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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 5, Twins 2: The Indians had been looking up at the Twins in the standings for much of the season, but this series seemed like a turning point. Cleveland completed a four game sweep yesterday, thanks to Edwin Encarnacion hitting two dingers and Tevor Bauer allowing two runs while striking out eight over seven innings of work. Jose Ramirez gets special honors for abusing the Twins all weekend long. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored in this one. For the series, Ramirez was 11-for-18 with four doubles, two homers, six runs and four RBI.

Rockies 7, Giants 5: Have a day Nolan Freakin’ Arenado. He hit for the cycle, completing it with a walk-off three-run home run off of Mark Melancon, turning a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 win. The Rockies are in first place and are tied for the most wins in baseball. As for the Giants, they are losers of six in a row, sit in last place in the NL West and have a better record than only one other team in baseball: the Phillies. This time last year San Francisco had the best record in baseball and we asked if they’d continue the even year World Series magic. Now we have to ask whether it’s time to blow it all up.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: A week ago yesterday The Yankees hopped a flight to L.A. riding high. Yesterday afternoon they got back the plane to New York with a 1-6 road trip behind them. If there was a soundtrack to all of this it was probably “California Love” when they headed west and “Free Fallin'” when heading home. Khris Davis hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third, right on the heels of Chad Pinder‘s two-run double tied it at two. New York would probably like to forget about California now, but they start a home series against the Angels on Tuesday.

Red Sox 6, Astros 5: Xander Bogaerts hit two homers and hit an RBI single in the seventh — his fourth RBI of the game — to give Boston the winning margin in this one. With the win the Red Sox move into a virtual tie for first place with the Yankees.

Blue Jays 7, White Sox 3: The Jays spotted the Sox a 3-0 lead by the fifth inning, but Russell Martin hit a two-run homer to tie things up in the sixth and Ryan Goins RBI triple two batters later gave Toronto the lead for good. Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer to rub things in an inning later.

Rays 9, Tigers 1: Jacob Faria allowed one run over seven innings and struck out nine, but he didn’t have to be that good given the beating the Rays put on Buck Farmer (2.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 HR). Farmer has made four starts this year. In the first two he tossed shutout ball into the seventh inning and came away with wins. In his last two he’s allowed 13 runs in four and two-thirds innings. Steven Souza drove in four. Logan Morrison knocked in three. LoMo is having an improbably good season.

Dodgers 8, Reds 7: Kenta Maeda allowed one run over five and doubled in a couple of runs. Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs over three. It may very well have been Arroyo’s last appearance in the majors. If so, a tip of the hat to Arroyo, who most thought was done three years ago and who had himself a damn fine career. As for the rest of the game, Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner homered for L.A. The Reds almost rallied all the way back from an 8-1 deficit but it was not to be. Cincinnati has lost nine in a row.

Mets 5, Nationals 1: Jacob deGrom allowed one run — unearned — in eight innings, allowing only three singles. He smacked his first career homer to boot. Trea Turner stole four bases in a losing effort.

Cubs 7, Pirates 1: Anthony Rizzo continues to take out of the leadoff spot, knocking three hits including a double and a homer in this one. Willson Contreras drove in three runs. John Lackey allowed two hits and struck out four over six innings.

Orioles 8, Cardinals 5: Ubaldo Jimenez had lost his starter’s job but the guy who took it from him sucked too so Jimenez got another crack at it. Not a bad crack, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks over seven innings as the O’s take two of three from St. Louis. Now to see if he can string a couple together in a row.

Braves 5, Marlins 4: Brandon Phillips hit a walkoff single. He also hit a walkoff single on Saturday night. Phillips is having a solid year for Atlanta, hitting .306/.351/.431. Not bad for a guy who was picked up a couple of days before pitchers and catchers reported.

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4: Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and then blew it. Gregor Blanco tied it back up in the ninth with a single, however, and Reymond Fuentes, who came into the game as a pinch runner in the eighth put the snakes ahead to stay with a homer in the 10th.

Brewers 2, Padres 1: Jimmy Nelson tossed a complete game, allowing one run on six hits and striking out ten. That was his first career complete game in 89 starts over five seasons. Hernan Perez and Manny Pina hit solo homers in the sixth for all of the scoring Nelson would need.

Mariners 7, Rangers 3: Texas beat the M’s by a combined score of 20-6 on Friday and Saturday nights, but the M’s salvaged one here thanks to Kyle Seager‘s three double, three RBI afternoon. Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer off of Yu Darvish in the first as Seattle scored four that inning and never trailed.

Royals 7, Angels 3: Jason Vargas keeps on doin’ the do, picking up his 10th win of the year. Mike Moustakas hit a three-run double and Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer in support. Vargas’ career high in wins was 14 with the Mariners in 2012. This is only the fourth time he’s gotten to double digit wins in his 12-year career.

 

Going deep: Brewers off to smashing start at plate

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MILWAUKEE — The loss of Ryan Braun from the lineup often meant trouble for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Not anymore, at least through the first six weeks of the season.

Milwaukee keep mashing, even with Braun on the 10-disabled list with a calf injury.

Entering Monday’s game at San Diego, the Brewers led the majors with 63 homers and 21 multi-homer games. They’re second in slugging percentage at .475. They can run, too, third in the National League with 35 steals.

The most impressive stat: Milwaukee is 21-17 after a three-game, weekend sweep of the New York Mets. They moved to four games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 24, 2014.

No one at Miller Park is saying that the rebuilding is over. Pitching is an early issue; a 4.25 team ERA is 19th in the majors, and starters have a pedestrian 4.53 ERA.

But the offensive outburst is making this period of renovation fun for the franchise.

“Everything is great and fun when you win,” said utility man Hernan Perez, who is hitting .318 in May and hitting third for Braun while the regular left fielder is sidelined.

“He’s great, we need him in the lineup,” Perez said after the Brewers rallied from a seven-run deficit on Sunday. “I hope he’ll be back soon, but without him, we do the same – play hard, try to score runs.”

The Brewers celebrated like Little Leaguers after Manny Pina‘s three-run homer with two outs in the eighth to give Milwaukee the 11-9 win. They rallied from a six-run deficit going into the sixth.

Free agent signee Eric Thames has been a revelation after returning to the majors following a three-year stint playing ball in South Korea. He’s hitting .315 with 13 homers and 25 RBIs, mostly batting second ahead of Braun.

Against the Mets on Sunday, Thames scored three runs. His bushy-bearded look has quickly made him a recognizable fan favorite.

Third baseman Travis Shaw is hitting .283 with eight homers and a team-high 31 RBIs. The Brewers have a bargain in the cleanup spot after acquiring Shaw and two minor leaguers from the Boston Red Sox in the offseason for reliever Tyler Thornburg.

Thames and Shaw added much-needed left-handed bats to what had been a predominantly right-handed lineup. Manager Craig Counsell sandwiched them around Braun.

There is production off the bench, too. Shaw left Sunday’s game after injuring his right index finger while trying to dig out an infield single, leaving the Brewers without their regular third- and fourth-place hitters with Braun also out. Jesus Aguilar replaced Shaw in the cleanup spot, hitting an RBI double in the eighth on Sunday before Pina went deep.

“It’s different guys. (Perez) filling in in the three-spot this weekend and hitting like a three-hole hitter. Aguilar taking Travis’ place tonight and last night and doing the same thing. A lot of guys feeling really good at the plate,” Counsell said.

The emergence of Keon Broxton has also helped lengthen the lineup. Broxton, who normally hits seventh, is hitting .362 with three homers and 10 RBIs since April 21. He has raised his average for the season from .133 to .270 in that period.

Braun, who is hitting .287 with seven homers and 18 RBIs, could return by this weekend for a series in Chicago against the Cubs. It’s possible that the Brewers could be without Braun, too, if they deal him and his $20 million-a-year contract by the trade deadline this summer. The farm system has promising offensive prospects.

For now, the current version of the Brewers is doing just fine at the plate.

“This team, we’re all optimistic … we believe anything can happen,” Broxton said after hitting a home run Sunday to aid the comeback. “I don’t think anyone on this team feels we’re ever out of the game.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 3, Mariners 2: It was tied 2-2 in the ninth when Kevin Pillar hit a two-out solo shot to walk it off. Toronto sweeps the series. The Jays were 8-17 in April. They’re 9-4 in May. It thaws later in Canada I guess.

Rockies 9, Dodgers 6Pat Valaika homered twice and drove in four. Nolan Arenado hit a homer too. Antonio Senzatela got the win. It was his sixth. He’s tied for the league lead in that department. Greg Holland got his 16th save. He leads the league in that department. The Rockies have 24 wins. They lead the league in that department.

Marlins 3, Braves 1: Miami scored only three runs. They all came on a Tyler Moore pinch-hit three-run homer. That snapped  the Marlins’ five-game losing streak. Miami’s starting pitcher Justin Nicolino:

“When we’re scuffling like this and we get a big win, momentum changes,” Nicolino said. “Momentum is on our side, and we’ve got to keep going.”

Bah. Momentum is Dan Straily.

