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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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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.

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 3: Brandon 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 Chapman,¬†Ryon Healy,¬†Boog 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 3:¬†Mike 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 Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 7, Brewers 1: Luis Castillo allowed one run over eight innings and struck out ten. Yesterday Bill explained why we should all be keeping an eye on that guy going forward.

Twins 10, Rays 6: Minnesota ended a three-game skid and took back possession of second Wild Card position from the Angels. Eduardo Escobar had three hits and three RBI and Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza both homered

Rangers 12, Braves 8;¬†Braves 5, Rangers 4: The first game of the doubleheader had an announced attendance of over 19,000 based on who bought tickets for the cancelled night before, but there were fewer than 1,000 people in attendance. It just looked and sounded weird, man. I’m used to seeing that at Turner Field on occasion, but in the new ballpark it’s kinda strange. Anyway, Elvis¬†Andrus drove in three runs with four hits, including a homer, which was his 20th on the year. I’d say he did it “against his old mates” but it was about 5,000 years ago that the Braves traded him away. The Braves split the twin bill, somehow surviving five walks from starter Julio Teheran in the second game, Here’s Teheran afterward:

“I know five walks is a lot but I didn’t want to throw the ball over the plate where they could hit it.”

Hmm.

Athletics 3, Angels 1:¬†Sean Manaea¬†pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, Khris Davis homered and the A’s stopped an eight-game losing streak. ¬†A’s third baseman Matt Chapman¬†was ejected after an exchange between him and Angels catcher¬†Juan Graterol¬†in the bottom of the fourth inning triggered by Graterol claiming that Davis was stealing signs from second base. No word on whether he was using an Apple Newton or a Palm Treo or anything to do it. I mean, it’s the A’s. Their budget is going to be lower than the Red Sox’ for such things.

Cubs 1, Pirates 0: Gerrit Cole and Jose Quintana exchanged zeroes — Cole did it for eight innings, Quintana for six, his friends in the pen for three more — but Alex Avila tripled in a run in the top of the ninth to push the Cubs over. It wasn’t some rocket shot to the corner or anything either. The Pirates were shifting on Avila, he broke his bat and blooped one opposite the shift and Leonys Martin scored easily from second base. Tough luck for Cole after allowing only two hits in his start.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: Doug Fister gave up one run over seven innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and drove in three. It’s crazy that on a team with Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello that Fister has been their most reliable pitcher of late.

Royals 13, Tigers 2: On Tuesday night the Tigers beat the Royals 13-2. Last night Kansas City returned the favor. This game was tied heading into the seventh, by the way, before the Royals scored four in that inning and seven runs in the eighth. That’s bad even for the Tigers bullpen. Sal Perez hit two homers. Brad Ausmus wasn’t literally reading want ads in the dugout last night, but I bet he was doing so mentally speaking.

Mets 6, Phillies 3:¬†Robert Gsellman pitched pretty well until the sixth inning, when he gave up three runs, but thankfully for him and the Mets the game ended after six innings due to rain. Travis d'Arnaud¬†homered. Brandon Nimmo drove in two via two sacrifice flies. I like to call that “pulling a Black Sabbath,” which is to be super great without any hits. OK, I lied, I don’t like to call it that. I just made it up on the spot.

Nationals 8, Marlins 1: Gio Gonzalez tossed five shutout innings and seven different Nats hitters drove in a run.¬†¬†Ryan Zimmerman¬†and Michael A. Taylor each hit homers. It was the Nats’ eight straight victory over Miami.

Indians 5, White Sox 1: Cleveland keeps on rolling, taking its 14th game in a row to tie a franchise record. Here Carlos Carrasco starred, allowing one run on three hits in a complete game and needing only 97 pitches to do it. The lone run came on a homer with two outs in the ninth. Carlos Santana hit a two-run home run and had three hits in all.

Giants 11, Rockies 3: San Francisco snaps its 10-game losing streak at Coors Field, thanks to¬†Joe Panik‘s five hits. He drove in two, and went 12-for-15 in the series. Nick Hundley and Austin Slater knocked in two runs each as well while Gorkys Hernandez did them one better and knocked in three.

Astros 5, Mariners 3: It was tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth when Cameron Maybin walked up and hit a two-run homer. That gave Houston a sweep and their seventh straight win overall. After the late August skid Houston found themselves on, this little run has to give hope to the Dodgers who . . .

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: . . . lost once again to the red-hot Diamondbacks, who took their 13th straight. Their streak of innings without trailing ended, but it’s all good, as pinch-hitter¬†Adam Rosales¬†doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and¬†Taijuan Walker and three relievers held Los Angeles to one run. The Dodgers have lost six in a row and 11 of 12.

Cardinals 3, Padres 1: Jack Flaherty threw five innings of one-run ball and Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give St. Louis their first runs — and only necessary runs — of the game. St. Louis has won four straight and six of seven.

Yankees vs. Orioles — POSTPONED:

Can someone send a runner
Through the weather that I’m under
For the feeling I lost today?
Can someone send a runner
For the feeling I lost today?
You must be somewhere in London
You must be lovin’ your life in the rain
You must be somewhere in London
Walking Abbey Lane