And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 1, Rays 0: Henderson Alvarez tosses his third shutout of the season. Last year the league leaders in that category — Justin Masterson and Bartolo Colon — had three for the whole season. Heck, the league leader had three in five of the past 11 seasons.

Nationals 7, Phillies 0: Ryan Zimmerman had two doubles and handled the only two balls hit to him in left field cleanly in his debut as an outfielder. Jordan Zimmermann pitched eight scoreless innings. Larry Bowa probably blames Dom Brown and then his head probably exploded.

Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Five straight for Cleveland, with the big hit coming on Michael Bourn’s two-run double in the seventh. The Indians, considered dead not too long ago, have made up six games in the AL Central standings since May 18 and trail first-place Detroit by four and a half games.

Mariners 7, Braves 5: Homers done it. Stefen Romero hit a three-run pinch-hit homer in the fourth to tie it at five and then John Buck hit a two-run shot in the seventh. Buck had three hits in all. His homer was his fourth against Atlanta since the start of 2013. He joins Mike Redmond on the Mount Rushmore of Mostly Pedestrian Catchers Who Inexplicably Kill The Braves. Not sure who the other two are, but I’m sure they exist.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2:  A three-run 10th kicked off by Brandon Moss’ second homer of the game gives this one to the A’s. The key to the win, according to Sean Doolittle, is your typical Oakland A’s Moneyball techno-spreadsheet explanation:

“The way the guys were swinging in the 10th inning, it was like they could smell the victory and found a way to get it done,” the A’s reliever said. “That’s typical Oakland A’s baseball.”

God, dude. Get your head out of you computer screen and watch some baseball.

Reds 8, Giants 3: Four straight for the Reds. Four errors for the Giants, mostly caused by Bill Hamilton getting in Tim Lincecum and Hector Sanchez’s heads.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 3: A five-run ninth for Toronto, four of which were charged to Joe Nathan, though three scored on a Brett Lawrie homer given up by Al Alburquerque. Anyone got John Hiller’s phone number?

Orioles 8, Rangers 3: Nelson Cruz always hit well in Arlington and he did so again last night hitting a three-run shot to give him his 21st homer of the season. Adam Jones added four hits and a homer.

Royals 8, Cardinals 7: Kolten Wong’s grand slam ended a 20-inning scoreless streak for St. Louis, but Eric Hosmer’s tie-breaking RBI single in the ninth extended their losing streak to three. The Cards have lost six of seven overall.

Astros 7, Angels 2: Jon Singleton made his major league debut with a couple of strikeouts a couple of errors and his first-ever homer. He also walked with the bases loaded to give him two-RBI on the game. Bud Norris thinks Singleton should’ve gotten four RBI. It would have been better for everyone else, Norris says.

Cubs 2, Mets 1: One in the eighth and one in the ninth for Chicago. The run in the ninth came on a Nate Schierholtz single, for the Cubs’ first walkoff win of the year. Chris Coghlan’s solo shot accounted for the other run. The Mets had a lot of chances to score more than just their one run but failed to capitalize.

Twins 6, Brewers 4: Josh Willingham stays hot, hitting a three-run homer. Since coming off the DL on May 26 he’s hit four of ’em. Also: a dude fell the hell out of a TGI Friday’s and into the bullpen, so that was special.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 2: Back to back homers for Nick Evans and Chris Owings. Evans was filling in for Paul Goldschmidt, who was given the night off. It was Evans’ first homer since 2011.

White Sox 4, Dodgers 1: Jose Abreu went deep again and drove in three overall. Hector Noesi got his first win in 19 starts.

Pirates 4, Padres 1: Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez hit two-run homers and Gerrit Cole and four relievers combined to allow one run. A day after a nine-inning game between these two teams lasted over four hours, this one was done in 2:43.

Rays beat Mets 8-5, clinch 1st AL East title in 10 years

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK (AP) Confetti instead of champagne. Silly string instead of beer.

The Tampa Bay Rays, long accustomed to doing more with less, figured out a way to maximize the division-clinching celebration they were allowed to enjoy during a 2020 season shortened by the coronavirus.

Randy Arozarena homered twice and the Rays clinched their first AL East title in 10 years Wednesday night with an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets.

“I’m completely dry right now, which I’m not a huge fan of,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, the longest-tenured Rays player, said with a grin. “But you have to adapt to what we’re asked of.”

With teams instructed to celebrate in a muted and socially distant style, the Rays went old school – or maybe elementary school – with their clinching party.

