And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Astros, 3, Red Sox 2: The Red Sox still need just one win or one Yankees’ loss to clinch the AL East title, but their imminent victory was delayed after the Astros edged past them on Friday. Alex Bregman provided all the fuel the Astros needed to take their fifth straight win and 100th of the season, giving Houston an early 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the third inning and returning in the fifth with a go-ahead two-run homer.

It’s the first time the Astros have recorded 100+ wins since 1998. They can tie their all-time 102-win record by sweeping the Red Sox to finish the season.

Angels 6, Mariners 5: We all have those days when we feel like we haven’t been as productive or creative as we’d like to be. A word of advice: Avoid Mike Trout‘s Baseball Reference page on those days, lest the dazzling array of his 201 career home runs and lifetime .977 OPS makes you feel less-than-accomplished after realizing he’s still just 26 years old.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 0: The Yankees clinched their 90th win of the year with a standout performance from Masahiro Tanaka, whose seven scoreless frames and 15 strikeouts landed him a rare spot in franchise history as the Yankees combined for 18 strikeouts in a nine-inning contest. Lost in all the hubbub surrounding the gem? Greg Bird’s double and RBI sac fly, which extended a rare hitting streak to seven games:

Cubs 5, Reds 4: For those fortunate enough to have clinched their postseason berth already, each remaining regular season game plays out like a practice session for the playoffs. On Friday, the Cubs honed the art of the clutch comeback, vaulting over the Reds’ two-run lead with Ian Happ‘s go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

The Reds, meanwhile, sank to a 67-93 record for their worst winning percentage (.419) since… well, 2015 (.395). Keep an eye on Joey Votto this weekend, though. He could finish the year with 162 starts — something no Reds’ player has managed to do in 36 years.

Nationals 6, Pirates 1: Speaking of playoff contenders, the Nationals are heading into the postseason with guns blazing. They delivered a second straight win against the Pirates on Friday, led by 7 2/3 innings of two-hit ball from Stephen Strasburg. It was his 20th quality start and ninth shutout attempt of the season, and in the third inning, a well-placed slider to Sean Rodriguez gave him his 200th strikeout of the year.

Behind Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-4 with his 35th and 36th home runs, coming just one triple shy of the Nats’ first cycle since April.

Phillies 6, Mets 2: To say that Matt Harvey has had a difficult season is a severe understatement. The Mets’ hurler has battled a variety of shoulder issues since undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome last year, which in turn has caused his command to spiral. On Friday, he capped his 2017 run with four innings of seven-hit, three-run ball, handing Maikel Franco his 22nd home run of the season and allowing Nick Williams to score on a balk. The performance dragged his ERA to new depths, putting him at a 6.70 mark over 18 starts and 92 2/3 innings. No Mets’ starter has earned a higher ERA while making at least 15 starts in a single season. Still, there’s some silver lining to be found:

“The positive is that I guess this nightmare of a season is over for me,” Harvey told reporters after the game.

Marlins 6, Braves 5: Another day has come and gone, and Giancarlo Stanton is still chasing that elusive 60th home run. He went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI single on Friday, but failed to go yard even once. He did, however, manage to startle Dee Gordon with a foul ball that ricocheted off of his back while he perched at the top of the dugout steps:

In the end, the Marlins didn’t need a home run to take the win. They crafted a four-run spread in the seventh inning, tying the game with back-to-back RBI singles from Stanton and Marcell Ozuna and getting the winning run from Justin Bour, who capped the rally with a two-run line drive.

Rays 7, Orioles 0: Neither Wade Miley nor Jake Odorizzi made it past the fifth inning on Friday, but at least in Odorizzi’s case, it had little impact on the club’s ability to rally. The Rays scattered seven runs over the first seven innings, building an insurmountable lead on a pair of home runs from Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison and a handful of productive outs. Longoria’s homer, a fifth-inning 367-footer off of Miley, was his 20th of the year.

Indians 10, White Sox 1: The Indians are still the team to beat this fall, and their win on Friday brought them within one game of clinching the league’s best record — and, more importantly, home field advantage through the postseason. Trevor Bauer guided the club to their 101st win with six innings of one-run ball, but it was the Indians’ 10-run barrage against Mike Pelfrey that sealed the deal.

Rangers 5, Athletics 3: Very cool: Jed Lowrie lashed his 48th double on Friday, setting a new franchise record for most doubles in a single season. Pretty cool: Renato Nunez clubbed his first career home run, taking Martin Perez deep with a three-run blast over the right field wall in the seventh inning. Also cool: The Rangers snapped a seven-game skid with Shin-Soo Choo‘s go-ahead homer in the fifth, his 22nd of the year. Not cool at all:

Twins 6, Tigers 3: Brian Dozier was so eager to make up for the Twins’ 3-0 deficit in the first inning that he overshot second base on a leadoff double:

He made it back to the bag just in time, however, giving Eduardo Escobar the opportunity to drive in a run as Minnesota worked their way up to a six-run spread. The win eventually went to Jose Berrios, who took the mound in the fifth for his first-ever major league relief appearance. He’s supposed to be one of the Twins’ relief options during their wild card tiebreaker on Tuesday, though the righty told reporters he’s hoping Ervin Santana will be able to throw a complete game. “If not,” Berrios said, “I’ll be ready.”

Rockies 9, Dodgers 1: The Rockies inched closer to a wild card spot on Friday, fueling a nine-run effort with four blasts from Nolan Arenado, Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story. Blackmon’s home run, a blistering upper-deck shot in the second inning, established a new RBI record for leadoff hitters, at 102, and he returned in the fifth to tack on his 103rd RBI with a single.

With the win, the Rockies are looking at an NL wild card spot on Saturday if they defeat the Dodgers a second time or the Brewers take a loss. Given their matchup on Saturday — German Marquez vs. Clayton Kershaw‘s 2.21 ERA — they might be better off hoping for the Brewers’ collapse.

Royals 2, Diamondbacks 1: Thanks to some combination of health issues, poor run support and a career-worst 5.38 ERA, Ian Kennedy entered Friday’s start with 18 consecutive losses at home. That all changed against Zack Greinke and the D-backs, however, who eked out a single run during Kennedy’s fifth win of the year. The right-hander twirled five solid innings, striking out seven of 19 batters and making 2017 his eighth straight season with at least 30 starts.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3: Don’t count the Brewers out of the postseason just yet. They can still grab a wild card spot if they sweep the Cardinals and the Rockies lose their next two games to the Dodgers and if they manage to win a tie-breaking Game 163. That’s a lot of ifs, but the Brewers appear up to the challenge after dismantling the Cardinals on Friday, coasting on seven standout innings from Chase Anderson and a three-run performance from Stephen Vogt.

Giants 8, Padres 0: While 2017 has been the Giants’ worst season in 32 years, they avoided the dreaded 100-loss mark with an 8-0 shutout over the Padres this weekend. Buster Posey and Joe Panik guided the club through two monster innings, combining for four doubles and four of the club’s eight RBI while Chris Stratton held the Padres scoreless through seven frames.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”