And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 9, Brewers 2: Kyle Schwarber hit two homers and drove in four. In 31 games since his callup he’s hitting .330/.420/.621 with eight homers. It just boggles the mind how many amazing rookies baseball has this year. The Cubs have won seven in a row and stand four and a half games ahead of the next-closest team in the wild card race. Which, in addition to being good for them, is kind of good for us as we may very well get to see two win-or-go-home division title races in the NL East and West given that no wild card may be available to them. Some real old school Thunderdome stuff, baby! Two teams enter, one team leaves! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls . . . dyin’ time’s here! Bust a deal, face the wheel! Bartertown! Somebody stop me, please!

Reds 10, Dodgers 3: Billy Hamilton had a huge game, going 4-for-4 with a homer, stole a base and scored four times. He and his teammates took former Red Mat Latos to the woodshed, scoring five runs — four earned — in four and two-thirds. The Dodgers are certainly looking like a two-starting-pitcher club. Sadly, it’s gonna be hard to come up with a “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” kind of slogan for them. I mean, what in the hell rhymes with “Greinke?”

Rangers 6, Twins 5: Mitch Moreland smacked a two-run homer and drove in four. After the game manager Jeff Banister said “We’ve just got to play with the grit every day from here on out that we showed today.” Rare use of “grit” in a game when a dude knocked in four and hit a homer.

Angels 7, Royals 6: The Royals had a 5-1 lead heading into the eighth before the Angels rallied big. And here I thought six runs in the eighth and ninth inning against Royals relievers violates the laws of bullpen thermodynamics. Wade Davis was a bit rusty after not pitching for a week but, still, he’s wade Davis. And the Halos rallied off of Greg Holland too: he allowed four runs and four hits and a pair of walks without retiring a batter. It was a weird game all around, of course: Albert Pujols even played third base.

Mets 12, Rockies 3: The sweep. Curtis Granderson and Kelly Johnson each homered and drove in three and Noah Syndergaard allowed three over seven innings. That’s 11 wins in the last 13 for the Mets who now sport a four and a half game lead over the Nats.

Blue Jays 4, Athletics 2: And the Blue Jays never lost again. Mark Buehrle allowed two runs in seven innings and Ryan Goins hit a three-run homer.

Yankees 8, Indians 6: The Yankees finally break their losing streak and get out of their offensive funk. Brian McCann and Stephen Drew each homered and Brett Gardner drove in three. Their big series in Toronto starts tonight.

Pirates 10, Cardinals 5: Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer in a seven-run first inning which helped the Buccos knock Lance Lynn out of the game after only two-thirds of an inning and snap an eight-game losing streak at Busch Stadium.

Giants 3, Nationals 1: Yunel Escobar hit the first pitch of the game for a homer and then the Nats did nothing else the rest of the night. The Nats have lost three in a row and seven of eight. Two teams that need to get moving due to that wild card getting farther and farther away. Remember where you are, guys. This is Thunderdome, and death is listening, and will take the first man that screams.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.