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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.

Puerto Rico walks off against Netherlands in 11th inning to advance to WBC finals

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The World Baseball Classic’s extra-innings gimmick helped decide which of the two teams playing Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning would advance to the finals. Puerto Rico ultimately walked off a 4-3 winner in the bottom of the 11th against the Netherlands.

The game started off interestingly enough with both teams trading two-run home runs. Wladimir Balentien crushed his off of Jorge Lopez in the top half at Dodger Stadium. Carlos Correa returned the favor, victimizing Rick van den Hurk in the bottom half.

Puerto Rico broke the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the second when T.J. Rivera swatted a solo home run to left field, also off of van den Hurk.

Netherlands tied it with a two-out rally in the fifth. Balentien doubled — and very nearly homered again — Jonathan Schoop was intentionally walked to bring Shawn Zarraga to the plate. Zarraga lined a double to left field, plating Balentien, but Schoop was out at the plate on an umpire-reviewed play at the plate.

From there, it was five innings of both teams’ pitching shutting down the opposition. The game went to extra innings after Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Netherlands. Edwin Diaz started the 10th for Puerto Rico and things got interesting after Jurickson Profar struck out. Balentien swung hard and fouled off a first-pitch fastball from Diaz. He stared Diaz down and nodded as if to say, “You got away with that one.” Diaz threw him another fastball — this one at 100 MPH — and Balentien again fouled it off. He again stared down Diaz, nodding, and then saying a few words. With his third pitch of the at-bat, Diaz threw up-and-in at Balentein. Neither Balentien nor his teammates liked the pitch all that much and some Netherlands players scattered onto the field. Order was quickly restored and home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches. Diaz ended the at-bat by painting the outside corner with a 99 MPH fastball. Schoop struck out to end the inning.

Puerto Rico put its leadoff runner on base in the bottom of the 10th, but Carlos Correa grounded into a double play and Enrique Hernandez struck out against Loek Van Mil to send the game to the 11th.

The 11th inning, of course, features an abnormal rule. From the 11th inning on, each team will start with runners start on first and second. Needless to say, most managers choose to bunt to put the go-ahead run on third base. Netherlands executed this in the top of the 11th, so Puerto Rico intentionally walked Yurendell Decaster to load the bases with one out. Curt Smith then grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Puerto Rico took advantage of its opportunity in the bottom half. Yadier Molina moved Carlos Correa to third and Xander Bogaerts to second with his bunt, so Netherlands chose to intentionally walk Javier Baez, bringing up Eddie Rosario. Rosario lifted a fastball to shallow center field. Jurickson Profar caught the ball and fired home, but it was a weak throw and Correa scored easily, securing the 4-3 walk-off victory for Puerto Rico.

Netherlands is eliminated after a valiant run through the WBC. Puerto Rico is headed to the finals, playing the winner of Tuesday night’s game between the United States and Japan.

Puerto Rico’s 6-5 win sets up must-win for U.S. against Dominican Republic

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SAN DIEGO (AP) Puerto Rico is squeezing every bit of fun it can out of this World Baseball Classic.

Come Monday night, the party moves on to Dodger Stadium.

Yadier Molina and Puerto Rico advanced to the WBC semifinals after scoring four runs in the first inning and then holding on for a wild 6-5 win against the United States on Friday night.

When Edwin Diaz struck out Josh Harrison to end the game with Brandon Crawford standing on third base, players raced out of the Puerto Rico dugout to join the celebration on the infield. After a few minutes in the clubhouse, the team returned to the field waving small flags and ran over to celebrate with a large group of fans on the first-base side who were chanting, beating drums, rattling noisemakers and waving flags.

“We are happy for the job all the guys have done,” Carlos Beltran said. “I think the boys have done a good job playing for their country. We’re happy for our country and for our people. They are very proud of us and we hope to God we finish the mission.”

Puerto Rico advanced to the championship round for the second straight WBC. It reached the championship game in 2013 before losing to the Dominican Republic.

By clinching Pool F with a day to go, Puerto Rico (2-0) will play the Netherlands on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

The other semifinal spot from Pool F will go to the winner of Saturday night’s game between the United States (1-1) and the Dominican Republic (1-1). That team will play Japan on Tuesday night.

Puerto Rico took a 4-0 lead in the first, watched Buster Posey and Adam Jones hit impressive home runs, and then benefited from a two-run, two-base, two-out throwing error in the sixth by third baseman Nolan Arenado, who won the Gold Glove Award in each of his first four big league seasons.

With most of the 32,463 fans on their feet and chanting in the top of the ninth, a U.S. rally fell just short. Crawford hit a two-run triple to the left-center gap off Diaz with two outs to pull the Americans within a run and spark chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

Diaz then struck out Josh Harrison for his second save to send the Puerto Ricans into a frenzy. Backup catcher Roberto Perez carried a Puerto Rican flag with him onto the field.

Puerto Rico can sweep the pool when it plays Venezuela (0-2) on Saturday afternoon. Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Tuesday night.

“They are a very good team and they are doing a lot of things right,” U.S. manager Jim Leyland said. “You tip your hat to them.”

The United States will have to regroup to face a Dominican Republic team it lost to one week earlier in the opening round in Miami. In that game, Nelson Cruz hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the eighth as the Dominicans rallied from five runs down to win 7-5.

Puerto Rico took a 4-0 lead on six straight singles and a sacrifice fly in first inning off Marcus Stroman.

Carlos Correa, Beltran and Molina had RBI singles in Puerto Rico’s opening onslaught. Stroman finally got an out when Rosario hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. Molina tried taking third on the play but overran the bag and was tagged out. Stroman got Rivera to fly out to right to end it.

“The first inning was just incredible,” Beltran said. “It gave us so much confidence for the rest of the game.”

The United States pulled to 4-3 on Eric Hosmer‘s RBI single in the second and then homers by Posey leading off the fifth and Jones with one out in the sixth, both off starter Seth Lugo. Posey’s second homer of the tourney went an estimated 398 feet to left-center. Jones, who played at San Diego’s Morse High, homered for the second time in two games.

Puerto Rico regained a cushion in the sixth on the error by Arenado, who short-hopped a throw to first after fielding a grounder by Angel Pagan that took a high bounce.

Leadoff batter Javier Baez was hit by a pitch from Mychal Givens and stole second. Andrew Miller came on and walked Eddie Rosario. With T.J. Rivera batting, Baez and Rosario pulled a double steal. Rivera and pinch-hitter Kike Hernandez struck out. Pagan’s grounder took a wicked hop and Arenado fielded it above his shoulders. He got set, but his throw skipped past Hosmer, and Baez and Rosario scored.

“That is just part of the game,” Leyland said. “That is the human element of it. That is a great third baseman. I have no problem whatsoever with that.”

Lugo (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out two and walked one.

Stroman (0-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, struck out two and walked one.