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Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 4, Nationals 2; Nationals 6, Giants 2: In Game 1 of the day-night twin bill Chris Stratton struck out 10 in six and two-thirds shutout innings and the Nats couldn’t break through until Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer in the eighth, but it was too little, too late. Game 2 was much more dramatic as the clubs took a 2-2 tie into the 11th — Pablo Sandoval of all people tied it up with a homer to send it to extras — before Howie Kendrick hit a walkoff grand slam. Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman also homered and Max Scherzer struck out ten in seven innings.

Blue Jays 7, Pirates 1: Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer and Darwin Barney and Justin Smoak each hit solo shots. J.A. Happ won his third in a row. Manager John Gibbons won his 700th game. Not in a row, though. That would be a record.

Indians 4, Rays 3: Corey Kluber won again, striking out nine in seven innings and working around trouble. Austin Jackson made him a winner by hitting a solo homer to break a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth while Kluber was still the pitcher of record. Jay Bruce and Carlos Santana hit RBI doubles and Edwin Encarnacion hit his 24th homer.

Twins 6, Tigers 4Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano homered to help give Minnesota a 4-0 lead. They blew it, though, before Byron Buxton singled in a run to put the Twins up 5-4 in the eighth. The Twins win their seventh of eight. The Tigers, ah, who cares, lose their 64th in their last 117.

Marlins 5, Rockies 3: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but Giancarlo Stanton homered again. It was his 42nd. He’s hit homers in the past four games and his 21st in his past 33 games. Even worse for Colorado was Nolan Arenado leaving the game in the fifth inning with a bruised left hand after being hit by a Vance Worley fastball. Imagine how bad it’d be if Worley actually threw hard.

Mets 6, Phillies 2: Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson hit two-run homers as the Mets take three of four from the Phillies. Odubel Herrera singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. That’s the longest hit streak for a Phillies player in seven years. He’s also hitting .342 with a .970 OPS since June 1. Nonetheless, he was booed the rest of his at-bats following a brain lock on the base paths in the fifth inning, helping to kill a rally, with some fans yelling at him that he should go back to the minors. I get the anger at the mental mistakes, but I’ll never understand why, on crappy teams, the best player tends to draw the most ire. Fine, he’s frustrating. He’s also better than anyone else out there, so maybe cut him some slack?

Royals 14, White Sox 6: Merrifield hit a three-run homer and drove in a five and Drew Butera had four hit. Jason Vargas bounced back from a terrible start, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings, stricking out seven and walking two. He got his 14th win, which ties his career high.

Brewers 7, Reds 4: Neil Walker got traded from the Mets to the Brewers on Saturday, got three and a half hours of sleep after making it to Milwaukee, was penciled in at third base, which he doesn’t play often, and knocked a couple of hits and scored a run. Domingo Santana got more sleep, presumably, and hit a three-run bomb. Joey Votto‘s 17-game hitting streak was snapped.

Braves 6, Cardinals 3: The Cardinals eight-game winning streak ends — as does the Braves’ five-game losing streak — as Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer and R.A. Dickey allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings.

Astros 2, Rangers 1: Keuchel took a shutout into the sixth inning and ended up allowing one run over six-and two-thirds as Jose Altuve homered and Carlos Beltran knocked in a run to end the Astros’ five-game losing streak. It was still just their third win in 12 games, but they still hold a 12-game lead in the West.

Athletics 9, Orioles 3: Baltimore took a 2-0 lead, but Matt Chapman hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in a five-run fourth inning as the A’s won going away. Wait, Kansas City comes in to town tomorrow. The A’s aren’t going anywhere.

Angels 4, Mariners 2: That’s six straight wins for the Angels. Parker Bridwell allowed one run over six, C.J. Cron homered and Martin Maldonado hit a two-run single. Andrelton Simmons did this:

Dodgers 6, Padres 4: Justin Turner hit two homers and drove in four. The Dodgers won for the 28th time in 33 games. They now lead the NL West by 18 games, which is the largest lead the team has had in its franchise history. They are 16-0-3 in their last 19 series, and haven’t lost one since June 5-7 to Washington.

Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 2: Jake Arrieta allowed one run in six innings and Javier Baez and Ian Happ hit back-to-back home runs in the Cubs’ four-run eighth inning and Kris Bryant went deep in the ninth. Chicago’s win and the Cardinals’ loss gives the Cubs a one-game lead in the central.

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2:  Rafael Devers homered off of Aroldis Chapman — it was a fastball that clocked in at 103 m.p.h. — to tie the game up in the ninth and force extras and Andrew Benintendi singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th. Chris Sale didn’t figure in the decision but he struck out 12 in seven innings of one-run work, and that definitely figured in the result. Boston took two of three from New York in the Bronx and now have a five and a half game lead in the East.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 4, Rockies 1: Nolan Arenado made a clever play but Yan Gomes won the game with a walkoff three-run homer. This is the baseball equivalent of some smarty pants dropping a droll bon mot over a classmate’s mispronunciation of a word only to walk out of the building at three o’clock and get decked in front of the whole school. Corey Kluber, meanwhile, tossed a complete game, allowing only one run on three hits and striking out 11. Ace stuff, right there.

Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings allowing only two hits and striking out 13. In the American League it’s him and Kluber, then there’s 50 feet of crap, then there’s the rest of the pitchers. OK, there’s, like, Luis Severino and some other dudes too, but I wanted to use that Brad Pitt quote from “Moneyball” for a while and I haven’t had any good chances. Either way: if there’s any justice in the world (spoiler alert: there isn’t, but go with me here) Sale and Kluber will face off in a deciding game in the playoffs this year. It will go eight and two-thirds innings, tied at zero, and then the home team will win on a walkoff inside-the-park homer. Everyone would love that except guys who write gamers on deadlines and their problems aren’t our problems.

Marlins 7, Nationals 3: Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run shot to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth. It was his 38th bomb of the year, setting a personal record and extending his league lead in dingers. Derek Dietrich also homered and drove in three. The Marlins scored seven runs on only six hits. Earl Weaver was right about three-run homers being awesome. He was also right about Alice Sweet’s tomato plants, but I suppose that’s best left for another time.

Pirates 6, Tigers 3: Chad Kuhl took a shutout into the sixth striking out six and walking one. He also (all together now) helped his own cause with a two-run single in the fourth to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead which they would not relinquish. Andrew McCutchen hit his 23rd homer of the year. The Tigers have lost four in a row.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2: Josh Donaldson homered twice, each of which were two-run shots. Garrett Cooper hit a sac fly and an RBI single, each of which were good for one run. 2 x 2 > 1 x 2, ergo the Blue Jays won. That’s just math. CC Sabathia left the game after three innings due to a recurrence of his old knee problems. That’s just age.

Padres 7, Reds 3Jose Pirela had four hits and scored three times and Yangervis Solarte had three hits including a homer, driving in three. Luis Perdomo pitched in and out of trouble into the seventh, inducing three double plays. The Padres got a fourth double play on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out with the throw-em-out nabbing Billy Hamilton. That doesn’t happen very often.

Mets 5, Rangers 4: The Mets snap their four-game losing streak. Chris Flexen allowed three runs over five and two-thirds for his first big league win. He was backed by homers from Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud which staked him to a 4-0 lead after two innings, so that helps.

Phillies 5, Braves 2: Zach Eflin — one of the increasingly hard to find Zachs in baseball who spell it with an “h” — allowed two runs on seven hits over seven and (all together now) helped his own cause by singling in the go-ahead run in the fourth. Odubel Herrera hit a two-run shot on a 3-for-4 night.

White Sox 8, Astros 5: Kevan Smith hit a two-run homer and a two-run double as the White Sox hand the Astros their fifth loss in seven games. Question: when the White Sox and Astros face off do they do any “remember the 2005 World Series” bits on the local broadcasts, or do we all pretend that never happened now that Houston is in the AL?

Twins 11, Brewers 4: Brian Dozier hit a grand slam and Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario each homered twice. The three of them went a combined 9-for-13, with seven runs and 10 RBI. According to the AP, the last time the Twins had multiple players hit multiple homers in one game was Aug. 3, 2011, when Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer each went deep twice. Blast from the past. Note: the last time Delmon Young was mentioned on this blog, apart from us talking about him either being released or arrested, was when we posted this:

Cardinals 10, Royals 3Yadier MolinaJedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk each went deep in the service of the Cardinals’ 14-hit attack. Jason Vargas was beat up for six runs in four and two-thirds for the Royals. In the first half he was Cy Young material. In the second half Vargas is 1-3 with a 6.94 ERA and has allowed 31 hits, has walked 12 dudes and has surrendered six homers in 23.1 innings across five starts. You can’t run away and hide from a 162-game season. It will come and find you eventually and reveal you for who you truly are.

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers had a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. Such things have been pretty safe for them in this charmed season, but Jake Lamb‘s grand slam off of Tony Watson flipped the usual script. In Watson’s defense, he’s only been with the team for a little over a week so maybe no one told him how things are supposed to work yet. Hard to fault the matchup of a lefty specialist and a guy in Lamb who struggles against lefties. Stuff just happens sometimes.

Mariners 7, Athletics 6:  The A’s took a 6-2 lead into the sixth inning but the M’s rallied to tie it and Leonys Martin hit a solo shot in the top of the 10th to give Seattle the win. Khris Davis was 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple and four RBI in the losing cause. The M’s comeback was aided by some bad Oakland defense. The A’s lead the majors with 95 errors and 70 unearned runs allowed so, yeah.

Angels 3, Orioles 2: Every time I say “Angels and Orioles” to myself I think it sounds like the title of a 1990s art house movie. This should play before the game starts:

After that — and some pretentious, pre-credits sequence in which, I dunno, some British kids in the 1960s lose something in some tall grass — former Oriole Parker Bridwell threw seven innings of one-run ball, outdueling Jeremy Hellickson. C.J. Cron singled in the Halos’ first run and singled in their last run. Then the game ended on a dissonant note with, like, Juliette Binoche looking longingly at something, I know not what.

Giants 6, Cubs 3: Buster Posey hit a three-run homer in the first inning. He’s hitting .322/.411/.485 on the year. He’s one of the few good things going for the Giants in 2017. Ty Blach allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings and (all together now) helped his own cause with an RBI single.