Parker Bridwell

Getty Images

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

3 Comments

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

Indians 8, Royals 4:¬†With their 22-win streak laid to rest, the Indians needed to drum up some other form of entertainment this weekend. They settled on a division title, taking back the series from the Royals with a standout effort from Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion and riding the Twins’ loss to their second consecutive AL Central championship. The only problem? The Twins lost their game long after the Indians wrapped up their matinee in Kansas City, so the players were forced to share their initial reactions via social media:

Astros 8, Mariners 6: The Astros also went for a championship run on Saturday. Carlos Beltran swatted a pair of base hits and a double, tying Cal Ripken on the all-time extra-base hit list, while Joe Musgrove took down the Mariners with some expert maneuvers in the ninth inning:

Unlike the Indians, however, they were foiled by the Angels, who bested the Rangers to keep their division rivals on the right on the edge of the AL West title. Expect the Astros to rebound on Sunday, however, when Justin Verlander tries for his first postseason berth since 2014.

Dodgers 3, Nationals 2:¬†Remember that eight-game skid? The Dodgers don’t; or, if they do, they’re doing a bang-up job pretending like it never happened. They steamrolled the Nationals for their third consecutive win on Saturday, grabbing the lead on a Justin Turner sac fly and reducing their magic number to five. Cody Bellinger hogged the highlight reel with his 38th home run of the season, a 431-footer that landed in him in rare company as one of just three National League sluggers to amass at least 38 dingers in their rookie season.

Yankees 9, Orioles 3:¬†The Yankees still have 14 games left to play, but as of Saturday, they’ve officially secured enough wins to call 2017 their 25th consecutive winning season. That’s a streak that dates back through their 1993 campaign, though they have about 14 more winning seasons to go in order to tie their all-time record. Didi Gregorius got things started with a two-run shot in the third inning, followed by home runs from Greg Bird and Todd Frazier and an RBI single from Jacoby Ellsbury. The nine-run spread backed a stellar performance from Jordan Montgomery, whose six scoreless innings marked the ninth quality start of his rookie year — and the best among that group, to boot.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1:¬†Speaking of the Bronx Bombers — while they may be winners, the Red Sox aren’t ready to let them claim the division title just yet. Reigning AL Cy Young award-winner Rick Porcello stifled the Rays, notching his 10th win in what can only be described as a tough-luck season. He’s 7-8 in nine quality starts in 2017 and has averaged just 3.94 runs of support in that span. On Saturday, that’s all he needed to top the Rays: Mookie Betts put the Sox on the board with a 405-foot home run in the second inning, his 22nd of the year, and chased it with an RBI single and Rafael Devers‘ double in the sixth.

Cubs 4, Cardinals 1: The Cubs continued their run toward a second straight division title on Saturday, distancing themselves from the competition with a four-game lead over the Brewers and a five-game lead over the Cardinals. Kyle Hendricks went 7 2/3 innings for his longest outing of the season, losing the shutout on a Matt Carpenter bomb in the eighth. At the plate, Ian Happ was the difference-maker, delivering a go-ahead RBI single in the fourth inning that gave the Cubs the edge they needed to clinch the series.

Reds 2, Pirates 1:¬†The Reds aren’t going anywhere this October, but that didn’t stop them from turning in a postseason-worthy performance on Saturday. Rookie right-hander Sal Romano flummoxed the Pirates’ bats through eight innings, whiffing six of 28 batters and keeping the game scoreless as the Reds worked up to a two-run lead. Things didn’t go nearly as flawlessly for Pirates’ starter Ivan Nova, however, whose own shutout attempt was spoiled by Jesse Winker‘s seventh-inning home run and later departed with right calf soreness.

White Sox 10, Tigers 4: With no division title to fight for and a wild card well out of reach, the White Sox are spending the next two weeks battling for fourth place in the AL Central. They continued their fight on Saturday, topping the Tigers with a six-run barrage in the first two innings and forcing rookie Myles Jaye off the mound in the second. Nicky Delmonico kicked things off with a 370-footer in the first inning, but it was shortstop Tim Anderson who stole the show, collecting four hits en route to a career-best performance.

