game-tying runs in the ninth, allowing Chris Young a two-RBI single that threatened to bring extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Eddie Rosario and Kenny Vargas grounded out in consecutive at-bats, and Mauer worked a 1-2 count before belting the walk-off homer:

Royals 3, Indians 1: There’s no stopping Eric Hosmer this week. The Royals’ power-hitting first baseman had a banner night on Friday, highlighted by a career-best 458-foot home run that effectively quashed the Indians’ chances of making a comeback. Danny Salazar, despite his best efforts, couldn’t pitch around the zone to retire Hosmer and found his first-pitch fastball down the middle parked well beyond the right field wall.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3: Few visiting pitchers have gone undefeated in the homer-happy confines of Coors Field, but then again, few pitchers are as dominant as Zack Greinke. The Diamondbacks’ right-hander lasted seven innings in Friday’s series opener, issuing two runs and striking out seven to bring the D-backs within half a game of the division lead.

In eight career starts at Coors Field, Greinke is 3-0 with a 4.14 ERA in 50 innings. He has yet to lose a game in Colorado, and at least on Friday night, found his win streak upheld by a strong showing from Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-3 with two home runs and an RBI single) and the rest of the D-backs’ lineup. His only thoughts on the streak?

“I hate pitching here,” Greinke told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. “It’s really tough.”

Tigers 7, Athletics 2: Michael Fulmer‘s resume is looking good these days. The former AL Rookie of the Year handcrafted eight innings against the Athletics, striking out a season-high nine batters and allowing two runs on eight hits. The A’s got a bit of a breather in the ninth inning, when Oakland outfielder Rajai Davis recorded his 1,000th career hit, but left their only baserunner stranded and dropped the game by a five-run deficit.

Astros 7, Angels 6 (10 innings): The Astros clawed their way to the best record in the American League on Friday, battling through 10 innings before Carlos Correa‘s two-out RBI single sent them home with their 20th win.

The last time Houston started the season this well was in 1973, when they jumped out to a 20-10 record before regressing to a fourth-place finish in the NL West. The landscape of the West division was a little different than it is today, and it was the 99-63 Reds who pocketed the division title that year, leaving the Astros to labor through another seven seasons before getting their first chance at the playoffs in 1980.

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: With Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list for the first time in his career, it was up to rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger to make his presence felt in the lineup on Friday. The 21-year-old rose to the occasion, catapulting a pair of home runs to put the Dodgers on the board in the fourth inning and boost them to a six-run lead in the ninth.

Even more remarkable: it marked Bellinger’s second two-homer game of the season. Add those totals to a .303/.361/.576 batting line through his first 36 PA, and it’s clear the rookie has made a home for himself in the big leagues.

“The best thing for our team right now is for Cody to keep playing, because he is playing well, and let me get right,” Gonzalez told MLB.com’s Tim Powers. “Obviously, if he keeps playing well, he should be in the lineup. But when I’m ready, when I’m right, I know I can contribute and we’ll reassess at that point.”

Rangers 3, Mariners 1 (13 innings): It’s been a taxing week for the Mariners’ pitching staff. After Hisashi Iwakuma‘s injury scare on Wednesday and James Paxton‘s forearm strain on Friday, the last thing Seattle needed was a five-hour marathon designed to wear out the rest of their staff. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got. The Rangers cycled through eight of Seattle’s pitchers, collecting seven hits and a game-winning, two-run shot by Rougned Odor to take the win after 13 innings.