And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Padres 0: Chipper Jones with two mammo yicketties on Chipper Jones bobblehead night. One of his homers was his 2,700th career hit. Say what you want about the guy, but he has always had a flair for the dramatic and has always risen to the occasion. Even kinda lame occasions like bobblehead nights. Oh, and Kris Medlen threw a five hit shutout. Yawn.

Pirates 10, Dodgers 6: Big night for guys named Jones. Garrett hit two homers of his own — both three-run bombs. The bigger fallout of this game, though, is gonna come from umpire Angel Campos’ eject-a-thon. He tossed Matt Kemp while Kemp was in the dugout then tossed Don Mattingly when he came out to argue about the Kemp ejection. Kemp claims he was merely cheering on his teammate. Mattingly was livid after the game and chided Campos for running his star for no reason early in a game between two teams fighting for the playoffs.  Mattingly has a damn good point.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 3: Clay Buchholz won his eleventh, Adrian Gonzalez drove in two and then Bobby Valentine and six players got into a huge fight over gambling losses and the illegal alien smuggling/cockfighting they’re all running out of the clubhouse. Or so my anonymous source tells me.

Rangers 10, Yankees 6: A close one, albeit an ugly one, until the Yankees pen really got going, at which point the Rangers teed off for eight runs between the sixth and ninth innings. The Yankees still won three of four, though.

Mets 8, Reds 4: Matt Harvey had a nice outing (7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8K) and a two run double to [all together now] help his own cause. Homer Bailey: not so much. Homers for Ike Davis and Jason Bay. And I’m not sure what game Frank Frank was watching.

Athletics 3, Royals 0: Five pitchers combine to shut out Kansas City. Homers from Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes.

Rockies 5, Marlins 3: Down 3-1 in the sixth, the Rockies roared back late. By the way, I like to think of the Marlins and the Rockies eternally in battle over which 1993 expansion team can claim the mantle of superiority. The Marlins obviously have two World Series titles, but the Rockies have won more games and haven’t had as many purely miserable seasons. I picture David Neid and Brett Barberie having a decades-long bet over all of this. I pretend that Joe Girardi — who played for the Rockies and managed the Marlins — holds big secret viewing parties if the Yankees aren’t playing when Miami and Colorado meet up.

Brewers 7, Phillies 4: Holy crappy bullpens, Batman! Cliff Lee wasn’t fantastic — he gave up three homers — but he struck out 12 in seven innings and left the game with a 4-3 lead in the eighth, with two out and a runner on second.  In comes J__ Lindblom. Ryan Braun is intentionally walked, Aramis Ramirez is unintentionally walked and then Corey Hart hit a grand slam. Really, folks: can you think of a matchup of two teams with crappier bullpens this year?

Rays 7, Angels 0: David Price continues his outstanding season. He wins his 16th, tossing his first shutout of the year. Meanwhile, Dan Haren continues to have a profoundly disappointing 2012.

Diamondbacks 2, Cardinals 1: Jason Motte came in to protect a 1-0 lead in the ninth and gave up back-to-back homers — on consecutive pitches no less — to Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Young. Fun Young quote:

“Goldie came through huge for us and kind of took the pressure off me,” Young said. “At that point, for me, it was just go out and try to win the ballgame.”

Yeah, that’s all.

White Sox 7, Blue Jays 2Nothing that happened on the field mattered much here.

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.”