Phillies 5, Athletics 3: Sometimes, the best part of a baseball game has nothing to do with baseball whatsoever:

Despite their rain delay resilience, the A’s didn’t have enough left in the tank to see them through the rest of the game. J.P. Crawford put up a pair with an RBI single and sac fly, and Jorge Alfaro‘s two-run shot in the sixth gave the Phillies a lead they refused to relinquish.

Marlins 7, Brewers 4:¬†The Marlins finally worked the faux home field advantage to their favor, topping the Brewers to even the series at Miller Park on Saturday. A four-run first inning helped them reclaim the lead (and then some), while Derek Dietrich‘s two-run homer cemented their advantage in the third. “We talked this thing up like it’s the playoffs for us,” skipper Don Mattingly remarked to the press, giving due credit to the sizable crowds drawn by unusual circumstances this weekend. “When you have two teams that are out of it playing Game 140 or something, it is not always a high-energy game. You want guys to push their way through and be professionals during that and have pride in the game and for the fans that come to see it, but this is a lot easier when you have people that are enthused.”

The Brewers, meanwhile, have an actual chance to break through to the real playoffs, but will need to vault over the Rockies and their 3.5-game lead to do so.

Mets 7, Braves 3:¬†Jacob deGrom was lights-out again on Saturday, following two quality starts with another stellar performance against the Braves. The Mets’ ace went seven strong, holding batters to just five hits and a run while he worked toward a career-best 15th win.

“He wants to be known as one of the best in the game,” manager Terry Collins told reporters following the win. “The only way to do that is to stay out there and pitch a lot of innings.”

He’s certainly done that, with 195 1/3 innings under his belt so far this season and 200 innings well within reach. Also helping matters? A run support average of 5.23, which got a boost of its own with the Mets’ seven-run spread on Saturday.

Blue Jays 7, Twins 2:¬†The Twins didn’t set out to help the Indians reach their AL Central championship on Saturday, but Marco Estrada left them little choice. Estrada twirled eight innings of three-hit ball in a performance so dominant that skipper John Gibbons referred to it as “vintage Estrada.” The Twins poked a couple holes in the right-hander’s pitching line with a Eddie Rosario‘s solo shot in the fifth and Eduardo Escobar‘s home run in the eighth, but couldn’t stay ahead of the Blue Jays for the win.

Rockies 16, Padres 0:¬†The Rockies couldn’t have asked for a better comeback performance from Tyler Anderson, whose quality outing coincided with his first start since undergoing knee surgery back in June. Even with a no-hitter stretching into the sixth inning (and eventually broken up by a Manuel Margot base hit), pitching wasn’t at the forefront of anyone’s mind on Saturday. The Rockies trampled the Padres with 16 runs, building to a double-digit finish with everything from a run-scoring passed ball to Pat Valaika‘s seventh-inning grand slam.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 0:¬†You haven’t seen Zack Greinke this good in a while. In fact, you haven’t seen Zack Greinke this good since 2015, when he fired eight innings of one-hit ball against the Phillies. Greinke was dominant again on Saturday, daring the Giants to venture past the batter’s box as he hurled eight shutout innings for his 17th win of the season. (He also collected two doubles off of Madison Bumgarner, just for the hell of it.)

The Giants managed just two hits against Arizona’s ace — a couple of singles up the middle by Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford — while Paul Goldschmidt‘s two-run homer supplied ample run support for Greinke’s gem.

Angels 2, Rangers 0:¬†Not only did the Angels play spoiler to the Astros’ postseason hopes on Saturday, but they also managed to narrow the gap in the wild card standings. Rookie righty Parker Bridwell logged eight pristine innings, keeping the game scoreless while Rangers’ southpaw Cole Hamels helped Justin Upton score a couple of dingers to decide the game. With the win, the Angels now sit just one game back of the Twins and could grab hold of a wild card berth as soon as Sunday.

