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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:

Royals 4, Indians 3: The Indians came just four games shy of tying the 1916 Giants’ all-time 26-game winning streak, an incredible run that was stopped in its tracks by Lorenzo Cain and Mike Minor on Friday night. Cain put up the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the sixth inning, capping a four-run spread while the Indians struggled to get back on top. Minor sealed the deal for the Royals in the end, allowing a bloop single to Yandy Diaz before closing out the ninth with three straight strikeouts for his first save of the year.

Hey, think about it this way: The Indians may be done chasing history, but at least everyone will show up wearing clean underwear today.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 0: Sometimes, you have to pretend you know what you’re doing and hope no one catches on. Sometimes, you just need to read the ball better.

You can’t pin all the blame on Jayson Werth: Corey Seager exploited an Edwin Jackson fastball for a three-run homer, while the whole of the Nats’ offense couldn’t scare up more than four hits against Alex Wood and the bullpen. With the win, the Dodgers extended their winning streak to three games, their longest such run since August 25. They still need six more wins to clinch the NL West title.

Cubs 8, Cardinals 2: As long as there has been an enforceable strike zone, there have been quibbles between pitchers and umpires. Friday’s game was no exception, inciting an especially salty dispute between Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey and home plate ump Jordan Baker following a botched call in the fifth inning.

At least Joe Maddon didn’t expect anyone to keep their cool. “That’s the definition of insanity,” he told reporters following the game. “Why would I think he’s going to change in that particular moment? God bless him. I never want him to change. He’s not going to change, so why expect that? It happened, we reacted, and the rest of the group came together.”

Granted, he might have felt differently had the Cubs not won so handily, skirting their division rivals with four shutout innings and an impressive seven-run explosion in the sixth.

Athletics 4, Phillies 0: Maybe it was Daniel Mengden’s expertly-trimmed handlebar mustache or the way he slung his changeup, but whatever the case, the Phillies couldn’t figure him out. Mengden fired nine scoreless innings for his first career complete game shutout, issuing two hits and seven strikeouts and tacking on a base hit of his own.

Yankees 8, Orioles 2: The Yankees kept pace with the Red Sox again on Friday, maintaining their three-game deficit in the AL East as they try to prevent Boston from gaining a steep advantage in the last two weeks of the regular season. Luis Severino went eight strong and Didi Gregorius smashed his 22nd home run of the season, tying Derek Jeter’s single-season record for most dingers by a Yankees’ shortstop.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Red Sox 13, Rays 6 (15 innings): Let’s not pretend that this isn’t exactly what any of us (non-baseball player types) would look like against Chris Sale, Supreme Strikeout Leader:

Unlike the rest of us, Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t down for long. He stung the right field bleachers with a game-tying jack in the 14th inning and harnessed a pair of extra bases with five-star catches on the warning track. The Red Sox ran the Rays’ bullpen right into the ground in the 15th, however, piling on seven runs to take the win.

Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Friday was a day for snapping streaks, and thankfully for the Tigers, that meant the end of their six-game skid. Anibal Sanchez went toe-to-toe against Carson Fulmer, each distributing one run over six innings, and Sanchez’s 11 strikeouts decorated his best start of the season. Mikie Mahtook supplied the winning run, pouncing on a 3-2 slider from Juan Minaya to send the Tigers home with a win.

Reds 4, Pirates 2: The Reds trotted out a tried-and-true strategy during Friday’s opener: solid pitching and a lot of home runs. Homer Bailey suppressed Pittsburgh’s offense with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Joey Votto, Zack Cozart and Scott Schebler swatted a handful of solo home runs for a two-run advantage. The Reds are angling to surpass the Pirates for fourth place in the NL Central, which… sounds like the epitome of September baseball.

Braves 3, Mets 2: When you’re down 26 games in the division standings and three games from elimination in the wild card race, there are things you want to see:

And things you don’t:

This one went to the Braves, who needed just one run to top the Mets after rookie Sean Newcomb settled into a groove.

Brewers 10, Marlins 2: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Marlins/Brewers series was relocated to Miller Park on Friday. The Brewers did everything they could to accommodate their guests, relinquishing home field advantage and decking out the ballpark with palm trees and multicolored seashells and flamingoes.

The only accommodation they couldn’t make was on the scoreboard, where they trounced the Marlins with an eight-run lead after homering for the cycle with Eric Thames‘ solo shot, Stephen Vogt‘s two-run knock, a three-run homer from Domingo Santana and Neil Walker‘s grand slam.

