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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here’s the first ever installment of And That Happened. It’s from April 2008. At the time I said I may not keep the feature going because I was worried I might get bored with it quickly.

Let’s begin year 10:

Rays 7, Yankees 3: I didn’t watch this game because, as a rule, the first game of Opening Day shouldn’t take place in a dome. So, yes, the game counts, but without grass and sunshine, it didn’t really happen. According to the box score, Masahiro Tanaka only lasted two and two-thirds and got shelled for seven runs. The Yankees lost on opening day for the sixth consecutive year. I’m guessing they themselves wish this one didn’t count.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5: It takes everyone a bit of time to get into midseason form. Even the wise-asses on Twitter. Like this joker, who was agitated at Zack Greinke for pitching around Madison Bumgarner in the top of the second, committing the venial sin of walking the opposing pitcher:

Then the dude hit two big homers. Never analyze anything, people. Never have an opinion. Just let the world wash all over you and observe it. It’s much safer. And this even holds true for those who are hardcore experts about the teams in question:

Grant wrote that after Derek Law blew the save for Bumgarner in the eighth. Mark Melancon blew a save himself in the ninth as the Dbacks won in walkoff fashion, which means that they’re actually on pace for 324 blown saves this year. Again: never analyze.

Wait, what’s this?

I really mean it.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3: Two out of three Opening Day games were walkoffs. Not too shabby. Here it was Randal Grichuk singling in Jose Martinez to end things. Earlier he hit a two-run homer. That spoiled Willson Contreras’ heroism in the top of the ninth — dude hit a three-run homer to tie things up — but to be fair, that homer had already spoiled the heroism of Carlos Martinez, who had tossed seven and a third innings of shutout ball with ten strikeouts before that.

Today we get 1pm baseball, outside, under the sun, kicking off around 12 straight hours of action. No offense to the six team in these three games, but I’m gonna consider this Opening Day too.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.