Jorge Alfaro

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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:

Indians 8, Royals 4:¬†With their 22-win streak laid to rest, the Indians needed to drum up some other form of entertainment this weekend. They settled on a division title, taking back the series from the Royals with a standout effort from Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion and riding the Twins’ loss to their second consecutive AL Central championship. The only problem? The Twins lost their game long after the Indians wrapped up their matinee in Kansas City, so the players were forced to share their initial reactions via social media:

Astros 8, Mariners 6: The Astros also went for a championship run on Saturday. Carlos Beltran swatted a pair of base hits and a double, tying Cal Ripken on the all-time extra-base hit list, while Joe Musgrove took down the Mariners with some expert maneuvers in the ninth inning:

Unlike the Indians, however, they were foiled by the Angels, who bested the Rangers to keep their division rivals on the right on the edge of the AL West title. Expect the Astros to rebound on Sunday, however, when Justin Verlander tries for his first postseason berth since 2014.

Dodgers 3, Nationals 2:¬†Remember that eight-game skid? The Dodgers don’t; or, if they do, they’re doing a bang-up job pretending like it never happened. They steamrolled the Nationals for their third consecutive win on Saturday, grabbing the lead on a Justin Turner sac fly and reducing their magic number to five. Cody Bellinger hogged the highlight reel with his 38th home run of the season, a 431-footer that landed in him in rare company as one of just three National League sluggers to amass at least 38 dingers in their rookie season.

Yankees 9, Orioles 3:¬†The Yankees still have 14 games left to play, but as of Saturday, they’ve officially secured enough wins to call 2017 their 25th consecutive winning season. That’s a streak that dates back through their 1993 campaign, though they have about 14 more winning seasons to go in order to tie their all-time record. Didi Gregorius got things started with a two-run shot in the third inning, followed by home runs from Greg Bird and Todd Frazier and an RBI single from Jacoby Ellsbury. The nine-run spread backed a stellar performance from Jordan Montgomery, whose six scoreless innings marked the ninth quality start of his rookie year — and the best among that group, to boot.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1:¬†Speaking of the Bronx Bombers — while they may be winners, the Red Sox aren’t ready to let them claim the division title just yet. Reigning AL Cy Young award-winner Rick Porcello stifled the Rays, notching his 10th win in what can only be described as a tough-luck season. He’s 7-8 in nine quality starts in 2017 and has averaged just 3.94 runs of support in that span. On Saturday, that’s all he needed to top the Rays: Mookie Betts put the Sox on the board with a 405-foot home run in the second inning, his 22nd of the year, and chased it with an RBI single and Rafael Devers‘ double in the sixth.

Cubs 4, Cardinals 1: The Cubs continued their run toward a second straight division title on Saturday, distancing themselves from the competition with a four-game lead over the Brewers and a five-game lead over the Cardinals. Kyle Hendricks went 7 2/3 innings for his longest outing of the season, losing the shutout on a Matt Carpenter bomb in the eighth. At the plate, Ian Happ was the difference-maker, delivering a go-ahead RBI single in the fourth inning that gave the Cubs the edge they needed to clinch the series.

Reds 2, Pirates 1:¬†The Reds aren’t going anywhere this October, but that didn’t stop them from turning in a postseason-worthy performance on Saturday. Rookie right-hander Sal Romano flummoxed the Pirates’ bats through eight innings, whiffing six of 28 batters and keeping the game scoreless as the Reds worked up to a two-run lead. Things didn’t go nearly as flawlessly for Pirates’ starter Ivan Nova, however, whose own shutout attempt was spoiled by Jesse Winker‘s seventh-inning home run and later departed with right calf soreness.

White Sox 10, Tigers 4: With no division title to fight for and a wild card well out of reach, the White Sox are spending the next two weeks battling for fourth place in the AL Central. They continued their fight on Saturday, topping the Tigers with a six-run barrage in the first two innings and forcing rookie Myles Jaye off the mound in the second. Nicky Delmonico kicked things off with a 370-footer in the first inning, but it was shortstop Tim Anderson who stole the show, collecting four hits en route to a career-best performance.

Phillies 5, Athletics 3: Sometimes, the best part of a baseball game has nothing to do with baseball whatsoever:

Despite their rain delay resilience, the A’s didn’t have enough left in the tank to see them through the rest of the game. J.P. Crawford put up a pair with an RBI single and sac fly, and Jorge Alfaro‘s two-run shot in the sixth gave the Phillies a lead they refused to relinquish.