Astros 5, Mariners 2: James Paxton returned to the mound for Seattle, but didn’t find the conditions nearly as favorable as Felix Hernandez had on Thursday night. He nearly hit his pitch count in just 1 1/3 innings, scattering three runs over four hits and two walks before getting pulled for Ryan Garton. The Mariners are still just 3.5 games back in the wild card race, but neither the Twins nor the Angels appear ready to relinquish their hold on second and third place just yet. The Astros, meanwhile, are gunning for the title with two wins to go.

Blue Jays 4, Twins 3: The Twins played up Bartolo Colon‘s first-ever “Big Sexy” Night at the ballpark, but the Blue Jays didn’t succumb to his charms for long. After four scoreless innings, Kevin Pillar broke through with a solo homer in the fifth, while Josh Donaldson‘s long ball in the sixth snapped a homer-less streak of six consecutive games:

A two-run rally in the seventh propelled the Blue Jays to their first win of the series, dropping the Twins to a slim two-game lead in the wild card standings.

Rockies 6, Padres 1: Speaking of wild card leaders, the Rockies preserved their 2.5-game advantage over the Brewers with a solid outing from Tyler Chatwood, who turned in 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball before Wil Myers‘ 457-footer forced his exit in the sixth. Chatwood provided his own run support, too, putting the Rockies on the board with a two-RBI single in the second inning.

Angels 6, Rangers 6: Both the Angels and Rangers made compelling arguments for their place in the postseason, but it was the Angels’ five-run inning that put them over the top on Friday. The run support couldn’t have been more timely or more welcome, especially on a bullpen day. Mike Scioscia trotted out seven relievers to keep the Rangers’ bats at bay, starting with two scoreless frames from Bud Norris and ending with Blake Parker‘s sixth save of the season.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2: The Diamondbacks may not be in line for a division title, but they only need seven more wins to lock down a spot in the playoffs. Robbie Ray turned in seven innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for his 14th win of the year, while Jeff Samardzija did everything he could to play spoiler to the D-backs’ efforts, crafting his own eight-inning gem and scoring the Giants’ second and final run of the night.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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

White Sox 13, Giants 1: The White Sox weren’t about to get shown up by the Giants two days in a row. Six home runs did the trick, from Jose Abreu‘s 372-foot blast in the first inning to Nick Delmonico‘s two-run shot in the seventh. Abreu went 4-for-5 and batted for the cycle, collecting an elusive triple in the eighth to become the sixth player in franchise history (and the first in 17 years) to replicate the feat.

Braves 6, Marlins 5: A night off did wonders for Giancarlo Stanton, who returned to the Marlins’ lineup on Saturday raring to go. He wasted no time getting on the board, hammering a 456-footer to center field in the first inning for an early lead:

The Marlins followed Stanton’s efforts with a three-run spread in the third inning, but dropped their lead in the most anticlimactic fashion: on a walk-off walk.

Yankees 3, Rangers 1: The Yankees extended their lead in the wild card race with a masterful performance from Luis Severino, who fanned 10 batters over seven innings of one-hit ball. Rangers’ right-hander Andrew Cashner was equally stingy, blanking the Yankees through the first seven innings before Chase Headley broke through with a sac fly in the eighth. Tyler Austin’s RBI single provided the go-ahead run in the ninth, and a shutdown performance from Aroldis Chapman sealed the deal.

Indians 4, Orioles 2: The Orioles may not have been able to top the Indians during their remarkable 17-win tear, but they managed to do something that no competitor had done in 16 games: They scored first. Trey Mancini‘s first-inning RBI single held up for two innings, but the Indians came storming back with a four-run spread, banking on key hits from Giovanny Urshela and Jay Bruce to regain the lead.

Athletics 11, Astros 1 (Game 1): It’s too late in the season for the A’s comeback to have any significant impact on their season, but that didn’t stop them from tanking the division-leading Astros in back-to-back double-digit performances. Daniel Gossett finally found his groove against the ‘Stros, leading the way with his first quality start of the month. His dominance was starkly contrasted by that of Houston relievers Reymin Guduan and J.D. Davis, who contributed to the A’s blowout with a cumulative four runs on six walks in the eighth inning:

Athletics 11, Astros 4 (Game 2): Things didn’t look any better for the Astros the second time around.  They kept their walk count to a minimum, with just one free pass by Michael Feliz, but the A’s opted for the long ball with blasts from Jose Altuve, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder. With the Astros’ slump and the Indians’ historic resurgence, the two are now tied for the best record in the American League, at 86-56.

