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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:

White Sox 13, Giants 1: The White Sox weren’t about to get shown up by the Giants two days in a row. Six home runs did the trick, from Jose Abreu‘s 372-foot blast in the first inning to Nick Delmonico‘s two-run shot in the seventh. Abreu went 4-for-5 and batted for the cycle, collecting an elusive triple in the eighth to become the sixth player in franchise history (and the first in 17 years) to replicate the feat.

Braves 6, Marlins 5: A night off did wonders for Giancarlo Stanton, who returned to the Marlins’ lineup on Saturday raring to go. He wasted no time getting on the board, hammering a 456-footer to center field in the first inning for an early lead:

The Marlins followed Stanton’s efforts with a three-run spread in the third inning, but dropped their lead in the most anticlimactic fashion: on a walk-off walk.

Yankees 3, Rangers 1: The Yankees extended their lead in the wild card race with a masterful performance from Luis Severino, who fanned 10 batters over seven innings of one-hit ball. Rangers’ right-hander Andrew Cashner was equally stingy, blanking the Yankees through the first seven innings before Chase Headley broke through with a sac fly in the eighth. Tyler Austin’s RBI single provided the go-ahead run in the ninth, and a shutdown performance from Aroldis Chapman sealed the deal.

Indians 4, Orioles 2: The Orioles may not have been able to top the Indians during their remarkable 17-win tear, but they managed to do something that no competitor had done in 16 games: They scored first. Trey Mancini‘s first-inning RBI single held up for two innings, but the Indians came storming back with a four-run spread, banking on key hits from Giovanny Urshela and Jay Bruce to regain the lead.

Athletics 11, Astros 1 (Game 1): It’s too late in the season for the A’s comeback to have any significant impact on their season, but that didn’t stop them from tanking the division-leading Astros in back-to-back double-digit performances. Daniel Gossett finally found his groove against the ‘Stros, leading the way with his first quality start of the month. His dominance was starkly contrasted by that of Houston relievers Reymin Guduan and J.D. Davis, who contributed to the A’s blowout with a cumulative four runs on six walks in the eighth inning:

Athletics 11, Astros 4 (Game 2): Things didn’t look any better for the Astros the second time around.  They kept their walk count to a minimum, with just one free pass by Michael Feliz, but the A’s opted for the long ball with blasts from Jose Altuve, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder. With the Astros’ slump and the Indians’ historic resurgence, the two are now tied for the best record in the American League, at 86-56.

Brewers 15, Cubs 2: The Brewers may have lost ace right-hander Jimmy Nelson for the season, but they didn’t look any worse for wear during Saturday’s hit parade. Chase Anderson led the way with five scoreless frames while the rest of the team tagged opposing starter Mike Montgomery for eight runs in the third. With the win, the Brewers sit just three games out of the division lead, though they’ll have to top both the Cubs and Cardinals to clinch the title.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: There’s no doubt the Nationals will clinch the NL East title. They’re 19 games up on the second-place Marlins and could repeat as division champs as soon as Sunday, provided that they can coordinate another win with another Marlins’ loss. Doing so would make them the first repeat champions since the Phillies clinched in 2007 and 2008… and 2009, 2010 and 2011, but at least on Saturday, the Phillies weren’t quite ready to let that happen. They played spoiler to the Nationals’ efforts with a pair of home runs by Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco in the second inning, then returned for three insurance runs in the fourth.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4: The Blue Jays are still an improbable nine games out of a playoff berth, with seven teams blocking their path to a wild card spot, but on Saturday, they looked every inch the perennial contender. Kevin Pillar did it all for the club, going 4-for-4 with a leadoff RBI single and tie-breaking home run and snaring a deep fly ball to prevent the Tigers from gaining an advantage in the fifth.

Mets 6, Reds 1: The Mets will be eliminated from postseason contention in just seven games, so now’s as good a time as any to start heating up. They worked up to their fourth consecutive win on Saturday, capitalizing on five solid innings from Rafael Montero and an early lead from Kevin Plawecki to stay ahead of the Reds.

Red Sox 9, Rays 0: While the Yankees looked for an edge in the AL East race, the Red Sox extended their lead with their first shutout of September. Chris Sale improved to a 16-7 record, taking the Rays to task with six scoreless frames and fanning eight of 25 batters. At the plate, it was a group effort: Dustin Pedroia led off the first inning with a solo shot, his seventh of the year, and a smattering of base hits and productive outs took care of the rest.

Royals 5, Twins 2: With a wild card race this cutthroat, every win counts. The Royals upended the Twins to move within four wins of a postseason berth, breaking through in the eighth inning on Eric Hosmer‘s go-ahead RBI single. Mike Minor and Brandon Maurer stepped in to preserve the win for rookie Jakob Junis, whose quality start was his first since August 14.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: The Pirates may have put the most creative effort into their performance on Saturday, but creativity doesn’t always win games. Adam Frazier lashed an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning and cleared the bases in just 15.7 seconds, the Pirates’ fastest home-to-home mark since 2015.

