Manny Machado

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Aroldis Chapman may return to the closer’s role

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Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi is open to moving Aroldis Chapman back into the closer’s role as soon as Thursday, when the club wraps up a four-game series against the Orioles.

Chapman, 29, has struggled this season and was taken out of the closer’s role in mid-August. He currently holds a 4.02 ERA with a 56/18 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings. In six appearances since his demotion, the lefty has allowed three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

The Yankees wasted a 6-1 lead after three innings on Tuesday and ultimately lost when Manny Machado hit a walk-off two-run home run off of Dellin Betances in the bottom of the ninth inning. The loss hurt because the Yankees and Orioles are close competitors in the AL Wild Card race. The Yankees are currently 2.5 games up in the first Wild Card slot while the Orioles trail the Twins and Angels by one game for the second slot.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 9, White Sox 4: The Indians finally trailed in a game — down 4-3 in the first inning, for their first time behind in 68 frames — but they continued their winning ways, taking their 13th game in a row.  Jose Ramirez, who just won Player of the Week honors, started on a second straight week of dominance by hitting two more homers. Here Cleveland’s starter, Danny Salazar, couldn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing those four runs, but seven Indians relievers combined for eight and a third scoreless innings. If the Indians take their 14th straight game today, they’ll tie the franchise record winning streak.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: This one went 19 innings and ended after 1AM. Ending it: a Mookie Betts double to lead off the inning followed by a walkoff bloop single from Hanley Ramirez. It would’ve ended hours earlier in the Blue Jays favor if not for Ramirez and Mitch Moreland each grounding out to plate a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up at two. That wasted a fantastic performance from Marco Estrada, who tossed seven shutout innings. A long game is hard on everyone, but I guess the bright side of this is that, given that they couldn’t do anything against Estrada, it’s probably evidence that the Red Sox have stopped cheating.

Pirates 4, Cubs 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Max Moroff and David Freese hit RBI singles to bring the Pirates back from behind. Jordan Luplow homered. The Pirates starter, Steven Brault, didn’t get the decision, but he was the first lefty to start for Pittsburgh all year, which is weird.

Tigers 13, Royals 2: Big day for Tigers first baseman John Hicks, who homered twice and drove in four.  JaCoby Jones homered twice as well, and the Tigers won easily despite losing starter Anibal Sanchez after only five pitches into the game when he was hit on the leg with a come backer.

Reds 9, Brewers 3: It was close until the bottom of the seventh when the Reds plated five runs. Three of those came on a Scooter Gennett homer. Robert Stephenson allowed one run over six for the win. Milwaukee has dropped two straight to the lowly Reds on days when the Cubs have lost, blowing a chance to make up ground.

Phillies 9, Mets 1: Ben Lively was a one man gang, allowing one run over seven innings and drove in four runs via a two-run homer and a two-run single. He and the Phillies rocked Jacob deGrom, who allowed nine runs — six earned — on ten hits in three and a third, including that homer to Lively. Lively homered in his last start too, and is now 6-for-21 (.286) with two home runs and eight RBI on the year.

Nationals 2, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg tosses six shutout innings, running his total to 26 consecutive scoreless innings, and struck out eight. He might’ve gone longer but suffered from some cramps that caused him to leave early. Daniel Murphy‘s eighth inning homer was the difference offensively. He almost had another one earlier but Giancarlo Stanton robbed it from him by reaching over the wall to snag it:

Rays 2, Twins 1: Jake Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with six and two-thirds shutout innings to get the win. Probably good that it was broken up, of course, as he needed 90 pitches to get that far and thus never would’ve been able to go the distance. Lucas Duda supplied all of the Rays offense, with an RBI double and a solo homer.

Rockies 9, Giants 6Trevor Story homered and Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double as the Rockies rode a four-run sixth inning to their eighth straight win over the Giants at Coors Field. Colorado used nine pitchers. Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4. He walked, but he’s now hitless in 37 straight at-bats. Woof.

Orioles 7, Yankees 6: Manny Machado hit a walkoff two-run homer with two outs to give the O’s the win. This came after Baltimore was down five. It also came when Dellin Betances threw a bunch of breaking balls instead of fastballs. Betances said after the game that he should’ve thrown more fastballs. Ya think?

