Associated Press

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

13 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mariners 10, Yankees 1:  Yusei Kikuchi was fantastic, tossing no-hit ball into the sixth and allowing only one run into the eighth inning, but the talk of the game was the pine tar YES cameras showed that he had slathered on the underside of the brim of his hat. As is usually the case, no one seems to care too much about it because (a) the claim by almost everyone is that pine tar use is a good thing because it keeps pitchers from losing control of the ball and imperiling hitters; and (b) pitchers from all teams use the stuff, so if the Yankees barked about Kikuchi’s use of it, someone may bark about Yankees pitchers using it down the line. All of which means that we have a system where “everyone does it and it’s fine” except sometimes, when someone is being super obvious about it someone complains and Major League Baseball suspends them, like it did to Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda several years ago. Which, as I argued back then, is a dumb way to handle all of this. Either make it legal and treat it as such or keep it illegal and treat it as such. This middle ground of “it’s illegal, but fine, but just don’t be too obvious about it” is no way to run a railroad.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 1: One one in the bottom of the 11th, tie game, and Trey Mancini smacked a fly ball to deep center field that looked for certain to be a walk-off solo home run. Jackie Bradley Jr., however, made one of the absolute best home run robberies you will ever see:

The new life gave room for an Andrew Benintendi homer in the 12th that won the game for Boston. Chris Sale didn’t figure in the decision but he allowed only one run over eight innings and struck out 14 O’s batters.

Diamondbacks 3, Rays 2: Wilmer Flores drove in the winning run with a two-out RBI single in the 13th but the real hero here was recently-demoted reliever Archie Bradley who, after several meltdowns this year, came into this one and tossed three scoreless innings in relief to get the Dbacks into the 13th. Big day for Archies yesterday.

Rangers 9, Pirates 6: It was pretty cool of Josh Bell to hit a 472-foot homer into the Allegheny River, but Hunter Pence‘s pinch-hit, game-tying grand slam in the eighth, followed by a three-run ninth inning rally capped by a Rougned Odor two-run blast gave Texas the game. Every spring we see aging veterans take minor league deals with new teams to avoid the scrap heap and talk about their “new swing” or whatever. So rarely do those guys do anything. Pence, however, is proving an exception. He’s hitting .344/.411/.656 and is on pace for 24 homers and 100 RBI on the season. What a comeback.

Brewers 7, Nationals 3: Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas homered in the first couple of innings, staking Brandon Woodruff and the Brewers to an early 6-0 lead and frankly nothing *gestures generally at the Nationals* here makes anyone think they’re coming back from that. Manny Pina also homered for the Brewers, who swept Washington, who in turn have lost four in a row.

Indians 5, White Sox 3: José Ramírez hit a walkoff jack on a 3-1 pitch with two outs off of Kelvin Herrera:

And that was that.

Phillies 5, Cardinals 0: Jered Eickhoff tossed eight scoreless, allowing only three hits, and César Hernández homered, doubled and drove in three. The Phillies take two of three from the Redbirds and win their fifth in their last seven games. With everyone else in the division struggling of late, the Phillies have built a 3.5 game lead in the NL East, which is the second largest division league in baseball at the moment.

Padres 3, Mets 2: Hunter Renfroe hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh — his third dinger in four games — and Manuel Margot robbed Pete Alonso of a homer of his own on this grab:

Maybe that’s not Jackie Bradley Jr. sweet, but it’s sweet all the same.

Twins 9, Blue Jays 1: Jorge Polanco had five hits, including a two-run home run, C.J. Cron had four hits, including a two-run homer of his own, Jonathan Schoop went deep and Kyle Gibson struck out a career-high 11. Minnesota’s woodshedding of the Jays in this three-game series was complete and total, outscoring them 20-1.

Tigers 10, Angels 3: Ronny Rodriguez hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the first inning, hit an RBI single in the third, and hit a run-scoring double in the fifth to drove in a career-high four runs. That backed Matt Boyd who allowed a leadoff homer but no other runs in six innings of work.

Cubs 3, Marlins 2: A Jose UrenaKyle Hendricks pitching duel was forgotten by the time this one went to extras and the story of the game ended up being offense, in the form of a Jason Heyward walkoff homer that just made it into the basket above the ivy in left field:

And this was fun too. Watch Anthony Rizzo let this sure out bunt/fly fall in order to make the double play:

UPDATE: I had a bit in here about the infield fly rule before but I’m a moron and didn’t realize there wasn’t a force at third so that doesn’t apply. Whatever. You try processing the infield fly rule at 5:45AM. It’s hard enough to do it during normal hours.

Astros 9, Royals 0: Michael Brantley hit two homers and Brad Peacock dominated the Royals, striking out 12 and allowing only three hits in seven innings of shutout ball. Houston got dingers from Carlos Correa and George Springer as well. Brantley is hitting .340/.386/.603 and is on a 39-homer pace. Nope, the Indians couldn’t have used him, no sir-ee.

Athletics 5, Reds 4: Unless I missed one, Stephen Piscotty hit the third walkoff homer of the night, this one in the bottom of the 13th.

Piscotty also had an RBI single, Jurickson Profar homered for the second straight game and Ramón Laureano had three hits. After getting no-hit and walked-off in the first two games of the series I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Reds today.

Dodgers 9, Braves 4: Enrique HernandezMax Muncy and Justin Turner went deep as the Dodgers sweep the Braves and outscore them 23-7 in the process. Clayton Kershaw wasn’t super sharp in the process of winning the game but he didn’t have to be given how the Dodgers bats beat the Braves into a thick, pasty goo.

