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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1: Chris Sale was ridiculously dominant, striking out 13 over eight shutout innings. Unfortunately, the Boston offense only managed one run while he was the pitcher of record and Craig Kimbrel gave up a homer in the bottom of the ninth, forcing extras and giving Sale the no-decision. A bases-clearing doubly by Mookie Betts in the 10th gave the game to Boston. Pitcher wins aren’t important, we know that. And his team won the game. But that’s still some tough luck for Sale. Oh, in other news, Jose Bautista went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and is now hitting .109/.242/.145 on the season. Yikes.

Brewers 7, Cardinals 5Jett Bandy and Eric Thames hit two-run homers and Travis Shaw hit a three-run blast. Milwaukee leads all of baseball with 29 homers on the year — the next closest team has 22 — and that’s putting them in the same company as some blastin’ Brewers teams of the past. Last night their beat writer sought a nickname for this crew:

Naming them after the manager, Craig Counsell, is in keeping with historical Brewers’ nicknames like “Harvey’s Wallbangers,” named after manager Harvey Keunn, and “Bambi’s Bombers” named after manager George Bamburger. Personally, however, I’d go with . . . The Thamesmen. As long as it’s OK with Chris Bosio and John Lackey.

Indians 6, Twins 2:  Trevor Bauer struck out seven and pitched into the seventh and Carlos Santana had two doubles and two RBI. Bauer balked in a run once. That’s probably a funny thing to do if you win and a thing that keeps you up late at night if you lose.

Rays 8, Tigers 1: The Rays sweep Detroit. Steven Souza homered, tripled and doubled, driving in three. Erasmo Ramirez made a rare start and allowed one run and two hits in five innings with five strikeouts. He and a couple of relievers combined to allow only five hits.

Astros 2, Angels 1: We talked a lot about Dallas Keuchel yesterday, but Lance McCullers is just as important for the Astros’ chances this year. With him pitching like this, their chances look good. McCullers shut the Angels out into the seventh. Carlos Beltran and Jake Marisnick hit solo homers for Houston’s two runs. A ninth inning Mike Trout solo shot was the only run for the Halos.

Orioles 2, Reds 1: Wade Miley allowed only one run on two hits, striking out 11. It was like a mini-Chris Sale performance, as he got the no-decision as well. In the 10th J.J. Hardy singled in Mark Trumbo for what would prove to be the winning run.

Phillies 6, Mets 4: Maikel Franco homered and doubled, ending an 0-for-22 streak as the Phillies take two of three from the Mets. It was their first series win against New York in a dog’s age. Bad news for the Mets: Yoenis Cespedes limped off the field with pain in his left hamstring. He’ll be reevaluated today, but he’s gonna miss some time.

Nationals 3, Braves 2: Washington sweeps Atlanta. R.A. Dickey was doing pretty well until the sixth when Ryan Zimmerman hit one of his flutterballs for a a two-run homer. Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 while allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings. Worth watching, again, is the back end of the Nats’ pen. Shawn Kelley, now apparently closing for Dusty Baker, retired the first two batters he faced but then allowed two runners to reach before the game ended with an Ender Inciarte flyout. There will be bullpen adventures for Washington aplenty this season.

Rangers 1, Royals 0: A 0-0 tie into the 13th inning as Andrew Cashner and Danny Duffy traded zeroes. Eight relievers between the two teams also put up goose eggs, but in the 13th Travis Wood retired one batter before Joey Gallo doubled to right Delino DeShields singled him in for the walkoff win.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1: Clayton Richard allowed one run while scattering nine hits in six and two-thirds. Wil Myers and Austin Hedges homered and Erick Aybar doubled in two.

Athletics 9, Mariners 6: Ten pitchers used and 15 runs scored yet the game took just over three hours. I feel like that many pitching changes and runs scored would usually lead to a much longer game elsewhere. There have been a lot of short games in the Coliseum so far this year. I wonder if they do something different there than they do everyplace else. Some psychological thing that makes pitchers want to work faster or batters stay in the box longer.

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.