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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: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 5, Tigers 3: They keep on winning. I wrote the game up here yesterday. Last night I got an email from an old colleague I haven’t heard from in years and years. He said the following:

“The Indians are on pace to win 100 games, which is 62% of their games (100/162). All else being equal (which is admittedly an unrealistic assumption), a team winning 62% of its games has a 62% chance of winning any one game. The chance of such team winning 21 games in a row is:

“0.62 raised to the 21st power, which is 0.000044, or 1 in 22,896.

“Usually about two teams a year win 100 games in MLB. So the likelihood of a 21-game MLB win streak is about once in every 10,000 seasons.”

I have no idea if that is accurate but it’s too good to check. Or, well, to have someone who knows anything about math to check. I’m just gonna say “neat.”

Dodgers 4, Giants 1: Two in a row! Not exactly a winning streak on par with Cleveland’s, but for the Dodgers it’s their longest winning streak since August 25. Cody Bellinger led the way here, hitting a two-run homer and tripling in a run as Yu Darvish tossed seven shutout innings. This is what the Dodgers we have come to know look like.

Athletics 7, Red Sox 3: Matt Olson hit a two-run homer in the A’s four-run first and Doug Fister and the Sox never recovered. All the talk here, of course, was the banner that someone unfurled over the Green Monster saying¬†¬†‚ÄúRacism is as American as Baseball.‚ÄĚ As Bill noted last night there’s some ambiguity to that statement. It’s probably an anti-racism sign, but it’s worded somewhat poorly and, as a rule, one should not include sarcasm in a banner, which is not a tool of subtle communication. When I first saw it, my thoughts went to an old Saturday Night Live sketch from, like, 1983 or 1984, in which Ed Asner plays a retiring nuclear power technician who, as he’s leaving, tells his colleagues to always remember that “you can never put too much water in a nuclear reactor.” He leaves and they all disagree as to whether too put tons of water in or to be careful not to put too much. Anyway, that sketch is taking up brain cells that could be used to remember useful things but here we are.

Yankees 3, Rays 2: Not a pretty win — it can’t be when the starting pitcher and manager are seen arguing in the dugout during the game — but a win all the same. New York did all of its scoring in the second via RBI singles from Todd Frazier and Brett Gardner Aroldis Chapman struck out four in a four out save, even though he walked two and allowed a hit.

White Sox 5, Royals 3: Break up the White Sox, who have won five of six games and took two of three from the Royals. This one was tied at three in the ninth when Jose Abreu hit a sac fly and Avisail Garcia singled in a run.¬†Lucas Giolito¬†allowed only one run in six and a third. He’s been pretty good of late. The Sox are a bad team but they’ve had a lot to build on this year and have been interesting at times. That’s about all you can ask for from a club in their situation.

Braves 8, Nationals 2: The Braves scored six runs in the seventh inning, five of which were chargeable to Max Scherzer, who the Nats were trying to stretch. Guess they stretched him too far as he allowed a two-run, bases-loaded single to¬†Dansby Swanson¬†and then loaded the bases before reliever Brandon Kintzler gave up a grand slam to¬†Matt Kemp. Braves starter¬†Luiz Gohara allowed two runs — one earned — in six innings of work.

Phillies 8, Marlins 1:¬†Rhys Hoskins homered again — that’s now 17 dingers in only 33 games — and drove in three. Hoskins is the fastest player in major league history to get to 17 career homers, breaking the old record — 42 games — which was held by Boston Braves outfielder Wally Berger, set in 1930. Aaron Nola allowed only one run in seven innings, striking out 11.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: Baltimore breaks its six-game losing streak, picking up two quick runs in the first inning thanks to an Adam Jones RBI double and a Trey Mancini RBI triple, which in his case they should call a “trey” because, like duh. Kevin Gausman allowed one run over seven and Zach Britton got the save, rebounding from his bad night on Tuesday.

Cubs 17, Mets 5:¬†¬†Albert Almora Jr. pulled a Dante — he wasn’t even supposed to be here today — coming off the bench in the seventh inning to hit a three-run homer and then hit a bases-loaded triple in the eighth. Javier Baez had four hits, including a homer. Kris Bryant¬†had three hits and scored four runs.¬†Ben Zobrist¬†also scored four times.¬†Willson Contreras¬†had two hits and three RBI. It was a train wreck for the Mets in every conceivable way, all the way down to Matt Harvey having yet another shaky start.

Brewers 8, Pirates 2: Milwaukee keeps pace with the Cubs as Eric Thames homered, Chase Anderson pitched well on short rest and last minute replacement Brett Phillips had two hits, three RBI and nailed a runner at home plate who was trying to score on a sac fly. It was David Freese and your aunt Tilly could probably nail him even if he was sprinting, but an out is an out, man.

