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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 5, Dodgers 3: I get that taking Ronald Acuña out of the game for not hustling is a defensible thing — when a guy loafs you deal with it — but I love that someone asked Brian Snitker after the game if the move would put Acuña’s starting job in jeopardy. Dude, my homey here has almost single-handedly carried the Braves for the past month. He’s not gonna be a fourth outfielder. You have to hustle in baseball, that goes without saying, but the culture of hustle around baseball — which is a totally different thing, almost 100% perpetuated by fans, the press and talk radio hosts — is eye-roll-worthy at times.

Apart from Acuña’s stuff, Rafael Ortega hit a grand slam off of Dustin May to help Atlanta take two of three from the best team in baseball. Not a bad weekend, even with the lollygagging.

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: Jack Flaherty‘s scoreless innings streak was snapped at 23 innings, but he allowed only one run in five innings and was backed by homers from Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman to help the Cards earn a split with the Reds.  Aristides Aquino did not hit a homer. That’s normally not a noteworthy thing for a player, but in his case I think it is.

Rays 5, Tigers 4: The Tigers took a 4-1 lead into the eighth and, because absolutely nothing has gone right for them all year long, and especially of late, you knew they’d lose it. And they did. Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer in the eighth to bring the Rays to within one and Ji-Man Choi hit a pinch-hit two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to walk it off. At least the Tigers had some offense in this one after getting shut out on 24 strikeouts in 13 innings on Saturday. Only 12 strikeouts in nine on this day. Progress!

Mariners 7, Blue Jays 0: Yusei Kikuchi was highly-touted before this season began. It had seemed like a lot of empty touting as he’s been beaten around pretty good in 2019, and had gone nearly two months without a win while putting up an ERA well north of six over that time. He certainly put it all together yesterday, though, pitching a two-hit, complete game shutout on 96 pitchers which, yep, is a Maddux. I’d note that the Jays lineup was missing a couple of its big guns in Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but when a half dozen teams are mailing games in with sub-major league lineups all year [cough] Tigers and Orioles [cough], everyone gets credit for everything. Four homers were hit in support of Kikuchi’s effort, with Kyle Seager, Austin Nola, Tom Murphy and Keon Broxton going deep.

Padres 3, Phillies 2: Austin Hedges had four hits, including a tie-breaking homer in the seventh while Joey Lucchesi allowed two runs over six. “Hedges and Lucchesi” sounds like an 80s buddy cop or private eye show, by the way. Figure it came on after “Miami Vice” on Friday nights but never quite found an audience, even with the primo lead-in. It happened. I probably watched every one of those bad efforts to strike gold in “Simon and Simon” or “Hunter” territory. Remember “Sonny Spoon?” Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 1: Merrill Kelly pitched one-run ball into the sixth while Wilmer Flores and David Peralta homered. “Merrill Kelly,” by the say, sounds like the name of an actor who guest starred on the “Rockford Files.” One of those guys who played three or four different roles over the run of the show but no one noticed his different characters because (a) who the hell is Merrill Kelly anyway?; and (b) they used to make 22-23 episodes of those shows a year — none of this 8-episode prestige TV business we get now — and no one could keep track. In one Kelly played an old prison buddy of Rockford’s who is caught up in a murder investigation and you just know the cops aren’t gonna give a fair shake to the ex-con. In another he played a client who wanted Jim to follow his business partner around to see if he’s stealing from him but, in reality, he wanted to set Rockford up as a fall guy. That Merrill Kelly. He could play anyone.

In related news — in case you have not figured it out — I’ve been binging a lot of 70s and 80s detective shows lately. “Rockford Files” first and foremost because it’s the best. But also some “Columbo” and “Magnum P.I.” Ah, Cozi TV, where have you been all my life?

Astros 4, Athletics 1: Zack Greinke tossed seven innings of one run ball to pick up his 200th victory. 200 is, well, maybe not quite the new 300, but it’s definitely the new 250. I feel like, say, 240 is the new 300. Or we can just choose to not care about such totals, which is probably the best bet, but I know that a lot of folks will never let go of that kind of thing. Alex Bregmen hit a three-run homer. It was his 30th on the season. Thirty homers is the new 20 homers, by the way.

Angels 9, White Sox 2: Mike Trout and Albert Pujols got the day off but no worries for Los Angeles as Shohei Ohtani, Kole Calhoun, Matt Thaiss and Anthony Bemboom all homered to help the Angels take three of four from Chicago.

Rockies 7, Marlins 6: Nolan Arenado homered twice and Garrett Hampson hit a bases-loaded walkoff single in the bottom of the tenth to lead Colorado to the series sweep. The Rockies also take their fifth of seven on the season from Miami, giving it the victory in the 1993 Expansion Team Series, which is a thing at least in my mind.

Twins 6, Rangers 3: Jorge Polanco hit a tiebreaking bases-loaded triple in the eighth inning to help the Twins sweep the Rangers. Since they woke up in second place behind the Indians last week they have gone 5-1, all on the road. That’s a little bit of resilience I bet a lot of people didn’t think the Twins had in ’em after losing their big division lead.

