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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Nationals 11, Phillies 10: Odubel Herrera extended a league-best 21-game hitting streak on Friday night, helping power the Phillies’ 10-run drive with a single in the seventh inning. That still wasn’t enough to quell the NL East leaders, who returned to haunt Herrera with a fly ball that went just over his head in the third inning:

Michael A. Taylor only needed 15.04 seconds to scoot around the bases, taking the lead on his first-ever inside-the-park grand slam and recording the second-fastest home run of the year. It wasn’t quite enough to keep the Phillies at bay — they responded with a trifecta of home runs and an RBI single to cut their deficit to one run in the ninth — but Taylor took care of that, too, giving the Nats their go-ahead run with an RBI triple in the eighth.

Tigers 5, Blue Jays 4: While the Phillies’ defense compromised their production at the plate, the Tigers excelled on the field. Buck Farmer held the Blue Jays scoreless through four frames, getting pulled for Drew VerHagen in the sixth after Kendrys Morales singled home the Jays’ second run of the night. Jeimer Candelario had the rest of the inning covered:

The Tigers needed just two homers to take the game: Nicholas Castellanos‘ grand slam in the third inning, and an Ian Kinsler solo shot in the seventh.

Indians 5, Orioles 0: The Indians make winning look easy. Mike Clevinger flummoxed the Orioles for six straight innings, keeping them to three hits and three walks, while Edwin Encarnacion solved Wade Miley with a three-run homer in the first inning. With the win, the Indians sit just four games back of the Athletics’ historic 20-win tear in 2002 and five games back of a record-breaking 21-win streak.

Padres 10, Diamondbacks 6: The Diamondbacks may not have approached the 20-win feat set by the Athletics, but they still made franchise history after carrying a 13-win streak heading into Friday’s opener. The Padres brought that run to a swift end, however, forcing Patrick Corbin from the game with an eight-run spread over the first 4 1/3 innings. The D-backs rebounded with a pair of home runs and RBI doubles, but couldn’t muster up the requisite five runs to top the 64-78 Friars in the ninth.

Mets 5, Reds 1: Jose Reyes slugged his way into the Mets’ history books during Friday’s opener, punishing a pair of pitches from Amir Garrett for his 100th and 101st home runs with the club.

While it hasn’t been a career year for the veteran slugger by any stretch of the imagination, the home runs put Reyes in rare company as one of just 13 players to post over 100 dingers with the Mets. The twin blasts helped propel the team to their third straight win, their longest win streak since mid-July.

Red Sox 9, Rays 3: Is there anything Mookie Betts can’t do? Well, probably, but on Friday, he did it all: suppressing runs with a pair of five-star catches and snapping a streak of 120 homer-less at-bats with a 318-footer off of Chris Archer in the first inning:

Drew Pomeranz kicked in his 15th win of the year on six innings of two-run, seven-strikeout ball. The win pushed the Rays back in the wild card standings and helped extend the Sox’ lead in the AL East, though they still have a tough month ahead of them with the Yankees just 4.5 wins from the division title.

Marlins 7, Braves 1: The Marlins may not be the favorites to lock down a postseason spot, but don’t count them out just yet. Jose Urena looked sharp through 6 1/3 innings against the Braves, collecting his first big league RBI in the second and fanning five batters en route to his 13th win of the season. It’s been a banner year for the 25-year-old hurler, whose 13 wins and 3.61 ERA are both career-best marks so far. With the win, the Marlins sit eight games back of a playoff berth, though they’ll still have to beat out the Brewers, Cardinals and Rockies for a chance to extend their run past October 1.

Brewers 2, Cubs 0: While half of the American League dukes it out for a wild card spot, the division battles continue to rage on in the National League. The Brewers blanked the Cubs on Friday — the first regular-season game hosted at Wrigley Field on a Friday night — and moved within four games of first place. Jimmy Nelson led the charge, quelling the Cubs’ bats with five innings of four-hit, seven-strikeout ball, while Ryan Braun hogged the spotlight at the plate, driving in the first and only runs of the night with his 300th career home run.

We’re not saying the Brewers’ voodoo doll of Javier Baez had anything to do with the win… but hey, maybe the Brewers’ voodoo doll of Javier Baez had something to do with the win.

Rangers 11, Yankees 5: So much for making a run at the AL East title. The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka got shelled in the first four innings of Friday’s loss, taking seven runs on eight hits as the Rangers slugged their way to a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. Elvis Andrus led the way, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a single and becoming the third Rangers’ player to reach 40 doubles, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a single season.