The Astros could clinch the AL West on Sunday

Getty Images
3 Comments

A division title wasn’t in the cards for the Astros on Saturday. The team got off to a hot start: Dallas Keuchel fended off the Mariners for five scoreless innings and the offense built a six-run lead, relying on key hits from Derek Fisher, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran to distance themselves from their third-place rivals.

In fact, everything looked hunky-dory until the sixth, when Jean Segura ripped a 1-1 slider into the left field stands to spoil the shutout. Robinson Cano kicked off a four-run rally in the eighth, followed by Mitch Haniger‘s two-out, ninth-inning blast, but in the end, it was too little, too late. Beltran and Reddick returned with a pair of RBI hits to preserve the advantage and Joe Musgrove shut the door in the ninth, battling through a seven-pitch at-bat to catch Cano swinging to end the game.

Just as the Indians needed a Twins’ loss in order to clinch their division, however, the Astros couldn’t secure the AL West on their own. Clinching on Saturday would have necessitated an Angels’ loss to the Rangers — something their division rivals just weren’t willing to do. Parker Bridwell¬†stymied the Rangers’ offense through six strong frames and the bullpen chased his quality start with three innings of no-hit ball to complete the shutout. Justin Upton, meanwhile, supplied the whole of the Angels’ offense with a pair of home runs — his 30th and 31st shots of the season.

With the Angels’ win, the Astros will sit tight until they get another shot to wrap things up on Sunday. It’s not a bad day for clinching, either, with newly-minted ace Justin Verlander set to make his final home start of the regular season. He’ll go up against the Mariners’ Andrew Moore at 2:10 ET as Houston hunts for the sweep and the division title.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
4 Comments

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

Marlins 8, Padres 6: Getting tired of watching Giancarlo Stanton smash dingers? No? Good, neither is he. Stanton slugged a pair for the Marlins on Friday night, collecting No. 48 and 49 with a two-run, 462-footer in the first inning and a solo shot in the third.

His second blast was considerably shorter, cresting just 365 feet to put the Marlins up 3-0:

Stanton’s two-homer, five-RBI night and Marcell Ozuna‘s go-ahead home run helped cover a shaky start from Adam Conley, allowing the Marlins to slip back over .500 with their 64th win of the year. Stanton will go for home run No. 50 on Saturday to become the first Major League player with a 50-homer season since Chris Davis in 2013.

Mariners 2, Yankees 1:¬†Following Thursday’s Yankees-Tigers melee, Friday’s loss to the Mariners was quick and quiet by comparison. Gary Sanchez, who is appealing his four-game suspension, went 1-for-5 with a base hit, while the rest of the lineup drummed up just four hits against Ariel Miranda and the Mariners’ bullpen. Yonder Alonso powered the win with a solo homer in the 11th inning, keeping Seattle just half a game under the second wild card spot.

Mets 4, Nationals 2:¬†All things considered, Jacob deGrom is having himself a pretty nice season. The right-hander tied a career-high 14 wins during the Mets’ series opener, striking out 10 and holding the Nats to one run over 7 2/3 innings. It might have little to no implications for the playoffs, but the win was a nice breather for the team, who entered Friday with a 2-9 record over their last 11 games.

Phillies 7, Cubs 1:¬†If you haven’t been following Rhys Hoskins’ sprint toward one of MLB’s all-time rookie home run records, now is the time to tune in. Hoskins cranked his ninth home run in 16 games, putting the Phillies up 2-1 in the first inning with a monster shot off of opposing starter Jose Quintana.

Cesar Hernandez snapped the tie in the next inning with a three-run triple, his sixth of the season. The Cubs, meanwhile, collected and promptly stranded 10 baserunners en route to their 59th loss of the season.

Twins 6, Blue Jays 1:¬†Byron Buxton converted the Twins’ win from a potential nail-biter to a veritable blowout, going 3-for-5 with three hits, a pair of RBI singles and a run scored. His most impressive feat, however, was out in center field:

Orioles 16, Red Sox 3:¬†Speaking of blowouts, the Orioles trounced the Red Sox with more runs than they’d seen in any single win this season. That was almost entirely due to a seven-run spread in the fifth inning, featuring one of three run-scoring errors from the Red Sox and forcing Rick Porcello to take his worst loss of the year, with 11 runs, nine hits and four strikeouts scattered over 4 2/3 innings.

