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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 4, Brewers 2; Orioles 9, Rangers 7: I’ve been doing these recaps for ten seasons now. In each of those ten seasons I get to a point when, due to the repetitiveness of it all, my brain starts to play tricks on me. Usually it’s around now — late July and into August. There are a lot of different tricks, but one of the recurring ones is believing that the Pirates and Brewers play each other every single night for, like, two months running, and that the Orioles and Rangers play each other about 40-50 times a year. I know, intellectually, that this is not true, but if you strapped me to a machine that reads deeply held beliefs, rooted in one’s soul, it would swear this to be the case.

Anyway, Jameson Taillon outdueled Jimmy Nelson as the Pirates sweep the staggering Brewers, reducing Milwaukee’s lead in the Central to a single game over Chicago. In Baltimore Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones both homered and drove in three runs to help the O’s overcome a five-run deficit to sweep the Rangers. After brief series against other teams, Milwaukee will face Pittsburgh 37 more times and the O’s and Rangers will play each other . . . forever.

Mets 3, Cardinals 2: The game was tied 2-2 in the ninth and the Mets had runners on the corners with two outs. Trevor Rosenthal was on the mound for the Cards. Jose Reyes was at the plate and hit the ball down the first base line. Matt Carpenter fielded it but Rosenthal didn’t cover first base, allowing Reyes to reach safely and allowing Yoenis Cespedes to score from third, ending the game. There’s a reason pitchers spend hours and hours each spring on fielding practice. Not to get the mechanics right so much as to drill the process into them so as to make it as automatic and nearly as instinctual as possible. I guess spring was a long time ago.

Diamondbacks 12, Reds 2: Jake Lamb hit two homers — both three-run shots — and Gregor Blanco and Ketel Marte each hit two-run homers. Patrick Corbin made an emergency start, getting moved up a day, due to Taijuan Walker having to bolt for paternity leave. Didn’t matter, as Corbin allowed one run on seven hits and pitched into the eighth inning. The Reds have lost six of seven since the All-Star break and have given up 58 runs in those six losses.

Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 6: Boston jumped out to a 4-0 lead but the Jays rallied for four in the third to tie it. Brock Holt losing a Steve Pearce pop fly in the sun, allowing two runs helped. They ruled that a single, by the way, even though the ball clanked off Holt’s glove. Just one of many reasons to not look at errors or fielding percentage as a defensive metric: no one, apparently, makes errors anymore. The overall effort was helped by Justin Smoak hitting two homers. But this may have been my favorite play:

Royals 16, Tigers 4: Well, some players make errors. The Tigers were charged with three in this game. Not that it mattered as the Royals scored 13 earned runs to go on top of the three unearned ones they got. Brandon Moss drove in four, Mike Moustakas knocked in three and the Royals rattled off 19 hits in all. Kansas City has moved to within one and a half games of the Indians.

Yankees 4, Mariners 1: Luis Severino was fantastic, scattering eight hits over seven shutout innings. He was backed by a Brett Gardner homer and an RBI single from Aaron Judge. Three of the Yankees’ four runs were unearned, with two coming on a Robinson Cano throwing error. What was the secret to Severino’s outing? “”I just tried to bring my A stuff, tried to make pitches, tried to get hitters out.” No word on if he executed them as well.

Braves 6, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak comes to an end as Mike Foltynewicz allowed three runs on six hits in six and a third innings, striking out five. Freddie Freeman and Kurt Suzuki each knocked in two runs for Atlanta.

Padres 5, Giants 2Jhoulys Chacin and Madison Bumgarner, had each allowed a couple of runs by the seventh, but Cory Spangenberg hit a two-run homer off of the Giants’ ace to break the tie. Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run homer as well as Bumgarner lost in his first home start since coming back from the disabled list. The Giants are 0-6 in his starts this year. He’s gotten ten runs of support in those games.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 5, Twins 2: The Indians had been looking up at the Twins in the standings for much of the season, but this series seemed like a turning point. Cleveland completed a four game sweep yesterday, thanks to Edwin Encarnacion hitting two dingers and Tevor Bauer allowing two runs while striking out eight over seven innings of work. Jose Ramirez gets special honors for abusing the Twins all weekend long. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored in this one. For the series, Ramirez was 11-for-18 with four doubles, two homers, six runs and four RBI.