Some of the credit, however, goes to the wall in center field, which knocked Dexter Fowler out of the game and gave Frazier a head start as he charged around the basepaths. Fowler exited with a left knee contusion and the Cardinals rebounded with Matt Carpenter‘s standard-issue home run and Randal Grichuk‘s tie-breaking RBI groundout to take the lead.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 7: Whatever slump the Dodgers and Astros have suffered from lately appears to be contagious. The Diamondbacks took their second straight loss to the Padres on Saturday, dropping their five-run lead after the Friars mounted a stunning six-run rally in the ninth. At this rate, it’s anyone’s guess how the playoffs will shake out.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: The Mariners did their part to even out the AL wild card standings, putting up their own six-run spread in the fourth inning to create some distance from the third-place Angels. Nelson Cruz saved the biggest and best blast for last, punishing an 0-2 slider from Jesse Chavez for a 398-foot home run, his 32nd of the season:

Rockies 6, Dodgers 5: The Dodgers continued their Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine on Saturday, skidding to their ninth straight loss — their worst since a 10-game slump in 1992 — following a breakthrough effort from Trevor Story and three scoreless innings from Colorado’s bullpen. The Rockies, meanwhile, had some fun during the nail-biter, as Story cranked out his 20th homer of the season and Charlie Blackmon collected his 88th leadoff RBI to tie Craig Biggio’s record.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 9, White Sox 4: The Indians finally trailed in a game — down 4-3 in the first inning, for their first time behind in 68 frames — but they continued their winning ways, taking their 13th game in a row.  Jose Ramirez, who just won Player of the Week honors, started on a second straight week of dominance by hitting two more homers. Here Cleveland’s starter, Danny Salazar, couldn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing those four runs, but seven Indians relievers combined for eight and a third scoreless innings. If the Indians take their 14th straight game today, they’ll tie the franchise record winning streak.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: This one went 19 innings and ended after 1AM. Ending it: a Mookie Betts double to lead off the inning followed by a walkoff bloop single from Hanley Ramirez. It would’ve ended hours earlier in the Blue Jays favor if not for Ramirez and Mitch Moreland each grounding out to plate a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up at two. That wasted a fantastic performance from Marco Estrada, who tossed seven shutout innings. A long game is hard on everyone, but I guess the bright side of this is that, given that they couldn’t do anything against Estrada, it’s probably evidence that the Red Sox have stopped cheating.

Pirates 4, Cubs 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Max Moroff and David Freese hit RBI singles to bring the Pirates back from behind. Jordan Luplow homered. The Pirates starter, Steven Brault, didn’t get the decision, but he was the first lefty to start for Pittsburgh all year, which is weird.

Tigers 13, Royals 2: Big day for Tigers first baseman John Hicks, who homered twice and drove in four.  JaCoby Jones homered twice as well, and the Tigers won easily despite losing starter Anibal Sanchez after only five pitches into the game when he was hit on the leg with a come backer.

Reds 9, Brewers 3: It was close until the bottom of the seventh when the Reds plated five runs. Three of those came on a Scooter Gennett homer. Robert Stephenson allowed one run over six for the win. Milwaukee has dropped two straight to the lowly Reds on days when the Cubs have lost, blowing a chance to make up ground.

Phillies 9, Mets 1: Ben Lively was a one man gang, allowing one run over seven innings and drove in four runs via a two-run homer and a two-run single. He and the Phillies rocked Jacob deGrom, who allowed nine runs — six earned — on ten hits in three and a third, including that homer to Lively. Lively homered in his last start too, and is now 6-for-21 (.286) with two home runs and eight RBI on the year.

Nationals 2, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg tosses six shutout innings, running his total to 26 consecutive scoreless innings, and struck out eight. He might’ve gone longer but suffered from some cramps that caused him to leave early. Daniel Murphy‘s eighth inning homer was the difference offensively. He almost had another one earlier but Giancarlo Stanton robbed it from him by reaching over the wall to snag it:

Rays 2, Twins 1: Jake Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with six and two-thirds shutout innings to get the win. Probably good that it was broken up, of course, as he needed 90 pitches to get that far and thus never would’ve been able to go the distance. Lucas Duda supplied all of the Rays offense, with an RBI double and a solo homer.

Rockies 9, Giants 6Trevor Story homered and Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double as the Rockies rode a four-run sixth inning to their eighth straight win over the Giants at Coors Field. Colorado used nine pitchers. Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4. He walked, but he’s now hitless in 37 straight at-bats. Woof.

Orioles 7, Yankees 6: Manny Machado hit a walkoff two-run homer with two outs to give the O’s the win. This came after Baltimore was down five. It also came when Dellin Betances threw a bunch of breaking balls instead of fastballs. Betances said after the game that he should’ve thrown more fastballs. Ya think?

Angels 8, Athletics 7:  Ben Revere lined a go-ahead single in the top of the 10th inning and the Angels took over the second Wild Card spot with this win combined with the Twins loss. Mike Trout was thrown out at the plate twice: once in the third inning when he tried to score from third on a grounder, then again in the fifth when he tried to get home from second on a single. You win when that happens and you’re living a charmed life.

Astros 3, Mariners 1: Welcome to the Astros, Justin Verlander. Houston’s newest pitcher tossed six innings, allowing one run and striking out seven. His only blemish: a solo homer to Kyle Seager in the fourth. His run support came via an Alex Bregman sac fly and a homer from former Tigers teammate Cameron Maybin.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: Arizona wins its 12th straight and the Dodgers drop their fifth straight and tenth in their last 11. Here Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu each allowed a run but didn’t figure in the decision. In the tenth Pedro Baez walked the first two batters he faced and then both of them scored on a fielder’s choice + error combo when Justin Turner threw home and Yasmani Grandal couldn’t handle it. Things suck hard for the Dodgers right now, but every good team goes through a bad stretch. The key is, you know, getting out of it.

Cardinals 8, Padres 4: Jose Martinez hit two home runs and Harrison Bader homered and drove in three. Travis Wood didn’t pitch all that well for San Diego, but he did hit a two-run homer.

Rangers vs. Braves — POSTPONED:

You shatter me your grip on me a hold on me
So dull it kills
You stifle me
Infectious sense of
Hopelessness and prayers for rain
I suffocate
I breathe in dirt
And nowhere shines but desolate
And drab the hours all spent on killing time
Again all waiting for the rain

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.