And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Astros 7, Mariners 6: Make it ten in a row for Houston. Evan Gattis, whose name seems to be leading the Astros’ game stories every day, hit two homers. That’s five homers in six games for him now. As for the Astros, they’re 18-7 and in first place with an astounding seven-game lead. Now, to be sure, it’s early, and to be surer, the AL West has had a history of teams leaping out to big leads only to see them go away over the course of the summer. But this is really somethin’ so far, eh?

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: Sonny Gray walked seven. He also struck out ten. In addition he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the bull mascot twice . . . Stephen Vogt homered twice, driving in four.

Giants 5, Angels 0: The good Tim Lincecum came time-traveling from five or six years ago to grace us all with his presence and provide eight shutout innings. The current Jered Weaver remained, however, allowing five runs on ten hits in five innings. The dude has just fallen off a cliff.

Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 0: Anderson tossed six shutout innings. So too did Anderson. Neither Brett nor Chase figured in the decision, however, as this one went scoreless for 13 before Yasmani Grandal hit a walkoff homer. The half-inning before Grandal recovered from a wild pitch nicely to throw out a runner trying to score from third. A 13-inning game that ends 1-0 is some serious 1968 noise.

Indians 10, Blue Jays 7: They Jays had a 6-1 lead in the fourth, but unfortunately for them we play nine around these parts. The Indians rallied, featuring a six-run fifth inning. Players said they had a little team meeting in the dugout in the middle of the game and that made a big difference:

“Guys were very forward in being vocal and said what needed to be said,” Kipnis said. “We’re not good enough to play that stupid the way we did in the first couple of innings.”

The worst thing about life is when you find that, very often, people get by with being stupid quite well. They shouldn’t, and they should really be concerned that they are so stupid, but they seem to manage and not care. We’re all Frank Grimes watching Homer Simpson, incredulous that their system works for them and wondering why they don’t have far worse lives than they do, but there they are.

Nationals 1, Mets 0: Losing a 1-0 game feels like a gut-punch. The Mets just lost two in a row. This one thanks to Doug Fister, who pitched shutout ball into the seventh and was backed up by four relievers. The game’s only scoring came on a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single in the first.  The Mets have lost seven of their last ten. The Nats have won five of six. Everyone who wrote “what have we learned?” columns after the first week or two of the season is a moron.

Phillies 6, Marlins 2: Ryan Howard had a triple (!) and an RBI single, helping the Phillies avert the sweep. Before I saw the triple I would’ve guessed “ball kicks off the base of the ball and rolls for a year.” Not quite! Marcel Ozuna took a bad route to it and couldn’t cut it off, and it did kick a bit, but this was a legit, leg-it-out triple to the deepest part of the park. Respect for the big man:

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Orioles 4, Rays 2: The “home” team Orioles take two of three from Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. Adam Jones had four hits, including a tie-breaking single. Afterward he talked about his hitting philosophy:

“I’ve got one simple philosophy … get the heater and try not to miss it,” Jones said.

He’s the Ricky Jay of hitting. He’s going to tell you he’s waiting for your fastball. He’s going to make you throw him your fastball and he’s going to hit your fastball anyway.

Braves 5, Reds 0: Julio Terhran gave up three singles in six shutout innings as the Braves and Reds split. Teheran needed that following three straight starts with too many crooked numbers. Atlanta got to Johnny Cueto. Fredi Gonzalez:

“If you would have told me we’d score five runs against Johnny Cueto, and he would only go six innings, I’m may have stopped and got some Lotto tickets”

People older than, say, 45, say “Lotto tickets.” People younger tend to say “Power Ball” or “Mega Millions.” Older people also say “cash machine” instead of “ATM” a lot. These are the sorts of things I used to make fun of more until it was pointed out to me by someone that I say “Lotto” and “cash machine.” Get off my lawn.

Tigers 6, Royals 4: Anibal Sanchez had a perfect game into the sixth to help give the Tigers the series split. Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Alex Avila drove in three. The Royals sold out all four games and had their biggest four-day attendance total since their ballpark’s capacity was reduced in a renovation back in 2009.

Twins 13 White Sox 3: Trevor Plouffe smacked a grand slam and drove in five and Brian Dozier had four hits. The Twins are 13-12. Not bad for a club that was supposed to be one of the worst if not the worst team in the majors this year.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2: Kolten Wong with a 14th inning walkoff homer to give the Cards the sweep. I said earlier that a 1-0 loss is like a gut punch? An extra inning loss is like a gut punch too. The Cards won all three of the games in extras.

