And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Marlins 16, Nationals 10: Fisticuffsmanship! Nyjer Morgan’s mound-charge was pretty good until he whiffed on that punch, but the star of this show was Gabby Sanchez, who came over from first base with a move that put me in mind of Manny Fernandez’s flying burrito. Wait, you’re not telling me you don’t know who Manny Fernandez is, do you? He teamed with the Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant for cryin’ out loud! They took the tag team belt from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express! Really, you don’t know him?  Philistines.

Reds 6, Brewers 1: Aroldis Chapman faced six batters, struck out three and hit 103.9 mph on the radar gun. Only Joel Zumaya has thrown a faster pitch in the few short years Pitch f/x has been around. Yikes.

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 2: Brandon Allen’s first major league action this year was occasioned by a home run and a couple of nice plays in the outfield. Not bad for a guy who has never played left field in the bigs before. Oh, and the Padres are just happy that the Cardinals’ late-season implosion is getting more attention than theirs is. For now.

Giants 2, Rockies 1: Welcome back to the land of the living, Tim Lincecum (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9K). Three games are now all that separate the Giants and the Padres.

Twins 2, Tigers 1: Max Scherzer deserved better (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 9K), but so too did Francisco Liriano who threw seven shutout innings and got a no decision as well. Danny Valencia won it with an RBI single in the 10th.

Braves 4, Mets 1: Freddie Freeman’s debut isn’t going to do anything to keep Derrek Lee on the bench (0 for 3 with a K), but old men like Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson were able to carry the load. Pretty sure I own underwear older than all three of ’em.

Rangers 4, Royals 3: I’m crestfallen that Francoeur didn’t report to the Rangers in time to make it into this one. The Royals probably are too, because that’s one fewer game they have to scout Frenchy before their as-inevitable-as-the-sun-rising-tomorrow signing of him this winter.

Yankees 4, Athletics 3: A.J. Burnett returns from the land of the living dead to get his first win in a long damn time (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 8K). The Yankees maintain their one-game lead in the East.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Sean Rodriguez was a double short of the cycle (take THAT Gleeman!) and David Price picked up his 16th win. Which, as you can see from the Tigers-Twins game, is a totally useful statistic.

Phillies 5, Dodgers 1: Roy Oswalt walked six dudes in six innings, but he got away with it because he only allowed one hit. Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 dudes but didn’t have a win to show for it in part because he gave up two homers. Oh, and because the Dodgers bullpen kind of sucks these days. There’s probably some kind of lesson in there somewhere.

Red Sox 9, Orioles 6: Again, wins don’t mean anything, but Jon Lester is now 13-0 lifetime against Baltimore, and that’s pretty cool. Well, not for Baltimore, but you know what I mean.

Astros 5, Cardinals 2: I hit this one up yesterday, but suffice it to say that Jeff Suppan is not who I think of when I think of the term “stopper.”

Cubs 5, Pirates 3: Tom Gorzelanny got knocked out of the game when a comebacker hit his right hand in the third, but the bullpen kept the Cubbies safe and dry for six innings.  Fukudome was 3 for 3 with a couple of doubles an RBI and a walk. Dude had an outstanding August and looks to be continuing his tear.

Angels 4, Mariners 2: Matsui’s two-run homer won the game for Anaheim, but Franklin Gutierrez had the snag of the game.

White Sox 6, Indians 4: Alex Rios hit a solo shot and Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer in the eighth to bring the Sox back from a 4-1 deficit. Manny’s debut only amounted to a single, but if you’re really starving for Manny news, you can read this inside report about how he really got to the White Sox. Shocking, I know, but I believe that’s what really happened.

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.