Angels 8, Athletics 7:  Ben Revere lined a go-ahead single in the top of the 10th inning and the Angels took over the second Wild Card spot with this win combined with the Twins loss. Mike Trout was thrown out at the plate twice: once in the third inning when he tried to score from third on a grounder, then again in the fifth when he tried to get home from second on a single. You win when that happens and you’re living a charmed life.

Astros 3, Mariners 1: Welcome to the Astros, Justin Verlander. Houston’s newest pitcher tossed six innings, allowing one run and striking out seven. His only blemish: a solo homer to Kyle Seager in the fourth. His run support came via an Alex Bregman sac fly and a homer from former Tigers teammate Cameron Maybin.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: Arizona wins its 12th straight and the Dodgers drop their fifth straight and tenth in their last 11. Here Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu each allowed a run but didn’t figure in the decision. In the tenth Pedro Baez walked the first two batters he faced and then both of them scored on a fielder’s choice + error combo when Justin Turner threw home and Yasmani Grandal couldn’t handle it. Things suck hard for the Dodgers right now, but every good team goes through a bad stretch. The key is, you know, getting out of it.

Cardinals 8, Padres 4: Jose Martinez hit two home runs and Harrison Bader homered and drove in three. Travis Wood didn’t pitch all that well for San Diego, but he did hit a two-run homer.

Rangers vs. Braves — POSTPONED:

You shatter me your grip on me a hold on me
So dull it kills
You stifle me
Infectious sense of
Hopelessness and prayers for rain
I suffocate
I breathe in dirt
And nowhere shines but desolate
And drab the hours all spent on killing time
Again all waiting for the rain

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Look, the Dodgers did just fine without Clayton Kershaw. They went 23-10 in his absence, matching last year’s 91-win total and garnishing their first-place status in the NL West with a seven-game win streak. Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Hyun-Jin Ryu rounded out a mostly-healthy, mostly-dominant rotation that managed to maintain its fifth-best ranking across both leagues, only slightly tempered by a five-game losing streak at the end of August.

With Clayton Kershaw, however, the Dodgers are a different beast altogether. The lefty returned from a 40-day on the disabled list with his 16th win of the season, expending 70 pitches over seven innings of two-hit, seven-strikeout ball. Chase Utley provided the solitary RBI single of the evening, allowing the Dodgers to snap their skid and improve to a full 16 games above the second-place Diamondbacks. Heaven help the contender slated to face this pitching staff come October.

Cubs 2, Braves 0: Speaking of shutdown performances, John Lackey did his best Clayton Kershaw impression during the Cubs’ series opener on Friday afternoon. He wielded seven scoreless frames against the Braves, striking out five of 24 batters and allowing three runs in his best performance of the season. It’s a refreshing change of pace for the right-hander, who entered Friday with a 4.98 ERA and hasn’t given up fewer than five runs in an outing since August 16.

Balancing out the highlight reel? One Kyle Schwarber infield single, which inspired one of Javier Baez‘s incredible sprints in a 6.73-second dash from second base to home plate.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Doug Fister and Sonny Gray matched wits — er, pitches — on Friday night, duking it out in the series opener of their final matchup of the regular season. Each hurler went seven strong, but Fister emerged a clear victor after holding the Yankees to one run and four hits, while Gray took his ninth loss of the year after issuing three home runs to Eduardo Nunez, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez. Still, with as evenly matched as the rivals appear to be this season, there’s no reason to think the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka won’t return on Saturday to settle the score.

Reds 7, Pirates 3: First-inning back-to-back RBI doubles from Joey Votto and Adam Duvall supplied all the momentum the Reds needed on Friday, bringing them to an even 5-5 record in their last 10 games. The same couldn’t be said for the Pirates, who dropped to a season-worst nine games below .500 after a shaky five-run performance from Gerrit Cole.

Orioles 1, Blue Jays 0 (13 innings): Depending on the angle you choose, it takes a lot of skill and/or a lot of missed opportunities to shut out a team for 12 straight innings while also getting shut out. Luckily for the Orioles, they found the Blue Jays’ moment of weakness in the 13th inning, using Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to engineer the first and only run of the four-hour, 27-minute marathon.

