And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 6, White Sox 5: Detroit continues to be ridiculous. Alex Avila was a hero, tying it up at five with a big fly. Carlos Guillen won it with an RBI single in extras. I know there are people who want to pretend that Justin Verlander is single-handedly carrying the Tigers into the playoffs, but it really ain’t so.  They’ve had so many contribute this seasons, especially in the second half.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4: Daniel Bard had a meltdown and the Red Sox lose again.  The tension from up Boston way is palpable.

Orioles 6, Rays 2:  It would be way more palpable if the Rays hadn’t lost a couple in a row to freakin’ Baltimore.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2; Braves 4, Marlins 1:  Again the Braves and Cardinals stay in lockstep. Advantage: Braves. Pittsburgh clinches its 19th-straight losing season. I know some Pirates fans. Good people. Their plight is evidence that, if God indeed exists, He does not care a lick about professional sports.

Phillies 1, Astros 0: Roy Halladay stifles the Astros as Philly clinches a playoff birth in a two hours, six minute game. Does this put Halladay a step closer to the Cy Young Award? Just watch: Cliff Lee will have a nearly identical start the next time out muddling it all up again.

Angels 4, Athletics 1: Jered Weaver wins his 17th. It took him 115 pitches to do it, however, which is a bit troubling given that Mike Scioscia is thinking about running him out on short rest next time out.

Giants 3, Padres 1: Two homers for Carlos Beltran, giving him 300 for his career. The Giants sweep the Padres.

Royals 7, Twins 3: The Royals have a four-game winning streak on their hands. We’re checking with the judges to see if the fact that multiple wins came against the Twins means that they get to count it as a full four. No, I’m not picking on the Twins unfairly. Luke Hochevar had the freaking flu and he still tamed Minnesota’s bats.

Rangers 9, Indians 1: Josh Hamilton hit a grand slam that gave a bunch of people free carpet and flooring. God, I love America.

Nationals 2, Mets 0: Just looking at the box score, I’m getting the sense that this loss disgusted Mets fans way more than your usual, run-of-the-mill loss. The Mets were eliminated from the postseason, by the way. Not that I think that added to the frustration, what with its inevitability and all.

Reds 7, Cubs 2: Johnny Cueto left early, but the Reds had plenty of firepower to carry through it.  Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run bomb.

Rockies 6, Brewers 2: The Brewers can secure themselves with the knowledge that a team’s record in September does not correlate with playoff success. It’s OK to skid a bit. It’s not ideal, but it’s OK.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2: Clayton Kershaw had a one-hitter going in the sixth when he was tossed for throwing at Gerardo Parra intentionally even though he said it wasn’t intentional. You know, the Cy Young race is so close between Kershaw, Hallady and Lee, I am inclined to think that a five inning start, however effective it was, is enough to drop Kershaw down a bit.

Mariners 2, Yankees 1: Rodriguez with a walkoff homer lifts the M’s over New York in 12. If that was the story 12 years ago, it would have meant something else entirely. This time: Luis.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.