Michael Wacha

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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.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 6, Red Sox 2: Gary Sanchez homered and singled in a run and Greg Bird hit a three-run homer as the Yankees took the first game in a critical four-game set with the Red Sox. That backed CC Sabathia who was solid, allowing one run on four hits in six innings. He was less solid in his reaction to Eduardo Nunez, who attempted to bunt for a hit in the first inning. It’s not a dumb play given that Sabathia has a bad knee and may struggle to field his position. And, in fact, Nunez reached when Sabathia threw the ball away. Sabathia didn’t like it, though:

“Just kind of weak to me. It is what it is. It shows what they got over there,” Sabathia said. “It just gets you fired up. It makes you want to beat them. Obviously, I want to win every time I go out there, but even more so after that.”

Sabathia walked his next two batters. After getting consecutive strikeouts to escape a bases-loaded jam , he shouted in the direction of Boston’s dugout.

He said the Red Sox show him “too much respect.”

“Swing the bat,” the veteran pitcher said.

Only in baseball would such a thing be considered an issue of “respect” or “class” or whatever Sabathia is getting at here. In any other sport it’d just be assumed to be good strategy. Cornerback gimpy? Of COURSE the quarterback is gonna pick on him. Goalie have a weak glove hand? Of course the other team is gonna shoot to his glove hand side. They’re in it to win it, it’s not dirty and it’s not a matter of respect. In baseball, though it’s a thing. Whatever Sabathia needs to motivate himself, fine, but after reading those words I rolled my eyes so hard that I injured myself. Calcaterra: 10-day disabled list (eyes).

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 8: Kendrys Morales hit three homers and drove in seven. He shouldn’t have disrespected the ball like that. Yet he did, hitting a two-run homer in the third, an RBI single in the fifth, a three-run shot in the sixth and a solo shot in the eighth. This after the Jays fell behind 3-0 and 5-2 early. Big night.

Twins 5, White Sox 4: Max Kepler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in a tied game in the bottom of the ninth inning. That’s a walkoff plunk, babies. The plunk followed Eddie Rosario tying the game up at four with a ninth inning RBI single. It was the Twins’ first game-ending HBP since Paul Molitor was plunked in the 10th at the Metrodome in 1996 to beat Kansas City. So you have to assume he drew that play up between innings saying “This’ll work, fellas. Been waitin’ for a chance to unleash this one.”

Astros 5, Rangers 1Jose Altuve homered, Josh Reddick hit an RBI single and the Astros’ bullpen pitched four and a third scoreless innings as Houston salvages one in their series-in-exile. Now they return to Houston and their homes and families. And they get to meet their new friend, Justin Verlander.

Reds 7, Mets 2Scooter Gennett drove in three runs with a homer and a double. Joey Votto hit a homer, but that wasn’t his best play of the day:

The young fan is Walter Herbet. He’s six and he met Votto last week via the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Nice move, Joey. Get well, Walter.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 1: Five straight losses for the Dodgers, who have apparently decided to get their annual skid in now instead of during the NLCS. Smart! Chris Iannetta and A.J. Pollock homered. Paul Goldschmidt doubled twice and drove in two. Gregor Blanco had three hits, two of them doubles, drove in a run and scored twice. Old friend Zack Greinke allowed one run over six innings. The Dbacks have won nine of 10.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2: Phillies starter Ben Lively allowed two runs over six innings and (all together now) helped his own cause by hitting a two-run single to give Philly a 3-1 lead which they’d not relinquish. Not a bad day. Know who did have a bad day? Giancarlo Stanton. He was 0-for-5, struck out twice, failed to get the ball out of the infield and flied out in the ninth with two men on base and the Marlins trailing by one. Still, by other measures, he had a better day than all of us.

Cubs 6, Braves 2: The Cubs win their fourth in a row as Kyle Hendricks allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out five and walking three in six and two-thirds. Jon Jay had four hits and Kris Bryant homered.

Brewers 6, Nationals 3: The Brewers keep pace. Jonathan Villar went 3-for-5 and homered and Zack Davies allowed two runs over seven to give him his 16th win on the year, tying him for the league lead with Greinke.

Cardinals 5, Giants 2: Michael Wacha allowed one run over six strong innings, Randal Grichuk homered and Tommy Pham drove in two via a single and a bases loaded HBP. The highlight — lowlight? — of the game, however, was a blown replay call which overturned a ninth inning homer from Brandon Crawford:

If a ball hits that green metal overhang in AT&T Park, it’s a homer. If it hits the foul pole, it’s a homer. If it lands in the stands, it’s a homer. On what planet was one of those three things NOT going to happen if the fan hadn’t grabbed it? The umps on the field got this one right. The replay officials overturned it, I suspect because they messed up the ground rules in San Francisco and incorrectly assumed that the green metal was a double. It probably didn’t cost the Giants the game — and at this point no game truly matter for the Giants — but that’s just poor.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Yankees 6, Rays 1: The Yankees took the lead in the AL East on eight brilliant innings from Masahiro Tanaka, who retired 17 straight batters and whiffed a career-best 14 in his eighth win of the year. Rays’ manager Kevin Cash credited Tanaka for utilizing deceptive pitches over raw power and getting hitters to expand the strike zone by consistently chasing low balls. While the no-hit bid was foiled on an Adeiny Hechavarria single in the sixth, the Yankees’ hurler still came out on top after Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier collected three big home runs off of Tampa Bay’s Austin Pruitt.

