And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Giants 4, Phillies 0: See a Penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck (8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER).

Padres 7, Nationals 0: The Nats hit two first-inning singles off Kevin Correia, but then he set down 19 in a row. This awful stretch the Nats are in has likely stomped on whatever budding sentiment there was to give Jim Riggleman the full time gig.

Tigers 4, Indians 2; White Sox 4, Twins 2: There’s a thin line between a race and the lack of one. A bunch of Indians errors — two on Jhonny Peralta on one play — in the Tigers-Indians game and a rare, rare, rare Joe Nathan implosion in the Twins-White Sox game was the difference between a doable-sounding 2.5 game deficit and a depressing-sounding 4.5 game hole. The Nathan thing was just brutal. Two outs in the ninth, two strikes on the batter and a two run lead, and he can’t lock it down.

Cubs 2, Astros 0: Seeing Aaron Boone play in a real major league baseball game had to outweigh whatever doldrums an otherwise uninspiring loss to the Cubs caused.

Mariners 3, Angels 0: Scott Kazmir strikes out eight and only gives up two runs — one earned — in six and third in his Angels debut. Unfortunately for him, Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez gave up bupkis. Bill Hall had an RBI double, then stole third and scored himself when Mike Napoli threw the ball away.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4: With the Angels loss and this win, the Rangers are only 3.5 back of Anaheim now. Interesting. It’d be more interesting if they hadn’t just lost Michael Young for at least two weeks, but man, it would be neat to see that one come down to the wire.

Marlins 8, Braves 7: This one hurt. The Braves were down 7-3 at one point, tied it in the ninth, and then loss on a WES HELMS home run. Wes frickin’ Helms. Wes .234/.287/.423 in nearly 500 PAs for the Braves Helms. Ugh.

Rays 8, Red Sox 5: The Rays led 5-1, the Sox came back, and then Pat Burrell and Evan Longoria put the Rays up to stay in the eighth against a Red Sox pen that was, for last night anyway, Papelbon and Wagner-free.

Reds 5, Pirates 3: Another good start for Homer Bailey, who allowed three runs and struck out eight in six and a third innings. Another terrible performance by Pittsburgh, who has now lost seven straight. John Russell after the game: “We’ll be all right. We play good at home. Turn the page.” I was going to mock that, but he’s actually right: the Pirates are 35-29 at home, which is rather surprising to me.

Athletics 10, Royals 4: A’s backup catcher Landon Powell hit a grand slam in the second inning that effectively put this one away. Brian Bannister left the game early with what is being called shoulder fatigue.

Yankees 10, Orioles 2: Sabathia, as he tends to do, is getting stronger as the season comes to a close (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9K). A-Rod hit two, two-run singles and was 3-5 overall. Because he pitched a third of an inning before the Yankees exploded for seven in the ninth, Phil Hughes gets a “save.” A save in a 10-2 game. Yeah, that makes sense.

Cardinals 10, Brewers 3: Chris Carpenter makes it ten straight, though he didn’t exactly cruise in this one. Skip Schumaker was 4 for 4 with two RBI. The Cards have a 10.5 game lead now.

Rockies 5, Mets 2: Welcome Jason Giambi! One of the NL West’s two pinch-hit only former superstars hits a two-run pinch hit single in the eighth which broke the tie and put Colorado in the lead to stay.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 1: Chad Billingsley loses his third in a row. Doug Mientkiewicz made his return after being out since April. He had a pinch it single, so I guess that means that he and Thome will be battling for the pinch hitter slot? Does LA have a 28 man roster or something? UPDATE: OK, that was stupid. I had forgotten that we’re past September 1. So yes, they have all the roster space they need.  I hafta stop writing these things at 5:30 in the morning. 

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.