Kendall Graveman

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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Nationals 3, Phillies 2: The Nats become the first team to clinch a playoff spot this year, though they had to wait until the Braves-Marlins game ended to make it official. Here Stephen Strasburg tossed eight shutout innings — making it 34 straight scoreless innings for him — and struck out ten. It’s the Nats’ fourth division title in six years. Now all they have to do is figure out how to advance past the Division Series. Until then, at least we have this video of Anthony Rendon pouring his celebratory Budweiser down Bryce Harper‘s butt crack:

Braves 10, Marlins 8: The Braves made the Nats wait for the champagne, but they handed the division to Washington all the same with this win. Quite a late rally for the Braves who were trailing 8-5 in the ninth and then saw Rio Ruiz hit a two-run single with two outs to force extras. They then watched Lane Adams hit a two-run homer to walk things off in the 11th. Earlier the Marlins blew a 3-0 lead, then the Braves blew a 5-3 lead, so yeah it was one of those days.

Indians 3, Orioles 2: That’s 18 straight wins for Cleveland. Roberto Perez and Francisco Lindor each hit solo home runs off of Jeremy Hellickson in the bottom of the sixth to give the Tribe the lead for good. The Indians are now in a five-way tie for ninth longest winning streak of all time. Next on the list is the 1947 New York Yankees and the 1906 White Sox, each of which won 19 in a row. At the top the list: the 1916 Giants who won 26 in a row.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0: Michael Wacha tossed eight shutout innings and Yadier Molina knocked in five runs. St. Louis has won seven of eight and move to within two games behind Chicago in the NL Central.

Brewers 3, Cubs 1: The Brewers are only two back as well after sweeping the Cubs. Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Zach Davies allowed one run over seven innings. Chicago scored three runs in the whole dang series. The last month will give us a race in the Central after all, it seems.

Rockies 8, Dodgers 1: Holy crap, the Dodgers keep losing. Ten straight now, and 15 of 16. They are the only team in baseball history to both lose 15 of 16 and win 15 of 16 in the same season, so at least their futility is accompanied by some fun trivia. Tyler Chatwood shut ’em out for five innings and three relievers did it for three more innings. Rich Hill ran out of gas at five innings and then the L.A. bullpen imploded, mostly via a Mark Reynolds grand slam, surrendered by Walker Buehler. Frankly it’d be way better if he had given it up on Saturday when L.A. dropped their ninth so we could use that video clip we all like to see when something bad happens for the ninth time. Oh, hell, I had the day off yesterday so let’s use it anyway:

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2: J.D. Martinez hit two homers and Paul Goldschmidt hit one himself and that’s all there was. Still not gonna say that the Dodgers will choke this thing away, but the Dbacks are now only nine games back. Nine games? NINE GAMES.

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 2:  Teoscar Hernandez is not a player most of us think about all that much but he probably gave Anibal Sanchez nightmares last night after he hit two homers and drove in five. Heck, every Jays batter probably gave Sanchez nightmares after they scored seven runs on 12 hits off of him in less than five innings.

Reds 10, Mets 5: New York had a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh but the Reds tied it up with three that inning and poured it on with two more in the eighth and three more in the ninth. Highlight of the game: Reds manager Bryan Price came out to argue after one of his batters was ejected to end the top of the seventh, then halted the argument during “God Bless America,” and then put his hat back on and continued to argue after the song was over:

Rays 4, Red Sox 1: Wilson Ramos and Lucas Duda each hit a solo homer for the Rays who handed Rick Porcello his 17th loss of the year. There have been 204 20-game losers going back to 1900, but unless I’m missing one, none of them have pitched for a playoff team. Porcello’s Red Sox appear playoff bound and, if he takes all of his remaining turns, he has three starts left. I’m guessing the Sox won’t let it happen, but it sure would be something.

White Sox 8, Giants 1: I thought I had a pretty good weekend — I got a good hike in, made a couple of good meals and on Friday I met two of our commenters emeritus, Paper Lions and Historiophiliac, in actual person — but Jose Abreu hit for the cycle on Saturday and hit two homers and drove in three yesterday, so I guess he wins. Carson Fulmer — who sounds more like a quarterback than a pitcher — allowed one run over six innings and struck out nine. For the record, Paper Lions and Historiophiliac are cool people. Just thought you should know that.

