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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:

White Sox 13, Giants 1: The White Sox weren’t about to get shown up by the Giants two days in a row. Six home runs did the trick, from Jose Abreu‘s 372-foot blast in the first inning to Nick Delmonico‘s two-run shot in the seventh. Abreu went 4-for-5 and batted for the cycle, collecting an elusive triple in the eighth to become the sixth player in franchise history (and the first in 17 years) to replicate the feat.

Braves 6, Marlins 5: A night off did wonders for Giancarlo Stanton, who returned to the Marlins’ lineup on Saturday raring to go. He wasted no time getting on the board, hammering a 456-footer to center field in the first inning for an early lead:

The Marlins followed Stanton’s efforts with a three-run spread in the third inning, but dropped their lead in the most anticlimactic fashion: on a walk-off walk.

Yankees 3, Rangers 1: The Yankees extended their lead in the wild card race with a masterful performance from Luis Severino, who fanned 10 batters over seven innings of one-hit ball. Rangers’ right-hander Andrew Cashner was equally stingy, blanking the Yankees through the first seven innings before Chase Headley broke through with a sac fly in the eighth. Tyler Austin’s RBI single provided the go-ahead run in the ninth, and a shutdown performance from Aroldis Chapman sealed the deal.

Indians 4, Orioles 2: The Orioles may not have been able to top the Indians during their remarkable 17-win tear, but they managed to do something that no competitor had done in 16 games: They scored first. Trey Mancini‘s first-inning RBI single held up for two innings, but the Indians came storming back with a four-run spread, banking on key hits from Giovanny Urshela and Jay Bruce to regain the lead.

Athletics 11, Astros 1 (Game 1): It’s too late in the season for the A’s comeback to have any significant impact on their season, but that didn’t stop them from tanking the division-leading Astros in back-to-back double-digit performances. Daniel Gossett finally found his groove against the ‘Stros, leading the way with his first quality start of the month. His dominance was starkly contrasted by that of Houston relievers Reymin Guduan and J.D. Davis, who contributed to the A’s blowout with a cumulative four runs on six walks in the eighth inning:

Athletics 11, Astros 4 (Game 2): Things didn’t look any better for the Astros the second time around.  They kept their walk count to a minimum, with just one free pass by Michael Feliz, but the A’s opted for the long ball with blasts from Jose Altuve, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder. With the Astros’ slump and the Indians’ historic resurgence, the two are now tied for the best record in the American League, at 86-56.

Brewers 15, Cubs 2: The Brewers may have lost ace right-hander Jimmy Nelson for the season, but they didn’t look any worse for wear during Saturday’s hit parade. Chase Anderson led the way with five scoreless frames while the rest of the team tagged opposing starter Mike Montgomery for eight runs in the third. With the win, the Brewers sit just three games out of the division lead, though they’ll have to top both the Cubs and Cardinals to clinch the title.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: There’s no doubt the Nationals will clinch the NL East title. They’re 19 games up on the second-place Marlins and could repeat as division champs as soon as Sunday, provided that they can coordinate another win with another Marlins’ loss. Doing so would make them the first repeat champions since the Phillies clinched in 2007 and 2008… and 2009, 2010 and 2011, but at least on Saturday, the Phillies weren’t quite ready to let that happen. They played spoiler to the Nationals’ efforts with a pair of home runs by Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco in the second inning, then returned for three insurance runs in the fourth.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4: The Blue Jays are still an improbable nine games out of a playoff berth, with seven teams blocking their path to a wild card spot, but on Saturday, they looked every inch the perennial contender. Kevin Pillar did it all for the club, going 4-for-4 with a leadoff RBI single and tie-breaking home run and snaring a deep fly ball to prevent the Tigers from gaining an advantage in the fifth.

Mets 6, Reds 1: The Mets will be eliminated from postseason contention in just seven games, so now’s as good a time as any to start heating up. They worked up to their fourth consecutive win on Saturday, capitalizing on five solid innings from Rafael Montero and an early lead from Kevin Plawecki to stay ahead of the Reds.

Red Sox 9, Rays 0: While the Yankees looked for an edge in the AL East race, the Red Sox extended their lead with their first shutout of September. Chris Sale improved to a 16-7 record, taking the Rays to task with six scoreless frames and fanning eight of 25 batters. At the plate, it was a group effort: Dustin Pedroia led off the first inning with a solo shot, his seventh of the year, and a smattering of base hits and productive outs took care of the rest.

