Jason Heyward

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Scooter Gennett pitched. And called StatCast “fake news”

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Last night the Reds-Cubs game got out of hand, with Chicago leading 13-5 heading into the bottom half of the eighth. With the game a lost cause, Bryan Price called on Scooter Gennett — who had homered the half inning before — to close the game out.

Gennett had never pitched before — he’s a second baseman by trade — and it showed. His windup was actually sort of pleasing. A low-effort affair, reminding one of a guy at an old-timers game who once threw with violence but now doesn’t want to hurt anything because he has a tee time the next day. A study in efficiency. As for results, well, not great: he issued a leadoff walk to Jason Heyward and then allowed a two-run homer to Javier Baez. He also hit a dude. Not that any of us could do any better.

For my money, though, the best part of it was his postgame interview.

He started it off as expected, talking about how it’s never a good thing for a position player to pitch because it means the game was out of hand. Then he went into deadpan mode and talked about how “I’ve definitely had better outings . . . I got too much of the plate there on Baez’s homer, missed my spot.” A minute or so later he speculated that he was hitting 95-96 m.p.h. and a reporter corrected him “no, 68.” Gennett shot back: “yeah, I don’t believe that, I think the radar gun must be broke or something . . . . that StatCast, off-the-bat speed, all of that’s fake news . . . ”

It was some seriously good deadpan:

And here’s that form:

Watch:

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 7, Red Sox 3: The Indians jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Rafael Devers homered twice, making it three homers in his last two games, and tying the score up at three. Then it was Edwin Encarnacion‘s turn to homer twice. He hit a two-run shot in the fifth to break that tie and added another two-run shot in the seventh to put Cleveland comfortably ahead. Trevor Bauer struck out 11 in six and two-thirds, allowing those Devers dingers and one to Andrew Benintendi, all solo shots. Cleveland has won four in a row.

Yankees 4, Mets 2: The Yankees bats have struggled in the second half, but last night Aarons Judge and Hicks and Gary Sanchez went deep. It was the 40th career homer for both Judge and Sanchez. Judge reached the mark in his 140th game and Sanchez in his 139th. Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes homered in a losing cause for the Mets.

Blue Jays 2, Rays 1: There aren’t a lot of games where all the scoring is confined to the first inning or two, but it seems like an inordinate number of them involve the Rays. Here Josh Donaldson hit a two-run shot for Toronto in the first, Wilson Ramos hit a solo shot for Tampa Bay in the second and the rest of the game was quiet, scoring wise. Nick Tepesch’s only flaw in six innings was that Ramos dinger and his counterpart Jake Odorizzi also went six, with Donaldson’s homer the only damage.

Marlins 8, Giants 3: Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the first and later drove in a run with a single. That was his 43rd bomb, breaking Gary Sheffield’s franchise record for homers in a season and putting him on a 60-homer pace. That’s five straight games with a homer for Stanton. Since July 17, Stanton has 17 home runs. Since July 17 the Giants, as an entire teams, have 17 homers.

Rangers 6, Tigers 2Rougned Odor had three hits and scored three times, with the go-ahead run in the game coming on a safety squeeze:

Joey Gallo had another homer, his 33rd.

Cubs 15, Reds 5: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit homers, Rizzo drove in five, and Jon Jay had a single, double and a triple as the Cubs romped. My favorite play of the game, however, came from Joey Votto. With Chicago up 7-2 in the fifth inning, Joe Maddon tried something different, in an effort to stop the Reds’ big bat from getting extra bases: he played four outfielders, shifting Kris Bryant from third to join Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay and Jason Heyward. How did that go? Poorly, as Votto to proceed to double down the first base line:

With most hitters you’d say they got lucky, but Votto is the sort of player, in both skill and strategic thinking, that you figure made a point to try to specifically do that. And had the best shot of actually doing it.

Chad Bettis 1, Cancer 0: The Rockies also happened to beat the Braves 3-0, but the important thing in this game is that Chad Bettis came back from fighting cancer and, in his first start of the year, held the Braves them scoreless over seven innings. He didn’t get the W in the box score because his counterpart, Julio Teheran held Colorado scoreless while Bettis was still the pitcher of record, but the win he got was a lot more important.

Diamondbacks 2, Astros 0: Zack Greinke shut Houston out for six and two-thirds, striking out nine on five hits. He was backed by Ketel Marte doubling a run in the second and J.D. Martinez doubling in a run in the sixth. The Dbacks had eight hits in the game. Five of them were doubles.

Royals 6, Athletics 2: Kansas City held a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Cam Gallagher stepped up to the plate and socked a grand slam. It was his first career homer, so it’s all downhill from here I guess. Gallagher has spent a load of time in the minors, blocked by Sal Perez, so he’s played a lot with Jake Junis, the Royals starter who has also played a lot down on the farm. His bush league compadre allowed two runs and four hits in six innings with two strikeouts and no walks.

Orioles 11, Mariners 3: The O’s jumped on the M’s for a 7-1 lead by the top of the second inning and that was pretty much that. Tim Beckham hit the first pitch of the game out for a homer and Manny Machado hit a grand slam in the second. Machado in August: .355/.349/.694 five homers and 20 RBI.

Padres 7, Phillies 4Cory Spangenberg homered and had three hits in all, scoring three times. Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins hit two home runs, the first two of his career, in a losing cause. In other news, Spangenberg & Rhys would be a pretty good law firm name. It’s all in the rhythm with those things, really.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Yankees 5, Rays 4: Lucas Duda went deep for the second time in a Rays’ uniform, but the team failed to capitalize on his momentum and dropped their second straight game following Brett Gardner‘s walk-off single in the ninth.

