And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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White Sox 5, Rays 0: Nice game for Josh Fields (1-4, grand
slam). Scott Kazmir’s nightmare season continues. Rumors have him on
the trading block to free up some salary for the Rays to get Lee or
someone. What a difference a year makes. Wait, why are you looking at
me like that? Did something else happen in this game worthy of comment?

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: And with that, the AL Central is tied.
Perfect game juju gives the Sox the momentum, though (that’s how that
works, right?). And how about Jarrod Washburn? Walk a few less guys,
strike a few more guys out, and bammo — you’re ending July at 8-6 with
a 2.71 ERA.

Giants 5, Braves 1: It makes total sense that the Braves hit Tim
Lincecum like he’s Derek Lilliquist and then get shut down by Barry
Zito (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). You’re not going to believe this, but Bobby Cox
was ejected. Strange, though. It was only about 80 degrees and the game
was tied. He usually saves that sort of thing for the really hot days
when the game’s outcome is no longer in doubt. Unlike almost all of his
other ejections it’s possible that he was really upset here.

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: You can leave in a taxi. If you can’t get a taxi, you can leave in a Huff
(7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER). If that’s too soon, you can leave in a minute and
a huff. You know, you haven’t stopped talking since I came here? You
must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Phillies 9, Padres 4: It strikes me that a lot of that “but the Phillies need
Roy Halladay” talk implicitly assumes that Cole Hamels is going to
continue to be a 4.80ish kind of pitcher all year, and I can’t say I’m
sure why people think that. No, the Padres aren’t exactly a formidable
test, but I have this feeling that this fall’s Cole Hamels is going to
look an awful lot like last fall’s Cole Hamels.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Rain put an end to this one early, as
the field became an unplayable mess. Tony La Russa on the conditions
and the grounds crew’s efforts: “You can’t try harder than that —
whether it’s the grounds crew or the umpire. Mother Nature is always
stronger than anybody.” I’d call that profound if I thought he believed
it. Let’s be honest: if there’s a manager in baseball who spends his
offseason building weather-controlling satellites and wishes to one day
destroy the sun itself, it’s Tony La Russa. The man is not exactly the
type to simply defer to nature or anything else. Pfun Pfact: Cards GM
John Mozeliak was on NPR yesterday afternoon being interviewed about
the fact that the team plans on taking the train from D.C. to Philly in
advance of tonight’s game, which is kind of cool. To get in the
era-of-train-travel mood they should all wear suits and smoke too.

Yankees 6, A’s 3: ESPN’s little “Fast facts” box
said “The Yankees came back from four runs down to win their seventh
straight game . . . New York trailed 4-0 before scoring four runs in
the fourth inning.” What happened? Did New York have to begin the game
with -1 runs for some reason, or was Oakland docked one?

Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 4: In a rare events, the Dbacks scored
a lot in a Dan Haren start. Unfortunately for Dan, most of the runs
came after he left the game, so he got a no-decision. Chad Tracy hit a
pinch-hit three-run homer that broke the game open. I have this feeling
that it will not, however, inspire the kind of ruckus Manny Ramirez’s
did the day before.

Angels 6, Twins 5: Howie Kendrick hit one up the middle in the
ninth that ricocheted off of Joe Nathan’s glove and then hit the second
base bag, preventing anyone from making what would have been a
game-ending play and allowing the tying run to score. Not a hell of a
lot you can do about that if you’re the Twins except to hope you don’t
miss the playoffs by one game this year and spend all winter thinking
about stupid bounces.

Brewers hold off the Dodgers to force Game 7 of the NLCS

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Down 3-2 in the NLCS, the Brewers faced a must-win situation during Game 6 on Friday. Any residual uncertainty they might have felt about their chances of extending the series was all but resolved in the first inning, however, when Jesús Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, and Erik Kratz combined for a four-run spread to take an early lead. Powered by those early-game RBI, as well as masterful performances from Wade Miley, Corey Knebel, and Corbin Burnes, the club surged to a 7-2 win to pull even with the Dodgers and force a Game 7 tiebreaker.

Left-hander Wade Miley trounced the Dodgers in 4 1/3 innings of two-run, four-strikeout ball. He was bested by David Freese in the very first at-bat of the night, which culminated with a 402-footer to right field to put Los Angeles on the board, 1-0. After a few scoreless innings from the Dodgers, Freese returned to torment Miley in the top of the fifth, this time with an RBI double that narrowed the Brewers’ advantage from four runs to three.

Things didn’t go nearly as smoothly for opposing lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. In the bottom of the first inning, Ryu allowed a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain, followed by a four-pitch walk to Ryan Braun. Jesús Aguilar came up to bat with two out and two on, then smacked a two-RBI line drive double to right field. Moustakas and Kratz went back-to-back-to-back with Aguilar, putting up another three runs on an RBI double and single, respectively.

The Brewers kept rolling in the second inning. Christian Yelich and Braun each collected a double off of Ryu, bringing Milwaukee’s lead to 5-1 over Los Angeles. Braun advanced to third on a Travis Shaw groundout, but with Aguilar up to bat, Ryu wasn’t going to chance a repeat of the Dodgers’ first-inning debacle. He intentionally walked Aguilar, then whiffed Moustakas on three straight fastballs to cap the inning.

By the time both Miley and Ryu were forced from the mound, the Brewers stood 5-2 above their opponents. Right-hander Corey Knebel worked a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, striking out Manny Machado to eliminate another potential rally from the Dodgers in the fifth inning and retiring all four batters in the sixth (save for Joc Pederson, who reached base after taking a 96.3-MPH fastball to the wrist). The righty received another significant opportunity to do some damage against the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth, when he came up to bat for the first time in his professional career with the bases loaded and two outs… but saw just four pitches before swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

After Ryu’s unexpected departure in the third, Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts cycled through five pitchers — Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, and Kenta Maeda — in an attempt to squelch the Brewers’ comeback. The bullpen combined for four consecutive scoreless frames, but was ultimately foiled in the seventh, when, with runners on second and third and two outs, a wild pitch from Maeda ricocheted off the front of home plate and allowed Aguilar to plate yet another insurance run. Still not content with a two-hit, two-RBI performance, Aguilar came back in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single — only moments after a failed double play that would have ended the inning — to bring the Brewers to a cushy 7-2 advantage as they entered the ninth.

No similar last-minute rallies awaited the Dodgers there. Rookie right-hander Corbin Burnes orchestrated another flawless 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, retiring Pederson and Puig with consecutive strikeouts and inducing a game-inning, series-extending pop-up from Matt Kemp to wrap the win.

Game 7 is set for 8:09 PM EDT on Saturday. The starters for both clubs have yet to be announced.