Mets 11, Royals 5: Pete Alonso went 3-for-4 with a homer and an RBI double and scored three runs. That homer was his 40th, which sets the National League rookie record. The Mets take two of three from the Royals and remain in the thick of the Wild Card race, tied with the Brewers and Phillies, two games back of the second Wild Card-holding Cubs.

Nationals 16, Brewers 8: Washington led 13-0 after three, but a day after they scored 14 runs and lost you can understand why they may not have wanted to let up on the accelerator. The Nats hit eight homers in this one. Two by Juan Soto and Brian Dozier, and one each by Matt Adams, Víctor Robles, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon. Eaton had a two-run triple as well. Washington has won six of seven. The Brewers have lost four of six.

Indians 8, Yankees 4: Mike Clevinger tossed five shutout innings, striking out ten and won his seventh straight decision and CC Sabathia . . . did not. Mike Freeman hit a three-run homer and a couple of doubles. Oscar Mercado homered and drove in three runs and Francisco Lindor went deep. Love me some CC Sabathia. I think he’ll make the Hall of Fame or come damn close to doing so. But it’s probably a good thing this is his last year because he doesn’t have it anymore.

Red Sox 13, Orioles 7: Baltimore had a 6-0 lead after three but, well, it’s Baltimore. The red hot Rafael Devers went 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and four RBI. He’s 20-for-37 with 12 extra-base hits and 14 RBI in his last eight games. The Sox scored 13 unanswered runs between the third and seventh innings. J.D. Martinez had three hits and two RBI and Sam Travis hit a solo homer for the Red Sox. Boston has won five straight. The Orioles have lost seven in a row and 12 of 13. They are a minor league team who heisted a major league team’s uniforms, basically.

Cubs 7, Pirates 1: Quintana, man. That creep can roll. That he did it in front of a bunch of little leaguers makes it weirder if you know the context of that line, but from what I hear we’re going to get some retconning of the whole Quintana character anyway, so we can probably let that go. Anyway, José Quintana — not Jesus — tossed seven shutout innings while Nicholas Castellanos, Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo homered and the Cubs won in a romp. Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you. Or the Cub does. I dunno.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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Here’s where we stand:

  • The Indians salvaged one in their three-game series against the Twins, but losing two of three means that the Tribe is back four and a half for the AL Central lead with two weeks to play;
  • The A’s won again — they’re rolling — and the Rays lost, putting Oakland a game and a half up on Tampa Bay in race for the first Wild Card, with Cleveland trailing Tampa Bay by one and a half;
  • The Nats’ win keeps them one and a half up in the first NL Wild Card slot. Chicago and Milwaukee both won while the Mets and Phillies both lost to keep the Cubs up a game on the Brewers for the second Wild Card, the Mets three and a half out and the Phillies four and a half back.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 6, Phillies 3: Christian Vázquez homered twice, one of which was a grand slam, accounting for five of the six Boston runs. They sweep the two-game series and have won three in a row overall. That’s nice, but I think the AP gamer’s mention that “Boston began play on Sunday trailing Tampa Bay by 10 games for the AL’s second wild card” is a tad superfluous at this point. Maybe everyone forgot how to talk about the Red Sox playing almost completely meaningless games?

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 4: Randal Grichuk homered twice and knocked in four as the Jays win on a day when both teams made it a bullpen game. At least on this day the Toronto bullpen was better, though the Yankees aren’t totally sad here seeing as though both Dellin Betances and Jordan Montgomery made their season debuts. Montgomery didn’t pitch too well. Betances threw only eight pitches but still struck out two dudes.

In addition to the Yankees being in Toronto this past weekend, so too were my parents, as they are on a ten-day driving vacation around Canada. I’m watching their cat and getting their mail and stuff. My dad called me yesterday to tell me that “the traffic in Toronto is TERRIBLE” and to ask, rhetorically, “how in the hell do people deal with the metric system?” Given that my dad has spent the vast majority of his 76 years on this planet living less than 100 miles from the Canadian border — and much of that living within bike-riding distance — given that he has traveled into and through Canada many, many times, and given that he spent his entire career in a scientifically-oriented field, neither Canada nor the metric system should be all that disturbing to him, so I’m gonna chalk it up to age. And that’s the case even if traffic in Toronto is terrible.

Now, where were we? Ah, baseball:

Indians 7, Twins 3: The Indians salvaged one in the three-game series and now trail the Twins in the Central by four and a half games, but with no more head-to-head matchups between these two they really needed a sweep or at least two of three. Roberto Pérez hit a three-run homer as part of a four-run rally in the sixth. Eddie Rosario homered twice from Minnesota and Miguel Sanó and LaMonte Wade Jr. went deep as well. Rosario’s first was his 30th on the year and now the Twins have four guys who have hit at least that many this season. They’re the first team since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies to have pulled that off.

