And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 3, Yankees 2:If I told you before the season that the Orioles would lose Manny Machado and Matt Wieters to injuries and that Chris Davis would hit below .200 and then be suspended for PEDs, you’d probably assume that they’d be in fourth or fifth place this year. Yet here they are, poised to clinch their first division title in 17 years. As for this game: with Davis suspended, the Orioles are going to need Kelly Johnson. Johnson was just dandy last night, hitting a walkoff double. He did that just after Steve Pearce hit an RBI double to tie it. Viva La Fill-Ins who have made this season for Baltimore.

Tigers 6, Indians 4: Homers from Ian Kinsler and Victor J.D. Martinez as the Tigers sweep the Indians and win their sixth of seventh and take a one and a half game lead in the Central. They have a series against Kansas City next weekend. If they tread water through the week they can put this thing away when they face the Royals.

Red Sox 8, Royals 4: Speaking of the Royals, they deserve whatever they get with Ned Yost. The game was lost in the sixth inning when Aaron Crow gave up a walk and a homer after coming in with men on. Yost said after the game that he was frustrated because they were “one out away from getting to Kelvin Herrera.” Asked why he didn’t just go to Herrera an out earlier: “Aaron Crow’s inning is the sixth inning. Kelvin’s is the seventh.” You see why this guy got fired just before the playoffs the last time he had a team this close.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4: Jonathan Papelbon blew a three-run lead in the top of the ninth, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. As he left the mound he was booed by Phillies fans, then he appeared to grab his crotch and was ejected. He said he was just adjusting his cup. Joe West thought it was a rude gesture came in and rather forcefully ejected Papelbon, so who knows who was worse here. Man, it is so totally the end of the season.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Yunel Escobar walked, singled, doubled and homered. And when he homered he played it up to the crowd with a big “safe” gesture and pointed and taunted as he crossed home plate. They don’t much care for Escobar in Toronto.

Nationals 3, Mets 0: Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer and Jordan Zimmermann pitched shutout ball into the seventh. The Nats have taken 13 of 16 from the Mets this year.

Pirates 7, Cubs 3: Josh Harrison hit a two-run double and started a triple play. Harrison is .317/.351/.508 on the year and has come on like crazy lately. Edinson Volquez allowed one earned run over seven innings. The Cubs are officially eliminated. In case you were still holding out hope that they’d make a playoff push.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Twins 6, White Sox 4: Trevor May struck out ten in six innings. On Saturday Phil Hughes struck out 11 while Jose Quintana struck out 13. All kinds of Ks in these meaningless games.

Brewers 9, Reds 2: Matt Clark his a three-run homer and Mark Reynolds hit a solo shot. The Brewers have won four of five and remain a game and a half back.

Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Marco Gonzales struck out nine in five and two-thirds, allowing one run, and five relievers shut out the rockies the rest of the way. Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer. Colorado has lost six straight. They’ve scored eight runs in those games. Wheeeee!

Rangers 10, Braves 3: The Rangers sweep the Braves, who have done more in the past few weeks to show they got no business being mentioned as part of a playoff race than any team that still gets mentioned as being part of a playoff race. Now they’re four out of the wild card, which puts them out of it for good, I reckon. Just a terrible second half for a team that should not be this bad, even with the injuries to the rotation. Whether anyone actually pays for this failure of a season is an open question, but I’m not holding my breath.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: L.A. takes two of three from the Giants and extending its lead to three games. Clayton Kershaw picked up his 19th win, tossing eight effective innings. Matt Kemp’s sixth inning, two-run homer helped seal it.

Astros 6, Angels 1: Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven and the Angels’ ten-game winning streak ends, but at this point what does it matter?

Athletics 4, Mariners 0: Six shutout innings for Jon Lester despite him not having his best stuff with three relievers finishing off the shutout. The A’s take two of three in a critical series with Seattle. The A’s have a one and a half game lead over Kansas City and two and a half over the Mariners.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6: Trevor Cahill wasn’t too effective, but the Snakes’ bullpen was up to the task for awhile. Then in the ninth Addison Reed faltered, but not enough to cost ’em the game.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.