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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 11, Twins 3: The Twins took a 3-0 lead, but after that it was all Yankees. Aaron Judge hit his AL-leading 45th home run and crossed the 100 RBI mark. Gary Sanchez went back-to-back with him in the third. Didi Gregorius hit a three-run shot. The Yankees are rolling at just the right time. Or at least that’s what I’m reading everywhere, despite the fact that momentum is a false construct. And despite the fact that, hey, the world is probably going to end on Saturday.

Athletics 3, Tigers 2: Daniel Mengden tossed seven scoreless innings and continued to test my theory that, if they wanted to, sports writers could totally make up names for Oakland A’s players and most of us would nod and say “hmm, OK . . . Mengden.” Marcus Semien homered and drove in three as the A’s swept the Tigers. Who, after a decade or so of being a team full of famous players, is about to enter a period when we could play the same game with their relatively anonymous players as we’ve played with teams like the A’s for so long.

Marlins 9, Mets 2: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 56th homer and drove in three. In keeping with the silly trend of people pretending that passing Roger Maris at 61 would somehow be a significant record as opposed to merely a neat accomplishment, I am going to officially proclaim that Stanton NOW has the home run record. Hey, if subjectivity matters for things like this, so too does my personal subjectivity. The rundown:

  • Ken Griffey Jr. hit 56 twice, but he once used a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon that was expired, sullying it;
  • Luis Gonzalez and A-Rod at 57? They were Freemasons;
  • Four players hit 58 in a season once — Foxx, Greenberg, Howard and McGwire — but that sounds like a law firm, undermining the purity of the accomplishment;
  • Babe Ruth hit 59 and 60, but he purchased alcohol during prohibition, setting a terrible example for lack of temperance;
  • Roger Maris’ 61 was hit in front of a half-empty Yankee Stadium crowd. The Yankees were amazing in 1961 and everyone was talking about him passing Ruth, so something fishy was going on. I’m going to guess radiation contamination on site scared people away and, in turn, powered Maris artificially, like someone in a comic book;
  • That just leaves Sosa, McGwire and Bonds and they murdered all of those people so it’d be wrong to honor them.

Congratulations, Giancarlo Stanton: The Single Season Home Run Champ!

Giants 4, Rockies 0: The Rockies lose their third in a row. Thanks to the Brewers losing too they keep their one-game lead for the second Wild Card, but they really need to cut this out. Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer and Matt Moore and four relievers combined to shut Colorado out.

Red Sox 9, Orioles 0: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 13. In so doing he became just the second pitcher to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years, joining Clayton Kershaw. Before that Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002 (Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000 as well). Sale is just the second Red Sox pitcher to do it, following Pedro Martinez, who did it in 1999. Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero went deep for Boston. The Red Sox have clinched a playoff spot.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 5Aaron Altherr hit a tying, two-run homer in the seventh. The Dodgers added a run, so Altherr hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth. That’s three in a row over the Dodgers for Philly. They go for the sweep this afternoon. The Dodgers have lost four straight and 20 of 25. Their magic number for the NL West remains at two.

Pirates 6, Brewers 4Adam Frazier hit a two-out, two-run, walkoff homer off of Corey Knebel, averting extra innings and giving the game to the Buccos. Knebel’s streak of 21 consecutive save chances converted ended just before that when his own throwing error allowed the Pirates to tie it. We all have a bad day sometimes.

Royals 15, Blue Jays 5: Mike Moustakas broke the single-season home run record for the Royals. But, like I said above, this is all apparently subjective now, so I’m gonna stick with Steve Balboni’s 36 as the true mark, because this:

Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield also went deep as the Royals victimized Brett Anderson for eight runs on seven hits in an inning and a third and rattled off 18 hits on the night.

Cardinals 9, Reds 2Dexter Fowler homered for the third straight game. Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong also went deep, Tommy Pham had three hits and two RBI and Yadier Molina added a two-run double. Luke Weaver allowed two runs in five innings to win his seventh straight start, making him the current active leader in consecutive wins.