Nationals 7, Braves 0: The Braves clinched a postseason spot on Saturday but you can’t blame this one on a hangover lineup as just about all the regulars started. They just got whupped. Aníbal Sánchez spun a beauty against his old mates, allowing only three hits over seven shutout innings. Howie Kendrick homered and drove in three.

Orioles 8, Tigers 2: The second-worst team in baseball takes two of three from the worst team in baseball. Seems about right, I suppose. Probably a “victory” for the Tigers, though, right? As it gets them closer to the number one overall pick. A top overall pick all manner of teams who have been excellent for years haven’t had in decades, so maybe tanking in baseball is dumb. I dunno. I don’t know much about Spencer Torkelson. Maybe he’s the one player who can single-handedly turn a franchise around. Anyway, Asher Wojciechowski won for the first time in eight starts, allowing two runs and eight hits in five innings. Rio Ruiz hit a tie-breaking homer. Less than two weeks to go of this cursed season for each of these teams.

Astros 12, Royals 3: An unsurprising sweep. Josh Reddick hit a two run homer, had five hits and drove in three on the afternoon. Abraham Toro drove in three as well. Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer. Yuli Gurriel hit a solo shot. It was the Astros’ 98th win, which ties them with the Yankees for the most in the bigs.

Brewers 7, Cardinals 6: The Brewers were down 4-3 and were down to their final strike in the top of the ninth inning when Ryan Braun smacked a grand slam to give them a three-run margin. It’d be a margin they’d need, too, as the Cards rallied for two themselves in the bottom of the ninth before coming up just short. All three of the baserunners Braun knocked in via that salami drew walks, by the way. That’s the kind of thing that takes years off a manager’s life. It was Milwaukee’s ninth win in ten games.

Watch Braun go yard:

Cubs 16, Pirates 6: A three game sweep thanks to 16 runs yesterday — and 47 runs in the three games — is pretty crazy, but losing Anthony Rizzo to a sprained ankle is rough stuff. Kris Bryant homered twice and Ian HappKyle Schwarber and Jonathan Lucroy each went deep themselves. The Cubs are hanging on by one game over the Brewers.

The Pirates, meanwhile, maybe committed the worst error of the season in this one:

 

Athletics 6, Rangers 1: Sean Manaea tossed six shutout innings and also forgot both the buttons to his jersey and an undershirt:

Hey, that chest piece ain’t gonna show off itself. Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman each homered. Neither of them decided to go with the 70s swinger look, however. Our loss.

Rockies 10, Padres 5:  Ryan McMahon homered twice and drove in four to give the Rockies the sweep and their fifth win in seven games. It was the Padres’ 81st loss, ensuring a non-winning record on the year. Which, yeah, will be a losing record given that they’re highly unlikely to win their final 13 games. The future looks bright but the present is still dim for San Diego.

Giants 2, Marlins 1: For non-divisional opponents it sure feels like these guys have played each other 19 times this year. Alas, it was only six, but the mind is a funny thing sometimes. Johnny Cueto tossed five shutout innings in his second strong start after coming off the injured list. Mauricio Dubón homered. Mike Yastrzemski scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Angels 6, Rays 4: Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and drove in four on the day. The old man still’s an artist with the Thompson. Sometimes anyway. The Angels snapped a six-game losing streak. They also lost Mike Trout for the remainder of the season after learning that he’d need foot surgery, but it’s been a hell of a season for him, he should still win the AL MVP, even if a bunch of columnists crank out columns to the contrary this week that, secretly, they don’t even believe themselves.

Reds 3 Diamondbacks 1: Eugenio Suárez hit two of three Cincinnati homers to tie him with Pete Alonso for the MLB lead at 47. The two RBI also gave him an even 100 on the year. I think Suárez is a hell of a player, but I also think that we’ll look back at 2019 and its insane home run rate and hold up the 50 homers or whatever he ends up with as a symptom of the broader disease. He’ll be the 1987 Brook Jacoby of the New Rabbit Ball Era. Even if he’s a better player than Brook Jacoby was.

Mariners 11, White Sox 10: Chicago was up 10-5 after seven and a half when Kyle Seager singled in a run to make it 10-6, Kyle Lewis hit a three-run bomb to make it 10-9 and then Mallex Smith singled in a run to tie it up. After the M’s held serve in the top of the ninth José Ruiz of the White Sox gave up two singles — one of them to Lewis — and then intentionally walked a guy to load the bases with one out. He got Tom Murphy down one ball and two strikes, Murphy worked the count full and then ball four gave the M’s a walkoff walk. Lewis finishes his first week in the bigs having gone 9-for-25 with four homers, two doubles and nine driven in in six games. Not too shabby.

Dodgers 3, Mets 2: Zack Wheeler pitched brilliantly for seven innings and the Mets led 2-1 into the eighth, but they couldn’t hold it beyond that. Chris Taylor doubled in Jedd Gyorko to tie it up at two and, an inning later, Gyorko singled in Kiké Hernandez to put the Dodgers over. L.A. takes two of three in a series the Mets really needed to win.

Two weeks to go. Every game looms large for the contenders now.