And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: A walkoff single in the 13th for Tony Cruz in the 13th inning gives the Cards two of three in a series the Brewers really needed to sweep in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. Between both teams, 12 runs were scored all series long. And, thanks to two extra innings games, that amounted to 36 innings. Milwaukee is now down three and a half for the second wild card which, no, does not look doable with a bit more than a week to play.

Rangers 7, Athletics 2: Just when you think the A’s have hit rock bottom they show you that they still have farther to fall. Oakland was swept by the worst team in baseball and now they find themselves out of the first wild card slot and into the second, only one game ahead of Seattle. Here Sonny Gray was touched for four runs in the first inning and five overall. Not that it matters. If and when this collapse is complete, most A’s fans will think of it as one giant blur of a collapse, unable to truly pin it on any one guy. Believe me, I know from experience.

Mariners 3, Angels 1: The A’s loss is Seattle’s gain, as they beat what was pretty much a Salt Lake City lineup the day after the Angels clinched. Not that they had an easy time of it. They were shut out by Wade LeBlanc and four relievers until the ninth when they got through against Kevin Jespen with a three-run homer from Logan Morrison. Felix Hernandez, meanwhile, was right in his element, getting a no decision after striking out 11 in seven shutout innings. Unlike in years past, however, hardly anyone in Seattle gives a rip about King Felix’s W-L record. They can taste the playoffs, sitting only one game out with a dead team walking in Oakland in front of them.

Pirates 3, Red Sox 2: Fortune smiles on Pittsburgh as Sox baserunner Jemile Weeks, who was on third base, was called out when he was hit by Will Middlebrooks’ infield single to third. That’s an out, of course. The Sox went on to score one more run meaning that if Weeks hadn’t been hit, welp, they probably would’ve tied the game. It’s been that kind of season for the Red Sox.

Nationals 6, Marlins 2: The Nats keep winning, now with the best record in the NL in their sights. Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs in seven innings, Bryce Harper had three hits. They put up five runs in the fourth, all with two outs. That’s the kind of hitting that plays well in October. Just think back to all of those annoying Yankees teams in the late 90s doing that kind of thing just as it looked as if their opponents were out of the inning.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: Derek Jeter hit a home run. This is not a drill. Please report to your nearest fallout shelter and tune all radios to the emergency band and await further instructions.

Dodgers 8, Cubs 4: A big inning for L.A, plating five in the seventh thanks to RBI doubles from Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier. Crazy stat: this was only the second time this year the Dodgers won a game when trailing after six innings. Second win in in 56 such games. I can’t imagine there are playoff-bound teams with fewer late inning comebacks than that.

Indians 2, Astros 1: A thirteen inning game featuring three total runs between two teams playing out the string that ends on a sac fly. Feel the excitement. OK, Cleveland would tell you that they’re not merely playing out the string. But while five games doesn’t feel like a lot in, say, June, it is damn nigh insurmountable with a week to go and multiple teams in front of you. Why people — mostly reporters who cover these games — don’t make that more clear rather than talk up playoff implications is beyond me, but it happens every year. I’ll say it now: if the Indians make the playoffs I’ll do the HBT Daily video the next day while wearing my daughter’s dance recital costume and an Cleveland Indians cap.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6: Willin Rosario hit a two-out, two-run walkoff homer and had four hits in all to lead the Rockies past the Snakes. Arizona blew a five-run lead overall. If I was a betting man, I’d say we are seeing the final few games of Kirk Gibson’s tenure managing the Diamondbacks,

Padres 7, Phillies 3: This feels like the 10th straight game these two have played. It’s a ten-game series, is it not? Robbie Erlin pitched well — he’s a Padres pitcher, by the way, which you would be forgiven for not knowing — and Alexi Amarista and Will Venable homered.

 

Dodgers upset with Héctor Neris after Thursday’s game

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July hasn’t treated Phillies closer Héctor Neris well. Entering Thursday, he had allowed runs in three of his last four appearances, blowing two saves in the process. His struggles continued as he allowed a two-out solo home run to Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, closing the deficit to 7-6. Thankfully for the Phillies, he was able to get the final out, getting Justin Turner to fly out to right field. An excited Neris looked into the Dodgers’ dugout and yelled an expletive.

The four-game series between the Dodgers and Phillies had quite some drama. After Matt Beaty hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday, Neris threw a pitch at the next batter, David Freese, seemingly in frustration. Neris was suspended three games. He appealed his punishment, which is why he’s been allowed to pitch. In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game, Max Muncy and Beaty stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle on consecutive plays. That, along with his own struggles, explains why Neris might’ve been amped up after closing out the ballgame.

The Dodgers were, understandably, not happy about Neris yelling at them. Several players shouted back, including Clayton Kershaw and Russell Martin. An unamused Muncy glared at Neris. Martin suggested to Neris that they meet in the hallway.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game, “I think we played this series the right way, played it straight. To look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. Look in your own dugout.”

Muncy said, “He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was finally excited he got one. Whatever.”

Neris attributed his outburst to emotions, saying, “It’s a great win for my team and just I let my emotion get out.”

In baseball, everyone is pro-showing-emotion when it’s himself and his teammates, and against when it’s players on the other team. Muncy got into a back-and-forth with Giants starter Madison Bumgarner after flipping his bat and watching his long home run at Oracle Park last month. Bumgarner jawed at him and Muncy said, “I just told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

Neris, however, is the last guy on the Phillies who should be antagonizing the Dodgers after his terrible decision to throw at Freese, not to mention his overall poor performance against them. The Phillies were pigs in mud who wanted to wrestle and the Dodgers jumped in with them for some reason. Thankfully, the two teams are done playing each other for the rest of the regular season.