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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Hi folks. As I mentioned on Friday, I spent the weekend in West Virginia watching Appalachian League baseball and, boy howdy, did I have fun. I’ll be writing a handful of posts about it this week, some short, some longer, but suffice it to say that it was one of the best baseball experiences I’ve ever had. Sadly we cannot move a major league team to Bowen Field in Bluefield, where it would be WAY better to watch games than literally any of the big league parks these days. But man, if we could.

For now, though, it’s back to the big leagues, so let’s do some recaps. Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 11, Red Sox 1: Aaron Hicks hit three homers and drove in four, Gleyber Torres knocked in three with a three-run shot and Aaron Judge went deep too, as the Yankees roughed up David Price and atoned for getting roughed up themselves on Saturday. All of those runs were somewhat unnecessary as Luis Severino shut Boston out into the seventh. New York takes two of three in the three-game series.

Orioles 8, Angels 2: Mark Trumbo hit two homers and Manny Machado and Trey Mancini each hit one as the Orioles snap their seven game losing streak. After the game Buck Showalter said “we’re undefeated in July.” Gotta keep your sense of humor, I suppose, or else you’ll go mad.

Tigers 9, Blue Jays 1: The Tigers had an even longer losing streak going than the O’s and they snapped theirs too. Nick Castellanos hit a grand slam in the Tigers’ five-run fifth. He almost hit another homer but Kevin Pillar did this:

That looked like one of those fake videos people made a few years ago of guys climbing 10 feet up walls and stuff. And my god did he cover ground before snagging that, didn’t he?

Reds 8, Brewers 2: Like in the Tigers game, the winning team had a five-run inning and a grand slam. Here the winning team was the Reds and the grand slam came from Jose Peraza. Peraza on his homer:  “I just tried to hit the ball. When I hit the ball in the sky, I say, `Wow, it’s a home run.’ Everybody is happy.” There are a lot of baseball writers who are paid a lot of money to describe the game in fascinating and complicated ways, but Peraza pretty much nails it.

Mets 5, Marlins 2: New York decided that one day in last place was enough, so they beat the Marlins and climbed out of last place. At least that’s what I assume they decided. Either way, Steven Matz and three relievers worked their way around three Mets errors and held the Marlins to four hits.

Rays 3, Astros 2: The Astros were the hottest team in baseball for much of June but they ended the month — and began July — by dropping three of four to the Rays. Blake Snell allowed one run and struck out ten while pitching into the eighth. He’s also on the cover of the program that the Class-A Princeton Rays of the Appalachian league are selling at their ballpark right now, but I bet he doesn’t know that. Evan Gattis hit two homers in a losing cause.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: It got to the 13th inning, it was like a million degrees and Andrew Knapp said “I wanna go home,” so he hit a walkoff pinch hit homer to give Philly the win. The Phillies won three of four, all by one run. The Nationals are 6-15 in their past 21 games and fall six games behind Atlanta in the NL East. Good thing they fired Dusty Baker, huh?

Braves 6, Cardinals 5: Mike Foltynewicz cruised for five, giving up only one hit and no runs, while Atlanta built up a 6-0 lead. He left at that point and the Braves pen tossed one scoreless inning but then the Cards rallied for five runs in the seventh to make a game out of it. That was all they’d get, though, as the Braves held on to sweep the three-game series. The Cards have lost four in a row.

Cubs 11, Twins 10: The Cubs had an 8-0 and a 9-1 lead, thanks in large part to Jon Lester, who hit a three-run homer in the second inning. He wasn’t terribly sharp, allowing four runs, two earned, in five, but that was enough for the win on a day when he had a lot of run support. But just barely. The Twins, who found themselves in that early hole because Lance Lynn was shellacked, clawed back with a couple runs here, a couple runs there and then five in the eighth to make it close, but close was all they’d get. Minnesota played six straight games in Chicago, facing the Cubs and White Sox, and went 1-5. They’re nine back of the Indians and are 35-45. This after a lot of folks picked them as a wild card team or, perhaps, even a frisky pick for the Central. Oh well.

White Sox 10, Rangers 5: Avisail Garcia had four hits and Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu each had three RBI as the Chisox avoid a sweep. Shin-Soo Choo extended his on-base streak to 42 games. Cole Hamels gave up seven runs on nine hits in five innings. Woof.

