And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 16, Tigers 9: The Mets blast the Tigers’ pitching for the second night in a row (though the Tigers blasted back a bit themselves). Everyone in the Mets’ starting lineup hit, including Scott Hairston, whose bases loaded triple in the first broke it open, after which he did some lame antlers thing or whatever it was. Really, I don’t even. Point is, the Mets have scored 52 runs on 69 hits in their past four games. Phil Coke was a disaster for Detroit. His stint as a starter may have to end soon, because it just ain’t working.

Braves 5, Mariners 3: The Braves take their eighth win in ten tries, beating King Felix of all people. Ten hits. All singles. Eric Wedge left Hernandez in for 127 pitches for some reason.

Twins 1, Dodgers 0: Scott Baker continues to impress. He has a 3.16 ERA and a strikeout/walk ratio of 100/28 in 105 innings.

Reds 4, Rays 3: Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run homer in the fourth. I’m still not forgetting that he missed a ball during long toss that hit me in the arm during spring training. And I don’t care if it is my fault that I was standing right behind him. I believe he was subject to some sort of implied covenant to protect dumb bloggers.

Indians 6, Diamondbacks 2: Four hits and an RBI for Orlando Cabrera. He has raised his batting average by five points since I made fun of him for being an Ayn Rand fan. I’m going to take credit for that. Not because I believe I’m responsible, but because, as a Rand fan, it probably angers him that someone else could be responsible for his self improvement.

Angels 1, Nationals 0: Dan Haren: two hits over seven and a third shutout innings. Davey Johnson has not won a game as a major league manager since Bill Clinton was president.

Padres 4, Royals 1: San Diego continues to roll. This one was aided by Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer combining to butcher a popup that they each lost in the sun, leading to a big unearned-run inning for the Padres. I guess they don’t have sun in Omaha, so it’s understandable that those two had their troubles.  San Diego is now out of the cellar.

Cardinals 5, Orioles 1: Chris Carpenter looked like Chris Carpenter, allowing a single run in a complete game.  The Orioles starting pitching — which most of us felt would be the difference between the O’s being respectable this year and being a punching bag — has turned into something of a punching bag of late.

Phillies 2, Red Sox 1: For once John Lackey looks good — and hell, he even drove in a run with a double — and what happens? The vaunted Bosox offense can’t get anything going. But hey, the Phillies have all of those aces.  Wait, what? It was Vance Worley? Well, then. Oh, and for what it’s worth: Gonzalez in right and Ortiz at first were a non-factor in this game, both for good and for ill.

Blue Jays 2, Pirates 1: Yet another low scoring game on a night full of low scoring games. Brandon Morrow Ks 10 in seven innings.

White Sox 3, Rockies 2: A ninth inning rally off Huston Street, capped by a sac fly that scored Carlos Quentin boosts the Sox over the Rox. Two nights in a row that the game between these two has been decided by a close play — or what should have been a close play — at the plate.

Rangers 3, Astros 2: Two homers for Ian Kinsler. One of which came after he was hit in the stomach by a pitch but, because umpire Bob Davidson said he was trying to bunt, wasn’t awarded first base. Lucky for him I guess.

Yankees 5, Brewers 2: Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. Which is kind of impressive because I was of the impression that Martin was near death and was going to stagger his way through the rest of the season an injured heap. Just kind of a vibe I had.

Marlins 3, Athletics 0: Five-hit shutout for Ricky Nolasco. Two RBI for Hanley Ramirez. That’s how this stuff is supposed to go for Florida.

Cubs 2, Giants 1: A serious duel between Ryan Dempster and Tim Lincecum, though neither got the decision. Carlos Marmol came in to the game in the ninth to lock down the 1-0 Cubs lead but couldn’t, allowing one of Dempster’s runners to score. But never fear, Aramis Ramirez is here, and he singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Renfroe slam helps Rays sweep young Blue Jays in 1st round

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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The Tampa Bay Rays gathered in front of their dugout and posed for a celebratory team picture they’re hoping will not be the last they take this postseason.

Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam and the top-seeded Rays won a postseason series for the first time in 12 years, overpowering the young Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Wednesday to finish a two-game sweep of their wild-card matchup.

And with a roster featuring just a handful of players who have posted impressive resumes so far, the AL East champs believe they’re nowhere near finished.

“We’ve been confident since Day One. So if we put the our heads down and just do what we’ve been doing and prepare like we’ve been preparing, the sky’s the limit,” winning pitcher Tyler Glasnow said.

Said manager Kevin Cash: “We have very good players first and foremost.”

“I understand the back of the baseball card stuff and some of our guys are not as established,” he said. “What we do have, what makes it formidable is that the entire roster is used to help us win games. We do that consistently during the season and are definitely going to do it in the postseason.”

Renfroe launched the first playoff grand slam in franchise history during a six-run second inning. Glasnow kept Tampa Bay ahead from there, allowing two runs – on a pair of homers by Danny Jansen – in six innings.

Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer off Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu during Tampa Bay’s big inning. Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena also drove in runs as the Rays advanced to the AL Division series against either the New York Yankees or Cleveland Indians.

The next round starts Monday at Petco Park in San Diego. Renfroe is plenty familiar with the stadium – he hit 85 home runs in the previous three years for the Padres before being traded to the Rays last December.

“The opportunity in front of us is where you want to be,” Cash said.

The Rays celebrated with some hugs and handshakes after the final out.

Glasnow, who walked one and struck out eight before a small gathering of family and friends who were allowed to attend the series at Tropicana Field.

Ryu was rocked for a season-high seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, the lefty’s shortest outing of the season for the wild-card Blue Jays.

It was a disappointing finish for Toronto, which overcame a slow start to make a surprising run to its first playoff berth since 2016 with a roster featuring 19 players without previous major league playoff experience, including Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“Great season. I’m proud of my kids to make it to this point,” second-year Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

“It’s obvious that the Rays are a pretty good team, that’s why they’re picked to go to the World Series,” he said. “In this series, we didn’t hit. We only scored three runs. That’s not enough to beat that team.”

The Rays, who won the opener 3-1 with a nice mix of pitching, defense and timely hitting, had dropped five consecutive multigame postseason series dating to the 2008 World Series.

A year ago, they beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before losing to Houston in the division round – a five-game setback that nevertheless heightened team expectations heading into this season.

Ryu signed with the Blue Jays in free agency last winter after being an All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers and finishing second in NL Cy Young Award balloting in 2019.

The 33-year-old lefty had the AL’s fourth-best ERA this season. And, his career mark of .295 is third-best behind Clayton Kershaw (2.43) and Jacob deGrom (2.61) among active pitchers with at least 700 innings pitched.

Ryu’s impressive credentials meant nothing Wednesday.

The Rays began the first inning with three straight hits and scored their first run on Manuel Margot’s one-out single. Ryu escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Willy Adames, however his outing got worse the next inning.

After Zunino’s homer made it 3-0, Tampa Bay loaded the bases again on a double, walk and shortstop Bo Bichette’s second error of the day.

Renfroe, obtained from San Diego in an offseason trade that sent Tommy Pham to the Padres, hit his grand slam into the left field seats to extend the lead to 7-0.

“They were getting hits off all my pitches. I don’t think they were necessarily sitting on one or something like that,” Ryu said through a translator. “I just didn’t have a good game.”

“We have a lot to be proud of, we really do,” Jansen said. “We knocked on the door and next year we’re going to be ready to go through it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: 1B Rowdy Tellez, who had a pinch-hit single in Game 1 Tuesday, remained out of the starting lineup. He was placed on the 10-day IL on Sept. 9 with a right knee sprain and missed the rest of the regular season.

Rays: INF Yandy Diaz (right hamstring strain) started at third base, his first game since Aug. 31.

UP NEXT

The Rays will play in the AL division round for the sixth time in franchise history, with all of the appearances coming since 2008.

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