And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 8, Giants 0: Clayton Kershaw‘s one-hit, complete game, 13-strikeout shutout may not clinch him another Cy Young Award. Maybe it won’t eliminates the talk that he’s somehow not a big game pitcher. But it certainly clinches the NL West for the Dodgers and eliminates the Giants.

Angels 8, Athletics 1: Party time in all parts of Los Angeles last night I guess as this, the Angels seventh straight win, combined with the Astros loss, puts the Angels in playoff position, a half game up for the second wild card. Albert Pujols had three hits, including an RBI double and Erick Aybar drove in three runs.

Mariners 6, Astros 4: Meanwhile, Shawn O'Malley hit two-run, bases-loaded single with the game tied in the eighth, casting the Astros out of the playoff light, at least for a day. The Mariners’ last four runs in this game all came with two outs, which is the sort of thing that just demoralizes you.

Red Sox 10, Yankees 4: Ten years ago, if I would’ve told you there would be a 14-run, 18-hit late-September game between the Yankees and the Red Sox and asked you to tell me how long the game would take your answer would probably have to be in some form of scientific notation. This one: less than three hours. Not that it was enjoyable for most anyone. The Red Sox’ fans got a win — with two homers from Blake Swihart — but their season is just about over. The Yankees got to see Michael Pineda, a guy they kinda need if they are to do anything in the playoffs, get lit up for six runs in the first inning.

Phillies 4, Mets 3: Adam Loewen threw five pitches and got the win. It was his first win since 2007. In between then and now he became an outfielder due to elbow issues as a pitcher, reaching the majors again, and returned to being a pitcher after the whole outfielder thing didn’t work out for him. He singled in this game too which, combined with the win, is probably about the closes thing to dramatic closure Loewen is ever going to get in his quite weird major league career. He’s gonna have some neat stories to tell one day.

Braves 2, Nationals 1: A.J. Pierzynski went 3-for3- and hit two homers and Matt Wisler stymied the Nats for seven innings of one run ball. It’s not at all hyperbole for me to say that Pierzynski was, with the possible exception of Andrelton Simmons‘ defense, the best thing about the 2015 Atlanta Braves. He hit way better than most folks thought he would, caused no trouble at all and provided a good number of laughs. I’m not sure if that means we’ve always sold the dude short as a person and a player or if the bar was just so incredibly low on the 2015 Braves that he stood out as a consummate pro and all around good Joe by default, but he was one of the only reasons to watch this tire fire.

Cubs 4, Reds 1: A nice start for Dan Haren, who allowed no runs on three hits while pitching into the eighth on a soggy night in Cincy. Of course he was pitching (a) on 21 days rest; and (b) against a Reds team which, mentally speaking, is sitting on beaches, in fishing boats and in duck blinds at the moment, long since having totally given up on 2015. Analysis from a guy who has watched every Reds game for years and years:

At least Joey Votto‘s on-base streak was extended to 46 games. He’s got a ways to go to break the record — Ted Williams did it 83 straight times — but it’s pretty good for this day and age. And it’s literally the only reason to watch the Reds’ final games.

Rays 4, Marlins 2: Matt Moore allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings. Nice way to close things out in a comeback year and build for 2016. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie and win it.

Rangers 7, Tigers 6: It was a see-saw affair early with the Rangers taking a lead of 5-2 and then 6-4, the Tigers tying it at 6 in the third inning and then the Rangers scratching out one more run in the bottom of the fourth on an Adrian Beltre ground rule double. From then on Cole Hamels settled down for a couple of innings and then the bullpen took over and held the Tigers scoreless. It was amazing Detroit even made this game given how things started for them. Rookie Daniel Norris was allowed to throw 54 pitches in the first inning alone and came back for part of the second and tossed 17 more before being removed, having given up six runs, only two of which were earned. Brad Ausmus must’ve caught him passing “don’t you HATE our manager?!” notes in the clubhouse before the game.

