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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 5, Yankees 3: The sweep. And four losses in a row for the now-selling Yankees. This sentence appeared in the game story:

Brad Miller put the Rays ahead 3-0 with a solo homer in the fifth that hit off netting covering a tank with live rays in center field.

Remember that thing I said a couple of weeks ago about showing a time-traveling Thomas Jefferson around the 21st century and watching how he reacts? This, except for John McGraw or someone.

Brewers 4, Pirates 2: Jonathan Lucroy didn’t start the game but came in as a pinch hitter, drawing an ovation from the Brewers crowd. I noted yesterday that Lucroy had every right to exercise his no-trade clause. He certainly does and he does not have to justify that to anyone. Still, I wonder how many of the people giving him the ovation presumed that he did so because of some sort of loyalty to Milwaukee as opposed to negotiation tactics and/or personal reasons. Or maybe they don’t care. I don’t know. Anyway, Keon Broxton and Chris Carter hit solo home runs as Milwaukee swept the Pirates.

Braves 2, Phillies 1: Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer against his old mates for all of the offense the Braves needed. I still own my Jeff Francoeur Phillies shirsey, by the way, and plan to wear it today with pride and irony and all of the other odd, mixed and complicated feelings Jeff Francoeur has made me feel over the past decade or so.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 2: Jonathan Schoop singled home the go-ahead run in the 12th. Then Adam Jones made sure it’d hold up with a three-run homer as the O’s avoided the sweep and return to first place, which they had temporarily surrendered to the Jays. The loss was doubly bad for Toronto as Troy Tulowitzki probably broke his thumb after being hit by a Chris Tillman pitch. That came after Tulowitzki hit a homer in his previous at bat. O’s and Jays fans who watched it: purpose pitch or just stuff that happens?

Marlins 5, Cardinals 4Derek Dietrich hit a pinch-hit walkoff triple. Though, really, this looks like a ball that should’ve been caught to send the game to extra innings, no?

Both the center and left fielder seemed to slow down and shuffe-step before he ball dropped, fearful that they’d collide. In other news, Andrew Cashner allowed one earned run in six innings in his Marlins debut, getting the no-decision.

Indians 8, Athletics 0: Corey Kluber tossed seven shutout innings as the Indians cruised to the sweep. Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer. It happened to be his 1,000th career hit. It also comes about five and a half years after Mike Scioscia decided that Napoli wasn’t worth keeping around and basically gave him away.

Tigers 11, Astros 0: Six straight wins for Detroit and number six was a laugher. They scored six runs in the first inning thanks, in part, to a James McCann grand slam. Mike Pelfrey pitched five shutout innings, basically ruining the joke I was gonna write about how Pelfrey is unbeatable when he has 11 or more runs of support.

Mets 6, Rockies 4: Neil Walker hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh to help the Mets not only avoid the series sweep by the Rockies but the entire season sweep. Which would’ve meant more back when there were balanced schedules, but you still don’t want to lose seven games to anyone. Like the Rockies did to the Mets last year but never mind. Walker also had an RBI triple. Less wonderfully for New York, they lost Asdrubal Cabrera to a strained patellar tendon in his left knee as he scored on that triple.

Twins 6, White Sox 4: Two homers for Brian Dozier. That, and an early three-run lead, helped Ervin Santana overcome four errors behind him.

Rangers 5, Royals 3: So much hand-wringing about Texas last week and then they waltz into a four-game series against the Royals and sweep the sucker. Their lead in the AL West is now back up to six games thanks to this series and to the Tigers for beatin’ up on the Astros.

Red Sox 5, Angels 3: Down 3-0 in the ninth, the Red Sox stomped all over Houston Street for five runs. Dustin Pedroia‘s three-run shot put them ahead and then Xander Bogaerts piled on with a solo shot of his own. Relief pitchers are crazy valuable right now, but Houston Street doesn’t seem like one for whom anyone is gonna back up the Brinks truck.

Giants 3, Nationals 1: Matt Cain combined with five relievers to give the Giants a series split. It was Cain’s 100th career victory. Obviously far fewer victories at age 31 than it looked like Cain was going to have a few years back, but it’s good to see him actually pitch well again.

Dodgers 14, Diamondbacks 3Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager each hit three-run home runs. Joc Pederson hit a two-run shot. The highlight of the game, though, was a pitch hitting off of Grandal’s mask and lodging in his chest protector:

Vin Scully at first thought it was a balk because that’s how it sort of looked as the runners were told to advance a base, but it was a wild pitch. Never seen that before.

Reds 3, Padres 2: Homer Bailey pitched for the first time since April of last year and got his first win since August of 2014. He allowed two runs, four hits and three walks while striking out six. The Reds have been playing decent ball of late. It’s too little too late, but if you think of your rooting interest as nightly entertainment instead of a six-month-long source of drama, little runs like this are enjoyable.

Cubs 7, Mariners 6: Twelve innings and it ends on a squeeze bunt, with two strikes, by a pinch-hitting Jon Lester. Another Cubs pitcher — Travis Wood — played left field. This after Chicago was down by six runs, including three in the ninth. So much happening here, but I feel like we should look at the pitcher slamming into the ivy to make a catch in left:

OK, fine, Lester’s squeeze was nice too:

Wild one.

Yankees keep ALCS hopes alive with 4-1 win over Astros

Gio Urshela
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The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.

In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.

Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).

Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.

With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.