Royals 11, Twins 3Brandon Moss homered and drove in four and Jason Vargas won for the first time in a good while by allowing one run over five innings. Eric Hosmer had four hits. He had 11 hits in the four-game series against the Twins.

Yankees 16, Rangers 7: Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez each hit two homers. Judge is now over 40 homers for the year, and is eight behind Mark McGwire’s rookie record. Sanchez now has 30 on the year and 50 in his first 161 big league games. That one-two punch is gonna be fun to watch for years. Meanwhile, all Didi Gregorius did was notch four hits while driving in four. The Yankees have won three straight series and stand three and a half games ahead of Minnesota for the AL’s top Wild Card spot.

Athletics 10, Astros 2: A four-game sweep of the mighty Astros by the lowly Athletics, who outscored Houston 41-15 in the series. Matt ChapmanRyon HealyBoog Powell and Matt Olson all homered and Kendall Graveman allowed one run over six. The A’s then used five pitchers to finish the final three innings because September.

Angels 5, Mariners 3Mike Trout and Luis Valbuena hit solo homers and Justin Upton hit a two-run double in the Angels’ decisive three-run eighth inning. The Angels pull to within one game of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Albert Pujols ties Jim Thome on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols hit a pair of two-run homers off of Oakland’s Kendall Graveman in last night’s Angels win. The second of those homers was number 612 of his career, which ties him with Jim Thome for seventh place on the all-time list.

Next up on the all-time list is Ken Griffey Jr., who has 630. As Pujols has 21 this year — he’s on a pace for 25 —
Griffey should be reachable next season. Beyond that he has a way to go, with Willie Mays at 660 and Alex Rodriguez at 696.

Pujols is having a superficially good year in terms of power, with those projected 25 homers and a projected 100 RBI representing the sorts of stats that most people associate with strong production. It’s pretty empty power, however, as his overall line is .232/.278/.387. He’ll hit a homer if you make a mistake, and with Mike Trout hitting in front of him there’s often a guy on base, but he’ll do almost nothing else at this point.

Still, he’s under contract through 2021, so he’s likely to hit some more mistakes. If he stays healthy, at least for him, and if the Angels don’t release him, he has an outside chance to hit 700 homers.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Marlins 8, Padres 6: Getting tired of watching Giancarlo Stanton smash dingers? No? Good, neither is he. Stanton slugged a pair for the Marlins on Friday night, collecting No. 48 and 49 with a two-run, 462-footer in the first inning and a solo shot in the third.

His second blast was considerably shorter, cresting just 365 feet to put the Marlins up 3-0:

Stanton’s two-homer, five-RBI night and Marcell Ozuna‘s go-ahead home run helped cover a shaky start from Adam Conley, allowing the Marlins to slip back over .500 with their 64th win of the year. Stanton will go for home run No. 50 on Saturday to become the first Major League player with a 50-homer season since Chris Davis in 2013.

Mariners 2, Yankees 1: Following Thursday’s Yankees-Tigers melee, Friday’s loss to the Mariners was quick and quiet by comparison. Gary Sanchez, who is appealing his four-game suspension, went 1-for-5 with a base hit, while the rest of the lineup drummed up just four hits against Ariel Miranda and the Mariners’ bullpen. Yonder Alonso powered the win with a solo homer in the 11th inning, keeping Seattle just half a game under the second wild card spot.

Mets 4, Nationals 2: All things considered, Jacob deGrom is having himself a pretty nice season. The right-hander tied a career-high 14 wins during the Mets’ series opener, striking out 10 and holding the Nats to one run over 7 2/3 innings. It might have little to no implications for the playoffs, but the win was a nice breather for the team, who entered Friday with a 2-9 record over their last 11 games.

Phillies 7, Cubs 1: If you haven’t been following Rhys Hoskins’ sprint toward one of MLB’s all-time rookie home run records, now is the time to tune in. Hoskins cranked his ninth home run in 16 games, putting the Phillies up 2-1 in the first inning with a monster shot off of opposing starter Jose Quintana.

Cesar Hernandez snapped the tie in the next inning with a three-run triple, his sixth of the season. The Cubs, meanwhile, collected and promptly stranded 10 baserunners en route to their 59th loss of the season.

