And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights, Part 1

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Gardenhire argues.jpgBecause I’m running late with these, let’s break them up into two installments. Here’s the AL edition. The NL edition will follow later this morning.  Thanks for bearing with me.

Tigers
11, Twins 6
: Interesting play in the sixth, when Johnny Damon hit a
deep drive to center. Denard Span caught it after a very long run, but
dropped it after taking a couple of steps. The umps
ruled that Span hadn’t held the ball long enough for an out, and it
ended up being scored a two-base error, after which the floodgates
opened. Gardenhire got ejected arguing the call, but the
replay seems to back him up
. Looks like he simply dropped it tryin
to take it out of his glove for the throw.

Rays 10, Athletics 3: James Shields was dealing — fanning 12 — and Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena each went long, giving the Rays their 13th win in 15 games.  Bad day for Dallas Braden, who said after the game: “Someone apparently didn’t tell the Rays that [batting practice] was
over when they took the cage off the field.” Braden’s pretty good at telling opposing players to knock it off. You’d think he would have said something.

Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Jon Lester allowed only one hit and struck out 11 in seven innings as the Sox, winners of seven of nine and Jays, losers of nine of 12, each begin to return to expected form after some early season tomfoolery.

Angels 4, Indians 3: I can’t count how many times I’ve been in a ballpark and overheard some half-drunk, uninformed guy say “dude should totally lay a bunt down here. They’d never expect it” when it’s clearly not a bunting situation. I think there was even a law requiring that in Cincinnati when Adam Dunn was still around. Grinds my gears every time I hear it, because it evinces a profound ignorance of the game and winning strategy.  In other news, Howie Kendrick laid down a bunt with two out in the ninth inning “driving” in Torii Hunter to win the game. I’d give credit to Mike Scioscia for creative thinking, but he had been ejected seven innings earlier.

Rangers 6, White Sox 5: Jake Peavy walked five and gave up six runs on six hits. Guess he didn’t have it figured out after all.

Mariners 6, Royals 5: Gil Meche gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings. He’s now 0-2 in four starts with a 10.13 ERA. Opponents are batting .338
against him. And he’s only owed another $25 million or so.

Yankees 8, Orioles 3: The O’s got 11 hits of CC Sabathia, who was pitching with a big lead for much of the game and apparently just daring the O’s to hit it, but they couldn’t do much with all of those baserunners.
 

 

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.