Rockies 7, Giants 5: Have a day Nolan Freakin’ Arenado. He hit for the cycle, completing it with a walk-off three-run home run off of Mark Melancon, turning a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 win. The Rockies are in first place and are tied for the most wins in baseball. As for the Giants, they are losers of six in a row, sit in last place in the NL West and have a better record than only one other team in baseball: the Phillies. This time last year San Francisco had the best record in baseball and we asked if they’d continue the even year World Series magic. Now we have to ask whether it’s time to blow it all up.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: A week ago yesterday The Yankees hopped a flight to L.A. riding high. Yesterday afternoon they got back the plane to New York with a 1-6 road trip behind them. If there was a soundtrack to all of this it was probably “California Love” when they headed west and “Free Fallin'” when heading home. Khris Davis hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third, right on the heels of Chad Pinder‘s two-run double tied it at two. New York would probably like to forget about California now, but they start a home series against the Angels on Tuesday.

Red Sox 6, Astros 5: Xander Bogaerts hit two homers and hit an RBI single in the seventh — his fourth RBI of the game — to give Boston the winning margin in this one. With the win the Red Sox move into a virtual tie for first place with the Yankees.

Blue Jays 7, White Sox 3: The Jays spotted the Sox a 3-0 lead by the fifth inning, but Russell Martin hit a two-run homer to tie things up in the sixth and Ryan Goins RBI triple two batters later gave Toronto the lead for good. Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer to rub things in an inning later.

Rays 9, Tigers 1: Jacob Faria allowed one run over seven innings and struck out nine, but he didn’t have to be that good given the beating the Rays put on Buck Farmer (2.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 HR). Farmer has made four starts this year. In the first two he tossed shutout ball into the seventh inning and came away with wins. In his last two he’s allowed 13 runs in four and two-thirds innings. Steven Souza drove in four. Logan Morrison knocked in three. LoMo is having an improbably good season.

Dodgers 8, Reds 7: Kenta Maeda allowed one run over five and doubled in a couple of runs. Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs over three. It may very well have been Arroyo’s last appearance in the majors. If so, a tip of the hat to Arroyo, who most thought was done three years ago and who had himself a damn fine career. As for the rest of the game, Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner homered for L.A. The Reds almost rallied all the way back from an 8-1 deficit but it was not to be. Cincinnati has lost nine in a row.

Mets 5, Nationals 1: Jacob deGrom allowed one run — unearned — in eight innings, allowing only three singles. He smacked his first career homer to boot. Trea Turner stole four bases in a losing effort.

Cubs 7, Pirates 1: Anthony Rizzo continues to take out of the leadoff spot, knocking three hits including a double and a homer in this one. Willson Contreras drove in three runs. John Lackey allowed two hits and struck out four over six innings.

Orioles 8, Cardinals 5: Ubaldo Jimenez had lost his starter’s job but the guy who took it from him sucked too so Jimenez got another crack at it. Not a bad crack, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks over seven innings as the O’s take two of three from St. Louis. Now to see if he can string a couple together in a row.

Braves 5, Marlins 4: Brandon Phillips hit a walkoff single. He also hit a walkoff single on Saturday night. Phillips is having a solid year for Atlanta, hitting .306/.351/.431. Not bad for a guy who was picked up a couple of days before pitchers and catchers reported.

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4: Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and then blew it. Gregor Blanco tied it back up in the ninth with a single, however, and Reymond Fuentes, who came into the game as a pinch runner in the eighth put the snakes ahead to stay with a homer in the 10th.

Brewers 2, Padres 1: Jimmy Nelson tossed a complete game, allowing one run on six hits and striking out ten. That was his first career complete game in 89 starts over five seasons. Hernan Perez and Manny Pina hit solo homers in the sixth for all of the scoring Nelson would need.