Giants 9, White Sox 2: Even after losing Mark Melancon to season-ending forearm surgery, even after skidding to their worst franchise record since 1985, the Giants found some moments of redemption this week. One of those moments came on a 2-1 pitch to Pablo Sandoval, who crushed a three-run homer during Friday’s win and snapped 39 straight at-bats without a hit.

Matt Moore also gave the Giants a glimmer of hope, posting his first quality start of the month with two runs on five hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings.

Twins 8, Royals 5: As competitive as the AL wild card race looks right now, no one has been able to unseat the Twins for more than a day. They kept rolling on Friday, staying just ahead of the Angels with a four-RBI effort from Eddie Rosario and Ervin Santana‘s 15th win of the season. The Royals, meanwhile, dropped to 4.5 games back in the standings — which, in any other year, would look like a surmountable deficit with 22 games still left to play.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 1: Don’t look now, but Luke Weaver is on a roll. The Cardinals’ rookie right-hander turned in his fifth straight win on Friday, taking one from the Pirates with 5 2/3 scoreless innings of seven-hit, seven-strikeout ball. He supplied his own run support, too, plating Greg Garcia on a groundout in the third inning and earning his first big league RBI. Not only did the win help the Cardinals stay within three games of a wild card berth (and four games from the division title), but it kept the spotlight on the rookie righty as he continued to fill in for an injured Adam Wainwright. “It’s just real fun to watch him take advantage of an opportunity like this, this time of season,” manager Mike Matheny told reporters.

Athletics 9, Astros 8: The Athletics found a rare moment of clarity on Friday evening, besting the AL-leading Astros with Marcus Semien‘s seventh-inning grand slam and a Jed Lowrie walk-off in the ninth:

While the win didn’t do anything for the club’s postseason hopes this season, it spoiled the Astros’ seven-game winning streak and snapped a string of 10 consecutive wins on the A’s home turf.

Rockies 5, Dodgers 4: Speaking of league leaders, the 92-49 Dodgers aren’t looking so hot these days. They took their eighth consecutive loss during Friday’s series opener, dropping a 5-4 nail-biter after DJ LeMahieu‘s go-ahead double in the fifth inning. Yu Darvish fanned six batters and recorded his 1,000th big league strikeout, but scattered also five runs over 4 1/3 innings in one of his worst outings of the year. No one’s all that close to unseating the Dodgers in the NL West — even the second-place Diamondbacks have a 10-game deficit — but their recent struggles don’t bode well for their chances of making a deep run in the playoffs this October.

Mariners 4, Angels 3: The Mariners, on the other hand, improved their postseason odds against the Angels on Friday, breaking a three-game losing streak to move within four games of a wild card spot. Ben Gamel netted his eighth home run of the year and Mitch Haniger plated the winning run on an RBI single in the third, while the Angels struggled to solve Seattle’s pitchers with a pair of RBI singles by Justin Upton and Albert Pujols and little else. Now isn’t the time for the Mariners to get comfortable, however. They’ll still need to beat out four other teams to lay claim to that elusive playoff berth by the end of the month.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Happy Labor Day. I hope you have an enjoyable one. But I also hope you take some time to think about the reason for the holiday. It’s not just a day off for grilling meat, even if a lot of us plan to spend it that way.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 7, Nationals 2: Hello. My name is Domingo Santana. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Not sure why Washington even pitched to Santana. You knew it’d be his day. Dang day was named after him for cryin’ out loud.

Rangers 7, Angels 6: I can’t decide if I want to hug or boo the headline writer responsible for this: 

Probably hug. I love headline puns. This one described Elvis Andrus going deep twice, of course.  Robinson Chirinos and Delino DeShields hit back-to-back homers. The Angels rallied in the ninth, though, scoring three times and loading the bases before Luis Valbuena grounded out to end things.

Braves 5, Cubs 1: Rookie Max Fried made his first big league start against the defending World Series champions who came into the game on a six-game winning streak. No worries: Fried allowed one run over five innings and four relievers shut the Cubs out for the final four to give Fried the win. Rio Ruiz backed them offensively, going 3-for-4 and driving in three.

 

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 4: This one ended in the twelfth too, with Mark Trumbo hitting a walkoff RBI double for Baltimore. His cohort in clutchiness was Welington Castillo, who hit two home runs, including a game-tying shot in the ninth. Baltimore has won eight of ten and is now tied with the Angels, 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card spot. They’re three and a half back of the Yankees, who they meet this afternoon.