Schoop’s late-game heroics notwithstanding, it was Steve Pearce who took home the award for the crowd-pleasing play of the night:

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: When your team is 15 games behind the division lead, six games behind the nearest wild card spot and two below .500, you have to take your excitement where you can find it. For the Marlins, that excitement took the form of rookie left-hander Dillon Peters, who tied two impressive franchise records after striking out eight of 27 batters in seven scoreless innings during his Major League debut. The win still went to the Phillies, however, who utilized Andres Blanco‘s RBI groundout to grab the go-ahead run in the ninth.

Indians 3, Tigers 2 (Game 1): The Indians struck first during Friday’s doubleheader, vaulting over the Tigers with seven strong innings from Carlos Carrasco and a game-winning RBI single from Francisco Lindor in the ninth. The real kicker, however, came in Game 2…

Indians 10, Tigers 0 (Game 2): …when Cleveland’s offense joined forces for a 10-run spread in the first six innings, supplemented by six shutout frames from Mike Clevinger and a dominant run by the bullpen to preserve the shutout. Not only did it mark the Indians’ ninth straight win, tying a season-high streak, but it was their second doubleheader in three days following a two-game sweep of the Yankees on Wednesday.

Rangers 10, Angels 9: No lead is safe in the AL wild card race these days. The Angels discovered that the hard way on Friday, losing a one-run squeaker after Carlos Gomez scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning. The Rangers still trail the Angels by 1.5 games in the wild card standings, but look poised for a comeback after taking three of their last five games this week.

Mariners 3, Athletics 2: While we’re on the topic of wild card contenders, the Mariners kept themselves in the running after a solid debut from Mike Leake, who joined the team in a swap with the Cardinals prior to Thursday’s deadline. Leake stayed just ahead of opposing starter Sean Manaea, scattering two runs, a walk and seven strikeouts over seven innings as the Mariners cooked up a one-run lead with Kyle Seager‘s go-ahead sacrifice double play in the third. The win positioned the Mariners a mere 3.5 games back of the second wild card spot, but it won’t be an easy road to get there: entering Saturday, Orioles, Angels, Rays, Rangers and Royals are still hovering within four games of playoff contention.

Rays 3, White Sox 1: Logan Morrison generated runs for both teams on Friday, collecting his 34th home run of the season with a 407-foot blast in the first inning, allowing Kevan Smith to score on his throwing error, and taking back the lead with an RBI single in the third. From the third inning on, the Rays’ Blake Snell had everything under control, combining with the bullpen for seven consecutive scoreless innings and returning the club to .500 with their 68th win of the year.

Brewers 1, Nationals 0: Ryan Braun‘s frustrations reached a boiling point during the fourth inning of the Brewers’ series opener, feeding into a confrontation with home plate ump Mark Ripperger that led to the sixth ejection of his career.

Manager Craig Counsell backed Braun’s choice to argue balls and strikes, telling reporters, “He’s fighting and trying to get the right pitches called on him. That’s all he’s doing — he’s fighting for it.” This time, at least, it didn’t seem to hamper the club’s efforts on the field, and Jimmy Nelson drove Milwaukee to their third straight win following his career-best 11-strikeout performance.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 5: How’s this for dominant: Taijuan Walker distributed so many strikeouts on Friday night that he didn’t need his defense until the third inning. He whiffed eight batters for the first eight outs of the game, finishing his outing with 10 K’s and only three hits in five innings. He helped power the D-backs at the plate, too, plating a run in the second inning to bring his season totals to a career-best 10 hits and four RBI.

Cardinals 11, Giants 6: The Giants’ skid ran to four straight losses after a rare implosion from Sam Dyson, who entered the ninth inning with a 5-5 tie and left it with a four-run deficit. Albert Suarez fared little better, relieving Dyson with one out and a runner on first and promptly giving up a two-run homer.

The Cardinals now sit four games back of a wild card spot, while the Giants, uh, are trending in the opposite direction.

Mets, Astros (postponed): Few things are better than weekend baseball, but this is one of them: