Marcus Semien

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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 11, Twins 3: The Twins took a 3-0 lead, but after that it was all Yankees. Aaron Judge hit his AL-leading 45th home run and crossed the 100 RBI mark. Gary Sanchez went back-to-back with him in the third. Didi Gregorius hit a three-run shot. The Yankees are rolling at just the right time. Or at least that’s what I’m reading everywhere, despite the fact that momentum is a false construct. And despite the fact that, hey, the world is probably going to end on Saturday.

Athletics 3, Tigers 2: Daniel Mengden tossed seven scoreless innings and continued to test my theory that, if they wanted to, sports writers could totally make up names for Oakland A’s players and most of us would nod and say “hmm, OK . . . Mengden.” Marcus Semien homered and drove in three as the A’s swept the Tigers. Who, after a decade or so of being a team full of famous players, is about to enter a period when we could play the same game with their relatively anonymous players as we’ve played with teams like the A’s for so long.

Marlins 9, Mets 2: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 56th homer and drove in three. In keeping with the silly trend of people pretending that passing Roger Maris at 61 would somehow be a significant record as opposed to merely a neat accomplishment, I am going to officially proclaim that Stanton NOW has the home run record. Hey, if subjectivity matters for things like this, so too does my personal subjectivity. The rundown:

  • Ken Griffey Jr. hit 56 twice, but he once used a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon that was expired, sullying it;
  • Luis Gonzalez and A-Rod at 57? They were Freemasons;
  • Four players hit 58 in a season once — Foxx, Greenberg, Howard and McGwire — but that sounds like a law firm, undermining the purity of the accomplishment;
  • Babe Ruth hit 59 and 60, but he purchased alcohol during prohibition, setting a terrible example for lack of temperance;
  • Roger Maris’ 61 was hit in front of a half-empty Yankee Stadium crowd. The Yankees were amazing in 1961 and everyone was talking about him passing Ruth, so something fishy was going on. I’m going to guess radiation contamination on site scared people away and, in turn, powered Maris artificially, like someone in a comic book;
  • That just leaves Sosa, McGwire and Bonds and they murdered all of those people so it’d be wrong to honor them.

Congratulations, Giancarlo Stanton: The Single Season Home Run Champ!

Giants 4, Rockies 0: The Rockies lose their third in a row. Thanks to the Brewers losing too they keep their one-game lead for the second Wild Card, but they really need to cut this out. Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer and Matt Moore and four relievers combined to shut Colorado out.

Red Sox 9, Orioles 0: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 13. In so doing he became just the second pitcher to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years, joining Clayton Kershaw. Before that Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002 (Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000 as well). Sale is just the second Red Sox pitcher to do it, following Pedro Martinez, who did it in 1999. Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero went deep for Boston. The Red Sox have clinched a playoff spot.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 5Aaron Altherr hit a tying, two-run homer in the seventh. The Dodgers added a run, so Altherr hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth. That’s three in a row over the Dodgers for Philly. They go for the sweep this afternoon. The Dodgers have lost four straight and 20 of 25. Their magic number for the NL West remains at two.

Pirates 6, Brewers 4Adam Frazier hit a two-out, two-run, walkoff homer off of Corey Knebel, averting extra innings and giving the game to the Buccos. Knebel’s streak of 21 consecutive save chances converted ended just before that when his own throwing error allowed the Pirates to tie it. We all have a bad day sometimes.

Royals 15, Blue Jays 5: Mike Moustakas broke the single-season home run record for the Royals. But, like I said above, this is all apparently subjective now, so I’m gonna stick with Steve Balboni’s 36 as the true mark, because this:

Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield also went deep as the Royals victimized Brett Anderson for eight runs on seven hits in an inning and a third and rattled off 18 hits on the night.

Cardinals 9, Reds 2Dexter Fowler homered for the third straight game. Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong also went deep, Tommy Pham had three hits and two RBI and Yadier Molina added a two-run double. Luke Weaver allowed two runs in five innings to win his seventh straight start, making him the current active leader in consecutive wins.

Rays 8, Cubs 1: The Cubs seven-game winning streak comes to an end thanks to Blake Snell‘s two-hit, seven shutout inning performance. The Cubs now open a four-game series in Milwaukee. They have a three and a half game lead over the Brewers and can either put them away or give us an exciting last week of the season. So, nothing personal Cubs fans, but let’s go Brewers.

Nationals 7, Braves 3: The Braves had a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth and then the Nats went and put up a six-spot. Three of those runs came on bases loaded walks from Arodys Vizcaino. Maybe Brandon Snitker is a fan of the movie “Tin Cup” or something. I don’t know. I’m just glad I wasn’t feeling well last night and took a NyQuil at 9:30 and missed it.

Astros 4, White Sox 3: That’s six straight wins for Houston. Yuli Gurriel had three hits, including a two-run double, Brad Peacock allowed two runs on only one hit in six innings.

Diamondbacks 13, Padres 7: Hunter Renfroe hit three homers. Wasn’t enough, though, as the Dbacks overcame a 6-2 deficit and scored 11 runs in the final four innings. J.D Martinez, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Jake Lamb all went deep for the Snakes.

Indians 6, Angels 5: Four wins in a row for Cleveland who is now 26-1 over their past 27 games. They haven’t lost a road game since August 20. This is just crazy stuff. Francisco Lindor snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer and  Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez added RBI singles. The Angels remain one and a half back of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Rangers 8, Mariners 6Rougned Odor hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run fourth inning and the Rangers held off Seattle. Alex Claudio earned a six-out save. The Puerto Rican native was distracted and worried about his family and homeland in the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria. I have no idea how anyone could concentrate under such circumstances, but he did.

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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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Twins 7, Blue Jays 2: Byron Buxton had tons of hype when he was a top prospect and then got a slow start in the bigs, causing some to think of him as a bust. He’s still only 23, however — over a year and a half younger than Aaron Judge — and the second half of 2017 is showing everyone that he is anything but a failed prospect. Yesterday he went 4-for-5 with three homers and five driven in. In the second half he’s hitting .333/.370/.657 with eight homers and 21 driven in. All season he has been basically the best center fielder in baseball. I think it’s safe to say Buxton has arrived.

Yankees 10, Mariners 1: The M’s made five errors in the first and the Yankees scored six runs in the first and at that point the game was basically over. Watch them all here, in their infamy. Masahiro Tanaka could’ve won a game the other team didn’t hand him, however, as he allowed one run over seven and struck out ten.

Indians 12, Royals 0: Kansas City gets shut out for the entire weekend — they were outscored 20-0 in three games —  with homers from Francisco LindorCarlos Santana, and Yan Gomes doing them in yesterday. Gomes’ blast was a grand slam. Carlos Carrasco tossed seven shutout innings. The Royals looked like they were going to give the Indians a run for a little while this season. Now they’re a game under .500, nine games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and stuck in the muck of teams battling for a second Wild Card spot. And they’re looking bad heading into the home stretch.

Pirates 5, Reds 2John Jaso and Starling Marte each drove in two for the Pirates and five pitchers bent — issuing seven walks — but kept the Reds from capitalizing on 13 base runners.

Marlins 6, Padres 2: Giancarlo Stanton hit homer number 50 on the year. It’s August. People are really gonna start up the “what if he hits 62 homers?” talk now, arguing that Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s higher totals are someone not the higher totals. Don’t fall for that jazz. You can be more impressed with Stanton’s home run total than those guys’ higher totals if you’d like, but there is a difference between records, which are objective things, and feats, which are subjective. Barry Bonds is the single season home run record holder. If Giancarlo Stanton hits 62, he will have the seventh most homers in a season of all time. That’s how match and records work.

Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: The Red Sox have now lost four in a row and, while they weren’t shut out like the Royals were all weekend, they were outscored 25-4 by Baltimore, so it’s not really any better. It was at least close yesterday, as Adam Jones and Trey Mancini hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the first and then held on for the rest of the day. Boston stranded 13 runners and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Their lead in the AL East is now down to two and a half games over the Yankees.

Rockies 3, Braves 0: Jon Gray tossed six shutout innings and the pen did the rest, with a Mark Reynolds two-run homer and a Trevor Story double accounting for all of the runs.

Phillies 6, Cubs 3: Rhys Hoskins continues his rampage, hitting yet another homer. It was his 11th in his first 18 games. He started a triple play too, albeit a sort of ugly one.

Mets 6, Nationals 5; Nationals 5, Mets 4: The split doubleheader. For years they’ve amused me as the teams go to sleep having spent, like, 12 hours at the ballpark having made no progress nor suffered no setbacks in the standings. I’ve often though I should come up with a name for these beasts, but I always forget to put thought to it. Something with “zero velocity” in the title, if for no other reason than it messes with people who think velocity and speed are the same thing. I dunno. Any ideas?

White Sox 7, Tigers 1:  Lucas Giolito first game up over a year ago but yesterday he got his first win. That’s misleading of course, as he’s only made six starts, but it’s still weird to say out loud. He tossed seven scoreless innings to get it and was backed by a Matt Davidson three-run homer. The White Sox have won four of five and took two of three from Detroit.The Sox are only four games behind the Tigers in the AL Central with a little over a month to play. It’s not the sort of thing players would crow to the press about, but I bet they’ve made it a goal to try to catch them and not finish in last place. Given where the Sox are at the moment — a rebuild, having cast off most of their veteran players — that would be quite an accomplishment. And quit an embarrassment for the Tigers, though a well-earned one.

Rays 3, Cardinals 2: Logan Morrison hit two homers: one in the fourth and one for the go-ahead run in the tenth, giving him 30 and then 31 on the season. Chris Archer (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER 8K) and Lance Lynn (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 8K) had a nice little duel but didn’t figure in the decision due to it going extras.

Astros 7, Angels 5Brian McCann tripled with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to rally the Astros back from a one-run deficit after earlier blowing a 4-0 lead. Quite an effort on a day when their minds were understandably not fully focused on baseball thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey wreaking havoc back home. After this game they could only fly as far back as Dallas due to airport closures in Houston. They’ll make a decision today about whether tomorrow’s game in Minute Maid Park will go forward.

Athletics 8, Rangers 3: The sweep. Jharel Cotton allowed two runs — one earned — over six innings and struck out nine. Marcus Semien drove in three.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 2: The Brewers did what no other team has done since June 5-7: take a series from the Dodgers. Jimmy Nelson took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and Hernan Perez homered and Domingo Santana had two hits and an RBI. More important than simply taking two of three from Los Angeles, the Brewers pull to two games back of the Cubs.

Diamondbacks 11, Giants 0: This was a close one until the eighth inning. That’s when Matt Cain came in in relief for the Giants and was shelled for eight runs on five hits and walked two in two-thirds of an inning. Paul Goldschmidt’s three run homer was the big blow. Normally I’d make some jokes about a rout like this, but I’m pretty sure we’re watching the end of Matt Cain’s once excellent career, and it’s hard to see guys go out like this.