Twins 6, Blue Jays 1: Byron Buxton converted the Twins’ win from a potential nail-biter to a veritable blowout, going 3-for-5 with three hits, a pair of RBI singles and a run scored. His most impressive feat, however, was out in center field:

Orioles 16, Red Sox 3: Speaking of blowouts, the Orioles trounced the Red Sox with more runs than they’d seen in any single win this season. That was almost entirely due to a seven-run spread in the fifth inning, featuring one of three run-scoring errors from the Red Sox and forcing Rick Porcello to take his worst loss of the year, with 11 runs, nine hits and four strikeouts scattered over 4 2/3 innings.

Indians 4, Royals 0: Ryan Merritt has been yanked every which way this season, ping-ponging between Triple-A and the big leagues at least seven times since the start of the year. Thankfully for the Indians, he’s looked dominant in nearly every start he’s made in the majors, and Friday’s outing was no exception. The rookie left-hander fired 6 2/3 scoreless innings, limiting the Royals to seven hits, a walk and three strikeouts as Jason Vargas struggled to his eighth loss of the year.

Reds 9, Pirates 5: What Robert “Bob” Stephenson lacked in an exciting nickname, he made up for on the mound during Friday’s win over the Pirates. Stephenson exited after 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits and distributing a career-best 11 strikeouts while the Reds came one run shy of their 10th double-digit win in 2017.

Braves 5, Rockies 2: The Braves played spoiler to the Rockies’ play for the second wild card spot, keeping them 3.5 games above the Brewers with a decisive 5-2 win in Friday’s series opener. They hit Chad Bettis fast and early, building a three-run lead on Matt Kemp‘s 15th home run of the year, Kurt Suzuki‘s 15th home run of the year, and a pair of supplemental runs from Ender Inciarte and Brandon Phillips.

White Sox 3, Tigers 2: In the end, a pitcher’s duel between the hard-hitting Justin Verlander and Miguel Gonzalez could only be settled one way: with a line drive walk-off RBI single from Yolmer “El del Pinonal” Sanchez.

Rays 7, Cardinals 3: For Ryan Sherriff’s big league debut, there was no opponent more fitting than Kevin “Outlaw” Kiermaier. Sherriff went three innings strong against the surging Rays, besting the Outlaw twice with a pair of force outs in the fifth and a groundout in the seventh and finishing his patrol with two hits, a walk and four strikeouts. The Outlaw had the last laugh, however, as the Rays’ four-run third inning gave them all the cushion they needed to take their 64th win of the season.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 3: Brandon Crawford shone at the plate on Friday, which, if you’ve followed the incredible obstacles he’s had to overcome in the last few months, was both unexpected and encouraging. The Giants’ shortstop went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, helping bring the club within one run of tying the game. They couldn’t quite topple the Diamondbacks, however, who needed only one three-run blast from Paul Goldschmidt — his 30th of the year — to establish the lead.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: Kendall Graveman and Nick Martinez duked it out for seven strong innings apiece, issuing a collective 13 strikeouts as their respective offenses struggled to back their efforts with an equally impressive showing at the plate. The A’s finally snapped the 1-1 tie in the seventh, banking on Khris “Khrush” Davis’ 36th homer of the year (and second of the night) and plating an insurance run with Matt Chapman‘s RBI single to force the Rangers to a two-game deficit in the wild card standings.

Astros 2, Angels 1: What Cameron Maybin lacked at the plate, he more than made up for on the field. The Angels’ speedy left fielder exhibited Gold Glove potential on Friday, snaring a pair of fly balls in the corner to keep the score knotted 1-1.

At the end of the day, defense (or lack thereof) was also responsible for the Angels’ loss, as Parker Bridwell lobbed a pitch that skipped well past the plate, allowing the Astros to hustle home for a go-ahead run in the sixth.

Dodgers 3, Brewers 1: The Dodgers improved to 8-2 in their last 10 games with another dominant performance over the Brewers this weekend, catapulting themselves to a league-best 91 wins on six innings of one-run ball from Kenta Maeda and three home runs from Domingo “Showmingo” Santana, Logan “Logie Bear” Forsythe and Yasiel “Wild Horse” Puig. The win handed Milwaukee their third loss in five games, keeping them a distant third in the NL wild card race.