And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

46 Comments

Pirates 6, Cardinals 3: For the second straight year the Pirates play a nineteen inning game. This time, unlike the game against the Braves in which they were royally screwed, the Pirates won. Thank you Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen who drove in runs in the 19th, Alvarez with a homer. They had to burn Wandy Rodriguez for a couple of innings in this one even though he was supposed to start today, but a game against the Cardinals is worth way more to Pittsburgh than a game against the Padres. Eight shutout innings from Jaime Garcia ended up not mattering, but they weren’t meaningless either.

Giants 7, Padres 1:  At least I think that’s the right score. I was directed to a scores website I had never seen before that showed the Giants as having one. Let me check the site’s info for a second … MELKY!

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3: Two homers for Ichiro three hits for Jetes and eight strong innings from Hiroki Kuroda. That was the second time this season Ichiro has hit two homers in a game. Not bad for a guy who only has 102 in 12 years. I missed this game, unfortunately, as I spent all evening texting my girlfriend from Adrian Gonzalez’s phone. Which makes about as much sense as anything else I’ve heard this week.

Phillies 8, Brewers 0: Kyle Kendrick threw eight shutout innings, striking out seven. This game had a rain delay. In Milwaukee. Where they have a retractable roof. That makes sense.

Rockies 3, Marlins 2: For the first time on seven games in Coors Field, Giancarlo Stanton didn’t homer. Colorado has won five of seven.

Mariners 5, Twins 1: The M’s sweep the Twins. We’re starting to get to the point of the season where I ask myself if I got the scores of these meaningless games wrong — like, as an accident, not for yuks like I did with the Padres-Giants score — would anyone notice. I’m guessing not.

Diamondbacks 8, Astros 1: Obviously Tony DeFrancesco isn’t the answer. Bring back Larry Dierker!  Aaron Hill homered twice.

Athletics 7, Indians 0: Yesterday was apparently “pitcher throws eight shutout innings day. Jarrod Parker did it too. Another nightmare road trip for Cleveland, as they’re now 1-5 on the current nine-game jaunt out west.

Nationals 5, Mets 2: Gio Gonzalez wins his 16th game, setting a Nats team record. Bryce Harper tripled and homered. He homered on Friday night too — I was there and it was fun — so it looks like maybe he’s heating up, bro.

Rays 8, Angels 3: The Rays sweep the Angels. So: your team has a big payroll after signing Pujols and Wilson in the offseason, you call up the best rookie since, I dunno, Fred Lynn, and you trade for Zack Greinke at the deadline. And yet you find yourself nine games out of first and four and a half out of the wild card, with four teams above you? Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that could get you fired, Mike Scioscia.

Dodgers 5, Braves 0: Chad Billingsley pitched seven shutout innings and is now 6-0 since the break. The Dodgers move into first with that Giants loss. The Braves go to D.C. to face the Nats. Big series for them.

Royals 5, White Sox 2: Jeremy Guthrie flirted with a no-no, but mild controversy intervened. Eh, I’ve seen that kind of play called a hit in the past. It happens.

Reds 5, Cubs 4: The Reds won ugly, because of some bad defense. Dusty Baker actually asked this after the game: “Is there stink on the field?” Well, if it is on the field, that’s gotta be an improvement as far as Dusty is concerned.

Rangers 11, Blue Jays 2: Michael Young drove in five runs with a three-run homer and a two-run double. It was Young’s first homer in 88 games.

Orioles 7, Tigers 5: Everyone’s been saying the Orioles are going to collapse eventually. But what happens if they don’t collapse? Here they found themselves down 5-0 after the first inning yet didn’t pack it in. They may not pack it in all year.

Rays beat Mets 8-5, clinch 1st AL East title in 10 years

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Confetti instead of champagne. Silly string instead of beer.

The Tampa Bay Rays, long accustomed to doing more with less, figured out a way to maximize the division-clinching celebration they were allowed to enjoy during a 2020 season shortened by the coronavirus.

Randy Arozarena homered twice and the Rays clinched their first AL East title in 10 years Wednesday night with an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets.

“I’m completely dry right now, which I’m not a huge fan of,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, the longest-tenured Rays player, said with a grin. “But you have to adapt to what we’re asked of.”

With teams instructed to celebrate in a muted and socially distant style, the Rays went old school – or maybe elementary school – with their clinching party.

