And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 10, Mariners 2: This game was a Father’s Day treat for me. Why? Because I used it to teach my daughter how to keep score. I printed out scoresheets. I did a little sketch on the top of hers to illustrate the numbers which correspond with each defensive position. I paused the TV after complicated plays to explain to her why each play was scored the way it was. Around the sixth inning it was getting near the time I was going to have to make dinner but my girlfriend saw what was going down and went in and made it so I didn’t have to take time away. Even if it wasn’t the most competitive game on the planet, it was one of my favorites ever and one which, I think anyway, my daughter and I will remember forever.

My son? well, he’s not quite possessed of the attention span for keeping score yet. However, if he had known that the clubhouses filled up with poop after the game he too would have considered it his favorite game and one which, I think anyway, he would remember forever.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: CC Sabathia cruised until he got into the trouble in the ninth inning but, hey, that’s what Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera are for, right? Yes, but just barely. The Angels rallied for five but Mo finally closed the game out by fanning Albert Pujols. Yankees snap a five-game losing streak.

Blue Jays 7, Rangers 2: The sweep. Chien-Ming Wang won for the first time in over a year. Colby Rasmus homered for the third straight game. The Rangers are reeling, having scored only eight runs in their past six games, losing all of them.

Rockies 5, Phillies 2: Jhoulys Chacin and a lack of run support makes Cole Hamels a ten-time loser. Carlos Gonzalez hits his 20th dinger of the year. Over his last six starts Hamels has worked 37 and a third innings, striking out 42, not walking guys and not allowing homers. He’s 1-4 in those starts.

Astros 5, White Sox 4: The Astros win their fourth in a row, sweeping the Sox in the process. Oops — wraparound series. They can sweep today. Matt Dominguez had a three-run double. Jason Castro homered. The Sox have lost 12 of 13 on the road.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1: I thought of the Padres as a frisky team before the season began. Too bad you can’t take away most of April because they have, indeed, been pretty frisky since, going 15-13 in May and 9-5 in June. They’re only three games out in the no-one-wants-it NL West after sweeping Arizona. Kyle Blanks with a big three-run homer in the eighth to snap a 1-1 tie.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 3: He wasn’t as sharp as he was in his debut last week but Gerrit Cole wins his second start. The rookie allowed three runs on seven hits and not walking anyone in five and two-thirds.

Tigers 5, Twins 2: Doug Fister works fast and throws strikes and I still have no idea why the Mariners ever wanted to get rid of him. Torri Hunter hit his 300th career homer and had an RBI on a ground rule double.

Royals 5, Rays 3: The Royals great pitching continues. Wade Davis allowed two runs in six innings. Overall Royals pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of their past 15 games and the team has won 10 of 12

Marlins 7, Cardinals 2: Why baseball is baseball: the best team can face the worst team and lose two of three. And then the next day dawns, no one freaks out about it too much and the games begin again. Ricky Nolasco allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. The Cardinals dropped their first series since late April.

Mets 4, Cubs 3: Oh, Carlos Marmol. The Cubs’ “closer” allowed four runs in the ninth, including a walkoff three-run homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, spoiling Matt Garza’s seven shutout inning performance. I know the Cubs are trying to shop Marmol to a contender, but it’s not working.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: Chris Davis continues to feast on Red Sox pitching. He hit his MLB-best 23rd homer and Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to 14 games as Baltimore moves into a game and a half of Boston. Baltimore has taken six straight series from the Sox.

Reds 5, Brewers 1: Johnny Cueto returns from the DL, pitches six strong and even drives in a run on a suicide squeeze.

Indians 2, Nationals 0: Stephen Strasburg returned and pitched well — one run in five innings of work — but not as well as Corey Kluber. Kluber tossed eight shutout innings, striking out eight and not walking a soul.

Braves 3, Giants 0: Julio Teheran was fantastic, striking out eight in six shutout innings. More impressive: the millions who sat through a game with Curt Schilling in the booth without killing themselves.

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.”