Reds 6, Cardinals 0: The Cardinals did not keep pace, getting shut out by Tyler Mahle and three Reds relievers. Eugenio Suarez hit a fifth inning grand slam.

Twins 3, Padres 1:¬†Eddie Rosario hit a walkoff two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th. Rosario was also responsible for the Twins’ only other run thanks to his leadoff double in the second inning. He made it to third on a wild pitch and then scored when Austin Hedges tried to throw him out but sailed the ball into left field. The Twins maintain a two-game lead for the second Wild Card.

Mariners 8, Rangers 1: Mike Zunino hit two solo homers and Kyle Seager and Jean Segura drove in two as well. Mike Leake, who I forgot got traded to Seattle, allowed two runs and pitched into the sixth.

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 2:¬†A.J. Pollock¬†homered and drove in four runs, Paul Goldschmidt notched his 1,000th career hit and Patrick Corbin allowed one run, striking out seven in six and two-thirds. The Snakes snapped the Rockies’ six-game winning streak.

Angels 9, Astros 1: The Angels scored five runs in the first and never looked back. They scored three more in the fourth, abusing Astros starter Mike Fiers for eight runs on ten hits in all. The Angels attack featured eight extra base hits, including six doubles and homers from Luis Valbuena and Justin Upton.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 8, Dodgers 6: This game ended a little over an hour before I started these recaps and the San Francisco and L.A. writers covering the game were still at the ballpark, awake and beefing about whatever writers beef about. Good times! The delay was due to¬†rain and lightning that twice hit AT&T Park last night, causing the game not to get started until super late. The teams stuck it out, however, because the forecast doesn’t look all that better for today and tomorrow and the Dodgers didn’t want to give up their travel day on Thursday. As it was, they gave up their 11th straight game, extending this death spiral.¬†Denard Span — batting third — hit a homer into McCovey Cove and drove in three. Hunter Pence — leading off — had three hits and scored twice. Between the two delays the teams ended up having to use 15 pitchers combined and 40 players overall. What a night.

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: Nolan Arenado hit a tie-breaking three-run home run in the eighth inning and drove in four on the evening in what seems like a preview of the NL Wild Card game. After their 13-game winning streak, the Diamondbacks have dropped three of four.

Indians 11, Tigers 0: That’s 19 straight for Cleveland, which took a 5-0 lead by the second inning — three of those coming on a bases loaded triple from Francisco Lindor — and never looked back.¬†¬†Carlos Carrasco¬†tossed six shutout innings. Lindor knocked in four on the night. Jose Ramirez hit a long two-run homer and drove in three. It’s getting ahead of things to say the Indians will make the World Series — and the way they’re playing now it looks silly to say the Dodgers will make it — but if they both do, know that Cleveland has closed 15 and a half games in the standings between them and L.A. in 17 days and now stand four games behind for the best record in baseball which would, in turn, determine home field advantage in the World Series.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3: The Orioles are scuffling again, and are likely playing their way out of Wild Card contention. Ryan Goins hit a solo home run, Marco Estrada was solid and Darwin Barney had two hits and an RBI. He also did this on a double, advancing to third on a throwing error:

Yankees 5, Rays 1: This one was played in Citi Field because of Hurricane Irma, so the “visiting” team won.¬†Todd Frazier¬†hit a¬†three-run homer in a five-run fourth inning made possible by Trevor Plouffe’s two-out error. The Yankees closed to within three games of Boston in the AL East and now have a four-game lead over Minnesota for the top AL Wild Card spot. The Rays are all but done, falling four back of the Wild Card with 17 to play and with five teams ahead of them.

Pirates 7, Brewers 0: Steven Brault allowed one hit over six shutout innings, striking out six, and left with a 6-0 lead, two runs of which came off of his own bat with an RBI single. Nice night at the office. Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte each hit two-run shots. Milwaukee falls to 2.5 back of the idle Cubs and two back of the idle Cards in the NL Central.

White Sox 11, Royals 3: Jose Abreu hit for the cycle on Saturday, hit two homers on Sunday and had four hits last night, falling a homer short of another cycle. He also walked. Adam Engel hit a three-run homer as the Chisox won easily.

Rangers 5, Mariners 3: In the second inning Delino DeShields reached on bunt single and then scored from first base on a Shin-Soo Choo double, running through the third base coach’s stop sign to do it. In the fourth inning he hit a home run. In closing, Delino DeShields is a land of contrasts.