Indians 11, Tigers 1:  Jose Ramirez had five extra base hits on the day, smacking two homers and three doubles and driving in three. That’s not the sort of thing that happens every day. Something else that doesn’t happen every day is hitting a homer that an opposing outfielder helps over the wall. Cleveland outscored the Tigers 29-5 while sweeping them in the four game series. They’ve won 11 in a row overall.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1:  Nick Williams hit a two-run single with two out in the 12th to give Philly the win. Lost in the extra innings heroics was a nice little duel between starters Jose Urena of Miami and Jake Thompson of Philly, who went seven and six innings, respectively, each allowing one run.

Pirates 3, Reds 1: Trevor Williams tossed seven scoreless innings despite allowing eight hits and walking a guy. Cincinnati went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. That’s no way to go through life, son.

White Sox 6, Rays 2: Tim Anderson singled in a run, doubled in a run and homered in a run (sure, that’s a thing) on his 3-for-4 day. Jose Abreu hit a two-run homer after missing three games with an elbow injury. Guess he’s feeling better. Lucas Giolito allowed one run on three hits and struck out 10 in seven innings of work.

Royals 5, Twins 4: Lorenzo Cain hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning to lift Kansas City. Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer. Not a bad bounce back day for the Royals, who lost 17-0 on Saturday.

Astros 8, Mets 6: Two guys who weren’t around for Houston a week ago — Cameron Maybin and Carlos Correa — came up big. Maybin hit a three-run homer and Correa drove in a run. George Springer homered and Josh Reddick had two hits and three RBI as the Astros sweep the Mets in the two-day, three-game series.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 1: Arizona seems unstoppable lately, winning ten in a row. Ketel Marte and Brandon Drury homered and Zack Godley pitched out of trouble, allowing only one run on three hits despite walking six. Striking out seven helps. The Dbacks lead for the top Wild Card spot is now six and a half games. The Rockies, who once looked to be locks for the second Wild Card, are now only up by a half game over the Brewers.

Cardinals 7, Giants 3: Madison Bumgarner hit a homer to tie things up at two in the fifth inning but Harrison Bader homered off of him in the sixth to put St. Louis up for good. Tommy DeJong and Jose Martinez took Bumgarner out too. Martinez drove in three on the day.

Mariners 10, Athletics 2: Robinson Cano had a day, going 4-for-5 and driving in four, thanks in part to a two-run homer. Andrew Albers took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before running out of gas, but he’d only allow one run on the day. The M’s sweep the A’s in three.

Padres 6, Dodgers 4: The Dodgers continue to struggle, dropping three of four to San Diego. Here Erick Aybar hit a go-ahead, two-run homer and Jose Pirela went deep as well. Los Angeles has lost eight of nine.

Yankees 9, Red Sox 2: New York takes three of four from Boston and moves to within 3.5 games back of the Sox for the division lead. Aaron Judge snapped his longest home run drought of the season, Chase Headley went deep and Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back home runs. Chris Sale didn’t make it out of the fifth inning as he falls to the Yankees for the third time this year.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, White Sox 4: Yu Darvish was OK, but not great in his Dodger Stadium debut and his teammates could only manage two runs off of White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, so they found themselves down 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth. As has so often happened this year, however, L.A. rallied. Cody Bellinger singled, Logan Forsythe doubled him in, Austin Barnes singled to put men on second and third and then Yasiel Puig came up to bat and doubled both Forsythe and Barnes in for the tying and winning runs. In so doing, Puig — who has been both hot and a consummate team player of late, will wonders ever cease? — becomes the ninth different Dodger to have a walkoff hit in their ten walkoff wins this year. They’re now on pace for 116 wins, which would match the all-time record.

 

Ok, let us all note right now that four games finished with the final score of 7-6 last night. This is important. This means something.

Brewers 7, Pirates 6: Milwaukee hit five homers yesterday, with Manny Pina‘s two-run shot in the eighth putting them over and giving the Brewers their fourth straight win. Keon Broxton homered twice and Neil Walker and Travis Shaw also went deep as Milwaukee moves into sole possession of second place in the central, a game and a half back of the Cubs.

Royals 7, Athletics 6: Oakland tied it in the bottom of the eighth with a Matt Chapman two-run homer but Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth to give the Royals the win. Here’s A’s manager Bob Melvin after the game, offering comments which basically mirror my internal monologue every time I have to recap a 7-6, 9-8, 10-7 (or something like that) game with lots of lead changes and crap pitching:

“It just was an ugly game all the way around. There was no pace to the game, and it just seemed like one of those games that was just blah.”

