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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 4: The Jays can kill you even when Bautista, Donaldson and Encarnacion don’t do anything. Bautista wasn’t in the lineup and Donaldson and Encarnacion combined to go 1-for-9, but no worries: Darwin Barney doubled in a couple of runs and Melvin Upton hit a three-run bomb. As my friend Jesse Spector wrote yesterday, Toronto, after a 22-25 start through May 24, has the best record in baseball (47-27).

Rays 2, Padres 0: Brad Miller hit a two-run homer in the first, Chris Archer pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and that, as they say, was that. Miller is 5-for-9 with three homers and five driven in over the past two days. I’m sure the Padres are happy to be leaving St. Petersburg and him behind.

Cardinals 8, Astros 2: Carlos Martinez allowed one run over seven efficient innings. Meanwhile it took Doug Fister 98 pitches to get through four innings. I like how that reads, by the way, as if “pitches” was a unit of time. It’s sort of like how the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. If you ever want to lose your whole afternoon, and maybe even your faith in humanity’s priorities, go read the Wookiepedia page about the Kessel Run and think of all of the time and effort people have spent retconning one throwaway, nonsensical bit of dialogue George Lucas likely spent a millisecond writing into something that makes logical sense. And yeah, I know, I know, it’s not about how fast Han Solo made the Kessel Run. It’s about the route he took and how he leveraged black holes and blah, blah, blah isn’t he a savvy captain. Explain to me, then, Master Star Wars Sage, why that line came in direct response to Obi-Wan asking him if the Falcon was a “fast ship”

Han Solo: Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re lookin’ for passage to the Alderaan system?

Kenobi: Yes indeed, if it’s a fast ship.

Han Solo: Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?

Kenobi: Should I have?

Han Solo: It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

Please. I have much love for Solo, but the line is way better explained, both for the sake of logic and in keeping with his character, by Solo being totally full of crap here, caught up in believing that he had a couple of total rubes in front of him and that he could just B.S. his way into taking their money for passage to Alderaan. I’d be WAY happier with a cut scene right after this where Solo and Chewie laugh their heads off at Solo using “the old parsecs line” to jive someone than I am reading tortured explanations of what the Kessel Run truly is, man.

Next time I make such a long diversion like this, it’ll be about how different the whole Star Wars saga would go if Mal Reynolds was the captain of the Falcon rather than Solo. It’d be shiny.

Rockies 12, Nationals 10: Stephen Strasburg spotted the Rockies nine runs in the first inning and two-thirds and, even though Washington made it close late, that’s too much to spot anyone. DJ LeMahieu singled in his first at-bat to stretch his on-base streak to 10 plate appearances but that streak ended in the same inning when he came up to bat for a second time. Gerardo Parra doubled with the bases loaded, scoring all three ducks on the pond, and then tripled in a run later in the game. Bryce Harper hit a looooong homer.

Pirates 6, Giants 5: Andrew McCutchen had two hits, including a two-run homer, as Pittsburgh put up a six-run fifth inning that chased Matt Cain. San Francisco loses again and, with the Dodgers win over the Phillies, lose more ground in the West.

Red Sox 8, Orioles 1: Boston, in the middle of a rough bit of schedule with lots of travel and a day game in one city today after a night game in another city last night, wins its sixth game in a row. This one was rain-shortened. It was still long enough for Jackie Bradley Jr. to homer and drive in four. Before this win streak the Sox had lost 13 of 20. Now they pass Baltimore and move into second place in the East. What a weird year for them. What a weird division.

Dodgers 7, Phillies 2: Two homers for Adrian Gonzalez, who drove in five. Justin Turner homered too and Joc Pederson reached base four times. An underrated part of the Dodgers season is Pederson’s improvement, by the way. He’s raised his batting average by nearly 50 points and is on a pace to have 50 fewer strikeouts than he did in 2015.

White Sox 10, Indians 7: Down 7-5 in the ninth and facing Indians closer Cody Allen, White Sox fans would’ve been excused if they had turned off their TVs and picked up a book or something. The Chisox rallied, however, with a couple of infield singles and a walk leading to a Dioner Navarro RBI single soon after. OK, no sweat, still a one-run lead for the Tribe. Then Adam Eaton came up, however, and jacked one out. Grand slam, 10-7 White Sox lead and that’s all she wrote. Best part: Eaton was blowing a dang bubble when he hit the salami:

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Style, man.

Royals 4, Tigers 1: Eric Hosmer broke up Anibal Sanchez‘s perfect game in the fifth inning with a walk, broke up Sanchez’s no-hit bid in the seven with a double and then hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the ninth to win the dang ballgame. No bubble-blowing, but in his own way that was a way bigger F-U to his opposition than Eaton’s was.

Twins 10, Braves 3: Top prospect Dansby Swanson made his major league debut for the Braves and singled twice. Unfortunately for Atlanta he is not Bugs Bunny and could not play all nine positions. Kyle Gibson pitched all nine innings for Minnesota, however, allowing three runs on eight hits while his offense gave him plenty of support.

Reds 3, Marlins 2: Brandon Phillips had two doubles and drove in two. The RBI came after the Marlins walked Joey Votto with a runner on second to get to Phillips. That’s a totally defensible strategy that probably works more than it doesn’t but, well, sometimes it doesn’t.

Rangers 6, Athletics 2: Three RBI a piece for two guys who weren’t in camp in Surprise, Arizona when the spring kicked off for Texas: Ian Desmond, signed on February 29, and Jonathan Lucroy, traded for just over two weeks ago. Yu Darvish was 0-8 in has last 10 starts against the A’s before last night but here he allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out nine to get the win.

Cubs 6, Brewers 1: A five-run fifth powered by Jorge Soler‘s three-run shot was all Jon Lester and the Cubs needed. Lester allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. Soler has hit four homers and has driven in ten runs in ten games since coming off the disabled list.

Diamondbacks 13, Mets 5: Two homers and six RBI for Yasmany Tomas. Rickie Weeks Jr. homered twice as well, driving in five. Other than facing those two, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Mariners 4, Angels 3: Seattle has won 10 of 12. How well are things going? Leonys Martin scored from second base on a friggin’ bunt:

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The Angels could’ve been more heads-up there, but Martin was motoring. Heck, he probably could’ve made the Kessel Run in 11 parsecs at that rate.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”