Mariners 7, Rangers 3: Texas beat the M’s by a combined score of 20-6 on Friday and Saturday nights, but the M’s salvaged one here thanks to Kyle Seager‘s three double, three RBI afternoon. Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer off of Yu Darvish in the first as Seattle scored four that inning and never trailed.

Royals 7, Angels 3: Jason Vargas keeps on doin’ the do, picking up his 10th win of the year. Mike Moustakas hit a three-run double and Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer in support. Vargas’ career high in wins was 14 with the Mariners in 2012. This is only the fourth time he’s gotten to double digit wins in his 12-year career.

 

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Cubs 9, Pirates 5: Of all the wacky twists and turns encapsulating the Cubs’ 33rd win of the season, none was stranger than this:

The reason for the impromptu uniform redesign? According to MLB.com’s Chris Landers and Carrie Muskat, pitchers cannot wear long white sleeves, as it obscures the baseball from the batter’s view. Luckily, the rudimentary tailoring skills of one Cubs’ trainer saved the day.

Cardinals 11, Orioles 2: The Cardinals snapped their three-game losing streak in spectacular fashion on Friday, distributing a season-best five home runs to rout the fourth-place Orioles. From Matt Carpenter’s blast in the sixth inning through Trey Mancini’s homer in the ninth, the only way either team scored was via the long ball.

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4: The Diamondbacks furthered their five-win streak on Friday, topping the Phillies to bring themselves within one game of the division lead. Gregor Blanco powered the D-backs’ comeback in the seventh inning, postmarking a 2-2 curveball from Aaron Nola to the right field stands, while Jake Lamb supplied the winning run on a sac fly.

White Sox 11, Blue Jays 4: The White Sox continued dominating their AL East rivals with an 11-run showing against the Blue Jays, backed by seven solid innings from Jose Quintana and a five-run display from Melky Cabrera.

Jose Quintana pitched into the seventh inning for the first time since May 19, issuing two runs on five hits and two walks and whiffing five of 25 batters. The offense carried the rest of the game, cushioning Quintana’s efforts with Jose Abreu’s three-RBI performance, Melky’s five-RBI performance and a handful of extra runs from Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson and Alex Hanson.

Tigers 13, Rays 4: After getting swept in a two-game series against the Diamondbacks earlier this week, the Tigers are turning things around. They cemented back-to-back wins against the Rays with a 13-run explosion on Friday, earning 10 of their 13 runs on two consecutive five-run innings against the Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez and Austin Pruitt. Highlighted in the win? A smattering of stellar defensive plays, including a slick throw from shortstop Jose Iglesias:

Nationals 7, Mets 2: Backing Max Scherzer‘s sterling start: Three home runs, one each from Matt Wieters, Michael Taylor and Anthony Rendon. Wieters put the Nats on the board in the third inning with a first-pitch shot off of Steven Matz:

Wieters’ leadoff solo shot was immediately followed by a long ball from Michael Taylor, his eighth of the season. Rendon rounded out the bunch, delivering a 379-foot tater to right field to cement a four-run lead in the sixth.

The Mets staged a late-game rally with solo homers from Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce in the eighth and ninth innings, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Nats, who put up another three runs in the ninth to take the game, 7-2.

Dodgers 3, Reds 1: Scooter Gennett didn’t get the opportunity to help the Reds during their 3-1 loss on Friday, taking a much-needed day off after his historic 10-RBI performance on Tuesday. The team still found a way to include him, however, hosting a pregame ceremony to honor Gennett for his four-homer performance and gifting him with a red scooter.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, continued their march toward first place with a dominant eight innings from Alex Wood, who held the Reds to just four hits and one run in his seventh win of the year.

Marlins 5, Braves 0: Perhaps The Freeze’s untimely loss was a harbinger of defeat for the Braves. It’s equally as likely that the Braves’ offense had something to do with it, collecting just four hits off of Dan Straily while the Marlins coasted to their 5-0 finish — their first team shutout since May 7.