I’ve been recapping scores for a decade now and I can say that such games are the hardest to recap, mostly because there’s no great through-narrative. The easiest to recap are ones where a starter dominates. Not the best, just the easiest (“Shlabotnik tosses eight shutout innings, striking out 11 as . . .”). The best are ones are ones with big dumb fights and controversies or bad ump calls or something. Dramatic walkoffs are a close second. I should probably do a post some time with a bunch of bullet points discussing all of the dumb little things about writing these recaps that y’all probably don’t realize. The only thing stopping me is that you probably don’t care.

Mariners 7, Orioles 6: Yonder Alonso hit his first homer for Seattle and drove in three runs, Leonys Martin homered to give the M’s what would be their winning run and Marc Rzepczynski struck out Chris Davis with the bases loaded to end an O’s threat and the game.

Cubs 7, Reds 6: This game had everything. A first-inning grand slam, a stolen base from John Lackey (followed by Lackey getting picked off because he flew too close to the sun, apparently) and a walkoff wild pitch:

Mercy. I mean, really, how often do you see a game end when a catcher can’t handle a throw to the plate?

Red Sox 5, Cardinals 4: Oh, well, more often than I imagined, I suppose:

That was Mookie Betts lining that two-run double off the Green Monster with two outs in the ninth inning, capping Boston’s three-run game-winning rally. Xander Bogaerts opened the ninth with a solo homer. In between all of that, one of the weirdest things I can recall happening went down: Cards reliever John Brebbia was in his motion, when home plate umpire Chris Segal called timeout, negating the pitch and, you assume, messing with Brebbia’s rhythm. It wasn’t because the batter called time and Segal simply granted it too late — that happens a lot. No, it was Segal calling time on his own because “needed a break.” Really. That’s what he said to Mike Matheny when he came out to ask for an explanation. Matheny understandably went nuts and got ejected, saying “it’s not your show.” I’m no Matheny fan, but I’d be just as pissed in his place.

Padres 3, Phillies 0: Clayton Richard had a three-hit, complete game shutout. See: those are easy to write up. That’s really the whole story of the game. Next!

Ah, damn, not the whole story:

Wil Myers‘ feat marks the first time a player has stolen all three bases in the same inning since Dee Gordon did it in 2011.

Yankees 5, Mets 3: Aaron Judge hit a massive homer into the third deck of Citi Field — I’ve been up there, brother, and let me tell you it’s far — and Didi Gregorius broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double. I was watching this game at someone else’s house as I had been drafted to babysit their toddler. Observations: (1) it’s been almost ten years since I had a toddler, and no matter how cute and adorable they are (and this one is) I forgot how much is sucks to not be able to turn on a game until the fifth inning or so because of the playing and bedtime rituals and all of that, but I managed it; and (2) being forced to watch a Rick Sutcliffe-called game because you’re in a place where you can’t access your MLB.tv account is a high class problem to have but, buddy, it’s a problem. Lord he’s awful.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2: Marcus Stroman allowed two runs while pitching into the seventh inning and Steve Pearce homered and scored twice. The Rays have scored two or fewer runs in nine of their past 12 games. They’re 1-8 in those games, which makes a lot of sense.

Rangers 12, Tigers 6: Texas sweeps the three game series thanks to Elvis Andrus‘ four RBI, which included the go-ahead run in the form of a solo homer. Joey Gallo (natch), Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre also went deep for the Rangers.

Astros 9, Diamondbacks 5Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer in a four-run eighth inning and Charlie Morton allowed one run in six and a third. The Astros win back-to-back games for the first time in three weeks.

Rockies 17, Braves 2: Well that was a beatdown. Trevor Story had two homers and knocked in six, Mark Reynolds homered and drove in four, knocking four hits in all, and Gerardo Parra added three hits and four RBI. This was only the second-highest run total for the Rockies this year because Rockies.

Marlins 8, Giants 1: Giancarlo Stanton‘s home run streak ended but he still had two hits, scored a run and stole a base, so maybe he’ll now go on some crazy small-ball tear. Tomas Telis drove in three for Miami. Jose Urena allowed only one unearned run over five and three Marlins relievers held San Francisco scoreless for the final four frames.

Angels 3, Nationals 2: Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer in the first but Luis Valbuena hit a solo shot for the Angels in the fifth and Cole Calhoun hit a two-run blast in the sixth and that was all the scoring there was. The Angels have won seven of eight and sit alone in the second Wild Card spot in the American League. Who woulda thunk it?

Indians vs. Twins — POSTPONED:

I’ve been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I’ve cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell
I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms