And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Maybe the most boring ATH of the year. Really, every game was “pitcher pitches OK but not dominant and he got enough offense but no one truly went hog wild.” I’d say it made my choice to watch TV instead of baseball last night a good one, but the TV I decided to watch was, finally, the season finale of “True Detective” and that was a total disaster. So what I’m saying is that Monday night was super lame. Anyway:

Yankees 8, Twins 7: The Yankees loaded the bases in the tenth with no one out, so the Twins went to a pulled-in, five-man infield. Chase Headley grounded sharply to Eduardo Nunez. Should’ve been at least an out at home, maybe a double play even. Nope: Nunez bobbled it and it turned into a walkoff groundout. Brian McCann had a big game: he homered, drove in five and hit a tenth inning double which put two men on and inspired Paul Molitor to load the bases for Headley. The play of the game everyone wanted to talk about, though, was the comebacker to Bryan Mitchell’s face. It was scary, but he ended up with “only” a broken nose and was back in the dugout by the end of the game.

Cardinals 2, Giants 1: Michael Wacha was dominant and Stephen Piscotty tripled and scored in the eighth. After the game reporters asked Wacha if this was some sort of atonement for giving up the walkoff homer to the Giants in Game 5 of last year’s NLCS. Wacha: “Everyone tries to amp it up and make a story out of it, but I was just trying to approach it just like another game.” Irresistible force: reporters trying to fashion narratives. Immovable object: players taking it one day at a time. It’s the eternal struggle.

Orioles 4, Athletics 2: The O’s complete the sweep in a series that wrapped around until Monday which is, basically, against the laws of both God and Man. Steve Clevenger hit a three-run homer. In Sunday’s rout he had four hits. Not bad for a dude who just got called up on Friday. The A’s seven-game road trip comes to an end. They went 0-7 on it. Tonight they’re back west but they have to face Clayton Kershaw, so that’s great for them.

Diamondbacks 4, Pirates 1: Jeremy Hellickson beats Gerrit Cole by pitching one-run ball into the sixth and with the help of his own RBI single and a Jake Lamb homer. Five relievers followed Hellickson because that’s 21st century baseball.

Indians 8, Red Sox 2: Danny Salazar had his fourth straight start in which he’s given up one run or less and Lonnie Chisenhall had a solo homer and three RBI. A five-run fourth inning off of Matt Barnes.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: The Fernando Rodney Experience was in action in the ninth as the Mariners closer gave up two bunt singles, hit a dude and then walked in the winning run. Kudos to Lloyd McClendon for using his closer on the road in a tie game, which goes against The Book. Unfortunately his closer is Fernando Rodney. UPDATE: Forgot that Rodney got demoted. Never mind then. It was a poop-show all around. The Rangers are now only a half game behind the Angles for second place in the AL West and one game out of the second wild card spot.

Marlins 6, Brewers 2: The Marlins win for the fifth time in seven games. Justin Nicolino pitched into the seventh and Derek Dietrich hit a two-run home. Dee Gordon had two hits, two RBI, scored a run and stole a base.

Rays 9, Astros 2: Tim Beckham hit a three-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera drove in three. Fun fact: the Rays have a better record than the Washington Nationals.

Angels 2, White Sox 1: C.J. Cron and Albert Pujols each homered and Andrew Heaney allowed one run over six. Carlos Rondon tossed a complete game loss. That’s at least the second time one of those has happened in a week or so.

Padres 5, Braves 3: Colin Rea won his first big league start last week and wins his second big league start here. Only 509 to catch Cy Young. The Padres scored three runs on four hits off Braves pitcher William Perez in the second inning so he had some breathing room.

 

Red Sox survive back-and-forth affair with Astros, win 8-6 to take 3-1 lead in ALCS

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Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday night between the Red Sox and Astros was a thrilling back-and-forth affair with seven lead changes. Ultimately, the Red Sox emerged victorious with a hard-fought 7-5 victory.

The Red Sox wasted no time getting on the board, plating two runs in the top of the first inning against Charlie Morton thanks to a walk, hit-by-pitch, wild pitch, and a Rafael Devers single. In the bottom half, José Altuve hit what appeared to be a game-tying two-run home run to right field off of Rick Porcello. Mookie Betts leaped and was interfered with by fans in the stands, so Altuve was called out instead. The ruling was upheld after review.

In the bottom of the second, the Astros officially scored their first run when Carlos Correa knocked home a run with a single. The Red Sox immediately got it back when Xander Bogaerts doubled in a run in the top of the third, running the score to 3-1. In what would become a trend, the Astros also responded as George Springer drilled a solo homer and Josh Reddick hit an RBI single of his own to tie the game at 3-3. Tony Kemp added a solo homer down the right field line in the fourth to put the Astros on top for the first time. Bogaerts hit another RBI single in the top of the fifth to re-tie the game at 4-4. Correa followed suit in the bottom half, hitting his second RBI single of the game to give the Astros back the lead.

Jackie Bradley, Jr., who hit a soul-crushing grand slam off of Roberto Osuna in Game 3, hit another homer in Game 4, a two-run shot in the sixth off of Josh James. In the seventh, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs and Lance McCullers, Jr. entered to try to put out the fire. He did not, briefly, walking Brock Holt to force in a run and make the score 7-5. McCullers did end up getting out of the inning without any further damage. Just for good measure, though, J.D. Martinez tacked on a run in the eighth with an RBI single to make it 8-5.

Ryan Brasier got five outs and Matt Barnes one in the sixth and seventh. Manager Alex Cora decided to call on Craig Kimbrel for a six-out save when the bottom of the eighth rolled around. The 2018 postseason hasn’t been kind to Kimbrel as he had given up runs in all three of his appearances. Kimbrel gave up hits to the first three batters he faced. Kemp led off with a single but he tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out at second base by Betts. Kimbrel then hit Alex Bregman with a pitch and surrendered a double to George Springer, putting runners at second and third with one out. Altuve knocked in a run with a ground out to make it 8-6, but Kimbrel saw his way out of the inning by striking out Marwin González.

In the ninth, Cora decided to keep Kimbrel in the ballgame despite his continued struggles. Kimbrel got Yuli Gurriel to pop up to start the inning, but then issued back-to-back walks to Reddick and Correa. Kimbrel got out number two by getting Brian McCann to fly out to right field, then walked Tony Kemp to load the bases. Cora decided to stay with Kimbrel as Bregman came to the plate. Kimbrel threw a first-pitch, 97 MPH fastball that Bregman laced into shallow left field. Andrew Benintendi charged in and dived, catching the ball just in time to save the game, ending it for an 8-6 victory. Of the 18 half-innings, the two sides failed to score in only seven of them.

The Red Sox, now up three games to one in the ALCS, will try to close it out on Thursday night in Houston. If the Red Sox win, they will return to the World Series for the first time since 2013.