Angels 6, Blue Jays 5: With the trade deadline fast approaching, every at-bat and inning pitched becomes a prime marketing opportunity for those on the chopping block. Francisco Liriano, whose pre-deadline 5.99 ERA has yet to scare off suitors like the Astros, Cubs and Royals, delivered six quality innings of three-run, four-strikeout ball in the Blue Jays’ losing effort on Saturday. It’s the best start he’s put together in weeks after a pair of injury-shortened performances on the road, and may very well be his last in a Blue Jays uniform.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: The Dodgers didn’t need to rally for their 73rd win of the season, taking an early two-run lead on a pair of Cody Bellinger RBI hits to stay ahead of the Giants. Hunter Pence responded with a solo shot in the fourth, his seventh of the year, but failed to inspire a bigger rally for the Giants as they wasted a gem from Ty Blach and dropped to 33.5 games back in the NL West.

Mariners 3, Mets 2: Be it the catalyst for a game-winning home run, a rally-killing strikeout or career-changing hit by pitch, one pitch is more than capable of redeeming — or spoiling — an entire game. On Saturday, that pitch was a 95 MPH fastball from Jacob deGrom, which landed near Mitch Haniger‘s nose and mouth in the second inning of the Mets’ loss to the Mariners. Haniger was alert as he was helped off the field, but is expected to require plastic surgery to repair a severe laceration of his upper lip.

Tigers 5, Astros 3: The Tigers snapped a four-game skid on Saturday, banking on 7 1/3 strong innings from Matthew Boyd and a three-run rally in the seventh to edge past the Astros. Ian Kinsler knocked in the go-ahead run on an RBI single, scoring Jose Iglesias and keeping the club just eight games back of a wild card slot.

Phillies 4, Braves 3 (11 innings): Down 2-1 in the ninth inning with the bases empty and one out, the Phillies turned to Odubel Herrera. The center fielder sized up Jim Johnson‘s first-pitch fastball and postmarked it to right field for a game-tying home run, his 10th of the season.

Two innings later, still locked into a 3-3 tie, Ty Kelly stepped up with another clutch moment. He worked an 0-1 count against Rex Brothers before lofting an RBI single to left field for his first career walk-off hit.

Rockies 4, Nationals 2: German Marquez carried a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings on Saturday, fanning a career-best 10 batters and allowing three hits in what was undoubtedly the highlight of his 2017 season. The Nationals were too good to be held at bay for long, however, and broke through with Matt Wieters’ one-out single in the sixth. A Howie Kendrick double and Wilmer Difo RBI base hit plated the Nats’ first and only runs of the day, but the team fell just shy of the win after Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds padded Marquez’s performance with a pair of doubles in the fifth.

Marlins 7, Reds 3: It’s been 12 days since the Marlins recalled Adam Conley from Triple-A, and he hasn’t given them a reason to doubt him since. The southpaw turned in his third consecutive quality start against the Reds, improving to 4-3 on the year with 7 2/3 innings of two-run, seven-strikeout ball. His only mistakes? Two solo shots by Joey Votto and Adam Duvall, which did little to help close a four-run gap in the Marlins’ win.

Indians 5, White Sox 4: The Indians improved to a three-game lead in the AL Central on Saturday, extending their win streak to nine games with a 12-strikeout appearance by Corey Kluber and a pair of shutdown innings from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. In the end, however, the winning run had little to do with the Indians’ talents:

Diamondbacks 7, Cardinals 1: The Diamondbacks won’t clinch a division title anytime soon, but they maintained their third-best record in the National League with another decisive win over the Cardinals this weekend. Zack Greinke turned in his 13th win of the year, firing nine strikeouts and allowing one run over seven innings, while the D-backs wielded three home runs from Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez and Ketel Marte in their seven-run effort.

Cubs 2, Brewers 1 (11 innings): The NL Central division rivals went toe-to-toe on Saturday night, matching each other every step of the way in a superb defensive showcase. Kyle Hendricks struck out three over five innings; Junior Guerra whiffed four through three scoreless frames. Jacob Barnes retired Wilson Contreras with a runner in scoring position, escaping a jam in the seventh to prevent the Cubs from taking the lead; Pedro Strop slipped out of a tight spot in the eighth with runners on first and second and one out.

After 11 innings, the difference-maker was Jason Heyward, who needed exactly three pitches to unload a go-ahead home run and seal first place in the division with a 1.5-game lead.

Orioles 4, Rangers 0: Adrian Beltre didn’t collect his 3,000th career hit on Saturday, but he did record a single for his 2,999th hit, which means we’ll all be on pins and needles during the Rangers’ series finale on Sunday afternoon. The rest of the Rangers struggled valiantly to plate a run, falling several inches short of a run on Joey Gallo‘s near-homer in the third:

Adam Jones: Not having it.

Athletics 5, Twins 4: After losing five straight, the A’s took home a much-needed win on Saturday. Chris Smith handed the Twins an early lead, but was bailed out by the A’s offense after Rajai Davis lifted a two-run homer to walk off in the ninth.

While the win did little to move the needle in the AL West standings — or, for that matter, the wild card rankings — the A’s handed manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career win.

Padres 4, Pirates 2: It may be too late to start angling for a postseason spot, but the Padres have definitely found their groove. They exited Saturday’s win with a four-game win streak, backing Dinelson Lamet’s quality start with a Jose Pirela pants-ripping RBI triple, RBI doubles from Hector Sanchez and Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot‘s eighth blast of the season.