Brewers 5, Cubs 3: The Brewers won consecutive games for the first time all year. After the game, they fired Ron Roenicke. I’m guessing the decision to can him was made a few days before and that the timing of it had to do with getting back to Milwaukee after the road trip and stuff, but it’s still weird. It’s also likely to be of little consequence. This club just doesn’t have the horses. They’re going to be down a horse for a bit too, it seems, as Jean Segura left after he was hit on the helmet by a pitch from Pedro Strop, feeling nauseous.

Padres 8, Rockies 6: Lots of homers here, as the Padres and Rockies played a Coors Field Special in Petco Park somehow. The ball just flies better there during the day. Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Jedd Gyorko went yard. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each homered twice. Thirty homers were hit in Petco in the nine-game homestand which just ended. Twenty by the opposition, ten by Padres hitters.

Yankees 8, Red Sox 5: The Yankees sweep the Sox and keep their good thing going. It was the first sweep of the Red Sox for New York since 2006. Unless you count two-game series which, really, never count those for they are an abomination unto God. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base four six times, including a walk and being hit by a pitch once. The Yankees have won 13 of 16.

Cardinals beat Brewers, both clinch postseason berths

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS — Harrison Bader tripled and homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a postseason berth on the final day of the regular season with a 5-2 win over Milwaukee, and the Brewers also earned a playoff spot Sunday via help on the West Coast moments later.

St. Louis (30-28) will be the fifth seed in the NL and open a three-game wild-card series at San Diego on Wednesday. By winning, the Cardinals avoided having to travel to Detroit for two makeup games Monday. St. Louis finished the regular season with 23 games in 18 days as it made up a slew of postponements caused by a coronavirus outbreak in the clubhouse.

“You had to throw some of the expectations out the window not knowing what to expect after taking those couple weeks off and all those doubleheaders and so many new guys,” Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “It was very different, very fulfilling to make the playoffs.”

The Brewers (29-31) locked up the eighth seed and a third consecutive postseason berth after the Padres beat San Francisco 5-4 in a game that ended about 15 minutes after St. Louis’ victory. The Giants finished with an identical record as the Brewers but lost out on a tiebreaker due to an inferior intradivision record.

“It’s fitting for 2020 and everything we went through,” Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich said. “It felt just as good as past years. This year’s a unique one. There’s so many challenges we had to go through on a daily basis behind the scenes, things you don’t deal with in a normal year.”

Milwaukee will face the top-seeded Dodgers in Los Angeles in a three-game series that also starts Wednesday.

The Brewers haven’t had a winning record at any point this season. Milwaukee and Houston will be the first teams ever to qualify for the playoffs with a losing mark.

“It’s a celebration,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re in the playoffs. That’s how you see it. There’s no reason to apologize for getting into the playoffs.”

Cardinals starter Austin Gomber allowed one run, one hit and two walks and struck out three over four innings.

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0), Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes combined to pitch the final five innings. Reyes got his first save.

“We’d have been happy getting in as the eight seed,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’d have been happy being the one seed, but people can say we got in if there was no expanded playoffs so that’s even another feather in this group’s cap.”

Brett Anderson (4-4) surrendered a triple to Bader and a walk to Tyler O'Neill to start the third inning before departing with a blister on his left index finger. Anderson opened the season on the injured list with a blister on the same finger and did not make his debut until Aug. 3.

Freddy Peralta replaced him a day after being activated from the paternity list, and O’Neill promptly stole second. Kolten Wong then hit a line drive off Peralta’s leg that Peralta threw into right field to score Bader and O’Neill.

Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong each added RBI singles to push the St. Louis lead to 4-0.

After Milwaukee scored in the top of the fifth, Bader hit his fifth home run of the season.

“That was a big counterpunch,” Shildt said of Bader. “Got them on their heels again.”

THREE TIMES THE FUN

Yadier Molina grounded into a triple play in the eighth inning when he hit a one hop grounder to Jace Peterson at third base in the eighth inning. It was Milwaukee’s first triple play since Sept. 23, 2016, when Cincinnati’s Joey Votto lined out to first base. Molina was also the last Cardinals player to hit into a triple play when he grounded out to third base at Boston on Aug. 15, 2017.

TRAINING ROOM

Brewers: Counsell said it was too early to prognosticate Anderson’s status after departing with the blister.

Cardinals: St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced that RHP Dakota Hudson will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday. Hudson went 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts before leaving his start on Sept. 17 at Pittsburgh with right elbow discomfort after two innings.

UP NEXT

Brewers: The Brewers head to Los Angeles and will likely be without two of their top starters in Anderson and Corbin Burnes, who sustained a left oblique injury on Thursday.

Cardinals: This will be the fourth postseason series between St. Louis and San Diego, who faced each other in 1996, 2005, and 2006 in the Division Series.