And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 10, Orioles 3: Josh Hamilton: four bombs, eight RBI and 18 total bases on a 5 for 5 night.   Every time he does something awesome this year I imagine him muttering something about how dumb it was for Jon Daniels not to talk about a contract extension before the season began.

Yankees 5, Rays 3: Two homers for Raul Ibanez. Which most nights would get him kudos, but we have used up our kudo supply on Josh Hamilton.  In other news, remember those Kudos chocolate covered granola bars? When my brother was in the navy and his ship was sent to the Persian Gulf in late 1990, the Mars Corporation sent an utter ass-load of those Kudos bars to them. They had them all the time every day and they got sick to death of them. Summer 1991 they were back in Norfolk and they had a dependants’ cruise, allowing the families onboard. I went with my parents. They still had tons and tons of Kudos bars, and the sailors were begging everyone to take handfuls of them with us so they could clear out the stock. Rumor was that they’d get better candy bars once those where gone.  I have no idea why I just told you all of this.

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 1: A big night for multi-homer games. Carlos Beltran had two and drove in six runs. Like I said, we’re out of kudos. Would you care for a Skor? Or a Whatchamacallit? God, I love Whatchamacallits. Jake Westbrook pitched seven shutout innings. He gets some Necco Wafers. Sorry, I know that sucks, but we’re running out of candy.

Athletics 7, Blue Jays 3: Earlier in the day yesterday I was on a radio show in Toledo that covers the Tigers and we talked about how hilarious it would be if Brandon Inge was a big hero this weekend when the A’s play the Tigers.  Well, he’s warming up: walkoff grand slam. He’s had two straight 4-RBI games.

Pirates 5, Nationals 4: Rod Barajas hit a walkoff two-run homer. Henry Rodriguez was fugly in the ninth: a walk, two wild pitches and then that tater. The fact that the Nats signed Mike Gonzalez yesterday is no accident.

Braves 3, Cubs 1: Hey, on the bright side, the Cubs actually gave Ryan Dempster one run of support. Which is a ton for him. I think they’re gonna see if they can trust him with that and if things go well they may score two runs for him sometime in the near future. No need to go crazy or anything. Braves are tied for first, by the way. And while I watched this whole game, I didn’t focus too hard on the second half because I was busy riffing on Chip Caray on Twitter. I gotta start watching the opponents’ broadcasters so I’m not so distracted with fun pursuits like that.

Mets 7, Phillies 4: Philly jumps out to a 4-0 lead but Joe Blanton didn’t have nearly the mojo last night that he had in his last start. The first four guys in the Mets lineup went 8 for 17 with 5 RBI.

Astros 3, Marlins 2: Houston ends Miami’s seven-game winning streak. All-Star infielder Omar Infante had two errors on one play in the sixth allowing two Houston runs to score.

White Sox 5, Indians 3: Alex Rios tripled home the go-ahead run off Chris Perez in the 10th and scored himself on a subsequent fielder’s choice. Rios has beaten up on Perez quite a bit in recent years.

Twins 5, Angels 0: Scott Diamond had seven shutout innings. The Twins had 12 hits and walked four times.

Royals 6, Red Sox 4: Billy Butler with a big three run homer in the eighth. The AP game story, at least as it was written as of 11:15 PM last night, referred to Butler as the Royals’ “portly designated hitter.”  Which is pretty hilarious and I’ll be sad if they scrubbed it out by this morning.

Brewers 8, Reds 3: Aramis Ramirez his a bases loaded tripe and Ryan Braun had three hits and scored twice.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Ryan Vogelsong outuels Clayton Kershaw. Brett Pill’s third inning two-run bomb was all that was needed.

Tigers 6, Mariners 4: Kevin Millwood has to be about done, right? (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3K). The pen was shaky again, as Jose Valverde walked the bases loaded in the ninth, but this time the Tigers shook loose.

Padres 3, Rockies 1: Comeback story Jeff Suppan wins again. Will Venable doubled and tripled. The Rockies have lost five straight.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”