Indians 15, Athletics 3: The Indians hit 11 doubles. That’s . . . a lot of doubles. Francisco Lindor hit two of those doubles and he also homered. Jose Ramirez, Yonder Alonso and Lonnie Chisenhall each had two doubles too. Edwin Encarnacion also homered as the Indians avoided a sweep and ended the A’s six-game winning streak.

Mariners 1, Royals 0: Yesterday was Canada Day. James Paxton is Canadian and it was his day too. He was pretty awesome in fact. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask the Mariners’ social media folks:

Dodgers 6, Rockies 4: Hero of the game, Matt Kemp. The old man — and in baseball, 33 is old — had three hits, one of which was a go-ahead homer in the eighth, and drove in four runs. That helped Los Angeles avoid a sweep and ended their three-game skid. Nolan Arenado hit a homer for the Rockies in the loss. He probably still feels like this.

Pirates 7, Padres 5: Pittsburgh had a four-run fifth, with all four runs the product of a Colin Moran grand slam. Corey Dickerson and Elias Diaz also homered for the Pirates, who took two of three games from the Padres.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 6: The Giants sweep the Dbacks, have now won seven of eight and also move into a second place tie with the Dodgers, two and a half behind Arizona. Brandon Belt and Joe Panik drove in two runs each and Hunter Pence had a pinch-hit, two-run double.

Sox, Astros look to take a lead, Brewers look to take command in tonight’s LCS action

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The Red Sox and Astros felt each other out for Games 1 and 2 and now things shift to Houston for Game 3. Each team faces a challenge of sorts here, with the Astros facing a right-handed starter for the first time in the series — they have hit better against lefties on the season — and the Red Sox entering the game with some questions about their bullpen, particularly closer Craig Kimbrel. Also of note: each team has a big bit — Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez — which has been cold thus far. Altuve has gone 1-for-8 in the first two games and Martinez is 0-for-7. Altuve is nursing a sore right knee and may be the DH this afternoon. Martinez, of course, will DH for Boston. It’ll be interesting to see if either one of ’em gets of the schneid.

In Los Angeles, the Brewers would take a commanding 3-1 lead with a victory tonight. As noted below, things are set up nicely for them from a pitching perspective, having basically everyone available in what will be, essentially, a bullpen game. The Dodgers have a traditional starter on the mound in Rich Hill, but since Walker Buehler went seven innings and Dave Roberts did not have to use his top relief arms, he’ll likely be calling down to the pen earlier than usual as well. Indeed, expect him to pull out all the stops he can to avoid falling into a 1-3 hole in this best-of-seven series.

Your viewing guide:

ALCS Game 3

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 5:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Dallas Keuchel
Breakdown:

Eovaldi is coming off seven innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks in his Game 3 start against the Yankees in the ALDS. Earlier this year he faced the Astros when he was still with the Rays — as you probably heard by now, that didn’t go too well — but he’s been solid as a rock for Boston since the beginning of September, not allowing more than two runs in any start and blanking the opposition three times. Keuchel is working on seven days of rest since giving up two runs over five innings in his Game 3 of the ALDS. Sometimes people say guys with sinking stuff like his do worse with more rest but I feel like every time I’ve heard that for the past decade, a guy like him has either been just fine on extra rest or has gotten shelled on the allegedly good short rest they get. It’s mostly noise. So much small sample stuff this time of year is noise. Including the fact that Keuchel is 0-1 with a 9.15 ERA over four appearances against the Sox in his career. People say that stuff to have something to say. Like I just did.

NLCS Game 4

Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 9:09 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers: Gio Gonzalez vs. Rich Hill
Breakdown:

Gio Gonzalez will start the game, but as was the case in Game 1 when Gonzalez pitched just two innings, look for him to be an opener here once again. In Game 1 Craig Counsell used seven pitchers, with Brandon Woodruff going two innings and Josh Hader going three. Hader pitched yesterday but it was only two-thirds of an inning in which he only threw eight pitches, so expect to see him once again. The Dodgers, blanked yesterday, will need to show that they can do something against the Brewers’ best or this thing isn’t going back to Milwaukee for a Game 6 or 7. As for their starter, Rich Hill hasn’t pitched in eight days, last going four and a third against the Braves in the NLDS, allowing two runs. He’ll be pitching to Austin Barnes after Yasmani Grandal’s boo-inspiring performance in the postseason thus far sends him to the pine.