And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 2, Reds 1: Eleven total innings, twelve total hits and thirteen total pitchers led to only three total runs, the last of which came on a Lorenzo Cain dinger in the final inning to give Milwaukee the win. This a day after these two beat the tar out of each other. Baseball, man.

Indians 5, Twins 3: Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer in the Tribe’s four-run sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Mike Clevinger pitched into the seventh allowing only two unearned runs. Both of those unearned runs, however, came on a two-run homer that, no matter what preceded it, was Clevinger’s fault. Which just bolsters my long-held view that earned/unearned runs are mostly bullcrap and that we should just call every run earned unless the run literally would not score absent some Three Stooges action. Which, yes, I will define in the rules if I am made Commissioner.

Tigers 8, Yankees 7: Victor Martinez tied the game in the ninth with a two-run homer — his second homer and this third and fourth RBIs of the game — and the very next batter, Niko Goodrum, put the Tigers up for goodrum with a solo shot. That was possibly the last great night of Martinez’s fine career, which is likely to end in a month. Nice to see him have (at least) one more moment of glory. Anyway, both of the ninth inning homers came off Dellin Betances. Think the Yankees miss Aroldis Chapman?

Cardinals 5, Pirates 0: Six Cardinal pitchers combine to shut out the Buccos, led by John Gant who started and took the shutout into the sixth. Gant homered too, as did Harrison Bader. Jose Martinez drove in two on a single. The Cardinals have won 17 of 21 and have won ten consecutive series.

Cubs 5, Braves 4: Chicago took a 3-0 lead early, lost the lead in the fifth when Freddie Freeman tripled in two and Kurt Suzuki knocked in a run but Tommy La Stella‘s two-run pinch-hit homer in the sixth brought the Cubs back to a one-run lead that held up over the final four frames. Chicago won for the eighth time in nine games, Atlanta lost for the fourth time in six.

Red Sox 9, White Sox 4: Sox win! Some late inning drama on a night with a good deal of it. Mookie Betts tied it with a two-run homer in the seventh and then in the ninth the Sox rallied for five thanks to RBI singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi and a three-run homer from J.D. Martinez capping things off. The Red Sox have dominated all year, but lately they’ve shown that they can come back late too. Indeed, they’ve trailed late in each of their last three games yet have won each time.

Angels 5, Astros 2: For the second game in a row Tyler White homered in the ninth inning but when your team is down 5-0 that’s not quiiiiite as dramatic as a walkoff situaish. That deficit came largely courtesy of Andrelton Simmons, who hit a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning which plated all three runners and gave the Halos a 4-0 lead that proved to be enough.

Mariners 7, Athletics 1: Unlike many of the other games last night this one featured an early rally rather than a late one, with the M’s plating five in the opening inning, all on a couple of singles, a bases loaded walk and an error. Somehow A’s starter Frankie Montas stayed in the game after that and didn’t allow too much more damage, but Wade LeBlanc wasn’t allowing any damage for Seattle, twirling seven shutout innings. The Mariners pulled to four and a half games of the A’s for the second Wild Card. Oakland remains two and a half back of Houston in the AL West.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: The Dodgers came into this big series hot but the Dbacks cooled them down and pushed their lead over L.A. back to two games. All of Arizona’s runs came on a three-run homer from David Peralta in the fifth inning. Manny Machado hit a solo shot in the sixth but that’s all Robbie Ray would allow on the game and five Snakes relievers finished off the night for him.

Padres 3, Rockies 2: Arizona gained a game on the Rockies too, who they now lead by a game and a half, thanks to a two-out, 13th inning walkoff homer from Franmil Reyes. The game featured only nine total hits between the teams, with the Rockies having only three all night. Again, 13 innings. There were 13 pitchers too. That walkoff jack was cool, but sometimes I wonder if baseball isn’t broken lately.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.