Rays 11, Red Sox 2: Drew Pomeranz left early with a tight triceps and, while it was somewhat close for a while, the Boston pen ended up hemorrhaging runs late. Steven Souza Jr. hit a three-run homer, Jesus Sucre drove in three. It was a four and a half hour nine inning game, by the way. Baseball is the bes, but I have a hard time even doing things I love for four hours or more.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 0: Yadier Molina homered twice, Matt Carpenter hit a two-run shot and Adam Wainwright tossed seven shutout innings. The Cardinals figured out how to turn their slow start around and take over the Central: just act like it’s 2013 again. The World Series Champions are in fourth place.

Indians 8, Twins 3: Jason Kipnis has had a pretty tough go of it so far this year. Yesterday he was moved into the leadoff spot and went 4-for-5, hit a couple of homers and drove in four. Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall also homered as the Tribe snapped a three-game losing streak and avoided the sweep.

White Sox 9, Padres 3: Down 3-1 in the eighth, the White Sox put up an eight-spot. It came via bad defense and a bunch of walks by the Padres. Their manager, Andy Green, said this after the game: “That’s one of the ugliest half-innings I’ve ever seen in baseball; especially at the major league level. There’s no excuse for so many things that happened that inning.” I bet that was a long-ass fight from Chicago back to San Diego for the Padres.

Brewers 11, Mets 9: Manny Pina hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to put the cherry on the top of the Brewers’ comeback from six down. Then all the Mets fans I follow on Twitter started melting down and calling for Terry Collins’ head, as if it were his fault. Mets are a second place team right now, but that ain’t saying much in the NL East.

Royals 9, Orioles 8: The sweep. Mike Moustakas homered and drove in four. Jorge Soler and Drew Butera also homered, with Soler’s going 464-feet. The Royals have won four in a row and six of seven.

Rangers 6, Athletics 4: Lots of rallies on Sunday. Here the Rangers were down 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh when they rallied for three with Nomar Mazara hitting a tiebreaking RBI single. He did the same thing in the seventh inning on Saturday too. The Rangers have won six in a row. It hasn’t been easy to win those, though, with the last five wins being come-from-behind jobs.

Angels 4, Tigers 1: Mike Trout missed a couple of games with a hamstring, came back and has homered in each of the last three. Just a dang machine. Alex Meyer, the super tall project who has bounced around a lot as various clubs have tried to capture whatever Randy Johnson lighting there may exist in that bottle of his, allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. In this he outdueled Justin Verlander who walked five guys in six innings.

Giants 8, Reds 3: The Giants win their third game in a row for the first time all year. Brandon Belt hit his third home run in four games. Jeff Samardzija finally won his first game of the year.

Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 4: Jose Osuna broke a 10th inning tie with a two-run homer. In the bottom half the Dbacks threatened, loading the bases, but Tony Watson got out of the jam of his own creation. One of the Dbacks who helped load the bases was A.J. Pollock, who singled, but he injured his right groin running up the baseline and had to come out of the game. That’s certainly bad news as he’s no stranger to groin injuries. Paul Goldschmidt hit two homers in a losing cause.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Nationals 6, Phillies 5:  In the first game Washington had a 3-1 lead in the ninth only to watch Shawn Kelley give up a leadoff homer to Aaron Altherr followed by two doubles which tied the game. Dusty finally yanked him after he issued a walk. Koda Glover then game in and gave up the go-ahead and winning single to Ty Kelly. If only someone had woken Dusty up from his nap earlier that inning may not have gotten so out of hand. In the nightcap, Michael Taylor hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth. Washington needed the go-ahead homer because their bullpen blew the lead Max Scherzer had staked them to. Scherzer, by the way, took a 100 m.p.h. line drive off his knee earlier in the game and writhed in pain on the ground, only to stay in and keep pitching. Tough stuff, that one.

Yankees 11, Astros 6; Astros 10, Yankees 7:  In the day game the Astros led 3-1 and 6-4, but the Yankees rallied with a six-run seventh inning capped by a Chase Headley bases-loaded triple. Aaron Judge hit his 14th homer earlier. He leads the bigs in big flies. As for the nightcap, it was ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, on Derek Jeter Day and, at least early on, it looked to be a blowout. I didn’t watch the game itself, but given those variables, I have to imagine that the number of comments made by Shulman, Boone and Mendoza about the actual game, as opposed to Jeter stuff, was in the single digits. Never watch nationally-televised baseball before October, you guys. Stay local, where games are still, mostly, just games. In any event, the Yankees did make something of a game of it later, but Houston’s first inning 6-0 lead, thanks to homers by George Springer, Josh Reddick and Alex Bregman was too much to spot a good team.