Royals 5, Twins 2: With a wild card race this cutthroat, every win counts. The Royals upended the Twins to move within four wins of a postseason berth, breaking through in the eighth inning on Eric Hosmer‘s go-ahead RBI single. Mike Minor and Brandon Maurer stepped in to preserve the win for rookie Jakob Junis, whose quality start was his first since August 14.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: The Pirates may have put the most creative effort into their performance on Saturday, but creativity doesn’t always win games. Adam Frazier lashed an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning and cleared the bases in just 15.7 seconds, the Pirates’ fastest home-to-home mark since 2015.

Some of the credit, however, goes to the wall in center field, which knocked Dexter Fowler out of the game and gave Frazier a head start as he charged around the basepaths. Fowler exited with a left knee contusion and the Cardinals rebounded with Matt Carpenter‘s standard-issue home run and Randal Grichuk‘s tie-breaking RBI groundout to take the lead.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 7: Whatever slump the Dodgers and Astros have suffered from lately appears to be contagious. The Diamondbacks took their second straight loss to the Padres on Saturday, dropping their five-run lead after the Friars mounted a stunning six-run rally in the ninth. At this rate, it’s anyone’s guess how the playoffs will shake out.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: The Mariners did their part to even out the AL wild card standings, putting up their own six-run spread in the fourth inning to create some distance from the third-place Angels. Nelson Cruz saved the biggest and best blast for last, punishing an 0-2 slider from Jesse Chavez for a 398-foot home run, his 32nd of the season:

Rockies 6, Dodgers 5: The Dodgers continued their Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine on Saturday, skidding to their ninth straight loss — their worst since a 10-game slump in 1992 — following a breakthrough effort from Trevor Story and three scoreless innings from Colorado’s bullpen. The Rockies, meanwhile, had some fun during the nail-biter, as Story cranked out his 20th homer of the season and Charlie Blackmon collected his 88th leadoff RBI to tie Craig Biggio’s record.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 9, Phillies 1; Braves 5, Phillies 2Ender Inciarte went 5-for-5 with four driven in in game one and 3-for-5 with a run driven in in the nightcap. His eight total hits in the two games was one short of the record for hits in a doubleheader. R.A. Dickey struck out nine over eight innings in the first game and Julio Teheran allowed one run and five hits, striking out eight in six and a third in the second game.

Indians 2, Yankees 1; Indians 9, Yankees 4: Trevor Bauer outdueled Jaime Garcia in the first game and a four-run first inning in game two set the pace for an Indians sweep. The sweep dropped the Yankees to five and a half games behind Boston heading into a four-game series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium starting tonight.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 5: With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton robbed Randal Grichuk of what would have been a go-ahead two-run home run to end the game. Broxton was a defensive replacement in the eighth, by the way. Good call, Craig Counsel:

Orioles 8, Mariners 7:  t one point Baltimore was down 6-2, but they rallied back thanks to Welington Castillo‘s  4-for-4, three RBI day and Jonathan Schoop‘s go-ahead RBI single in the eighth. That’s seven in a row for the Orioles. Five straight losses for Seattle.

Tigers 6, Rockies 2: Justin Verlander struck out nine over six innings and drove in the Tigers first run with an RBI single. It was his first career RBI. On Tigers broadcasts, they often talk about how big a talker Verlander is about hitting, which is pretty hilarious because he is a poor hitter, even for an American League pitcher, going 4-for-43 in his career. I can only imagine that he was insufferable on the flight back to Detroit yesterday.

Nationals 4, Marlins 0: Stephen Strasburg tossed a complete game shutout on six hits and he hit a homer to give the Nats their first run and the only run they’d actually need. Strasburg has looked great since coming off the disabled list. The Nats have looked great of late too, winning four in a row.

Rangers 8, Astros 1: Texas rode a six-run fourth inning, capped by Mike Napoli‘s three-run homer. Andrew Cashner allowed one run on three hits over eight. The clubs have one more game in Tropicana Field before the Astros get to fly home to Houston for their series against the Mets and, more importantly, their reunion with families and friends who’ve been contending with Hurricane Harvey.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1: Rick Porcello tossed one-run ball into the seventh and Mitch Moreland, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, hit a two-run homer and drove in two more with a single in the eighth. The Red Sox sweep the Jays and look a lot better heading into their series with the Yankees than they did just a few short days ago.

Mets 2, Reds 0Rafael Montero pitched shutout ball into the ninth — it was a one-hitter as he entered the final inning, in fact — making two first inning runs by the Mets hold up. Montero ran out of gas in the final frame, allowing two base runners and then intentionally walking Joey Votto with one out to load things up, but A.J. Ramos put out the fire and preserved Montero’s win.

Cubs 17, Pirates 3Kyle Schwarber hit two home runs and Ian Happ and Anthony Rizzo each went deep as the Cubs romped. Chicago notched 20 hits — their most in three years — as they outscored the Pirates 27-5 in the three-game sweep.

Twins 11, White Sox 1: Jose Berrios pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out 11, including seven of the last nine batters he faced. Brian Dozier had four hits and Eddie Rosario homered twice to keep the surprising Twins humming along. They’re 19-10 in August and now they’re only a game back of the Yankees for the AL’s top Wild Card spot.

Rays 5, Royals 3Logan MorrisonSteven Souza Jr. and Adeiny Hechavarria all homered for the Rays. Morrison’s was his 33rd on the year. He has four home runs, eight RBI and six runs scored in the Rays’ last six games. The Royals finish August 10-18 and have lost six of their last seven.

Padres 5, Giants 0: Travis Wood started and didn’t allow any runs. He also homered. He didn’t get the win, though, as he tossed 97 pitches in four and a third innings before being yanked as the Giants mounted a rally. The rally amounted to nothing, though, as Craig Stammen and three other relievers continued to blank San Francisco the rest of the way. Jose Pirela also homered for San Diego. The Padres have beaten the Giants in nine of their last 12 meetings.

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 4: The Dodgers lose their fourth game in a row for the first time all season. The Diamondbacks extend their win streak to six. Adam Rosales, Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Herrmann all homered for Arizona, who built a 6-0 lead and then held on as the Dodgers late rally fell short. I suppose every good team goes through a bad stretch.

Angels 10, Athletics 8Mike Trout was slumping and then he sat out a couple of games with a stiff neck. He was back last night, though, and went 4-for-4 with a homer and scored four times. Albert Pujols hit two homers, tying him with Jim Thome on the all-time list at 612. He’s on pace for 25 homers and 100 RBI on the season, which are nice numbers, aesthetically speaking. That’s deceiving, as basically every one of his other stats are terrible, but I suppose it will look nice on the back of the baseball card.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 6: The Jays took a 5-0 lead thanks in part to Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales homers in the third and a Kevin Pillar homer in the fourth, but the Yankees mounted a comeback thanks to Aaron Judge and Ji-Man Choi homers and a two-run double from Didi Gregorius. Russell Martin tied it back up with a homer in the seventh and then Dellin Betances imploded in the eighth, walking four guys to force in the go-ahead run for Toronto. The walks here were concentrated, but they’re not new for Betances, who either has something wrong with him physically or is talking a walk on the Steve Blass side.

Cubs 7, Rays 3: Chicago spotted Tampa Bay three runs — very sporting of them — but then scored three in the sixth, two in the seventh and two in the eighth. Jon Jay‘s pinch-hit, three-run homer tied it up. If you’re a momentum believer you can say it was the catalyst for the win. If you’re into the whole universe-is-random thing you can say it was an isolated incident that, like everything else, was an independently-sewn image in the great tapestry that is existence. Your call.

Athletics 7, White Sox 4Jed Lowrie had three hits and drove in two and Bruce Maxwell doubled in two. Rajai Davis went 2-for-4 and stole four bases. He only scored once, though, and given what happened in that inning — guy behind him walked, which put him on second — Davis probably scores anyway, even without the stolen bases. Which puts me in mind of one of my favorite scenes from the best movie you probably haven’t seen:

Daryl Zero: I did find one other thing of interest, though.
Steve Arlo: Holy s**t, those are the keys. You found the gold Swiss Army knife.
Daryl Zero: I know.
Steve Arlo: And this is the safe deposit box key. Where’d you find them?
Daryl Zero: They were in the sofa, under the cushion.
Steve Arlo: What?
Daryl Zero: They were stuck in the couch in his office.
Steve Arlo: Was he hiding them there? Is that possible?
Daryl Zero: Not possible. That’s where they fell out of his pocket, over a year ago.
Steve Arlo: So… what do you make of this?
Daryl Zero: I think that just as I feared, Ms. Sullivan doesn’t know a thing about these keys.
Steve Arlo: Wait – the keys are a coincidence?
Daryl Zero: Yes.
Steve Arlo: That’s – confusing.
Daryl Zero: Yep.
Steve Arlo: Doesn’t seem like a good thing.
Daryl Zero: Sure it is. It’s good because the man has been looking for his keys for a *year*. And I’ve found them.

