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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

White Sox 4, Yankees 1: The Sox snap the Yankees’ eight-game winning streak thanks to Miguel Gonzalez shutting the Bombers out until the ninth inning. And thanks to the Attack of the Garcias, with Leury homering in the third and Avisail homering in the seventh.

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 7: The Red Sox had a four run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, with the recently-promoted Brian Johnson providing some solid work. The Blue Jays rallied for three in the final frame, but fell just short. Mookie Betts, Mitch Moreland and Pablo Sandoval had three hits a piece.

Reds 9, Orioles 3: Adam Duvall hit a grand slam and Bronson Arroyo won his first game since June 15, 2014 with five innings of three-run ball. Arroyo is the first pitcher 40 or over to win a game for the Reds since Boom-Boom Beck beat the Phillies on May 31, 1945. They don’t make nicknames like they used to.

Phillies 6, Mets 2: Extra innings are often nail-biting affairs. Then there’s this one, in which the Phillies scored four runs in the top of the tenth, making the bottom half something of a pro-forma exercise. It wouldn’t have even gotten to extras if it wasn’t for Jose Reyes dropping a two-out popup in the eighth. After that Andres Blanco tied it at 2 with an RBI double. It’d be hard to script a worse beginning to the 2017 season for Reyes.

Rays 5, Tigers 1: Matt Andriese tamed the Tigers with six innings of one-run ball. Miguel Cabrera hit a long homer on his 34th birthday, but that was the only celebrating for the Tigers on this evening.

Nationals 3, Braves 1: The Braves’ five-game winning streak is snapped. Facing Max Scherzer will do that to a team. Scherzer shut ’em out for seven innings, striking out seven. Nats closer Blake Treinen struggled in the ninth and was taken out of the game by Dusty Baker after allowing two hits and walking two dudes. Nice win, but that’s worth watching.

Cubs 9, Brewers 7: The Cubs snap a four-game skid with a comeback win. Chicago rallied for four here, with the go-ahead run coming on a wild pitch. Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero each hit two-run homers. Eric Thames had his games-with-a-homer streak snapped, but still had two doubles and three hits in all. Schwarber, after the game, talking about the comeback:

“I just think it shows the character of our team. We’re not gonna give up just because we’re trading blows.”

Just in case you were wondering how, over the years, sportswriters and fans have come to believe that those who win have good character and those who don’t are somehow lacking, it’s quotes like that which do it.

Indians 11, Twins 4: Jose Ramirez homered and drove in two runs and Josh Tomlin gave up three runs in six innings. Tomlin needed that. Francisco Lindor hit a two-run triple in the sixth and Edwin Encarnacion homered. They didn’t need that as bad as Ramirez and Tomlin needed theirs, but they’ll take it.

Angels 5, Astros 2: Albert Pujols hit one of the most memorable home runs of the past couple of decades in Houston back in the 2005 playoffs. He hit another big, big homer in Houston last night. A three-run blast in the fifth that put the Angels ahead and made it to those train tracks the Astros have out in left. Watch:

Giants 2, Royals 1: Matt Cain: one run over seven innings. The dude seems to be back. Still, he didn’t figure in the decision as Jason Hammel only allowed one run as well, sending this to extras. Joe Panik singled in the go-ahead run for the Giants in the 11th.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1Dexter Fowler tripled and scored and Greg Garcia doubled in a run as Mike Leake twirled six and a third strong innings, allowing only one run against the Starling Marte-free Pirates.

Athletics 4, Rangers 2: Hope the sixth wasn’t the inning during which you decided to walk the dog, because that’s when all of the runs in this game crossed the plate. It was Yu Darvish‘s Waterloo, as he surrendered all four of the A’s runs and left before it ended. Former Ranger Adam Rosales‘ two-run homer was the big blow. Andrew Triggs survived the sixth for Oakland, allowing only two.