Marlins 7, Brewers 4:¬†The Marlins finally worked the faux home field advantage to their favor, topping the Brewers to even the series at Miller Park on Saturday. A four-run first inning helped them reclaim the lead (and then some), while Derek Dietrich‘s two-run homer cemented their advantage in the third. “We talked this thing up like it’s the playoffs for us,” skipper Don Mattingly remarked to the press, giving due credit to the sizable crowds drawn by unusual circumstances this weekend. “When you have two teams that are out of it playing Game 140 or something, it is not always a high-energy game. You want guys to push their way through and be professionals during that and have pride in the game and for the fans that come to see it, but this is a lot easier when you have people that are enthused.”

The Brewers, meanwhile, have an actual chance to break through to the real playoffs, but will need to vault over the Rockies and their 3.5-game lead to do so.

Mets 7, Braves 3:¬†Jacob deGrom was lights-out again on Saturday, following two quality starts with another stellar performance against the Braves. The Mets’ ace went seven strong, holding batters to just five hits and a run while he worked toward a career-best 15th win.

“He wants to be known as one of the best in the game,” manager Terry Collins told reporters following the win. “The only way to do that is to stay out there and pitch a lot of innings.”

He’s certainly done that, with 195 1/3 innings under his belt so far this season and 200 innings well within reach. Also helping matters? A run support average of 5.23, which got a boost of its own with the Mets’ seven-run spread on Saturday.

Blue Jays 7, Twins 2:¬†The Twins didn’t set out to help the Indians reach their AL Central championship on Saturday, but Marco Estrada left them little choice. Estrada twirled eight innings of three-hit ball in a performance so dominant that skipper John Gibbons referred to it as “vintage Estrada.” The Twins poked a couple holes in the right-hander’s pitching line with a Eddie Rosario‘s solo shot in the fifth and Eduardo Escobar‘s home run in the eighth, but couldn’t stay ahead of the Blue Jays for the win.

Rockies 16, Padres 0:¬†The Rockies couldn’t have asked for a better comeback performance from Tyler Anderson, whose quality outing coincided with his first start since undergoing knee surgery back in June. Even with a no-hitter stretching into the sixth inning (and eventually broken up by a Manuel Margot base hit), pitching wasn’t at the forefront of anyone’s mind on Saturday. The Rockies trampled the Padres with 16 runs, building to a double-digit finish with everything from a run-scoring passed ball to Pat Valaika‘s seventh-inning grand slam.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 0:¬†You haven’t seen Zack Greinke this good in a while. In fact, you haven’t seen Zack Greinke this good since 2015, when he fired eight innings of one-hit ball against the Phillies. Greinke was dominant again on Saturday, daring the Giants to venture past the batter’s box as he hurled eight shutout innings for his 17th win of the season. (He also collected two doubles off of Madison Bumgarner, just for the hell of it.)

The Giants managed just two hits against Arizona’s ace — a couple of singles up the middle by Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford — while Paul Goldschmidt‘s two-run homer supplied ample run support for Greinke’s gem.

Angels 2, Rangers 0:¬†Not only did the Angels play spoiler to the Astros’ postseason hopes on Saturday, but they also managed to narrow the gap in the wild card standings. Rookie righty Parker Bridwell logged eight pristine innings, keeping the game scoreless while Rangers’ southpaw Cole Hamels helped Justin Upton score a couple of dingers to decide the game. With the win, the Angels now sit just one game back of the Twins and could grab hold of a wild card berth as soon as Sunday.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 3, Royals 2: Amazingly, the Indians never ending winning streak had not featured a walkoff win. They changed that last night by rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth and then winning via Jay Bruce‘s RBI that drove in Jose Ramirez. Ramirez, by the way, was only able to score because he hustled his butt off to turn his single into a double. Every little thing counts when you’re winning 22 games in a row, of course. Not that anyone is alive who would know that before now.

White Sox 17, Tigers 7:¬†Avisail Garcia had a five-hit, seven-RBI day. He’s the fourth player this season to have five hits and seven RBI in a single game. He did his damage via a two-run single, two RBI singles, and a three-run home run.¬†Garcia is batting .333/.380/.509 with 17 home runs, 77 RBI, and 67 runs scored across 503 plate appearances this season. Back when he was with the Tigers they used to call him Little Miguel, due to his resemblance to Cabrera. He’s finally grown into that moniker. And yesterday he showed the Tigers what they’re missing.

Yankees 13, Orioles 5: The Baltimore Orioles were owned by Peter Angelos until April of this year. Since then, they have been owned by Aaron Judge. Jude hit two more homers against the O’s last night — both three-run shots — brining his season total against the Orioles to 11. He’s batting .472/.611/1.170 versus Baltimore in 2017, which is practically obscene. Overall his homers were numbers 42 and 43 on the season, brining him to within six of Mark McGwire’s rookie record.