Rangers 10, Mariners 4: Tyson Ross had been waiting for this moment since last April. The Rangers’ right-hander took the mound on Friday after battling chronic shoulder issues for the last year, and by all appearances seemed to have returned to the 3.26 ERA, 4.4 fWAR hurler the Padres saw in 2015. He limited the Mariners to just two runs in 5 2/3 innings, issuing three walks and striking out five batters in his first win of the season.

The Mariners, on the other hand, took a tough loss in what looked like James Paxton‘s worst start of the year. Paxton was forced out after 3 2/3 innings, giving up a season-high seven runs and striking out just four of 21 batters.

Brewers 6, Padres 5 (10 innings): Eric Thames is still enjoying an unprecedented power surge this season, with 19 home runs to his name and an equally impressive 1.012 OPS through his first 62 games. He smacked a walk-off home run during the 10th inning of the Brewers’ win, reaching a team-highest launch angle of 41 degrees as the ball skimmed the top of the wall and bounced into the left field bullpen.

Thames is no stranger to the hype that has surrounded his stunning return to Major League Baseball, but admitted some confusion over the Brewers’ rowdy postgame celebrations, which have improved on the shaving cream pies and Gatorade showers he was subject to during his first major league run.

I didn’t know about the jersey rip-off and the undershirt rip-off,” Thames told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “It’s like, my nipple is hanging out, I’ve got all these drinks in my eyes. My eyes are still burning from it, but obviously it’s great the guys are having fun.

Red Sox 2, Astros 1: Mookie Betts‘ solo home run proved the deciding factor in Friday’s series opener, but the Red Sox nearly handed their one-run lead back to the Astros after a peculiar play in the eighth inning. With one out and runners on first and second base, the Astros’ Evan Gattis swung at a changeup from Matt Barnes. Christian Vasquez gloved the ball behind the plate and fired it to third, catching the tip of Gattis’ bat on its way out. Jose Altuve stole third base while Josh Rutledge stepped off the bag to field a ball that never arrived — it instead ricocheted toward first base, where it was scooped by Barnes.

The rest of the game was anticlimactic by comparison: Gattis hit into a rally-killing double play on the next pitch and Craig Kimbrel polished off the win with a scoreless ninth for his 19th save of the year.

Indians 8, Twins 1: The Indians are fast closing in on first place in the AL Central, thanks in part to a strong showing from Carlos Carrasco this weekend. The right-hander tossed 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball, keeping the Twins to one run and striking out seven of 25 batters. Minnesota left-hander Nik Turley, on the other hand, has yet to win a game this season. He got shelled in 4 2/3 innings, taking his first loss after giving up eight runs on nine hits and four walks.

Rockies 10, Giants 8: Pitchers’ home runs should count more than regular home runs, right? Given their relative rarity, it only seems fair.

Unfortunately, that wouldn’t have done much good for the Giants on Friday. Jeff Samardzija‘s monster home run in the fifth inning — 446 feet, a Statcast record for power-hitting pitchers — gave the Giants a temporary 4-1 lead, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Rockies’ five-run surge in the bottom of the fifth.

Athletics 7, Yankees 6: Matt Chapman looked right at home during his first major league game. The rookie third baseman pounced on a curveball from Yankees’ right-hander Jonathan Holder, lashing it to left field to extend the A’s lead to 7-6 in the eighth inning.

That ended up being the difference maker, giving the A’s just the edge they needed to… well, maintain their last-place standing in the AL West.

Royals 3, Angels 1: Despite the flurry of no-hitters over the last five years (18, to be exact), no MLB pitcher has managed to toss a perfect game since Felix Hernandez‘s gem for the Mariners in 2012. Ian Kennedy gave it his best shot on Friday night, coming 10 outs shy of his first career perfecto before Cliff Pennington ripped a 3-1 homer in the sixth inning.

According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, Kennedy didn’t appear to bear any ill will towards Pennington for breaking up his bid:

I know Cliff pretty well,” Kennedy said, smiling. “I mean, he’s a terrible friend. I told him he’s a terrible friend and I was deleting his phone number. Nah, if I was going to give it up, at least it was to a friend.