And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 12, Orioles 3: Five years ago last night Texas laid 30 runs on the Orioles. Not so bad last night, but still pretty ugly. Adrian Beltre smacked three dingers and drove in five. Sadly, Tommy Hunter was only allowed to give up a solo homer, two-run homer and a grand slam, falling just short of the cycle of homers allowed.

Braves 5, Nationals 1: Kris Medlen was once again fantastic, throwing seven shutout innings and striking out seven. All the Braves do when Medlen pitch is win. And Craig Kimbrel was actually used. In a non-save situation! See, it can be done!

Mariners 3, Indians 1: Seattle is on fire. Eight in a row for the M’s. A two-run double by Eric Thames broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth.

Diamondbacks 3, Marlins 2, Diamondbacks 3, Marlins 0: Young pitching was featured in both games. In the first, Jacob Turner made his first start for the Marlins. Meanwhile, Tyler Skaggs made his major league debut for Arizona. Skaggs got the win, allowing two runs in six and two-thirds, even while walking five. Turner: three runs on four hits over six. Although one was a two-run bomb. And Ozzie Guillen got ejected either arguing what he thought was a balk or throwing water on umpire Angel Campos. Depends on who you believe. In the nightcap rookie Wade Miley tossed eight shutout innings.

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Ryan Braun hit his league-leading 34th homer. John Axford, newly re-installed as the Brewers closer, got the save.

Padres 4, Pirates 2: San Diego got three quick runs off James McDonald to start the game and that was all the really needed. McDonald as an ERA of 7.30 since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh has lost four of five.

Athletics 5, Twins 1: Coco Crisp homered, hit an RBI double and scored three times. I’m gonna assume that this was merely a case of the A’s rallying following Bartolo Colon’s positive drug test. Which someone will claim with a straight face today. Just you wait.

Rays 5, Royals 3: James Shields was strong and the Rays have are 16-5 in their last 21 games. The Royals scored five runs in the three-game series.

Reds 3, Phillies 2: Bronson Arroyo came out on fire, retiring the first 14 Phillies he faced before Domonic Brown hit a solo homer in the fifth. That’s all the Phillies would get until the ninth, though, when Aroldis Chapman allowed an inherited runner to score. But too little, too late.

Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2: The good Anibal Sanchez showed up. Helped that he faced the recently reeling Jays offense. Sanchez pitched six and two thirds, giving up one earned run.

Rockies 5, Mets 2: Matt Harvey pitched six strong and left with the game tied, but then the bullpen happened. Dexter Fowler left the game with a sprained ankle, though x-rays were negative. Like totally negative. HIS ANKLE IS COMPLETELY MISSING. Someone call Jim Rockford!

Angels 7, Red Sox 3: Jered Weaver rebounds from his shellacking by the Rays to tame the Sox (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER). Clay Buchholz? Not so much (5.1 IP, 12 H, 7 ER). Bad news, though: Albert Pujols left the game early with tightness in his calf.

White Sox 2, Yankees 1: Chris Sale was a beast, striking out 13 in seven and two-thirds as the Sox sweep the Yankees, dropping New York’s division lead to three games.  The Yankees had best take advantage of their upcoming series against the Indians and Blue Jays, because then they have Tampa Bay in the now suddenly interesting AL East race.

Cardinals 4, Astros 2: Kyle Lohse outduels Bud Norris. That’s six losses in a row for Houston. So I guess that managerial change hasn’t helped much yet, huh?

Giants 8, Dodgers 4: The sweep. Clearly rallying around Melky or something. Matt Cain allowing one run over seven had a lot to do with it too. As did Joaquin Arias driving in five via a homer and two RBI doubles.

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

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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.”