And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: Bye-bye Giants? They drop two of three to the Dbacks and now find themselves down by seven with 22 to play. Sure, Arizona could collapse — anyone can — but the dirty little secret about history’s big collapses is that they were always accompanied by another team surging. Is there anything about this Giants team that suggests to you that they are capable of a surge? Me neither.

Tigers 18, White Sox 2: Bye-bye White Sox. Note the lack of a question mark here. Detroit swept ’em in pretty damn convincing fashion. For Chicago the conversation now turns to what is shaping up to be a very eventful offseason.

Indians 9, Royals 6: Two homers and five driven in for Shelley Duncan made my daughter smile when I told her about it. Not that she knows what an RBI is. I mean, I teach her the important stuff about baseball, not beside-the-point facts.

Brewers 4, Astros 0: Shaun Marcum allowed one hit over seven innings. Ryan Braun drove in three. One on a single, one on a homer and one on a bases-loaded walk.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4: Crazy game. And not just for that video-review that maybe shouldn’t have been (and about which we’ll have a dedicated post later this morning).  The Marlins stranded 23 guys and still won. The Phillies walked the ballpark, many of them intentionally. The game finally ended in the 14th when, after one unintentional walk and two intentional walks by David Herndon, he issued one more unintentional walk to force in the winning run. His actual quote after the game: “stuff happens.”  Boy did it.

Yankees 9, Blue Jays 3: Derek Jeter drove in five runs, tying a career high. He’s hitting .346 with 17 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 50 games since he came off the DL in early July. I tell ya, his greatness is yet to be fully appreciated.  Homers from Jeter, A-Rod and Nick Swisher helped finish off the sweep. Jose Bautista hit his 40th.

Rangers 11, Red Sox 4: The Bosox allowed 28 runs while dropping two of three to Texas. In the one game they won they scored 12. This could be a fun playoffs matchup. And by fun I mean “dear God I hope these guys figure out how to pitch in the next month.”

Angels 4, Twins 1: Los Angeles of Anaheim beats Minnesota of Minneapolis, keeping pace 3.5 back of Texas. The Angels are the only team who wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended today which has a greater than 10 percent chance of making it overall based on however that playoff possibility factor is calculated. They’re at 10.6 percent.

Padres 7, Rockies 2: Will Venable and Jeremy Hermida each drove in three, helping snap a nine-game losing streak.

Cubs 6, Pirates 3: Randy Wells had his second-straight strong start. After the game people were asking him if he’s found his 2009 form again after a tough 2010. One of the things he said about last year: “There was a lot of stuff off the field that was said and thrown out there that was false.” Which sounds more like something a person on a reality show or some pop star who has been in the tabloids a lot says. But hey, I suppose that’s where we are as a society.

Athletics 8, Mariners 5: Hideki Matsui continues his hot second half hitting, smacking three doubles. He’s batting .343 since the break. The A’s sweep.

Reds 3, Cardinals 2: This is why there was no real reason for the Brewers to freak after getting swept by the Cards last week. To stay in it, St. Louis still had to, you know, beat other teams. The Reds took two of three in this series. Juan Francisco had four hits including the go-ahead single in the 10th. Lance Berkman, looking ahead to the Milwaukee series that kicks off today:

“If we can sweep them again, we can put ourselves at least within the realm of possibility, I guess you could say.”

Well, I guess you could say that. You could say a lot of things.

Mets 6, Nationals 3: From the game story: “[Willie Harris’] pinch-hit single highlighted a four-run sixth inning, spoiling what was likely Hernandez’s final game with Washington.” Seeing as though Livan Hernandez is easily my least favorite player in baseball, please forgive me if I shed no tears over this.

Rays 8, Orioles 1: The battle of the Jeremys. Hellickson has two complete games this year, each of which were four-hitters against the O’s. Shocker. Guthrie took his 17th loss. If he stays in the rotation and the rotation stays on schedule, he would get four more starts this year. C’mon, Jeremy! You can do it!

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: Atlanta salvages one, snapping the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak. Martin Prado drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the ninth. Chipper Jones called it “one of our biggest wins of the year.” Maybe he’s right.  I know people who are able to talk in detail about random games from five months ago — or heck, five years ago — but I’m not one of those people. Maybe I read too many box scores or something and they all blend together to me. So I guess this was one of the team’s bigger wins. We’re just at the point of the season when I’ve forgotten a lot of what has happened, so I can’t really say.

Brewers hold off the Dodgers to force Game 7 of the NLCS

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Down 3-2 in the NLCS, the Brewers faced a must-win situation during Game 6 on Friday. Any residual uncertainty they might have felt about their chances of extending the series was all but resolved in the first inning, however, when Jesús Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, and Erik Kratz combined for a four-run spread to take an early lead. Powered by those early-game RBI, as well as masterful performances from Wade Miley, Corey Knebel, and Corbin Burnes, the club surged to a 7-2 win to pull even with the Dodgers and force a Game 7 tiebreaker.

Left-hander Wade Miley trounced the Dodgers in 4 1/3 innings of two-run, four-strikeout ball. He was bested by David Freese in the very first at-bat of the night, which culminated with a 402-footer to right field to put Los Angeles on the board, 1-0. After a few scoreless innings from the Dodgers, Freese returned to torment Miley in the top of the fifth, this time with an RBI double that narrowed the Brewers’ advantage from four runs to three.

Things didn’t go nearly as smoothly for opposing lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. In the bottom of the first inning, Ryu allowed a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain, followed by a four-pitch walk to Ryan Braun. Jesús Aguilar came up to bat with two out and two on, then smacked a two-RBI line drive double to right field. Moustakas and Kratz went back-to-back-to-back with Aguilar, putting up another three runs on an RBI double and single, respectively.

The Brewers kept rolling in the second inning. Christian Yelich and Braun each collected a double off of Ryu, bringing Milwaukee’s lead to 5-1 over Los Angeles. Braun advanced to third on a Travis Shaw groundout, but with Aguilar up to bat, Ryu wasn’t going to chance a repeat of the Dodgers’ first-inning debacle. He intentionally walked Aguilar, then whiffed Moustakas on three straight fastballs to cap the inning.

By the time both Miley and Ryu were forced from the mound, the Brewers stood 5-2 above their opponents. Right-hander Corey Knebel worked a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, striking out Manny Machado to eliminate another potential rally from the Dodgers in the fifth inning and retiring all four batters in the sixth (save for Joc Pederson, who reached base after taking a 96.3-MPH fastball to the wrist). The righty received another significant opportunity to do some damage against the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth, when he came up to bat for the first time in his professional career with the bases loaded and two outs… but saw just four pitches before swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

After Ryu’s unexpected departure in the third, Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts cycled through five pitchers — Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, and Kenta Maeda — in an attempt to squelch the Brewers’ comeback. The bullpen combined for four consecutive scoreless frames, but was ultimately foiled in the seventh, when, with runners on second and third and two outs, a wild pitch from Maeda ricocheted off the front of home plate and allowed Aguilar to plate yet another insurance run. Still not content with a two-hit, two-RBI performance, Aguilar came back in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single — only moments after a failed double play that would have ended the inning — to bring the Brewers to a cushy 7-2 advantage as they entered the ninth.

No similar last-minute rallies awaited the Dodgers there. Rookie right-hander Corbin Burnes orchestrated another flawless 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, retiring Pederson and Puig with consecutive strikeouts and inducing a game-inning, series-extending pop-up from Matt Kemp to wrap the win.

Game 7 is set for 8:09 PM EDT on Saturday. The starters for both clubs have yet to be announced.