Like I said: some things just happen. The idea that there is a grand narrative to life is mostly a myth.

Pirates 5, Phillies 2: Gerrit Cole allowed two runs over six innings, striking out eight and singled in two runs in the fourth to break a 2-2 tie and put the Pirates up for good. Artist’s rendering:

Padres 6, Indians 2Cory Spangenberg hit a two-run homer and Luis Perdomo allowed only one earned run in five innings. Cleveland got 14 hits and only scored two runs. That’s a pretty frustrating ratio.

Giants 5, Tigers 4: San Francisco took a 5-0 lead thanks to Hunter Pence‘s three RBI, which included a two-run triple. Detroit mounted a comeback with a four-run seventh inning rally but it fell short. Oh, Pence’s other RBI came via a line drive out to the pitcher which, somehow, scored the runner from third base. I can’t find video of that on MLB’s site or on Twitter and the game story doesn’t describe it. Anyone who saw this: how does that happen? Was the liner so hard that carried the pitcher out 300 feet, allowing the runner to tag up? Did it kill the pitcher but, somehow, his corpse was able to hang on to the ball? No, that can’t be it. Bill probably would’ve posted about it. Anyway: sounds weird via the box score.

Brewers 4, Orioles 0: Matt Garza tossed shutout ball into the seventh inning and Keon Broxton hit a two-run homer and reached on an error which scored a run, so we’ll put that one, unofficially, in his column too. The Brewers sweep the three game series thanks to great starting pitching as Garza, Brent Suter and Jimmy Nelson did not allow a single earned run and combined for 20 strikeouts in 19.1 innings.

Astros 10, Braves 4: Houston’s onslaught through the regular season continues as they win their four straight and 12th of 15. Here Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez drove in three a piece and George Springer picked up three hits, driving in two. Braves starter Jaime Garcia has allowed 23 runs in 22 innings in his last four starts. That’s not good.

Rangers 8, Red Sox 2: Andrew Cashner allowed two runs — unearned — over seven innings. The unearned run did come on a homer, though, which followed an error with two outs, which is just a reminder that unearned runs are tricky things sometimes. Rougned Odor hit a  two-run homer as the Rangers stop the Sox’ winning streak at six games.

Angels 2, Twins 1: Parker Bridwell shut out the Twins for six innings and the Angels pen handled the final three frames. Tough luck loss for Ervin Santana who tossed a complete game, allowing only two runs. The two came off of a Kole Calhoun homer in the first and a double steal in the sixth, with Cameron Maybin swiping home as Calhoun swiped second. Longtime readers know that such steals of home don’t impress me as much as the rare straight steal of home does — we really should call them something else, because they get people’s hopes up — but a go ahead run is a go ahead run.

Marlins 9, Cardinals 6: Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo homer and a three-run homer and Justin Bour and Marcell Ozuna each added dingers of their own. I think Stanton is ready for the Home Run Derby. Bour too, although I’m not sure the public is ready for him:

Tough crowd.

Rockies 5, Reds 3: Jon Gray was workmanlike on the mound for five innings and Aaron Judge-like at the plate in the second:

Pat Valaika hit a two-run homer and drove in another run with an RBI single, but everyone was talking about Gray.

Royals 9, Mariners 6: Tied at 6 in regulation, Sal Perez put the Royals up in the 10th with a two-run homer and Alex Gordon padded the lead with an RBI single. Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain went deep earlier in the game as the Royals sweep the M’s.

Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 0: Alex Wood pitched three-hit ball over seven innings to improve his record to a, frankly, weird-looking 10-0. His 1.67 ERA and 97Ks in 80.2 innings isn’t all that weird, though. Yasmani Grandal‘s RBI double in the second was the only run in this contest, which still, somehow, lasted almost three hours.

Mets vs. Nationals — POSTPONED: As a man I ain’t never been much for sunny days
I’m as calm as a fruit stand in New York and maybe as strange
But when the color goes out of my eyes its usually the change
But damn Sam I love a woman that rains