And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 8, Phillies 3:  All I heard all day yesterday was about how totally Roy Halladay owned the Yankees so, like, look out Yankees. Then he gives up six runs on eight hits in six innings. All of which goes to show you why I’ve laughed off every editor who has ever suggested that I do single-game preview pieces. It’s baseball. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Neither does anyone else. And that’s why it’s wonderful.

Rangers 3, Marlins 2: Mike Stanton makes his home debut for Florida. Unlike Strasburg, he does not inspire a sellout. Shocking, I know. He also goes 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, but we knew that would happen soon enough given his strengths and weaknesses. As for the outcome: If I had a nickle for every game I’ve seen end on a pinch-hit RBI triple by the backup catcher, well, I’d probably have about ten cents. Though I couldn’t for the life of me tell you when I got the first five. Oh, and Josh Johnson continues to be totally sick (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K). Watch out Ubaldo, here comes Josh.

Cardinals 4, Mariners 2: Jeff Suppan returns and gives up a run in four innings. He actually hit for himself in the bottom of the fourth, doubled and came around to score. He didn’t come out to start the fifth inning, however, despite having a lead and having thrown only 73 pitches, most likely because he was gassed, so no W for him.

Twins 9, Rockies 3: Rare: Matt Tolbert hit a home run for the Twins. More rare: Todd Helton hit a home run for the Rockies. Well, maybe not more rare in the aggregate, but I was more surprised to see it in the box score than I was to see Tolbert’s. And not entirely because I give less than a nanosecond’s thought to Tolbert in any given season.

Red Sox 6, Diamondbacks 3: Dustin Pedroia had a couple of hits and scored three runs. Not quite a laser show yet, but after a rough May he’s heating up in June. And hey look: close play at first, Jim Joyce calls the runner safe . . . you make the call! OK, forget it, Joyce got the call right.  I promise we media people will stop talking about this thing sometime before October.

Royals 15, Astros 7: Aviles! (4-5, 4 RBI); Bentancourt! (3 RBI). You can’t stop them, you can only hope to contain them!  In all seriousness, readers will pile on any positive comment I make about the Royals’ bats for the rest of the year, likely ignoring the fact that they’re a basically respectable offense, all things considered.

White Sox 6, Pirates 4: Ninth loss in a row for the Pirates. Mr. Rosenthal says that John Russell is toast.  Mr. Olney says that’s not true. I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong on that, but given how quick Buster is to jump in and harsh everyone’s buzz each time a fun rumor comes out these days I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he was never asked to be anyone’s wingman back when he was at Vanderbilt:

Dude: Hey honey, I saw you from across the room and just knew I had to talk to you!

Buster [interrupting]: Actually that’s not true. He’s had a crush on you for weeks and is just now getting up the nerve to say something to you.

Dude: Um, yeah, so, I was wondering if you’d like to go out this Saturday. I know this great little Italian place . . .

Buster: That’s not true either. He has never been there. One of the seniors in our frat said it would make him look classy to take women there. Oh, and the car he plans to pick you up in is not his. It’s his father’s. And by the way, I don’t find your friend all that attractive, so I’m not going to pretend to be interested in her while my friend tries to hit on you.

Dude: Wait! Baby! Come back! I don’t even know this guy! [to Buster]: Thanks. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

Buster: [on dance floor; doing white guy overbite dance to Foghat song, surrounded by the honeys]

Tigers 7, Nationals 4: Ryan Raburn had two hits and drove in four. Magglio Ordonez had four hits. Max Scherzer struck out nine. John Lannan demonstrated that the Nationals probably have the greatest disparity between their top pitching talent and their bottom pitching talent than anyone in the league.

Mets 7, Indians 6: Johan Santana and the Mets were down 4-1 entering the fifth, but then the bats woke up, the Mets put up a five spot and then held on for the win. The Tribe’s ninth inning rally fell short, but Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer which will make my six year-old daughter happy when I tell her today. Of course, my daughter still thinks that Shelley Duncan leaving the Columbus Clippers and going to Cleveland meant that he did something wrong and is being punished, so she might not really understand. Not that’s she’s wrong about that.

Dodgers 12, Reds 0: Big romp, blah, blah, blah, but the craziest thing about this game was that Hiroki Kuroda came back out to pitch following a two-hour, twenty-four minute rain delay.  He hadn’t yet gone five at the time, so was Torre just trying to get him the win, or is it that Torre owns stock in Dr. James Andrews’ medical practice?

Rays 10, Braves 4: The Braves’ Chris Resop was doing great down in AAA and had a contract provision which required that he be called up by June 15th or else he could opt-out. There was a fair amount of speculation as to whether Atlanta would trade him before then, but they didn’t, the Braves called him up and he pitched last night. Whatever teams held off pulling the trigger on a trade are to be commended, because he got shelled in relief of what was, at the time, a winnable game. Not the Braves deserved to win. They committed four errors. They stranded 14 runners. They only lost one game to the Mets, but if there was any justice in the world they would have lost two games in the standings last night. Just blah.

Brewers 7, Angels 1: Corey Hart continues his torrid pace. He hit a three-run double, giving him 35 RBI in the last 30 games. Dave Bush allows one run and seven hits in seven and change for his first win since late April.

Orioles 4, Giants 1: Jake Arrieta gave up one run on three hits over seven innings, winning his second in a row to start his career.

Athletics 9, Cubs 5: One of a handful of games which featured long rain
delays. Derrek Lee probably wishes it never got underway, as he had
back-to-back errors, allowing four runs to score in the fourth. Fans
booed Lee and then gave him a sarcastic cheer when he next made a play
without an error. Which is total horsesh–, but the way.

Padres 8, Blue Jays 2: Some worker had to change the sign last night to read “We have gone 1 game(s) without an earthquake interruption.” Aaron Cunningham was called up when Matt Stairs went on the DL and last night he hit a grand slam. Shades of Gehrig and Pipp!

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

atlanta braves
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.