And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 11, Giants 3: Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers for the second night in a row. This made me wonder about the longest streak of multi-homer games in baseball history. I found this answering the question — the answer was three, held by Gus Zernial of the A’s in 1951, Frank Thomas of the Mets in 1962, Lee May of the Reds in 1969, and Jeff DaVanon of the Angels in 2003 — but the data seems to have been collected a decade ago and I guess it could’ve happened again. I guess I need to re-up my expired Play Index subscription.

White Sox 6, Twins 4: J.B. Shuck hit a two-run, pinch-hit triple in the seventh inning to put the Sox ahead for good. The Twins are now one and a half games back of Texas for the second wild card and have a road trip ahead which takes them to Houston and Kansas City. So, yeah, if they’re gonna make the playoffs, they’re gonna have to earn it.

Nationals 15, Braves 1: Ryan Zimmerman was 3-for-3 with two doubles and four driven in and Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run over six innings. Each of which would’ve been plenty to beat the stanky-butt Braves, but because the Braves are the Braves and have clearly given up any pretense of being even remotely competitive this year the Nats scored 15 runs off of ’em.

Brewers 5, Pirates 3: That’s six straight wins by the Brewers over the Pirates. There’s going to be a lot of hand-wringing about how unfair it is that the Pirates, perhaps the second or third best team in all of baseball this year, are going to be stuck in a one-and-done wild card game. And I’ll agree that that stinks because one-and-dones are just not a fair test of a baseball team. But, at some point during that game, I’ll probably think “well, maybe if you didn’t roll the hell over for the Brewers this year — and the Reds for that matter, against whom the Pirates are 4-9 — you wouldn’t have been in this mess.”

Royals 15, Tigers 7: Lorenzo Cain hit a three-run homer, Paulo Orlando hit a two-run homer and Kendrys Morales drove in four. Fifteen runs on 20 hits in all for Kansas City who, I assume, can’t wait for October to get here.

Padres 10, Dodgers 7: The non-Greinke/Kershaw portion of the Dodgers’ pitching staff strikes again. Mat Latos allowed four runs in only four innings of work and the bullpen have up six more runs in the next five innings. L.A. held a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t hold it. Jedd Gyorko hit a two-run homer and Yangervis Solarte had four hits. Crazy idea: Don Mattingly goes to a two-man rotation in the playoffs with whichever of Greinke or Kershaw isn’t pitching that day working from the pen. Sure, it may destroy both of their arms, but it’ll give him a 23-man offense. Could be cool?

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.