Rays 8, Cubs 1: The Cubs seven-game winning streak comes to an end thanks to Blake Snell‘s two-hit, seven shutout inning performance. The Cubs now open a four-game series in Milwaukee. They have a three and a half game lead over the Brewers and can either put them away or give us an exciting last week of the season. So, nothing personal Cubs fans, but let’s go Brewers.

Nationals 7, Braves 3: The Braves had a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth and then the Nats went and put up a six-spot. Three of those runs came on bases loaded walks from Arodys Vizcaino. Maybe Brandon Snitker is a fan of the movie “Tin Cup” or something. I don’t know. I’m just glad I wasn’t feeling well last night and took a NyQuil at 9:30 and missed it.

Astros 4, White Sox 3: That’s six straight wins for Houston. Yuli Gurriel had three hits, including a two-run double, Brad Peacock allowed two runs on only one hit in six innings.

Diamondbacks 13, Padres 7: Hunter Renfroe hit three homers. Wasn’t enough, though, as the Dbacks overcame a 6-2 deficit and scored 11 runs in the final four innings. J.D Martinez, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Jake Lamb all went deep for the Snakes.

Indians 6, Angels 5: Four wins in a row for Cleveland who is now 26-1 over their past 27 games. They haven’t lost a road game since August 20. This is just crazy stuff. Francisco Lindor snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer and  Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez added RBI singles. The Angels remain one and a half back of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Rangers 8, Mariners 6Rougned Odor hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run fourth inning and the Rangers held off Seattle. Alex Claudio earned a six-out save. The Puerto Rican native was distracted and worried about his family and homeland in the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria. I have no idea how anyone could concentrate under such circumstances, but he did.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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

Royals 4, Indians 3: The Indians came just four games shy of tying the 1916 Giants’ all-time 26-game winning streak, an incredible run that was stopped in its tracks by Lorenzo Cain and Mike Minor on Friday night. Cain put up the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the sixth inning, capping a four-run spread while the Indians struggled to get back on top. Minor sealed the deal for the Royals in the end, allowing a bloop single to Yandy Diaz before closing out the ninth with three straight strikeouts for his first save of the year.

Hey, think about it this way: The Indians may be done chasing history, but at least everyone will show up wearing clean underwear today.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 0: Sometimes, you have to pretend you know what you’re doing and hope no one catches on. Sometimes, you just need to read the ball better.

You can’t pin all the blame on Jayson Werth: Corey Seager exploited an Edwin Jackson fastball for a three-run homer, while the whole of the Nats’ offense couldn’t scare up more than four hits against Alex Wood and the bullpen. With the win, the Dodgers extended their winning streak to three games, their longest such run since August 25. They still need six more wins to clinch the NL West title.

Cubs 8, Cardinals 2: As long as there has been an enforceable strike zone, there have been quibbles between pitchers and umpires. Friday’s game was no exception, inciting an especially salty dispute between Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey and home plate ump Jordan Baker following a botched call in the fifth inning.

At least Joe Maddon didn’t expect anyone to keep their cool. “That’s the definition of insanity,” he told reporters following the game. “Why would I think he’s going to change in that particular moment? God bless him. I never want him to change. He’s not going to change, so why expect that? It happened, we reacted, and the rest of the group came together.”

Granted, he might have felt differently had the Cubs not won so handily, skirting their division rivals with four shutout innings and an impressive seven-run explosion in the sixth.

Athletics 4, Phillies 0: Maybe it was Daniel Mengden’s expertly-trimmed handlebar mustache or the way he slung his changeup, but whatever the case, the Phillies couldn’t figure him out. Mengden fired nine scoreless innings for his first career complete game shutout, issuing two hits and seven strikeouts and tacking on a base hit of his own.

Yankees 8, Orioles 2: The Yankees kept pace with the Red Sox again on Friday, maintaining their three-game deficit in the AL East as they try to prevent Boston from gaining a steep advantage in the last two weeks of the regular season. Luis Severino went eight strong and Didi Gregorius smashed his 22nd home run of the season, tying Derek Jeter’s single-season record for most dingers by a Yankees’ shortstop.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Red Sox 13, Rays 6 (15 innings): Let’s not pretend that this isn’t exactly what any of us (non-baseball player types) would look like against Chris Sale, Supreme Strikeout Leader:

Unlike the rest of us, Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t down for long. He stung the right field bleachers with a game-tying jack in the 14th inning and harnessed a pair of extra bases with five-star catches on the warning track. The Red Sox ran the Rays’ bullpen right into the ground in the 15th, however, piling on seven runs to take the win.

Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Friday was a day for snapping streaks, and thankfully for the Tigers, that meant the end of their six-game skid. Anibal Sanchez went toe-to-toe against Carson Fulmer, each distributing one run over six innings, and Sanchez’s 11 strikeouts decorated his best start of the season. Mikie Mahtook supplied the winning run, pouncing on a 3-2 slider from Juan Minaya to send the Tigers home with a win.

Reds 4, Pirates 2: The Reds trotted out a tried-and-true strategy during Friday’s opener: solid pitching and a lot of home runs. Homer Bailey suppressed Pittsburgh’s offense with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Joey Votto, Zack Cozart and Scott Schebler swatted a handful of solo home runs for a two-run advantage. The Reds are angling to surpass the Pirates for fourth place in the NL Central, which… sounds like the epitome of September baseball.

Braves 3, Mets 2: When you’re down 26 games in the division standings and three games from elimination in the wild card race, there are things you want to see:

And things you don’t:

This one went to the Braves, who needed just one run to top the Mets after rookie Sean Newcomb settled into a groove.

Brewers 10, Marlins 2: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Marlins/Brewers series was relocated to Miller Park on Friday. The Brewers did everything they could to accommodate their guests, relinquishing home field advantage and decking out the ballpark with palm trees and multicolored seashells and flamingoes.

The only accommodation they couldn’t make was on the scoreboard, where they trounced the Marlins with an eight-run lead after homering for the cycle with Eric Thames‘ solo shot, Stephen Vogt‘s two-run knock, a three-run homer from Domingo Santana and Neil Walker‘s grand slam.

Astros 5, Mariners 2: James Paxton returned to the mound for Seattle, but didn’t find the conditions nearly as favorable as Felix Hernandez had on Thursday night. He nearly hit his pitch count in just 1 1/3 innings, scattering three runs over four hits and two walks before getting pulled for Ryan Garton. The Mariners are still just 3.5 games back in the wild card race, but neither the Twins nor the Angels appear ready to relinquish their hold on second and third place just yet. The Astros, meanwhile, are gunning for the title with two wins to go.

Blue Jays 4, Twins 3: The Twins played up Bartolo Colon‘s first-ever “Big Sexy” Night at the ballpark, but the Blue Jays didn’t succumb to his charms for long. After four scoreless innings, Kevin Pillar broke through with a solo homer in the fifth, while Josh Donaldson‘s long ball in the sixth snapped a homer-less streak of six consecutive games:

A two-run rally in the seventh propelled the Blue Jays to their first win of the series, dropping the Twins to a slim two-game lead in the wild card standings.

Rockies 6, Padres 1: Speaking of wild card leaders, the Rockies preserved their 2.5-game advantage over the Brewers with a solid outing from Tyler Chatwood, who turned in 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball before Wil Myers‘ 457-footer forced his exit in the sixth. Chatwood provided his own run support, too, putting the Rockies on the board with a two-RBI single in the second inning.

Angels 6, Rangers 6: Both the Angels and Rangers made compelling arguments for their place in the postseason, but it was the Angels’ five-run inning that put them over the top on Friday. The run support couldn’t have been more timely or more welcome, especially on a bullpen day. Mike Scioscia trotted out seven relievers to keep the Rangers’ bats at bay, starting with two scoreless frames from Bud Norris and ending with Blake Parker‘s sixth save of the season.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2: The Diamondbacks may not be in line for a division title, but they only need seven more wins to lock down a spot in the playoffs. Robbie Ray turned in seven innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for his 14th win of the year, while Jeff Samardzija did everything he could to play spoiler to the D-backs’ efforts, crafting his own eight-inning gem and scoring the Giants’ second and final run of the night.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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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  “Racism is as American as Baseball.” 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 1Rhys 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 1Eddie 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 1Mike 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 2A.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.