And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 14, Tigers 4: We had this game on for a bit, got bored and decided to watch some random stuff we had recorded. When the show ended we went back to the game to see the A’s up 14-1. Allison let’s out a big “oh for f***’s sake!” and quickly turns on the “Awesom-O” episode of “South Park.” So what I’m saying is, she salvaged the evening for herself a little bit.  Brandon Moss with two homers. Brett Anderson comes back and gets a save because he pitched three innings, coming in to protect a 13-run lead. Saves are the best, you guys.

Dodgers 4, Cubs 0: The story here is all Puig-Puig-Puig, but the better story is Ricky Nolasco, who tossed eight shutout innings while striking out 11. He has given up just four runs over his last 25.1 innings, spanning four starts. He’s 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA since the break. Kershaw, Greinke, Nolasco is no one you want to see in games 1-3 of the NLDS.

Rangers 12, Mariners 4: You’re not gonna see Felix Hernandex give up nine runs (eight earned) in three innings while allowing 11 hits very often. Even the best ones have their bad days.

Nationals 4, Marlins 3: The Nats are playing their best ball of the season, having won seven of eight. Do they have a shot at the wild card? Maybe. Seven games is hard to make up — and the’d have to jump over the Dbacks too — but their schedule is insanely weak right now. They are in a stretch where they’ve beaten the Cubs, Royals and Marlins. Then, in order, they have series against the Mets-Phillies-Marlins-Mets-Phillies. After that they still have yet ANOTHER series against the Marlins and one head-to-head against the Dbacks. It’s doable.

Red Sox 4, Orioles 3: A pinch-hit bloop single in the bottom of the eighth by Mike Carp gave the Sox the winning margin. Victorino got another RBI. Chris Davis hit his 47th homer.

Pirates 7, Brewers 1: Welcome to the club, Marlon Byrd. The Pirates’ newest player hits a three-run homer. Give him a second t-shirt night.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 2: The Jays leapt out to a seven-run lead after three with help from an Edwin Encarnacion homer and a passed ball/throwing error combo by Yankees catcher Chris Stewart. Hiroki Kuroda was the best starter the Yankees had going for most of the year but now he’s lost four of five. Mark Reynolds got an emergency start at second base and managed to not make any errors. I haven’t seen game highlights yet, but given how these things usually go, the guy we all mocked when he was penciled in at second probably probably had three web gems or whatever.

Braves 3, Indians 2: A walkoff single for Chris Johnson and a nice night from leadoff man Jordan Schafer (3 for 4, BB, 2 RBI) who singled and stole second to set up Johnson’s heroics. Cleveland is now four back in the wild card race.

Phillies 6, Mets 2: Cole Hamel in a helped-his-own-cause special. Seven strong innings and a two-run single for the Phillies starter. Daisuke Matsuzaka was in vintage Dice-K form: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 ER, 5K and contributed greatly to the game’s three and a half hour running time.

Rays 4, Angels 1: With a losing streak afoot and the Rays coming off a dispiriting late-inning loss, Chris Archer played stopper. He allowed one run in seven innings while the offense scored on singles, sacrifices and an error.

Reds 10, Cardinals 0: Brandon Philips started the day with a rather unfortunate rant at a reporter who criticized his on-base skills. He then managed to get on base twice which totally killed all the snark I had saved up for him. Oh well. The Reds romp behind Jay Bruce’s five-RBI night and Homer Bailey’s solid outing.

White Sox 6, Astros 1: Chris Sale’s fantastic year continues. He struck out 12 in eight innings and allowed just the one run. Avisail Garcia launched a three-run homer.

Rockies 5, Giants 4:  Jhoulys Chacin pitched six and two-thirds no-hit innings and struck out nine. It coulda been a no-decision, what with the Giants staging a rally in the eighth, but it fell just short.

Royals 8, Twins 1: Two homers for Sal Perez. Danny Duffy comes up and takes over Wade Davis’ rotation spot and showed just why he was the better choice, throwing six and two-thirds shutout innings while striking out seven.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 1: Three driven in for Will Venable, including a two-run homer to help the Padres avoid the sweep.

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.