Brewers 15, Cubs 2: The Brewers may have lost ace right-hander Jimmy Nelson for the season, but they didn’t look any worse for wear during Saturday’s hit parade. Chase Anderson led the way with five scoreless frames while the rest of the team tagged opposing starter Mike Montgomery for eight runs in the third. With the win, the Brewers sit just three games out of the division lead, though they’ll have to top both the Cubs and Cardinals to clinch the title.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: There’s no doubt the Nationals will clinch the NL East title. They’re 19 games up on the second-place Marlins and could repeat as division champs as soon as Sunday, provided that they can coordinate another win with another Marlins’ loss. Doing so would make them the first repeat champions since the Phillies clinched in 2007 and 2008… and 2009, 2010 and 2011, but at least on Saturday, the Phillies weren’t quite ready to let that happen. They played spoiler to the Nationals’ efforts with a pair of home runs by Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco in the second inning, then returned for three insurance runs in the fourth.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4: The Blue Jays are still an improbable nine games out of a playoff berth, with seven teams blocking their path to a wild card spot, but on Saturday, they looked every inch the perennial contender. Kevin Pillar did it all for the club, going 4-for-4 with a leadoff RBI single and tie-breaking home run and snaring a deep fly ball to prevent the Tigers from gaining an advantage in the fifth.

Mets 6, Reds 1: The Mets will be eliminated from postseason contention in just seven games, so now’s as good a time as any to start heating up. They worked up to their fourth consecutive win on Saturday, capitalizing on five solid innings from Rafael Montero and an early lead from Kevin Plawecki to stay ahead of the Reds.

Red Sox 9, Rays 0: While the Yankees looked for an edge in the AL East race, the Red Sox extended their lead with their first shutout of September. Chris Sale improved to a 16-7 record, taking the Rays to task with six scoreless frames and fanning eight of 25 batters. At the plate, it was a group effort: Dustin Pedroia led off the first inning with a solo shot, his seventh of the year, and a smattering of base hits and productive outs took care of the rest.

Royals 5, Twins 2: With a wild card race this cutthroat, every win counts. The Royals upended the Twins to move within four wins of a postseason berth, breaking through in the eighth inning on Eric Hosmer‘s go-ahead RBI single. Mike Minor and Brandon Maurer stepped in to preserve the win for rookie Jakob Junis, whose quality start was his first since August 14.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: The Pirates may have put the most creative effort into their performance on Saturday, but creativity doesn’t always win games. Adam Frazier lashed an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning and cleared the bases in just 15.7 seconds, the Pirates’ fastest home-to-home mark since 2015.

Some of the credit, however, goes to the wall in center field, which knocked Dexter Fowler out of the game and gave Frazier a head start as he charged around the basepaths. Fowler exited with a left knee contusion and the Cardinals rebounded with Matt Carpenter‘s standard-issue home run and Randal Grichuk‘s tie-breaking RBI groundout to take the lead.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 7: Whatever slump the Dodgers and Astros have suffered from lately appears to be contagious. The Diamondbacks took their second straight loss to the Padres on Saturday, dropping their five-run lead after the Friars mounted a stunning six-run rally in the ninth. At this rate, it’s anyone’s guess how the playoffs will shake out.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: The Mariners did their part to even out the AL wild card standings, putting up their own six-run spread in the fourth inning to create some distance from the third-place Angels. Nelson Cruz saved the biggest and best blast for last, punishing an 0-2 slider from Jesse Chavez for a 398-foot home run, his 32nd of the season:

Rockies 6, Dodgers 5: The Dodgers continued their Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine on Saturday, skidding to their ninth straight loss — their worst since a 10-game slump in 1992 — following a breakthrough effort from Trevor Story and three scoreless innings from Colorado’s bullpen. The Rockies, meanwhile, had some fun during the nail-biter, as Story cranked out his 20th homer of the season and Charlie Blackmon collected his 88th leadoff RBI to tie Craig Biggio’s record.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 6, Yankees 2: Jose Ramirez homered twice and Carlos Santana and Austin Jackson each went deep as well, backing Corey Kluber‘s eight innings of two-run ball. His counterpart, Luis Severino, only gave up four hits but three of them were homers which, well, yeah.