Marlins 5, Mariners 0: Miami had a combined no-hitter broken up with one out in the ninth inning when Mitch Haniger doubled off of Kyle BarracloughWei-Yin Chen handled the first seven innings of it, but was lifted for the eighth at the 100-pitch mark. This is the second time in three days the Marlins have had a combined no-hitter go at least seven innings, as Dan Straily and a couple of relievers had one broken up in the eighth on Sunday. Was Chen upset about being taken out even though he probably could’ve gone another inning? Nah. He had this to say after the game, through a translator:

“If given the choice, any pitcher would like to go out there and keep pitching, but Don talked to me and gave me his reasoning and wanted to keep me healthy for the whole season. So under that situation, I try not to think about it too much. It’s his decision to make.”

Not every manager and certainly not all of us would make that choice, but it’s a team game.

Rockies 4, Dodgers 3: Nolan Arenado hit two homers: a two-run shot in the first and a solo shot in the fifth. Kyle Freeland didn’t pitch long enough for the Rockies to qualify for the win but he allowed only one run to the Dodgers in four innings and five relievers helped the lead hold up.

Diamondbacks 11, Padres 2: Shelby Miller pitched seven and a third innings of four-hit ball and has a 3.50 ERA in three starts this year. That’s quite a turnaround. Yasmany Tomas hit a three-run homer. The Padres have dropped five in a row.

Nats’ success shouldn’t be about Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper turns 27 years old today. As an early birthday present, he got to watch his former team reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history. His new team finished exactly at .500 in fourth place, missing the playoffs. These were facts that did not go unnoticed as the Nationals completed an NLCS sweep of the Cardinals at home last night.

Harper spent seven seasons with the Nationals before hitting free agency and ultimately signing with the Phillies on a 13-million, $330 million contract. The Nationals offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of the 2018 regular season, but about $100 million of that was deferred until he was 65 which lowered the present-day value of the offer. The Nats’ offer wasn’t even in the same ballpark, really.

Nevertheless, Nationals fans were upset that their prodigy jilted them to go to the Phillies. He was mercilessly booed whenever the Phillies played in D.C. Nats fans’ Harper jerseys were destroyed, or at least taped over.

Harper, of course, was phenomenal with the Nationals. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, then won the NL MVP Award several years later with an historically outstanding 1.109 OPS while leading the league with 42 homers and 118 runs scored. Overall, as a National, he had a .900 OPS. Pretty good. He was also productive in the postseason, posting an .801 OPS across 19 games, mostly against playoff teams’ best starters and best relievers. Furthermore, if the Nats had Harper this year, he would have been in right field in lieu of Adam Eaton. Harper out OPS’d Eaton by 90 points and posted 2.5 more WAR in a similar amount of playing time. The Nationals would have been even better if they had Harper this year.

The Nationals lost all four Division Series they appeared in during the Harper era. 3-2 to the Cardinals in 2012, 3-1 to the Giants in ’14, 3-2 to the Dodgers in ’16, and 3-2 to the Cubs in ’17. They finally get over the hump the first year they’re without Harper, that’s the difference, right? I saw the phrase “addition by subtraction” repeatedly last night, referring to Harper and the Nats’ subsequent success without him.

Harper, though, didn’t fork over four runs to the Cardinals in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 in 2012. He didn’t allow the Dodgers to rally for four runs in the seventh inning of Game 5 in ’16 before ultimately losing 4-3. He didn’t use a gassed Max Scherzer in relief in 2017’s Game 5, when he allowed five of the seven Cubs he faced to reach base, leading to three runs which loomed large in a 9-8 loss. If certain rolls of the dice in those years had gone the Nationals’ way, they would have appeared in the NLCS. They might’ve even been able to win a World Series.

The Nationals saw how that looks this year. It was the opposing manager this time, Dave Roberts, who mismanaged his bullpen. Howie Kendrick then hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the 10th inning off of Joe Kelly to win the NLDS for the Nats. The playoffs are random. Sometimes a ball bounces your way, sometimes an umpire’s call goes your way, and sometimes the opposing manager makes several unforced errors to throw Game 5 in your lap.

Reaching the World Series, then thumbing your nose while sticking out your tongue at Harper feels like a guy tagging his ex-girlfriend on his new wedding photos. It’s time to move on.