Giants vs. Rockies — POSTPONED:

You’re old enough some people say
To read the signs and walk away
It’s only time that heals the pain
And makes the sun come out again
It’s raining again
Oh no, my love’s at an end
Oh no, it’s raining again
Too bad I’m losing a friend
La, la, la, la, la, la, la

Rays beat Mets 8-5, clinch 1st AL East title in 10 years

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) Confetti instead of champagne. Silly string instead of beer.

The Tampa Bay Rays, long accustomed to doing more with less, figured out a way to maximize the division-clinching celebration they were allowed to enjoy during a 2020 season shortened by the coronavirus.

Randy Arozarena homered twice and the Rays clinched their first AL East title in 10 years Wednesday night with an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets.

“I’m completely dry right now, which I’m not a huge fan of,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, the longest-tenured Rays player, said with a grin. “But you have to adapt to what we’re asked of.”

With teams instructed to celebrate in a muted and socially distant style, the Rays went old school – or maybe elementary school – with their clinching party.

The team filed slowly onto the field after Nick Anderson fanned Andres Gimenez for the final out. A couple of players shot off canisters filled with confetti that eventually dotted the grass and dirt at Citi Field. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged before the Rays doused one another with silly string and lit some cigars in the visiting clubhouse.

Later, hooting and hollering could be heard from the visitors’ dugout.

“We’re little kids trapped in grown men’s bodies,” Kiermaier said.

Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe also went deep for the Rays to back Tyler Glasnow‘s six solid innings. Tampa Bay will be home at quirky Tropicana Field for a best-of-three first-round playoff series beginning next Tuesday.

It is the third division crown for the thrifty Rays, whose payroll this season is just over $28 million – more than only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Tampa Bay, which began play in 1998, also won the AL East, home of two big-spending powers in the Yankees and Red Sox, in 2008 and 2010.

“It feels great to win the division, no matter what division you’re in,” Kiermaier said. “But especially the American League East – it’s just a different animal.”

After missing a chance to clinch Tuesday, the Rays went into Wednesday again needing just a win or a Yankees loss against Toronto to lock up the division championship.

The Rays (37-20) broke a 2-all tie in the sixth on Arozarena’s two-run homer off Michael Wacha and pulled away, taking care of business themselves while New York was routed 14-1 by the Blue Jays.

“At the end of the day, a clinch is a clinch,” said Wendle, who homered in the second. “But to do it on a win – everybody’s kind of riding the high of winning the game along with the division. We didn’t want to see it come down to them losing a game.”

Tampa Bay also is closing in on wrapping up the top record in the AL and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Lowe, who had an RBI fielder’s choice in the third, hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Willy Adames added an RBI single later in the inning and Arozarena homered again in the ninth.

The insurance came in handy for the Rays when the Mets scored three times off Oliver Drake in the ninth – via an RBI groundout by Robinson Cano and a two-run homer by Todd Frazier – before Anderson closed the door.

“I think we had the game pretty much in control (and) certainly recognized what was going on in Buffalo, but I don’t know if you can ever prepare for a moment like that – it’s pretty special,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Glasnow (5-1) allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

Gimenez and Dominic Smith homered off Glasnow in the final home game of the season for the Mets, whose long-shot playoff hopes were further damaged with the loss. New York began the day 2 1/2 games out of an NL wild-card spot.

“We still have a shot with the four games left and we’re competing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We’ve just got to do what we do – just keep fighting like we did in the ninth.”

Wacha allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four in six innings.

STABLE SHIRT

Rays pitcher Charlie Morton sported a T-shirt picturing a stable of horses as he spoke with reporters during a pregame Zoom call. Morton did little to discourage the notion the shirt was inspired by Cash’s viral rant earlier this month, when he declared the Rays have “a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph” after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw near Mike Brousseau’s head in the ninth inning Sept. 4.

“The stable shirt?” Morton said. “It was in my locker last week and I like horses.”

With a grin obviously growing even behind his Rays mask, Morton said he rode horses as a kid.

“So I was ecstatic to see this shirt in my locker and I wore it,” he said.

As for the fireballers on the Rays’ pitching staff?

“We’ve got some guys that throw really hard,” Morton said.

ANOTHER LOSING SEASON

The loss guaranteed the Mets (25-31) will finish with a sub-.500 record for the ninth time in the last 12 seasons – a total matched or exceeded only by the Chicago White Sox (nine), Miami Marlins (10) and San Diego Padres (10). The White Sox and Padres have already clinched playoff spots and a winning record, while the Marlins are in second place in the NL East.

New York made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016 and went 86-76 last year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: LHP Jose Alvarado (shoulder, lat) is scheduled to throw batting practice to 3B Yandy Diaz (hamstring) and 1B Ji-Man Choi (hamstring) at Tropicana Field on Thursday. Cash said all three players are progressing and he hopes they are available for the playoffs. . Brousseau (oblique) missed a fourth consecutive game. Cash said he would have been available off the bench if needed

Mets: RF Michael Conforto (hamstring) returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing two games and went 0 for 4. . The Mets activated RHP Dellin Betances (lat), who last pitched Aug. 29, and optioned RHP Corey Oswalt to the alternate site.

UP NEXT

Rays: After a day off Thursday, Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to get his postseason tuneup in the opener of a series against the Phillies on Friday.

Mets: Rookie LHP David Peterson (5-2, 3.80 ERA) opens a four-game road series against the Nationals. Peterson struck out a career-high 10 against the Braves last Saturday.