And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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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

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”