And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Mets 5; Braves 5, Mets 1: A makeup doubleheader. Chipper Jones made like it was 1999 and that dismantling the Mets was still his primary purpose on the Earth. Those were the days. He hit a homer doubled and scored twice in game 1 He drove in two more in the nightcap. Something named “Chris Schwinden” pitched for the Mets. They ought to have that looked at. All four of the starters in the double header were rookies.

Phillies 7, Brewers 2: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins were all out of the lineup. And it didn’t really much matter. Cole Hamels pitched a four-hitter and Hunter Pence drove in three in the first came of what could be an NLCS preview. Or, actually, if the Dbacks keep winning I suppose it could be an NLDS preview, as Milwaukee is only a couple of games ahead of Arizona at the moment.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 4; Dodgers vs. Nationals: POSTPONED:  They tried to have a makeup doubleheader in Washington, but they could only get one game in before it was washed out. A two-run double for Tony Gwynn, Jr. in the ninth broke the tie and a Dee Gordon RBI single added insurance. The Dodgers’ bullpen stepped up big here as Chad Billingsley was yanked in the third and the relief corps pitched a no-hitter for the remaining six and two-thirds.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: The Yankees built a 4-1 lead but the bats went silent after the fourth inning. They have to be sick to death of the Orioles by now, who’ve they played in eight of the last 14 games. New York heads to Los Angeles now. Let’s see how snakebitten they are: will it rain in Southern California?

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 4: The Sox drop their fourth in five tries. J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer. Andrew Miller was basically Andrew Miller, giving up five runs in five innings. But hey, at least there are those studies out there that show that how hot a team is in the last month of the season has very little bearing on their playoff performance.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 1: Ian Kennedy wins his 19th while striking out 11. It was the Dbacks’ 14th win in 16 games.

Mariners 4, Royals 1: A two-run homer for Justin Smoak, his first in months.

White Sox 8, Indians 1: Brent Morel hit two homers — both while first-pitch swinging — and Paul Konerko hit a grand slam. The Sox scored seven runs in the seventh inning.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.