Phillies 10, Marlins 0: After Wednesday’s game, which the Marlins lost 8-1, Don Mattingly said¬†“My whole career, playing, coaching, that was the worst feeling I’ve ever had after a game.” Then he walked into the ballpark last night and saw his men get slaughtered 10-0. As was the case Wednesday, Rhys Hoskins homered.¬†¬†Freddy Galvis¬†and¬†Jorge Alfaro¬†also went deep as the Phillies scored two in the first and seven in the second to give Mattingly ample time to stew. Or, based on his comments after this one, maybe he used the time to ascend to some higher plane where such things don’t matter:

“I didn’t have any problem with tonight except for the first two innings,” Mattingly said. “The guys kept fighting all night.”

The Marlins lost their fifth in a row and 15th in their last 17 games.

Nationals 5, Braves 2: Rookie Victor Robles tripled and scored in the fourth. Most players would’ve had a double on the ball he hit there. His speed may have also been a contributing factor to a throwing error that allowed him to take second and another runner to take third later in the game. Both of them would then score. Quite the spark plug the Nats have in Robles.

Red Sox 6, Athletics 2: Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three driven in. Drew Pomeranz won his 16th game with one-run ball over six innings. It was close the entire time Poemeranz was in the game, though. Indeed, he finished his outing by striking out Matt Olson, who had taken him to a full count with two men on in a 1-1 game. Boston scored two while Pomeranz was still pitcher of record in the bottom half of the sixth to give him the win and then added more late.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Luke Weaver threw six innings of two-hit, one-run ball and Tommy Pham drove in two and stole two to join the 20-20 club. Not bad for a couple of guys who began the year in Memphis. The Cardinals have won five of their last six and nine of 12.

Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 0:¬†Zack Godley tossed eight shutout innings, scattering five hits and¬†A.J. Pollock capped a five-run first inning for the Dbacks with a bases loaded, bases clearing double. He’d add another RBI later to give him four on the day. Also: both teams were wearing vests:

That’s just . . . eww.

 

Mariners 10, Rangers 4:¬†Nelson Cruz¬†went 4-for-4 with a home run and¬†Kyle Seager¬†hit a two-run homer. Felix Hernandez made his first start since the end of July and, though he was limited to 54 pitches, having him back on the mound was a boost to the M’s, who have won three straight.

Cubs 14, Mets 6: Anthony Rizzo homered and had three hits, Kris Bryant drove in a couple and Jason Heyward homered and drove in four. he Cubs sweep the Mets, outscoring them 39-14 in their three-game series. The Cubs extended their NL Central lead to three games over Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Cardinals come to Chicago for a big three game series this weekend.

Twins 3, Blue Jays 2: Byron Buxton hit a 10th-inning homer to give the Twins their second straight walkoff win. Buxton has hit four homers in four games against Toronto this season. If Aaron Judge owns the Orioles, he’s at least put a down payment on the Blue Jays.

Astros 5, Angels 2: Yuli Gurriel had three hits and drove in a run, Marwin Gonzalez added a two-run double and Brad Peacock was solid as the Astros reduce their magic number to three. The Angels, meanwhile, have fallen three back of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Stephen Strasburg has the longest scoreless streak of the season

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Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg hit a new franchise milestone on Sunday afternoon, extending his scoreless streak to a record 34 innings as the Nats clinched their weekend series on a 3-2 nail-biter against the Phillies. His 34 scoreless innings are the longest such stretch among any major league starter in 2017, eclipsing Robbie Ray‘s 27 2/3 scoreless streak back in May. All told, Strasburg’s efforts spanned 19 hits, four walks and 41 strikeouts and he exited Sunday’s outing with the streak still intact.

Strasburg stifled the Phillies at the plate, fanning Nick Williams on three straight pitches to end the first inning and taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning, where Maikel Franco worked an eight-pitch count before lining a single into left field. Franco returned in the eighth for the Phillies’ second hit of the afternoon, but found himself unable to advance a second time after Aaron Altherr grounded into a double play.

The only blemish on Strasburg’s performance? Not a hit, a walk or a run, but this observation:

If anything is wrong with Strasburg’s arm, however, the Nationals have yet to address it. He was able to pitch through the eighth with little trouble and finished the 34-inning streak after battling through a nine-pitch at-bat to get a groundout from Jorge Alfaro.

Not surprisingly, the streak places the ace in pretty good company: