And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 3, Tigers 2: Jose Valverde was handed a 2-0 lead in the ninth with a runner on and promptly coughed it up by surrendering a homer to Lorenzo Cain. Phil Coke added his own brand of kerosene to the fire on the 10th as Eric Hosmer singled in the winning run. After the game he was, and I am not making this up, was given a celebratory BBQ sauce shower. Which, on the one hand is kind of fun. On the other hand it suggests that the Royals really don’t know how to handle the rituals of winning. Like, I guess they can ask Miguel Tejada or Jeff Francoeur what they’re supposed to do when they win, but they may not remember.

Angels 9, Orioles 5: Down 4-2 entering the seventh and the Angels put up a six-spot. The six spot was aided by an Erick Aybar bases-loaded triple and an Albert Pujols homer. Chris Davis homered again too, giving him 21 on the year.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Mike Leake out-dueled Travis Wood. Would really like to see the phrase “out-dueled” expand in use a bit. We could apply it to two people who enter a nearly-full parking lot at the same time. I’m sure there are others. If you have some potential “out-dueled” applications please leave them in the comments.

Padres 5, Braves 3: And the sweep. Edinson Volquez struck out nine in seven innings and Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer. The Padres have won six of eight. The Braves finish a dismal L.A.-San Diego road trip 2-5.

Pirates 12, Giants 8: Pirates surging, Giants, um, well, there isn’t a word that is both the opposite of and rhymes with surging. Barry Zito got tattooed for eight runs and saw his road ERA balloon to 11.28 (it’s 1.94 in San Francisco). Starling Marte had four hits and scored four runs.

Red Sox 2, Rays 1: We’ve secretly replaced Alfredo Aceves with a pitcher who doesn’t stink. Let’s see if anyone notices! The Red Sox’ complicated swingman allowed one run over six innings. A 2-1 game required 11 pitchers and went nearly three and a half hours. Viva AL East baseball.

Mets 5, Cardinals 1: Dillon Gee had his third straight start in which he only allowed one run. Shelby Miller had his worst start in his young career. Still struck out ten in that worst start. Homers for David Wright, Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd.

Indians 5, Rangers 2: A home run and three hits overall for Jason Kipnis. Cleveland entered this series on a losing skid but took two of three from the Rangers, who have lost five of seven.

Brewers 10, Marlins 1: Three driven in for Carlos Gomez. Seven shutout innings for Alfredo Figaro. Kind of a quintessential 2013 game for the Marlins.

Twins 4, Phillies 3: You can’t stop Clete Thomas, you can only hope to contain him. The [insert intimidating nickname for Thomas here when we think of one] was 4 for 4 with a couple of RBI doubles as the Phillies dropped their fifth straight.

Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Ross Ohlendorf made his Nats debut and allowed one run over six innings. I got to see him pitch here in Columbus a couple of weeks ago and got a load of his new, old-timey, hands over his head windup. It’s a treat. Enjoy it Nats fans.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 2: The day after fisticuffsmanship, the Snakes rattle out 20 hits. They needed all 20, though, as this one went into the 12 inning. The Dbacks have done quite well in extras this year, however. And they’ve taken four straight series from the Dodgers.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Two homers for Brandon Moss. The A’s have won ten in a row at home.

Astros 6, Mariners 1: Houston scored all six runs in a ninth inning rally as eight shutout innings from Jeremy Bonderman — Jeremy Bonderman! — go to waste.

Blue Jays vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: I should have guessed that you’d stand me up. Why did I even go, now? And I guess it goes to show the snow may well thaw out, but it goes right down the drain. You left me, You left me, You left me, You left me, You left me standing in the rain.

Nationals complete NLCS sweep of Cardinals, punch ticket to World Series

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The Nationals will officially appear in the World Series for the first time in franchise history. The team that had a 19-31 record in late May, putting manager Dave Martinez on the hot seat, improbably fought back to snag a Wild Card slot, won the play-in game, beat the heavily-favored Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, and polished off a sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS on Tuesday night, winning 7-4.

After Patrick Corbin tossed a scoreless top of the first inning, the Nationals’ offense wasted no time getting to work. Single, double, sacrifice fly, RBI double, intentional walk, reach on error, RBI single, two-run single, sacrifice bunt, two-run single. That’s how the Nats hung a seven-spot in the opening frame against Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright.

To the Cardinals’ credit, they cleaned things up from there. The Nationals would not score for the rest of the game while the Cardinals clawed back for a run in the fourth before plating three runs in the fifth. Yadier Molina went yard off of Corbin in the fourth. In the fifth, a Tommy Edman ground out and a José Martínez two-run double accounted for the Cardinals’ runs in the fifth.

Corbin ultimately gave up the four runs on four hits and three walks with, impressively, 12 strikeouts across five innings of work. Tanner Rainey worked a 1-2-3 sixth. Sean Doolittle did the same in the seventh.

Doolittle remained in the game in the eighth, getting the first two outs before relenting a single to Marcell Ozuna. Right-hander Daniel Hudson entered for the four-out save opportunity. Hudson hit Molina with a fastball, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Paul DeJong. DeJong worked a full count, then walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter emerged from the dugout to take his cuts against Hudson. After five tense pitches to Carpenter, Hudson got him to ground out to second base to end the inning.

The Nats went down quick in the bottom of the eighth. Hudson emerged from the dugout to send the Nationals into the World Series. He did just that, getting Kolten Wong to fly out to shallow left field for the first out. Matt Wieters popped up to the catcher in fair territory for out number two. At long last, Edman flied out to center field. Nationals win 7-4.

The only other time the franchise reached the Championship Series was in 1981 when the Expos lost three games to two to the Dodgers. The Expos/Nationals then went from 1982-2011 without a playoff appearance. The Nationals lost four Division Series appearances in a row in 2012, ’14, and ’16-17, three of which went the maximum five games. Now they’re in the World Series, improbably. They will await the winner of the ALCS, which the Astros currently lead 2-1.