Indians 4, Royals 0:¬†Ryan Merritt has been yanked every which way this season, ping-ponging between Triple-A and the big leagues at least seven times since the start of the year. Thankfully for the Indians, he’s looked dominant in nearly every start he’s made in the majors, and Friday’s outing was no exception. The rookie left-hander fired 6 2/3 scoreless innings, limiting the Royals to seven hits, a walk and three strikeouts as Jason Vargas struggled to his eighth loss of the year.

Reds 9, Pirates 5:¬†What Robert “Bob” Stephenson lacked in an exciting nickname, he made up for on the mound during Friday’s win over the Pirates. Stephenson exited after 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits and distributing a career-best 11 strikeouts while the Reds came one run shy of their 10th double-digit win in 2017.

Braves 5, Rockies 2:¬†The Braves played spoiler to the Rockies’ play for the second wild card spot, keeping them 3.5 games above the Brewers¬†with a decisive 5-2 win in Friday’s series opener. They hit Chad Bettis fast and early, building a three-run lead on Matt Kemp‘s 15th home run of the year, Kurt Suzuki‘s 15th home run of the year, and a pair of supplemental runs from Ender Inciarte and Brandon Phillips.

White Sox 3, Tigers 2: In the end, a pitcher’s¬†duel between the hard-hitting Justin Verlander and Miguel Gonzalez could only be settled one way: with a line drive walk-off RBI single from Yolmer “El del Pinonal” Sanchez.

Rays 7, Cardinals 3:¬†For Ryan Sherriff’s big league debut, there was no opponent more fitting than Kevin “Outlaw” Kiermaier. Sherriff went three innings strong against the surging Rays, besting the Outlaw twice with a pair of force outs in the fifth and a groundout in the seventh and finishing his patrol with two hits, a walk and four strikeouts. The Outlaw had the last laugh, however, as the Rays’ four-run third inning gave them all the cushion they needed to take their 64th win of the season.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 3:¬†Brandon Crawford shone at the plate on Friday, which, if you’ve followed the incredible obstacles he’s had to overcome in the last few months, was both unexpected and encouraging. The Giants’ shortstop went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, helping bring the club within one run of tying the game. They couldn’t quite topple the Diamondbacks, however, who needed only one three-run blast from Paul Goldschmidt — his 30th of the year — to establish the lead.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1:¬†Kendall Graveman and Nick Martinez duked it out for seven strong innings apiece, issuing a collective 13 strikeouts as their respective offenses struggled to back their efforts with an equally impressive showing at the plate. The A’s finally snapped the 1-1 tie in the seventh, banking on Khris “Khrush” Davis’ 36th homer of the year (and second of the night) and plating an insurance run with Matt Chapman‘s RBI single to force the Rangers to a two-game deficit in the wild card standings.

Astros 2, Angels 1:¬†What Cameron Maybin lacked at the plate, he more than made up for on the field. The Angels’ speedy left fielder exhibited Gold Glove potential on Friday, snaring a pair of fly balls in the corner to keep the score knotted 1-1.

At the end of the day, defense (or lack thereof) was also responsible for the Angels’ loss, as Parker Bridwell lobbed a pitch that skipped well past the plate, allowing the Astros to hustle home for a go-ahead run in the sixth.

Dodgers 3, Brewers 1:¬†The Dodgers improved to 8-2 in their last 10 games with another dominant performance over the Brewers this weekend, catapulting themselves to a league-best 91 wins on six innings of one-run ball from Kenta Maeda and three home runs from Domingo “Showmingo” Santana, Logan “Logie Bear” Forsythe and Yasiel “Wild Horse” Puig. The win handed Milwaukee their third loss in five games, keeping them a distant third in the NL wild card race.