Max Scherzer

Jason Castro

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Astros 3, Angels 0: The Astros complete a three-game sweep of the Angels and take a two-game lead in the west thanks to Jason Castro’s walkoff three-run homer. The win was aided by Scott Kazmir’s seven and two-thirds shutout innings. And now Carlos Gomez is on his way to join the fun.

Reds 15, Pirates 5: Brandon Phillips hit two three-run homers and drove in seven as the Reds demolish the Pirates. He also stole two bases. Jay Bruce drove in three as well. Word is that the Mets may be interested in Bruce, however, so expect to hear Sandy Alderson identify some mysterious physical ailment in him in the next few hours which undercuts any possible trade. Maybe a strain of his right buttock due to is wallet being too big for the Mets’ tastes.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Max Scherzer, Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon combine on a three-hit shutout. After the game someone asked the Nationals new closer how he was getting along with the old closer. Any strife or awkwardness with Storen, you know, losing his job?

That, um, is good.

Padres 8, Mets 7: Justin Upton’s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth — after a 45 minute rain delay — ended up winning the game. But not before a post-homer rain delay of nearly another three hours, thanks in part to the Mets crew having a hell of a time getting the already wet tarp back on the field. Open question as to why Jeurys Familia was allowed to resuming pitching after that first 45 minute break, but Terry Collins thought he was OK. In other news, Justin Upton, who is the subject of trade rumors, is messing with us:

Earlier in the game, Upton hugged his teammates in the dugout as if he was saying goodbye after a trade.

“I thought that was funny,” Upton said. “That’s what happens when people like to tweet everything.”

Just like Best Shape of His Life, “Hug Watch” is more or less over now that players are aware of it. Really tired of players ruining all that is great about this game.

Phillies 4, Braves 1: Philly wins its tenth in the past 12 games. Aaron Harang came off the DL to allowed one run while scattering nine hits over five innings. Fun times: despite the trade to Texas, reliever Jake Diekman was still in uniform in the Phillies bullpen because, apparently, actually finalizing trades is too hard to do these days. Wilmer Flores on Wednesday night, Michael Morse pinch hitting for the Marlins yesterday, Diekman in the pen. Jeez, guys, clean it up. Tigers should’ve started David Price for crying out loud.

Tigers 9, Orioles 8: The Tigers had a 9-2 lead in the sixth inning before their bullpen made it interesting. Not that that’s new or anything. Now that they’re selling off it doesn’t matter all that much, of course. What does matter is Yoenis Cespedes homering and driving in three runs in his final audition before the trade deadline this afternoon.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2: Dioner Navarro, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson all homered. Ben Zobrist made his Kansas City debut and went 0-for-4. He did manage to snag his preferred number 18 from coach Rusty Kuntz, however. Hope he’s getting what he wants for it. 

Dare to dream, Rusty.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 8: The Cardinals win on a walkoff walk as the Rockies blew a two-run lead in the ninth. Matt Carpenter homered twice, going 4-for-5 with four driven in. He did so after being moved back up to the leadoff position. After the game he talked about how that helps and how he’s more comfortable there and stuff. Which is something I don’t understand at all, as after the first inning it’s just like being in any other position in the lineup. He singled then, so great, but the homers came later. Never under estimate the superstition, irrationality and love of routine of ballplayers, though.

Red Sox 8, White Sox 2: The White Sox were surging, winners of seven straight, and were sending their ace, Chris Sale to the mound. So much for momentum theory. Boston rocked Sale to the tune of seven runs on 12 hits in five innings. David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Xander Bogaerts also had three hits and Rusney Castillo homered in the seventh. It was only Boston’s third win in their past 15 games.

Rangers 7, Yankees 6: Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer in the first and a walkoff single in the ninth for a nice set of bookends. It was 101 degrees at first pitch. CC Sabathia ended up going to the hospital with dehydration. I’m all for outdoor baseball but I’d love to meet the genius who decided that they didn’t need a retractable roof in Texas. I guess they build the dang thing too early — Chase Field, Safeco Field, Minute Maid Park, and Miller Park all came later — and weren’t confident that it’d work? I dunno.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer with two out in the eighth inning. Joe Maddon: “The whole night, it wasn’t going our way, but I liked the way we worked. And then eventually Riz steps up and does what he can do.” No diggity. In other news, baseball nicknames are dying, you guys. How is he not “Ratso?”

Twins 9, Mariners 5: Eddie Rosario had a homer, a triple, a double and drove in three. If you have to fall short of a cycle, not getting the single is the best way to do it, even if “triple short of the cycle” gets all the press. Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier also homered.

Indians 3, Athletics 1: Carlos Carrasco was dominant, tossing a two-hitter, with both hits coming in the first inning. All the A’s managed the rest of the way was a measly walk as Carrasco went the distance, needing only 103 pitches to do so, in a game that took only two hours and fifteen minutes.

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 24: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two run home run in the fifth inning during the game against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on July 24, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Max Scherzer flirted with a perfect game and ultimately settled for a no-hitter the last time he faced the Pirates on June 20. It was a different story for the Nationals ace this time around. The Pirates scored five runs off Scherzer last night as part of a 7-5 victory at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates hit three home runs off Scherzer. The first sailed into the Allegheny River off the bat of Pedro Alvarez. The second was a game-tying blast from Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning which capped an impressive 12-pitch at-bat. The third one was from Neil Walker and gave the Pirates the lead.

That lead was short-lived, as Ian Desmond tied things up in the top of the sixth with a home run of his own. However, the Pirates battled right back with a go-ahead RBI double from Brent Morel and an RBI single from Polanco. Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon followed with three scoreless innings of relief to finish off the victory.

The Pirates are six games back of the Cardinals in the National League Central, but are still sitting pretty for a Wild Card spot. The Nationals are just 3-5 since the All-Star break, but the Mets are also slumping, so they still have a three-game lead in the NL East.

Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:

Phillies 5, Cubs 3 (10 innings)

Tigers 1, Red Sox 2 (11 innings)

White Sox 6, Indians 0

Nationals 5, Pirates 7

Orioles 1, Rays 3

Dodgers 7, Mets 2

Astros 4, Royals 0

Braves 2, Cardinals 4

Yankees 1, Twins 10

Reds 5, Rockies 6

Rangers 4, Angels 2

Brewers 2, Diamondbacks 1

Blue Jays 2, Mariners 5

Marlins 1, Padres 3

Athletics 3, Giants 9

Bryce Harper not impressed by Zack Greinke: “I don’t think he was very tough.”

Bryce Harper

Zack Greinke is all the rage, as he’s two scoreless starts away from matching or exceeding Orel Hershiser’s major league record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. He increased his streak to 43 2/3 innings — the longest such streak since Hershiser — with eight terrific innings against Bryce Harper and the Nationals on Sunday, out-dueling Max Scherzer.

Greinke has been baseball’s best starter to date, and Harper has been baseball’s best hitter this season. So it was a veritable clash of the titans and Greinke ultimately won out as Harper went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk against him. Harper still wasn’t impressed by Greinke, however. Via CSN Washington’s Chase Hughes:

“I think he was okay. When you’re getting five to six inches off of the plate, you better win the game,” Harper said. “For me, I don’t think he was very tough. He’s a great pitcher, he does what he does, but when you’re getting six inches off the plate it’s pretty tough to face him.”

Harper did acknowledge Greinke’s prowess, calling him a “damn good pitcher”, but admitted that he doesn’t watch Greinke with any regularity, suggesting the media ask someone on the West coast instead.