And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 7, Indians 1: Gerrit Cole allowed one over seven but struck out only four so I can only assume something is wrong with him. Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Yordan Álvarez each knocked in two with Bregman and George Springer each homering. Springer’s homer came in the first. Again: shocker. Cole has not lost since May 22. I can’t remember what I was doing and thinking and how I was living my life on May 22. It may as well be 1983 or something. New Indians Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes made their debut. Puig doubled and went 1-for-3 with a stolen base and Reyes went 1-for-4.

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: Will Smith — the Dodgers’ Will Smith, not the Giants’ Will Smith, and unlike yesterday, this morning I think I got the link to the right player — came to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth with his guys down 2-1 to the other guys. Then he did this:

The best part of that is Padres reliever Trey Wingenter pointing straight up like he’s gonna help his fielder track it down. Which, I dunno, maybe off the bat to him it looked like a popup. It’s kinda how it looked from the TV angle. We are in the juiced ball age and all manner of struck balls that, a couple of years ago, woulda fallen short of the wall seem to be sailing over. Rules are rules, though, and if the ball goes over the fence it’s a homer and this one went over the fence to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead and after that it was all just details. Smith, by the way, is hitting .349/.396/.884 with six homers in 14 games as a big leaguer.

Marlins 5, Twins 4: The Twins blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth thanks to some ineffective relief from the newly-acquired Sam Dyson, with Neil Walker‘s two-run single tying things up. Then Harold Ramírez smacked a homer in the bottom of the 12th to give the Marlins the walkoff win. Apparently Dyson was working on three hours sleep after the trade and travel. Maybe give him a day to unwind from travel, Rocco? Let him take his shoes off in his hotel room and make fists with his toes and chill out and all of that?

Phillies 10, Giants 2: J.T. Realmuto singled, doubled and hit a three-run homer and César Hernández and Roman Quinn each went deep. Jake Arrieta allowed two runs over four but left early due to a wonky elbow. They’re saying bone spur. I suppose we’ll take their word for it.

Mets 4, White Sox 0: Zack Wheeler tossed seven innings of four-hit ball and Robinson Canó homered and doubled in a run. What’s the what with the Mets lately, you guys? Seven straight wins and now four back of the Wild Card. Do I think they’ll do it? Eh, wouldn’t bet the farm. But they’re downright frisky at the moment.

Athletics 5, Brewers 3: The Brewers clung to a 3-2 lead in the eighth with Josh Hader on the mound but Matt Chapman got the best of him, smacking a two-run homer. That’s the second time in three games against Oakland that Hader has given up a dinger and a lead. Chad Pinder went deep as well and Mark Canha had three hits, as the A’s took their fourth in their last five games. Or their fourth in their last eight. Depends on how you wanna look at it. End points are useful tools of propaganda, you know. In the long run we’re all dead. Sorry, this is getting dark. Let’s move on.

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 2: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit two homers and drove in four and the Jays hit five in all, with Randal Grichuk, Danny Jansen and Billy McKinney going deep for the blue birds. Wait, no one ever calls them the blue birds. Ah, who cares, let’s start now. Trent Thornton got the start and allowed one over six while enjoying far more run support than he’ll get for most of the rest of his career. Not trying to be pessimistic. Just stating facts.

Rays 9, Red Sox 4: Andrew Cashner started for Boston and got smacked around good. Smacked around so good that even Peter Gammons, who is generally not a shade-thrower, is offering some low-key bile on Twitter this morning:

I think the “Boston’s only acquisition” is the kicker there. It’s the equivalent of “I’m not even mad, just disappointed.” Not what you tend to see from old Gammo these days. Anyway, Mike Zunino and Austin Meadows homered while Brendan McKay pitched into the sixth, allowing three runs to give the Rays their fourth straight win and a three-game sweep of the Sox. Tommy Pham had two RBI singles and Jesus Aguilar singled and scored twice. Xander Bogaerts hit two homers in a losing cause. Boston has lost four straight. 

Cardinals 8, Cubs 0: Jack Flaherty tossed one-hit, shutout ball for seven innings while striking out nine, Matt Wieters hit a three-run shot and José Martínez, Kolten Wong and Yairo Muniz each had RBI singles for the Cardinals. St. Louis takes two of three and takes sole possession of first place in the Central from the Cubbies.

Braves 4, Reds 1: A rain-shortened game but that’s fine because it allowed me to turn it off an watch “L.A. Confidential” for the 50th time or whatever. Max Fried allowed one over six while Freddie Freeman and Adam Duvall homered. For Duvall that’s four homers in the last three games. I admire him as a hitter – particularly his adherence to violence to baseballs as a necessary adjunct to the job. Have you a valediction, boyo?

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.