The team filed slowly onto the field after Nick Anderson fanned Andres Gimenez for the final out. A couple of players shot off canisters filled with confetti that eventually dotted the grass and dirt at Citi Field. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged before the Rays doused one another with silly string and lit some cigars in the visiting clubhouse.

Later, hooting and hollering could be heard from the visitors’ dugout.

“We’re little kids trapped in grown men’s bodies,” Kiermaier said.

Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe also went deep for the Rays to back Tyler Glasnow‘s six solid innings. Tampa Bay will be home at quirky Tropicana Field for a best-of-three first-round playoff series beginning next Tuesday.

It is the third division crown for the thrifty Rays, whose payroll this season is just over $28 million – more than only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Tampa Bay, which began play in 1998, also won the AL East, home of two big-spending powers in the Yankees and Red Sox, in 2008 and 2010.

“It feels great to win the division, no matter what division you’re in,” Kiermaier said. “But especially the American League East – it’s just a different animal.”

After missing a chance to clinch Tuesday, the Rays went into Wednesday again needing just a win or a Yankees loss against Toronto to lock up the division championship.

The Rays (37-20) broke a 2-all tie in the sixth on Arozarena’s two-run homer off Michael Wacha and pulled away, taking care of business themselves while New York was routed 14-1 by the Blue Jays.

“At the end of the day, a clinch is a clinch,” said Wendle, who homered in the second. “But to do it on a win – everybody’s kind of riding the high of winning the game along with the division. We didn’t want to see it come down to them losing a game.”

Tampa Bay also is closing in on wrapping up the top record in the AL and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Lowe, who had an RBI fielder’s choice in the third, hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Willy Adames added an RBI single later in the inning and Arozarena homered again in the ninth.

The insurance came in handy for the Rays when the Mets scored three times off Oliver Drake in the ninth – via an RBI groundout by Robinson Cano and a two-run homer by Todd Frazier – before Anderson closed the door.

“I think we had the game pretty much in control (and) certainly recognized what was going on in Buffalo, but I don’t know if you can ever prepare for a moment like that – it’s pretty special,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Glasnow (5-1) allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

Gimenez and Dominic Smith homered off Glasnow in the final home game of the season for the Mets, whose long-shot playoff hopes were further damaged with the loss. New York began the day 2 1/2 games out of an NL wild-card spot.

“We still have a shot with the four games left and we’re competing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We’ve just got to do what we do – just keep fighting like we did in the ninth.”

Wacha allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four in six innings.

STABLE SHIRT

Rays pitcher Charlie Morton sported a T-shirt picturing a stable of horses as he spoke with reporters during a pregame Zoom call. Morton did little to discourage the notion the shirt was inspired by Cash’s viral rant earlier this month, when he declared the Rays have “a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph” after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw near Mike Brousseau’s head in the ninth inning Sept. 4.

“The stable shirt?” Morton said. “It was in my locker last week and I like horses.”

With a grin obviously growing even behind his Rays mask, Morton said he rode horses as a kid.

“So I was ecstatic to see this shirt in my locker and I wore it,” he said.

As for the fireballers on the Rays’ pitching staff?

“We’ve got some guys that throw really hard,” Morton said.

ANOTHER LOSING SEASON

The loss guaranteed the Mets (25-31) will finish with a sub-.500 record for the ninth time in the last 12 seasons – a total matched or exceeded only by the Chicago White Sox (nine), Miami Marlins (10) and San Diego Padres (10). The White Sox and Padres have already clinched playoff spots and a winning record, while the Marlins are in second place in the NL East.

New York made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016 and went 86-76 last year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: LHP Jose Alvarado (shoulder, lat) is scheduled to throw batting practice to 3B Yandy Diaz (hamstring) and 1B Ji-Man Choi (hamstring) at Tropicana Field on Thursday. Cash said all three players are progressing and he hopes they are available for the playoffs. . Brousseau (oblique) missed a fourth consecutive game. Cash said he would have been available off the bench if needed

Mets: RF Michael Conforto (hamstring) returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing two games and went 0 for 4. . The Mets activated RHP Dellin Betances (lat), who last pitched Aug. 29, and optioned RHP Corey Oswalt to the alternate site.

UP NEXT

Rays: After a day off Thursday, Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to get his postseason tuneup in the opener of a series against the Phillies on Friday.

Mets: Rookie LHP David Peterson (5-2, 3.80 ERA) opens a four-game road series against the Nationals. Peterson struck out a career-high 10 against the Braves last Saturday.