White Sox 4, Royals 2: Jeff Samardzija kept the Royals offense sputtering and helped drop the Royals September record to 10-17. Samardzija allowed two runs on solo homers among the eight hits he scatterd over seven innings. He’s gonna be one of the more interesting free agents out there this winter. Just a really odd year for him with nice starts interspersed with meltdowns. I suppose his track record combined with his durability — 214 innings this year — will ease some people’s minds.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3: A walkoff, pinch-hit RBI single for Phil Gosselin in the 11th. Quite an 11th inning for Rockies pitcher Brooks Brown, who walked the bases loaded with no one out to kick things off. That’s not exactly a case study in giving your team a chance to win.

Brewers 4, Padres 3Jean Segura hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to put the Brewers up for good and to give Jorge Lopez the win in his big league debut. Lopez had a nice season at Double-A Biloxi, where he won Southern League Pitcher of the Year and the Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year awards. Even as the autumn rains fall and fall winds blow, you sometimes get a whiff of spring.

Blue Jays vs. Orioles; Cardinals vs. Pirates; Twins vs. Indians: POSTPONED: I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz remains upbeat as rehab from broken left ankle nears midway point

oneil cruz rehab
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — Oneil Cruz slowly made his way on crutches across the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse on Saturday toward a locker replete with a massive walking boot that the towering shortstop still uses to protect the left ankle he broke during an awkward slide home in early April.

The days when he’ll need to rely on the crutches are numbered. Ditto for the walking boot. The 24-year-old’s recovery remains on track, meaning he could return sometime late this summer barring any setbacks.

Given the way Cruz’s left leg rolled up underneath him as he collided with Chicago White Sox catcher Seby Zavala in the sixth inning of what became a 1-0 victory, Cruz will take it. He had surgery the next day and the team optimistically said it expected him to miss four months, a timeline it has not deviated from as his rehab reaches the halfway point.

“You never want to get hurt, obviously, but that’s part of the game and it happens to me,” Cruz said through a translator. “I’m just going to take it the way it is and get better as soon as possible.”

The Pirates have found a way to remain in contention in the NL Central even without their leadoff hitter and one of the more physically intriguing young players in the majors, one prone to testing the limits of StatCast. Pittsburgh entered play on Saturday at 29-27, a half-game back of Milwaukee for first place in a division where no one has been able to run away and hide.

The club has used a handful of players at short to fill in for Cruz, from Rodolfo Castro to Tucupita Marcano to Ji Hwan Bae to Chris Owings. None of them possess Cruz’s unique mix of size, power and speed. Yet they’ve been solid enough to help soften what could have been a devastating early blow to a club that is trying to climb back into relevance following consecutive 100-loss seasons.

Cruz has leaned on his wife and his children to help ease the mental sting of the first major injury of his still-young career. Watching longtime teammates Castro and Marcano – who came up through the minors with Cruz – have some level of success has helped. The duo is hitting a combined .264 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs.

“Every time I see them doing well, it makes me happy,” Cruz said.

Still, they understand they are placeholders for Cruz, who was poised to take a significant step forward following a tantalizing rookie season in which both highlights that quickly went viral on social media – and strikeouts – were plentiful. He worked seven walks in his nine games of the season, showing the kind of patience at the plate that was difficult to come by in 2022.

Cruz believes he is poised to come back stronger than he was when he went down, and the Pirates have been adamant that the hope is he returns this season no matter where the team is in the standings whenever he comes off the 60-day injured list.

While he’s eager to get back he’s also not trying to force things, saying several times he will stick to the recommendations of the medical staff. He has remained engaged, not missing a game of Pittsburgh’s somewhat uneven – the Pirates started on a 20-8 tear followed by an 8-18 skid through May – but overall promising start.

There are also no concerns – at least at this point – about any sort of lingering memories of the slide that derailed his season haunting him during his rehab.

“I should be good when I get out there because when I go out there I understand I’m not going to hesitate,” Cruz said. “I’m just going to go out there and do my best.”

Cruz’s appearance at PNC on Saturday coincided with the team giving out thousands of bobbleheads in his likeness.

Asked if the trinkets bear at least a passing resemblance to him, Cruz laughed.

“They did real good,” he joked. “Ugly, like me.”