The team filed slowly onto the field after Nick Anderson fanned Andres Gimenez for the final out. A couple of players shot off canisters filled with confetti that eventually dotted the grass and dirt at Citi Field. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged before the Rays doused one another with silly string and lit some cigars in the visiting clubhouse.

Later, hooting and hollering could be heard from the visitors’ dugout.

“We’re little kids trapped in grown men’s bodies,” Kiermaier said.

Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe also went deep for the Rays to back Tyler Glasnow‘s six solid innings. Tampa Bay will be home at quirky Tropicana Field for a best-of-three first-round playoff series beginning next Tuesday.

It is the third division crown for the thrifty Rays, whose payroll this season is just over $28 million – more than only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Tampa Bay, which began play in 1998, also won the AL East, home of two big-spending powers in the Yankees and Red Sox, in 2008 and 2010.

“It feels great to win the division, no matter what division you’re in,” Kiermaier said. “But especially the American League East – it’s just a different animal.”

After missing a chance to clinch Tuesday, the Rays went into Wednesday again needing just a win or a Yankees loss against Toronto to lock up the division championship.

The Rays (37-20) broke a 2-all tie in the sixth on Arozarena’s two-run homer off Michael Wacha and pulled away, taking care of business themselves while New York was routed 14-1 by the Blue Jays.

“At the end of the day, a clinch is a clinch,” said Wendle, who homered in the second. “But to do it on a win – everybody’s kind of riding the high of winning the game along with the division. We didn’t want to see it come down to them losing a game.”

Tampa Bay also is closing in on wrapping up the top record in the AL and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Lowe, who had an RBI fielder’s choice in the third, hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Willy Adames added an RBI single later in the inning and Arozarena homered again in the ninth.

The insurance came in handy for the Rays when the Mets scored three times off Oliver Drake in the ninth – via an RBI groundout by Robinson Cano and a two-run homer by Todd Frazier – before Anderson closed the door.

“I think we had the game pretty much in control (and) certainly recognized what was going on in Buffalo, but I don’t know if you can ever prepare for a moment like that – it’s pretty special,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Glasnow (5-1) allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

Gimenez and Dominic Smith homered off Glasnow in the final home game of the season for the Mets, whose long-shot playoff hopes were further damaged with the loss. New York began the day 2 1/2 games out of an NL wild-card spot.

“We still have a shot with the four games left and we’re competing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We’ve just got to do what we do – just keep fighting like we did in the ninth.”

Wacha allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four in six innings.

STABLE SHIRT

Rays pitcher Charlie Morton sported a T-shirt picturing a stable of horses as he spoke with reporters during a pregame Zoom call. Morton did little to discourage the notion the shirt was inspired by Cash’s viral rant earlier this month, when he declared the Rays have “a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph” after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw near Mike Brousseau’s head in the ninth inning Sept. 4.

“The stable shirt?” Morton said. “It was in my locker last week and I like horses.”

With a grin obviously growing even behind his Rays mask, Morton said he rode horses as a kid.

“So I was ecstatic to see this shirt in my locker and I wore it,” he said.

As for the fireballers on the Rays’ pitching staff?

“We’ve got some guys that throw really hard,” Morton said.

ANOTHER LOSING SEASON

The loss guaranteed the Mets (25-31) will finish with a sub-.500 record for the ninth time in the last 12 seasons – a total matched or exceeded only by the Chicago White Sox (nine), Miami Marlins (10) and San Diego Padres (10). The White Sox and Padres have already clinched playoff spots and a winning record, while the Marlins are in second place in the NL East.

New York made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016 and went 86-76 last year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: LHP Jose Alvarado (shoulder, lat) is scheduled to throw batting practice to 3B Yandy Diaz (hamstring) and 1B Ji-Man Choi (hamstring) at Tropicana Field on Thursday. Cash said all three players are progressing and he hopes they are available for the playoffs. . Brousseau (oblique) missed a fourth consecutive game. Cash said he would have been available off the bench if needed

Mets: RF Michael Conforto (hamstring) returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing two games and went 0 for 4. . The Mets activated RHP Dellin Betances (lat), who last pitched Aug. 29, and optioned RHP Corey Oswalt to the alternate site.

UP NEXT

Rays: After a day off Thursday, Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to get his postseason tuneup in the opener of a series against the Phillies on Friday.

Mets: Rookie LHP David Peterson (5-2, 3.80 ERA) opens a four-game road series against the Nationals. Peterson struck out a career-high 10 against the Braves last Saturday.