Associated Press

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Some history was made last night, as the Minnesota Twins became the first team to make the playoffs after losing 100 games the previous season. Also, the Cubs made the playoffs for the third straight year for the first time since 1906-08. Not too bad.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 5, Cardinals 1: The Cubs clinch their second straight NL Central crown, doing it this time on the field of their rival, the Cardinals. Addison Russell hit a three-run homer. John Lackey allowed one run over six innings. Michael Wacha allowed five runs over six innings, though none of those came in innings one through six. He began the seventh but would never escape it, getting hammered with hit after hit while Mike Matheney, apparently, slept with his eyes open in the Cardinals dugout, oblivious to the fact that his starter was out of gas.

Indians 4, Twins 2: The Indians won, with Danny Salazar pitching well even if he didn’t qualify for the win. Not that this game mattered too much in hindsight, as the Twins sat around afterward, watched the Angels lose and thus clinched the Wild Card, triggering a two-hours-after-the-fact champagne party in the visiting clubhouse of Progressive Field.

White Sox 6, Angels 4: Nicky Delmonico ended the Angels’ postseason hopes and clinched the Wild Card for the Twins with a tenth inning walkoff two-run home run off of Blake Parker. Well done. That was a choice bit of hitting, Nicky. Though we may not have thought much given that you — a cornfed boy from Tennessee — were selected in the 6th round, we all look forward to your prime.

Rockies 15, Marlins 9Ian Desmond hit a three-run homer as part of a six-run second inning that helped sink Miami. Six late runs by the Marlins made this one look a bit closer than it was. The Rockies have a two and a half game lead for the second Wild Card with three games to play.

Reds 6, Brewers 0: The Cubs’ clinching the division closed off one avenue to the playoffs for Milwaukee. The Rockies’ win over the Marlins narrowed a second. Their play, however, is the biggest obstacle. Here Brandon Woodruff got shelled for all six of the Reds’ runs in his two and a third innings of work. Craig Counsell went to eight different relievers after him, none of who surrendered a run, but Milwaukee’s bats couldn’t do anything against Homer Bailey, who tossed seven shutout innings. Joey Votto hit his 36th home run. Tucker Barnhart added another.

Astros 12, Rangers 2: Justin Verlander allowed two runs in six innings and struck out 11, winning his fifth straight stat. George Springer hit a grand slam. Jose Altuve notched his 200th hit for the fourth straight season, which is a pretty rare feat these days. The Astros outscored the Rangers 37-7 in the three-game series.

Athletics 6, Mariners 5: It was tied at five in the bottom of the ninth when Mark Canha hit a walkoff solo homer. Canha only has five homers this year but two of them have been walkoff jobs. Matt Joyce had three doubles. The A’s won their 15th game in the month of September, ensuring a winning month. They’ve not won more games than they’ve lost in a month since April of 2016.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 3: Another walkoff win, this of the walkoff walk variety. David Peralta was the one showing the patience at a critical time, with his bases-loaded free pass capping a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth for the Diamondbacks. J.D. Martinez hit a homer to start off the rally. How novel that he has hit a home run. Sam Dyson was the victimized Giants reliever, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks. The season, sadly, is ending for him much the way it began when he was back with the Rangers.

Yankees 6, Rays 1: Luis Severino allowed one run on four hits over six innings, striking out nine, while Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks went deep. New York is three games behind the Red Sox in the AL East with four games to play.

Phillies 7, Nationals 5Aaron Altherr went 2-for-4 with a triple and drove in two. Phillies relievers threw four and two-thirds scoreless innings to lock this one down. The Nats now know they’re facing the Cubs in the NLDS. Otherwise they’re just trying to stay healthy until next week.

Pirates 5, Orioles 3Josh Bell hit a two-run homer in the third that made it 4-3 Buccos and the rest was academic. Gregory Polanco homered too. In a game that is meaningless, the biggest cheer may have come when Pedro Alvarez came to bat for Baltimore and was greeted warmly by the Pittsburgh crowd. Maybe more warmly than when he played for the Pirates.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 7: Rick Porcello was shaky, allowing five runs on seven hits in five and two-thirds, but Xander Bogaerts‘ three-run homer and four RBI led a 13-hit Boston attack that gave him a big enough margin for error. That’s not something the Sox want to see in the playoffs, of course. Boston’s magic number is two.

Mets 7, Braves 1: Robert Gsellman allowed one run over six innings and Travis d'Arnaud drove in three. This was probably Terry Collins’ last game as a manager at Citi Field.

Royals 7, Tigers 4: The Tigers had a 3-0 lead early and led 3-2 as late as the seventh but Paulo Orlando hit a two-run homer that frame to put the Royals up for good. Detroit has lost nine in a row and are planning final day gimmicks. Gonna be plenty of seats available in Comerica Park next season.

Dodgers 10, Padres 0:Rich Hill allowed two hits over seven shutout innings and Yasiel Puig, Curtis Granderson and Corey Seager homered for L.A. The Dodgers outscored the Padres 29-5 over the three game series and have won six of seven overall. Looks like lack of momentum is out as an excuse if they don’t make noise in the playoffs.

The Cubs played under protest after Joe Maddon disputed an ‘illegal’ pitching motion

Joe Maddon
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The Cubs found themselves in a disadvantageous position toward the end of their 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday. Down by three in the ninth, they were finally looking to gain some ground against closer Sean Doolittle after wearying themselves against Stephen Strasburg for the first eight innings of the game. Instead, the game ended under protest when Cubs skipper Joe Maddon took umbrage with Doolittle’s delivery:

The issue appeared to stem from the motion Doolittle made with his left foot, a kind of “toe-tapping” gesture that Maddon believed had previously been made illegal. The official rules state that a pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate during his delivery, a stipulation that had previously been violated by Cubs’ pitcher Carl Edwards Jr.:

Comparing the two motions, however, one would be hard-pressed to characterize Doolittle’s tapping motion as a full step toward the plate. Maddon clearly didn’t see it that way, and emerged from the dugout to dispute the pitcher’s delivery twice. Following Doolittle’s first-pitch strike to Albert Almora, the manager informed home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook that the Cubs would play the remainder of the game under protest.

An official decision has not yet been announced regarding the illegality of the delivery and the validity of the Cubs’ protest. According to league rules, “the game will not be replayed unless it is also determined that the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning.”

During the inning in question, however, the umpiring crew allowed Doolittle to continue his delivery. He helped secure the Nationals’ 5-2 win after inducing a groundout from Almora, striking out Kyle Schwarber, and getting a game-ending pop-out from Kris Bryant.

After the game, both Holbrook and Doolittle took issue with Maddon’s protest.

“In that moment, he’s not trying to do anything other than rattle me,” Doolittle told reporters. “And it was kind of tired. I don’t know, sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game. So he put his stamp on it, for sure.”

Holbrook, meanwhile, said Doolittle did “absolutely nothing illegal at all.”