And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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source: AP

Dodgers 9, Giants 1: The Dodgers clinch. Clayton Kershaw was amazing, of course, striking out 11 and allowing one in eight innings. He also hit an RBI triple to tie the game in the 5th. Yasiel Puig homered and took a bases loaded walk. Clearly he’s dangerous to the Dodgers and will be their downfall. Kershaw finishes the season 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and 231 strikeouts and 31 walks in 198.1 innings. Those are silly, video game numbers. They’ll certainly give him the Cy Young Award. They may give him the MVP.

Orioles 9, Yankees 5: The Yankees are eliminated. And, depending on what Mother Nature has in store for this evening in New York, this may have been Derek Jeter’s last game in Yankee Stadium. If so it ended with an 0 for 4 and a strikeout. The Orioles top three hitters had two RBI a piece.

Braves 6, Pirates 2: The Braves put up a month’s worth of runs for them. Of course they were playing against the Pirates’ the day after a celebration. It was a regular lineup, but you have to assume they were a bit tired and everything following Tuesday night’s festivities.

Tigers 6, White Sox 1: This win and the Royals loss put the Tigers up two with four to play. That’s pretty safe. This win plus the Mariners’ loss ensures the Tigers of at least a wild card, though. Justin Verlander allowed one run over eight. The Tigers weathered Chris Sale and got to the Sox’ bullpen. Chris Sale plunked Victor Martinez and, apparently had it in his head that the Tigers were stealing signs. Whatever, dude. It’s almost the offseason for you. You can clear your head then.

Brewers 5, Reds 0: Kyle Lohse with a two-hit shutout. Too little too late for the Brewers, but they do have at least one thing to play for: if they finish with a winning record they will almost certainly be the only non-playoff team in the NL above .500. That’s more of a league accomplishment than a team accomplishment, of course. The NL sorta sucks this year.

Twins 2, Diamondbacks 1: Phil Hughes tossed eight great innings. If he had pitched eight and a third great innings he would’ve gotten a $500,000 contract bonus on the year. And he would’ve almost certainly done so but for a rain delay that took him out late. One hopes that the Twins do him a solid and just give him his $500K anyway. As it was, he did break Brett Saberhagen’s record for the best K/BB ratio in a season for a starting pitcher, striking out 186 and walking only 16. He only allowed 16 homers too. As we all assumed Phil Hughes would before the season started, yes?

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: Kyle Kendrick ties up the Fish for seven innings. Kendrick also broke a 0-0 tie with an RBI double. He used Ryan Howard’s bat to do it. Best use that bat has been put to in a long time. Jonathan Papelbon returned from his crotch-grabbing suspension and got the save. He grabbed nothing last night. At least when the TV cameras were on him. No word on what he grabbed later.

Angels 5, Athletics 4: Howie Kendrick doubled and drove in three runs as the Angels beat the A’s for the seventh time in their last eight meetings. The A’s now go on the road to Texas. They’ll likely go on to Kansas City for a wild card game after that. If things go better, they could be facing the Angels again after that. If things go atrociously, the could just go straight back to Oakland. So many unknowns for that team.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 1: The Cards had a chance to open up a two-game led over Pittsburgh with three to play but couldn’t manage it. Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in yet another solid performance, striking out ten, allowing only two hits and just an unearned run.

Indians 6, Royals 4: Kansas City may have lost the Central here. Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer, Michael Brantley got three hits. The Indians avoid elimination with the loss. Well, postpone elimination anyway. The Indians are off today and could actually be eliminated on their off day.

Padres 4, Rockies 3: Joe Wieland got his first big league win. It was much delayed following his debut given Tommy John surgery and another, more minor elbow surgery. So you figure it had to be sweet for him.

Blue Jays 1, Mariners 0: The M’s season is closing on a down note, that’s for sure. They lose again, this time quite quickly. The game took one hour and fifty-nine minutes. You bet Mark Buehrle was pitching for the Jays. He struck out ten and allowed only three hits in eight shutout innings. He also passed the 200 inning mark for the 14th consecutive year.

Red Sox 11, Rays 3: The Red Sox started seven rookies and still romped. The Red Sox scored three runs on walks, one on a wild pitch and one on a passed ball. So this was a totally sharp game, y’all.

Rangers 5, Astros 1: Congratulations to Tim Bogar for taking over the Rangers, going on a nice winning tear and costing them the first pick in the draft next year.

Mets vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: Its the middle of September, I still play out in the rain as the world glides by and my end is here again.

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.