And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 14, White Sox 3: Ryan Raburn went 3 for 3 with a homer and five RBI. The Tribe put up a seven spot in the fifth inning in which the first nine batters who came to the plate reached. They keep pace with the Rays, who also won, and remain one and a half games back.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: See, told you the Rays won. They avoid the sweep with the help of Wil Myers, who hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth. The Rays continue to lead the Yankees, who also won, by a single game.

Yankees 6, Orioles 5: See, told you the Yankees won, though it wasn’t a laugher. They blew a 5-1 lead in the seventh and then came back and won on a wild pitch. They also lost Brett Gardner to a strained oblique. Still, they’re 12 games over .500 for the first time since May. Interesting: for the second time in a couple of weeks an essentially split Phil Hughes/David Huff “start” worked out. Perhaps the Yankees should continue having Huff caddy for Hughes. Or maybe they can get some mad scientist to forge a HughesHuff Golem/Cyborg or something and let them both pitch at once. Could be cool?

Braves 6, Marlins 1: Freddy Garcia made a spot start and pitched a wonderful game. Or, as Freddie Freeman put it afterwards, “Freddy wore the MVP pants today.” I wish I had some MVP pants. All I have are a pair of Detroit Tigers Zubaz. I call those my MVP pants. The girlfriend and kids call them my “don’t you dare put those on pants.” Philistines.

Athletics 8, Twins 2: Josh Reddick homered and had three RBI and A.J. Griffin was solid. Now: a three-game series against the Rangers. If the A’s take care of business in this one, they could, practically speaking, lock up the West.

Nationals 7, Mets 2: No one showed up for Aaron Harang’s Mets debut. No crowd, no offense, no nothing. He did strike out ten, though. Not that it mattered as Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos all homered and Tanner Roark and the Nats pen was stingy.

Angels 4, Blue Jays 3: Now the Angels are playing well. Better late then never, I suppose. The Blue Jays have the never, with the exception of that one blip in mid-season where, for about two weeks, they got all frisky. Anyway, arguably the most disappointing team in 2013 swept the other most disappointing team in 2013.

Pirates 3, Cubs 1: They needed that from Jeff Locke. He’s looked like garbage so often lately, but yesterday gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. The Pirates move into a tie for first place because …

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3: … The Cardinals’ five-game winning streak came to an end. Tyler Thronburg was solid for six innings. Sean Halton homered. I suppose some people in Milwaukee and their moms know who they are.

Phillies 10, Padres 5: Roy Halladay was not good at all, walking five and giving up five runs (four earned) in four and a third innings, but his lineup had no problems with the Padres. Carlos Ruiz drove in three.

Dodgers 3, Giants 2: Adrian Gonzalez with the game winning single in the 10th. The Dodgers could clinch the division against the Giants this weekend if everything breaks just right.

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.