And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 6, Rangers 0: That, my friends, is B.J. Upton.  Three homers for big brother and a two-hit shutout for James Shields. This will make Rays fans feel really good until Texas bounces them easily in the division series again.

Marlins 8, Nationals 0: The Nats have not won a game since they shut down Stephen Strasburg!!!  OK, we’ll wait a couple of days to go all-in with that, but believe me, we’re ready.  Anyway, Ricky Nolasco with the four-hit shutout. It’s the second time he’s shut out the Nats in two weeks. And he also — everybody now! — helped his own cause by doubling in two runs.

Cubs 4, Pirates 2This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper. Been a nice season anyway, Pirates, but if you get swept by the all-but-dead Cubs, yeah, sorry.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 4:  Norichika Aoki hit a two out two run homer in the ninth to force extras, but the Cards avoid the sweep with an RBI single from Allen Craig in the 10th. Carlos Beltran hit a homer, ending an 0 for 14 slump. The Brewers are still surging overall, winners of 15 of 20.

Angels 3, Tigers 2: Six straight for the Angels, who are now within one game of a wild card slot. Detroit: 4.5 out, though still only two behind the White Sox in the division. Two days in a row with a leadoff homer for Mike Trout, who is going to be on the cover of every single baseball preview, fantasy review, etc. next winter and spring.

Athletics 4, Mariners 2: Tommy Milone struck out ten in six innings and Jonny Gomes hit a three run homer. Oakland continues to stay atop the wild card standings avec Baltimore. Speaking of Baltimore …

Yankees 13, Orioles 3: They got whupped. Curtis Granderson pulled a Dante — he wasn’t even supposed to be here today — but came off the bench to homer and drive in five. Only thing better would be if his number was 36. Wait, 37.

Braves 3, Mets 2: Chipper Jones pinch hit in the ninth, walked and was lifted for a pinch runner, and then the Mets fans cheered for him.  Very classy move. The man in the blue and gray pajamas, Dude.Worthy f*&%$8n’ adversary. A Brian McCann homer sac fly in the tenth secured the sweep. Atlanta has won five in a row.

Twins 8, Indians 7: A walkoff jack for Justin Morneau. It was his second homer of the game. Three hits for Joe Mauer. It’s almost like those two could form the core of a contender.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 2: Chase Headley hit a grand slam — his 27th homer of the season — and Andrew Werner gave up one run over six. Headley passes Ryan Braun for the NL RBI lead with 102. It’d really be somethin’ for a Padre to lead the league in RBI.

Astros 5, Reds 1: The Astros may be deadsville, but they beat up both Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto in this series, and not a lot of people can say they did that this year. Matt Dominguez hit a three-run homer. He has three home runs this year. All of them have come against the Reds.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Chicago dropped two of three to Kansas City and now goes on to play the Tigers. It seems like neither of them want to win the AL Central this year.

Phillies 3, Rockies 2; Phillies 7, Rockies 4: John Mayberry hit the game winning single in the ninth, but he had to wait at first base before he knew it was official because Carlos Gonzalez dove for it, looked like he caught it, but then it squirted out of his glove. Took a minute to get the call right, but the umpires ruled that, yes, it was a hit. They also called Mark Teixeira out at first base. They take the nightcap too. Philly has won four in a row and are six back in the wild card race. I guess stranger things have happened.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: I took the kids to see “Paranorman” on Saturday. There were fewer walking dead in that flick than there are on the Red Sox roster now. The Jays swept the Red Sox. The go-ahead run was on an Omar Vizquel sac fly. Omar Vizquel, by the way, is not getting gifts at every park he visits on his last go-around like Chipper Jones is.

Giants 4, Dodgers 0: Six and a third shutout innings for Barry Zito and the bullpen continued the job for the rest of the game. Buster Posey hit a homer, but really dude, you need to shave that thing you think is a beard. It’s all neck. It’s OK to have a baby face. No one thinks less of you.

Brewers on the brink of their first pennant in 36 years

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A series that had swung back and forth twice already swung back in Milwaukee’s favor last night with a convincing win. That it was convincing — it was not at all close after the second inning — is a key factor heading into today, as Craig Counsell has his bullpen set up nicely to shorten the game if his Brewers can get an early lead.

Josh Hader — who, if you are unaware, has not allowed a run and has struck out 12 batters in seven innings of postseason work — did not pitch yesterday or in Game 5. As such, he’s had three full days off. Given that this is a win or go home day and, if they win, he’s guaranteed two more days off before the World Series, he’s good for two innings and could very well go for three. That’s not what you want if you’re the Dodgers.

But it gets worse. Jeremy Jeffress pitched last night but it was only one pretty easy inning, so he could go two if he has to. Corey Knebel pitched an inning and two-thirds but he could probably give Counsell an inning of work if need be. Joakim Soria didn’t pitch at all yesterday. Between those guys and the less important relievers, all of whom save Brandon Woodruff are all pretty fresh, the Dodgers aren’t going to have any easy marks.

But the thing is: Counsell may not need to go that deep given that Jhoulys Chacin, their best starter of the postseason, gets the start. So, yes, in light of that, you have to like the Brewers’ chances tonight, and that’s before you realize that the home crowd is going to be louder than hell.

Not that the Dodgers are going to roll over — it’ll be all hands on deck for them with every pitcher except for Hyun-Jim Ryu available, you figure — but if they’re going to repeat as NL champs, they’re going to have to earn it either by bloodying Chacin’s nose early and neutralizing the threat of facing Hader and company with a lead, or by marching through the teeth of the Brewers bullpen and coming out alive on the other side.
NLCS Game 6

Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers:  Walker Buehler vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Breakdown:

The most important part of this breakdown — the stuff about the Brewers’ pen — has already been said and, I presume anyway, the starters here will have the shortest of leashes. Chacin’s will be longer, as he has not allowed a run over 10 and a third innings in his first two postseason starts, making him the Brewers’ defacto ace. Every inning he goes tonight makes things much, much harder for the Dodgers once he’s gone as it means Milwaukee will be able to rely more and more on Hader and Jeffress, so the Dodgers had best get to him early.

Buehler has come up weak so far this postseason, having allowed nine runs in 12 innings, including surrendering four runs on six hits over seven innings in Milwaukee’s Game 3 victory. Still, it’s not hard to remember how dominating he was in the second half of the season. If that Buehler shows up and can keep things close, we’ll have a ballgame. If L.A. finds itself in an early hole once again, theirs will be the tallest of orders.