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.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.