Phillies 10, Braves 3: It was a good night for the Phillies, whose pre-deadline deals netted a handful of prospects for infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick and right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. The club celebrated by hitting double digits on the scoreboard, banking on a seven-run inning to hold a sizable lead over the Braves and… still stay 25 games back of first place.

Angels 7, Blue Jays 2: After getting swept by the Indians earlier this week, the Angels rebounded with seven strong frames from Parker Bridwell and another two-RBI performance from Mike Trout. Troy Tulowitzki came away with the short end of the stick after a collision with C.J. Cron caused the shortstop to roll his ankle and land on the 10-day disabled list.

Astros 6, Tigers 5: The Astros wanted to play it safe with Dallas Keuchel during his first game back from the disabled list, but even a strict pitch count couldn’t corral the damage he did in the first three innings. Keuchel racked up 79 pitches in three frames, allowing six hits, three walks and three runs to help build an early lead for the Tigers. Josh Reddick salvaged the game in the eighth, smashing his tenth home run of the season and giving the Astros the one-run edge they needed to take the win.

Royals 4, Red Sox 2: The Royals extended their win streak to nine straight games on Friday, positioning themselves within two games of the division lead following another gem from Jason Vargas. Mike Moustakas helped power the win with his 30th home run of the season, becoming the fastest player to 30 dingers in franchise history.

Indians 9, White Sox 3: The Indians, meanwhile, don’t seem fazed by the Royals’ hot streak after setting down eight consecutive wins of their own. They kept rolling against the Sox with six innings of two-run, eight-strikeout ball from Danny Salazar and home runs from Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana. The White Sox, on the other hand, not only dropped their fourth game in a row, but failed to register a single strikeout for the first time since 2014.

Rangers 8, Orioles 2: Adrian Beltre took another stride toward his 3,ooo-hit milestone on Friday, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles in the Rangers’ series opener.

While Beltre angled for a spot in the history books, the Orioles focused their efforts on strengthening their rotation, executing a late-night trade for the Phillies’ Jeremy Hellickson after giving up eight runs on Elvis Andrus‘ two-run homer, Nomar Mazara‘s RBI double and a base hit from Carlos Gonzalez.

Marlins 7, Reds 4: Speaking of 3,000-hit players, Ichiro Suzuki clubbed his 3,060th career hit on Friday, lining a double into right field and tying Craig Biggio for the 22nd-most hits in MLB history.

Brewers 2, Cubs 1: The Cubs are still in first place, but they hardly have a lock on the NL Central after taking a tough loss on Friday night. The Brewers moved within one game of the lead, downing their division rivals with seven shutout innings from Brent Suter and a pair of run-scoring groundouts. Javier Baez pounced on a first-pitch slider from Anthony Swarzak for his 13th blast of the year, but the eighth-inning rally proved too little, too late for Chicago.

Cardinals 1, Diamondbacks 0: At the top of the list of Things You Hope To Never See at a Baseball Game is this:

Thankfully, Robbie Ray was discharged from the hospital Friday night after the CT scan came back normal, and presumably won’t require a lengthy recovery period before he returns to the mound. Back at the ballpark, the Cardinals fended off the Diamondbacks with a Jedd Gyorko single and six shutdown innings from Michael Wacha.

Twins 6, Athletics 3: Not everyone can stare down a 110 MPH line drive and have the presence of mind to move toward it. Not everyone is Matt Chapman:

Mets 7, Mariners 5: Michael Conforto had a banner night during his first career game at Safeco Field, collecting a pair of home runs to propel the Mets to their 48th win. “It’s a dream come true to be able to play out here,” Conforto told reporters after the game, citing Seattle as the place where he first fell in love with baseball. The feeling wasn’t quite so warm on the Mariners’ side, where the loss shifted Seattle several games back of the .500 mark and wasted a solid 10-strikeout effort by Ariel Miranda.

Padres 3, Pirates 2: The Padres may be a full 26 games behind first place, but that didn’t stop them from playing like contenders on Friday night. Travis Wood turned in a one-run, seven-strikeout effort in six innings, his longest and most productive start since 2015, and a wild pitch from Daniel Hudson knocked in the Padres’ go-ahead run in the sixth.

Dodgers 6, Giants 4: The Dodgers may be the winningest team in the majors, but victory hasn’t always come easily for them. Their 72-win record encompasses 30 comebacks, including Friday’s come-from-behind win against the last-place Giants. Corey Seager put the team on the board with a solo shot in the first inning and returned in the seventh to cap a four-run rally with a game-winning, two-RBI blast.

Rockies, Nationals (postponed): The forecast calls for 82-degree sunshine on Sunday, which is when the Nationals will host the Rockies for a doubleheader. This, however, was the state of Nationals Park on Friday afternoon:

Hey, at least the Nats didn’t completely waste their off day.