And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Tigers 4: If I told you that Mariano Rivera blew two saves in a three game series you’d probably assume the Yankees had a bad series. Except in this case they won both of the games Mo blew. Baseball is weird. Miguel Cabrera homered off of him again on Sunday — he’s only the third right hander with two career home runs off Rivera — but the Yankees pulled it out in the ninth with a Brett Gardner walkoff.

Mariners 2, Brewers 0: King Felix was his usual dominant self, tossing eight scoreless and striking out nine. Wily Peralta was almost as good but he gave up one gopher ball and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. The game lasted a mere two hours eleven minutes. It was like friggin’ 1914 or something out there.

Reds 3, Padres 2: Joey Votto with a sac fly in the bottom of the 13th. It’s gonna be awesome when Votto finishes the year with something like his current .322/.437/.509 batting line and gets almost no MVP love because he doesn’t have 100 RBI.

Braves 9, Marlins 4: The wining streak ended with a 1-0 loss on Saturday but the Braves got back on the horse Sunday and handed Miami their sixth loss in seven games. Four hits for Jason Heyward, three for Evan Gattis, a three-run homer for Freddie Freeman and the go-ahead RBI for B.J. Upton. Just so many contributors right now.

Nationals 6, Phillies 0: Stephen Strasburg shuts ’em out on 99 pitches — it’s a Maddux!  In other news, is there anything more depressing than being a Phillies fan at the moment?

Rangers 6, Astros 1: The Rangers are surging. Seven straight wins, in fact. Martin Perez had a shutout into the ninth. It was broken up by a Chris Carter solo homer, but Perez still finished the complete game, allowing only four hits while striking out eight.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3: The Royals keep on rolling, upping their record to 18-5 since the break. They’re 4.5 back in the wild card.

Twins 5, White Sox 2:  Kevin Correia pitched seven shutout innings, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer each homered and the Twins take three of four. They, like a lot of teams, admittedly, have owned the White Sox this season.

Athletics 6, Blue Jays 4: Bob Melvin picks up the 700th win in his managerial career thanks to Alberto Callaspo’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth. The A’s stay a game back of the Rangers.

Indians 6, Angels 5:  The Angels had a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth and they woofed it away, thanks in part to a pair of two-run homers from two-run homers by Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles in the sixth.  With it the Indians snap their six-game losing streak that put them way the heck back in the AL Central. An awful week but not a bad salvage job.

Cardinals 8, Cubs 4: St. Louis ends a four-game losing streak and avoids a sweep. Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had three hits and drove in a run. Jon Jay and David Freese each drove in two.

Rockies 3, Pirates 2: Chad Bettis allowed two runs early but settled down and the Rockies’ pen pitched three scoreless. Jeff Locke walked four batters in five and two-thirds. He’s not been going very deep into games lately. You have to wonder if he’s getting a bit tired.

Dodgers 8, Rays 2: Clayton Kershaw is awesome, which, well, duh.  But how come every time I click on a Dodgers box score there’s some random Ellis doing cool things? Ellises are the new inefficiency.

Mets 9, Diamondbacks 5: This was an ugly-fest. Lots of unearned runs and a dude has his hip dislocated. But Andrew Brown had a three-run pinch hit homer, and that’s uplifting, yes?

Orioles 10, Giants 2: J.J. Hardy hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, but then the Orioles piled it on. Ron-Burgundy-Boy-That-Escalated-Quickly-Dot-Tumblr.com.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.