Associated Press

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 9, Red Sox 1: Boston’s August swoon and the Rays’ August surge continues, with Tampa Bay sweeping the Sox and outscoring baseball’s best team 24-5 in the three-game series. Blake Snell tossed two-hit ball over six innings, allowing one run and striking out eight. Rays sleeper agent Nate Eovaldi dug a hole for the Red Sox and Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run triple. That’s eight in a row for the Rays and 10 of 12. Boston, meanwhile, has lost six of eight and find their lead over the Yankees reduced to a mere five games in the loss column. September may very well be more interesting in the AL East than we first assumed.

Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The Yankees cutting into the Sox’ division lead was certainly aided by visiting the Orioles for a four-game set this weekend. Baltimore lost its eight straight thanks to Luke Voit going 3-for-3 with a two-run homer, Miguel Andujar picking up three hits and two RBI and Luis Severino picking up his 17th win. As Joe Sheehan wrote overnight in his newsletter — which you should definitely sign up for, as it provides a constant stream of fascinating baseball analysis — the Orioles are on course to make history for finishing the most games out of first place in the divisional era. Not only that, they are on course to finish more games behind the second-to-last team in divisional history. Just a towering achievement in comparative futility.

Athletics 6, Twins 2: Matt Chapman hit a pair of homers as the A’s finish the series having taken three of four from the Twins and open up a five-game lead over the Mariners for the second Wild Card slot. Tyler Austin also had two homers but he plays for the team that lost and teams that lost get less ink unless they do historic things like the Orioles are. Oakland now goes on to Houston, who they trail in the division by one and a half, for a big three-game series. After that it’s a four-game set at home against the M’s. Hell of a week coming up for the AL West.

Phillies 8, Blue Jays 3Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana hit back-to-back homers in the first inning and Maikel Franco and Wilson Ramos each hit two-run shots later in the game to help the Phillies avoid a sweep and to avoid losing more ground the East. The homer more people were talking about, however, was the one Kendrys Morales hit in the third inning, which gives him a seven-game homer streak. That puts him one game shy of matching the major league record, held by Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987), and Dale Long (1956).

White Sox 7, Tigers 2: Michael Kopech’s actual big league debut was cut short due to rain, so he’ll likely think of this as his debut even if it wasn’t. It helps that it was a memorable performance on the merits too (6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4K). Daniel Palka hit a two-run homer and Yoan Moncada tripled in a run for the Chisox. For the Tigers it was most memorable as the day Alan Trammell’s number was retired. Which should’ve been done AGES ago rather than allowing Gary Sheffield and Ian Kinsler to wear it in the interim, but c’est la vie.

Nationals 15, Mets 0: Washington had not scored a run since Wednesday heading into this game. And they didn’t score a run until the sixth inning here. Heck, it was only 1-0 Washington heading into the top of the eighth, but then the business got out of control. It got out of control and the Mets were lucky to live through it. Specifically, the Nats unloaded for eight runs, after which they scored six in the ninth. A great deal of that offense was delivered via homers from Adam Eaton and Wilmer Difo, a three-run double by Bryce Harper and a grand slam from Mark Reynolds. From the AP gamer: “Mets manager Mickey Callaway was startled by how quickly a one-run game turned into a blowout.” I guess at some point it’s just like watching it on TV, wondering what’s gonna happen next.

Braves 4, Marlins 0: Another Kevin Gausman start in a Braves uniform, another bunch of goose eggs. Here he allowed one hit over five shutout innings to grab his fourth win in five starts as a Braves, lowering is ERA as a Brave to 1.69. The Marlins ended up with only two hits in all as Atlanta earns a split in a series in which their bats were mostly silent.

Brewers 7, Pirates 4Mike Moustakas and Manny Pina each hit two-run homers in Chris Archer‘s disastrous third inning and Jonathan Schoop hit a dinger later. Overall Archer gave up six runs in four innings, at one point surrendering five hits in a row. As noted at the time, the Pirates picking up Archer was a double-faceted move: they were mildly hot at the time, had a chance ant putting themselves into contention and saw Archer as a nice piece to help the stretch run. They also got him because he’s under team control for a couple of more years and he’s a good piece to build around for short-to-mid-term contention. The latter considerations still apply, but that former consideration hasn’t really worked out too well. As a Pirate, Archer is 1-2 with a 6.45 ERA in five starts since the Buccos acquired him.

Indians 12, Royals 5: Jason Kipnis had four hits and drove in four runs, including a two-run inside-the-park homer. Which, like a lot of inside-the-park homers, involved a bad bounce, an outfielder falling down and another outfielder not coming over to back up his fallen comrade. Meh:

Cleveland avoids a series sweep at the hands of the lowly Royals.

Cubs 9, Reds 0: Kyle Hendricks allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings and Kyle Schwarber and David Bote hit homers in the Cubs’ rout. Or Rote. Jason Heyward went 4-for-4 with a triple and drove in two. The Reds were shut out for their ninth time this year.

Cardinals 12, Rockies 3:  The Cards scored six runs in the first inning — all with two outs — and the rest was all stats accumulation. Matt Carpenter hit four doubles. That’s a pretty neat stat. The Cards took two of three from the Rockies and won their ninth straight series.

Giants 3, Rangers 1: Derek Holland allowed one run on only three hits while pitching into the seventh, upping his record to 1-0 all time in games following moderately embarrassing TV spots that resulted in an apology for racial insensitivity. Steven Duggar hit a two-run triple. Bruce Bochy on Holland’s performance after the game:

“Just pitched a beautiful game. It’s great to see players like Derek, who it looks like they may be toward the end of their career, bounce back and show that there’s a lot of game left in what they have.”

Holland is 31. I know it’s a younger man’s game now than it was even a few short years ago, but man that’s a hell of a quote.

Astros 3, Angels 1Framber Valdez gave up one run over five in his first career start and Carlos Correa drove in two. Houston wins its fifth in a row to keep its lead over the A’s in anticipation of their big series.

Dodgers 7, Padres 3: Justin Turner went 3-for-5, hit two doubles and drove in five runs, Manny Machado hit a two-run homer and the Dodgers swept San Diego. Turner has been on fire in August, hitting .405 this month with five home runs, 19 RBI, 19 runs and 10 doubles. The Padres had their chances against Hyun-Jin Ryu, but despite knocking 11 hits and drawing a walk off of him in less than six innings, they only plated two.

Diamondbacks 5, Mariners 2: Zack Greike allowed one run — unearned — while pitching into the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt‘s three-run homer in the third was the big blow for the Snakes, who put a game between themselves and Colorado in the NL West.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.