Orioles 7, Mariners 6: Adam Jones hit a home run in the fifth inning gave him 25 on the year. That makes it the seventh consecutive season of at least 25 homers for him, passing Cal Ripken, Jr. for the new Orioles record. He did it against the team that traded him away when he was 22 years-old. Bill Bavasi — the GM who traded him, Chris Tillman, Geroge Sherrill and two prospects for an Erik Bedard who would almost immediately fall off a cliff and who has now been retired for nearly three years — was fired four months later and has never been a GM again. He is now the director of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, where he manages dozens of scouts who likely could’ve told him that it was a bad move to trade Jones if they had been asked. I wonder if they still mention it to him. I would, but then again I’ve always been kind of a pain to my bosses. Anyway, that’s five wins in a row for the Orioles, who pass the Mariners and pull a game and a half behind the Twins for the final AL wild-card spot.

Nationals 11, Marlins 2: Max Scherzer came back off the disabled list and allowed only one run on five hits and struck out ten over seven innings. Two of those Ks were of Giancarlo Stanton, who went 0-for-3. Guessing Scherzer feels OK.

Phillies 6, Braves 1: Rhys Hoskins didn’t homer — is he OK? Can someone check on him? — but he did go 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Cameron Rupp hit a solo homer and drew a bases-loaded walk. The Phillies beat the Braves again. They have beaten the Braves in 12 of 14 games this year including all eight played in Philly.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: Christian Vazquez had four hits, including a two-run home run, Eduardo Nunez added a solo shot and the Red Sox broke their four-game losing streak. But I don’t wanna talk about that. I wanna talk about how Kevin Pillar is just a stupidly, ridiculously good center fielder:

Straight line path to that ball, full spring plus the extension. Just preposterous.

Cubs 6, Pirates 1: Mike Montgomery shut the Pirates out through seven innings, allowing his only run of the game via a solo homer to the first man he faced in the eighth. The Cubs were already up 5-0 by the time that happened, however, thanks in part to Montgomery, who reached on an infield single and later scored. Montgomery has allowed one run over 13 innings in his last two starts. He’ll probably be sent back to the pen when Jon Lester gets healthy, but the Cubs do have an option if they don’t like the look of their rotation heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Rays 12, Royals 0: The Royals have now been shut out for four straight games and for 43 straight innings, stretching back to the second inning of their game against the Rockies last Thursday. If Alex Cobb can shut them out for the first five innings tonight Kansas City will break a record currently held by the 1968 Chicago Cubs and the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics. As for this one, it was Austin Pruitt, who shut them out one one hit for six innings, and Matt Andriese who shut them out for three innings on a single hit as well. Offensively, the Rays were led by Logan Morrison who hit a three-run homer and doubled in a fourth. Lucas Duda hit a three-run shot. The Greater Kansas City Area hasn’t seen an annihilation like this since November 20, 1983.

Tigers 4, Rockies 3Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-run triple and an RBI single on his 3-for-4 night and Brad Ausmus deployed six pitchers to win a close game. Miguel Cabrera left the game in the fifth with a bad back. He’s had a bad back all year, really, and I suspect it’s that, as opposed to natural decline, that has led to his disappointing season. Of course bad backs are probably a pretty big part of a lot of players’ natural decline, so perhaps the distinction is without difference.

Angels 3, Athletics 1Andrew Heaney allowed one run on only two hits while striking out ten over six and the Angels mustered just enough offense on a night where the slumping Mike Trout — who is 0-for-his-last-17 — was scratched with a stiff neck.

Giants 3, Padres 0Jeff Samardzija tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out five. All three hits were infield singles. Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer. Joe Panik hit a two-run homer, scoring Crawford. So, like, three dudes beat the Padres.

By the way, the Associated Press game story refers to Samardzija as “the former Notre Dame wide receiver.” Which, yes, is true, but I question whether now, as he is close to completing his tenth big league season, is really necessary anymore. Unless, of course, “odd thing a person did in college” is now a necessary identifier. It’d be kind of cool if it was. That way people could refer to me as “Craig Calcaterra, the former Ohio State University Bookstore employee, who sold Apple Newtons to people at the electronics counter, claiming that they were AMAZING, when they were really overpriced trash . . . ”

Actually, yes, please refer to me that way going forward. It’s probably my greatest professional accomplishment. Imagine: convincing someone to buy an Apple Newton!