And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Astros 5, Athletics 1Colby Rasmus homered twice and George Springer hit a two-run homer of his own as Houston takes two of three to stabilize themselves after that hellacious road trip. One and a half back of Texas who lost and two and a half up on their wild card challengers.

Yankees 11_, Mets 2: CC Sabathia was shaky as heck early on but the Mets couldn’t deliver. That allowed the Yankees to hang around and then put up a five-spot in the sixth after Matt Harvey, who had been dominating but is on a work load limit, left, the Mets forgot how to play defense and Carlos Beltran and Dustin Ackley made them pay with big hits. Greg Bird added a three-run homer in a five-run eighth later on which allowed anyone who wasn’t already watching the Emmy Awards to switch to ’em and allowed the rest of us to continue reading Richard Stark’s “The Outfit” which all of you should do it, for no other reason, than to learn how the numbers racket technically works. It’s sort of like the lottery, by the way, except the lottery has fewer transfers of money in sci-fi magazines and the numbers give you a better chance to win.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Three errors for the Jays, two by pitchers, one by a catcher as Toronto drops two of three to the Sox. Now they have the Yankees in town for three, with a chance to put ’em away for the year or find themselves right back in a tight race. Beauty of baseball: it just keeps going and going.

Royals 10, Tigers 3: Not sure what’s more amazing: that Kendrys Morales had three homers and a triple and 15 total bases or that he did all of that and only drove in three runs. He scored five times, though. Runs > RBI, folks. You know in your heart it’s true.

Indians 6, White Sox 3: Lonnie Chisenhall hit a homer and drove in three as the Indians keep pace with the Twins and Astros. Unfortunately they’ve been so up and down lately that they’re still four back with 14 to play the Angels are ahead of them too. Math and the calendar are not their friends at the moment.

Rays 7, Orioles 6: Baltimore had a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth but Zach Britton blew it by giving up a homer to Brandon Guyer and then allowed a triple to Evan Longoria, walked a couple of dudes and then allowed a walkoff infield single to Kevin Kiermaier, plating Longoria. One bright spot for the O’s is that they’ve reached the part of the season where they can use their iPads to book October vacations with their wives and girlfriends without having to hide the screen.

Braves 2, Phillies 1: With this sweep the Braves most likely ensured that they wouldn’t finish with the worst record in baseball this year but, rather, Philly will. I suppose it’s possible for Philly to make up those four games, but it’s not super likely. A.J. Pierzynski played the hero here, hitting the walkoff single. So strange seeing a long-time heel being a hero like A.J. has been this year, but it’s not like the Braves have had many other options. Other unexpected face-turns? Randy Savage? Roddy Piper? Frankly, face turns are boring anyway. It’d be way better if Freddie Freeman attacked someone with a chair and turned heel instead.

Nationals 13, Marlins 3: Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 and allowed only one earned run in seven innings. Four driven in by Oo-ee-oo infielder Yunel Escobar and oh-oh-oh three more runs by Tyler Moore. I don’t care what they say about us anyway. I don’t care bout that.

Brewers 8, Reds 4: I wonder what the breakdown of fans in each city caring more about the Packers and Bengals over the Brewers and Reds are at this point of the year? 95-5%? OK, maybe not that bad as there are right-thinking people who only like baseball and think football is awful. But whatever the number is, I bet the shift to football is more stark among fans of these two teams than fans of any other two teams who matched up yesterday.

Twins 8, Angels 1: Minnesota arrests a five-game losing skid and remains two and a half back of the Astros. Rookie Tyler Duffey allowed three hits in seven shutout innings while Eddie Rosario, Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter homered.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3Carlos Martinez allowed two runs on four hits while pitching into the seventh and Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty each homered. Bad news, though: Yadier Molina leaving with a thumb injury. Contrary to what Cardinals fans often say, Molina is not the single most valuable or indispensable player in baseball, but his loss for any length of time would hurt the Cardinals. Mostly because, yes, he is still an excellent player. Partially, however, because I have come to believe that he is the actual keeper of the Cardinals Devil Magic.

Mariners 9, Rangers 2: Felix Hernandez won his 18th and Robinson Cano drove in four. Five of those 18 wins have come against the Rangers, which I believe makes Hernandez a minority owner in the club, which entitles him to part-time use of a suite and stuff. Not his best outing — he walked five guys and left with a stiff elbow — but that just gives him more time to use that suite.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 1: Six scoreless for Tim Hudson and a three-run homer for Buster Posey. That ends a six-game home losing streak by the Giants to the Diamondbacks. I suppose I’d be happier if I lived in Phoenix and got to take trips to San Francisco too.

Pirates 4, Dodgers 3: The Pirates’ win gives them a two-game lead over Chicago for the top seed in a would-be wild card game between them. Gerrit Cole won his 17th, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings and striking out nine.

Padres 10, Rockies 4: A homer and two doubles for Matt Kemp who has been on fire in the second half and a win for James Shields, who pitched a two-hitter into the seventh inning. Yangervis Solarte, Jedd Gyorko and Cory Spangenberg also homered. Justin Upton had three hits and drove in three. No idea where all that went the rest of the season.

 

Cardinals beat Brewers, both clinch postseason berths

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS (AP) 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.