And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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This edition of And That Happened is being written in a New York City hotel room, so if it takes on a tone of fright and confusion at the horrifying, dystopian cacophony that is New York, well, that’s why:

Blue Jays 1, Athletics 0: Luis Perez makes his first big league start and holds the A’s to one hit over six innings. “Hey, skip? Am I doin’ this right?”  “Sure, Luis. Just swell.”

Tigers 8, Indians 7: Austin Jackson = Gandalf. Kosuke Fukodome = Balrog. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!  So, Cleveland is dead now, right?

Nationals 5, Phillies 4: The walkoff HBP. After a weekend of late losses and hours upon hours of rain delays, I’m guessing that the Phillies are happy to get the hell out of Washington.

Rockies 5, Dodgers 3: I love how no one on the planet cared that the Rockies hadn’t won on a bunch of Sundays in a row until last week and then, the very next Sunday, they win.

Padres 4, Marlins 3: Will Venable hit a bases loaded single to win it and to gain the sweep in walkoff fashion.  Of course he wouldn’t have been able to do that if Heath Bell hadn’t blown a save. On the same day that Trevor Hoffman’s number was retired no less. Maybe Hoffman should have pitched.

Giants 6, Astros 4: Pablo Sandoval hits a two-run job in the 11th to salvage one against the Astros. The fact that they had to salvage one against the Astros is kind of sad, of course.

Angels 7, Orioles 1: Jerome Williams — Really, Jerome Williams — shut the O’s down. It was his first win in the bigs since September 2005. My son was two months old then. He’s starting first grade tomorrow.

Reds 5, Pirates 4: The Reds faced Joel Hanrahan three times over the weekend and they beat him twice.

Yankees 3, Twins 0: Curtis Granderson hit an inside the park homer which, given that the Twins’ right and centerfielders lined up poorly to play the carom off the wall, and given that the relay throw was candy-armed into home, wasn’t quite as impressive as one might think. I mean, great for Granderson, but like so many inside the parkers, it was built on a foundation of defense that was poor enough to allow the play but not poor enough to count for an error.

Red Sox 6, Royals 1: First sentence of the Associated Press recap: ” Jon Lester loves to face the Kansas City Royals.”  Well, duh. Who doesn’t?

Braves 1, Diamondbacks 0: The Braves sweep the Diamondbacks. Tim Hudson, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel combine for the five-hit shutout. Fredi Gonzalez called a silly squeeze play once that backfired, but since the Braves won I suppose we’re not supposed to care about such things. Can’t wait until he does it against the Brewers in the NLDS.

White Sox 10, Rangers 0: Gavin Floyd was stingy and the White Sox pounded the Rangers. Here is as good a place as any to mention that I stupidly left the umbrella I brought with me to New York in my hotel room when I left to go out yesterday afternoon. When I emerged from the building I was in, it was pouring, and the hotel was just as far from where I was as was the restaurant I was going to, so I had little choice but to buy one of those cheapo umbrellas from a street vendor. It lasted almost two blocks before getting soaked through.  In other news, you can count on me to do one really dumbass newbie out-of-his-depth thing on every trip to New York. Maybe next time I’ll take an $80 gypsy cab ride from the airport or something. If you have any suggestions of ways I can make my life harder for myself when I leave my safe little Midwestern basement, please, leave them in the comments.

Brewers 6, Mets 2: One of the more pointed sentences you’ll read in an AP recap:

“Milwaukee won three straight in Queens to send the Mets six games under .500 for the first time since May 4 with a thorough display of superior baseball this weekend.”

Rays 8, Mariners 7: Johnny Damon had what he thought was a grand slam taken off the board thanks to a video replay in the seventh inning, but then hit a no-doubt walkoff homer in the ninth. Joe Girardi protested both calls. It was really strange.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 2: Rodrigo Lopez was hit so hard his kids are gonna come out shakin’.

Phillies’ 6-run ninth tops Cardinals in 6-3 wild-card win

phillies wild card
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ST. LOUIS — Philadelphia scored six times in the ninth inning off the stingy St. Louis bullpen, highlighted by a bases-loaded single by Jean Segura, and the Phillies beat the NL Central champion Cardinals 6-3 on Friday in the opening game of their National League wild-card series.

The Cardinals, who were 74-3 on the season when leading after eight innings, were poised to put away another close game after Juan Yepez connected for the first go-ahead pinch-hit homer in franchise history with two outs in the seventh inning.

But after struggling all afternoon against Jose Quintana and the St. Louis bullpen, the Phillies finally got their powerful offense going against Ryan Helsley. JT Realmuto began the ninth-inning rally with a single, and walks for Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos loaded the bases before the All-Star closer plunked Alec Bohm to score a run.

The Cardinals training staff came out to check on Helsley, who had jammed the middle finger on his pitching hand earlier in the week in Pittsburgh. He tried to throw another warmup pitch but was pulled for Andre Pallante, who gave up Segura’s hit through the right side of the infield that put Philadelphia in front.

Edmundo Sosa added a run when he brazenly scored on Bryson Stott‘s grounder to first base, and Brandon Marsh drove in another run when a tough hop got past Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong.

By the time Kyle Schwarber added a sacrifice fly, Phillies reliever Zach Eflin had plenty of wiggle room in the ninth.

It looked as if Eflin might need it, too, when Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson reached base and Nolan Gorman hit a two-out single to right. But Eflin responded by striking Yadier Molina to end the game, leaving Philadelphia a win away from facing NL East champion Atlanta in the divisional round.

There was a sentimental breeze sweeping through Busch Stadium before the game. Ozzie Smith cheerfully walked to the mound to deliver a ceremonial first pitch, and if the flag-waving Cardinals fans packed into every nook and cranny closed their eyes during introductions, they might have thought they were watching a game a generation ago.

After all, some familiar faces were in the lineup from the last time St. Louis and Philadelphia met in the playoffs.

That was 11 years ago to the day Friday, when the Cardinals beat the Phillies in a dramatic pitchers’ duel between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NL divisional series. Molina and Albert Pujols played for St. Louis that night while erstwhile ace Adam Wainwright, pitching out of the bullpen this series, also was there to celebrate.

Just like that night in Philadelphia, pitching dominated most of Friday’s series opener.

Quintana, who arrived in a deadline trade from Pittsburgh, was masterful for the Cardinals, allowing only a single to Matt Vierling and a double to Bohm while pitching into the sixth. His day was done after fanning Schwarber for the second time on his 75th pitch, handing the game over to a relief corps that had been downright dominant this season.

Zack Wheeler was the equal of Quintana, allowing a leadoff single to Lars Nootbaar and nothing else until Tommy Edman‘s leadoff single in the sixth. Edman was left stranded on third when Paul Goldschmidt grounded out.

Wheeler departed after retiring Arenado to start the seventh. He struck out four and walked one on 96 pitches, his most since Aug. 20, shortly before the right-hander landed on the injured list with forearm tendinitis.

Then it came down to the bullpens, and the Phillies managed to overcome one of the best in the game.

UP NEXT

The Phillies will try for the wild-card sweep on Saturday night when they send right-hander Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) to the mound. He was stellar his last time out against Houston in clinching Philadelphia’s wild-card playoff spot.

The Cardinals will turn to right-hander Miles Mikolas (12-13, 3.29 ERA) to force a decisive Game 3. Mikolas struggled in a tune-up out of the bullpen in Pittsburgh but allowed one earned run over his last two starts.