And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 6, Red Sox 2: Gary Sanchez homered and singled in a run and Greg Bird hit a three-run homer as the Yankees took the first game in a critical four-game set with the Red Sox. That backed CC Sabathia who was solid, allowing one run on four hits in six innings. He was less solid in his reaction to Eduardo Nunez, who attempted to bunt for a hit in the first inning. It’s not a dumb play given that Sabathia has a bad knee and may struggle to field his position. And, in fact, Nunez reached when Sabathia threw the ball away. Sabathia didn’t like it, though:

“Just kind of weak to me. It is what it is. It shows what they got over there,” Sabathia said. “It just gets you fired up. It makes you want to beat them. Obviously, I want to win every time I go out there, but even more so after that.”

Sabathia walked his next two batters. After getting consecutive strikeouts to escape a bases-loaded jam , he shouted in the direction of Boston’s dugout.

He said the Red Sox show him “too much respect.”

“Swing the bat,” the veteran pitcher said.

Only in baseball would such a thing be considered an issue of “respect” or “class” or whatever Sabathia is getting at here. In any other sport it’d just be assumed to be good strategy. Cornerback gimpy? Of COURSE the quarterback is gonna pick on him. Goalie have a weak glove hand? Of course the other team is gonna shoot to his glove hand side. They’re in it to win it, it’s not dirty and it’s not a matter of respect. In baseball, though it’s a thing. Whatever Sabathia needs to motivate himself, fine, but after reading those words I rolled my eyes so hard that I injured myself. Calcaterra: 10-day disabled list (eyes).

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 8: Kendrys Morales hit three homers and drove in seven. He shouldn’t have disrespected the ball like that. Yet he did, hitting a two-run homer in the third, an RBI single in the fifth, a three-run shot in the sixth and a solo shot in the eighth. This after the Jays fell behind 3-0 and 5-2 early. Big night.

Twins 5, White Sox 4: Max Kepler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in a tied game in the bottom of the ninth inning. That’s a walkoff plunk, babies. The plunk followed Eddie Rosario tying the game up at four with a ninth inning RBI single. It was the Twins’ first game-ending HBP since Paul Molitor was plunked in the 10th at the Metrodome in 1996 to beat Kansas City. So you have to assume he drew that play up between innings saying “This’ll work, fellas. Been waitin’ for a chance to unleash this one.”

Astros 5, Rangers 1Jose Altuve homered, Josh Reddick hit an RBI single and the Astros’ bullpen pitched four and a third scoreless innings as Houston salvages one in their series-in-exile. Now they return to Houston and their homes and families. And they get to meet their new friend, Justin Verlander.

Reds 7, Mets 2Scooter Gennett drove in three runs with a homer and a double. Joey Votto hit a homer, but that wasn’t his best play of the day:

The young fan is Walter Herbet. He’s six and he met Votto last week via the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Nice move, Joey. Get well, Walter.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 1: Five straight losses for the Dodgers, who have apparently decided to get their annual skid in now instead of during the NLCS. Smart! Chris Iannetta and A.J. Pollock homered. Paul Goldschmidt doubled twice and drove in two. Gregor Blanco had three hits, two of them doubles, drove in a run and scored twice. Old friend Zack Greinke allowed one run over six innings. The Dbacks have won nine of 10.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2: Phillies starter Ben Lively allowed two runs over six innings and (all together now) helped his own cause by hitting a two-run single to give Philly a 3-1 lead which they’d not relinquish. Not a bad day. Know who did have a bad day? Giancarlo Stanton. He was 0-for-5, struck out twice, failed to get the ball out of the infield and flied out in the ninth with two men on base and the Marlins trailing by one. Still, by other measures, he had a better day than all of us.

Cubs 6, Braves 2: The Cubs win their fourth in a row as Kyle Hendricks allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out five and walking three in six and two-thirds. Jon Jay had four hits and Kris Bryant homered.

Brewers 6, Nationals 3: The Brewers keep pace. Jonathan Villar went 3-for-5 and homered and Zack Davies allowed two runs over seven to give him his 16th win on the year, tying him for the league lead with Greinke.

Cardinals 5, Giants 2: Michael Wacha allowed one run over six strong innings, Randal Grichuk homered and Tommy Pham drove in two via a single and a bases loaded HBP. The highlight — lowlight? — of the game, however, was a blown replay call which overturned a ninth inning homer from Brandon Crawford:

If a ball hits that green metal overhang in AT&T Park, it’s a homer. If it hits the foul pole, it’s a homer. If it lands in the stands, it’s a homer. On what planet was one of those three things NOT going to happen if the fan hadn’t grabbed it? The umps on the field got this one right. The replay officials overturned it, I suspect because they messed up the ground rules in San Francisco and incorrectly assumed that the green metal was a double. It probably didn’t cost the Giants the game — and at this point no game truly matter for the Giants — but that’s just poor.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).