And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 8, Cubs 5: The Brewers dropped the first one in this series on Thursday and found themselves in must-win territory. They’ve navigated that territory pretty well since then, taking all three weekend games of the four-game set to pull to within two of Chicago for the second Wild Card. In this one Tyler Austin hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer during the Brewers’ five-run fourth inning. Before that Ryan Braun doubled in a run and Hernan Perez hit an RBI single. All of that damage came against Jon Lester, who coughed up eight runs in five and a third on the afternoon. The previous weekend Milwaukee took two of three at Wrigley. Then this three of four. They have a pretty soft schedule the rest of the way. If they pass Chicago and grab that Wild Card, it’ll because they got their work done head-to-head.

Phillies 10, Mets 7: The Mets were up three then down three, then almost tied it back up again before being down four and then three again and it only took, forever to get there. Four hours and twenty-nine minutes, in fact, making it one minute short of the longest nine inning game in National League history. Or, as it was put by our friend D.J.:

Maikel Franco, Scott Kingery and Adam Haseley all homered for Philly, who took two of three from the Mets and took advantage of the Cubs falling on their face in Milwaukee to pull to within two of the Cubs for the second Wild Card.

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 3: The Phillies and Brewers are behind the Dbacks, who stand only one and a half back of Chicago for that slot. They lost this one, though, as Eugenio Suárez hit two homers, with his eighth inning shot tying things up, after which pitcher/utilityman Michael Lorenzen knocked a walkoff double to give the Reds the victory. In 24 plate appearances this season Lorenzen is hitting .333/.417/.571 with a home run, five RBI, six runs scored, and three stolen bases. Send the fans home happy, Michael:

Nationals 9, Braves 4: Yan Gomes homered twice, Juan Soto went deep and Adam Eaton, Asdrúbal Cabrera each had three RBI and Max Scherzer allowed one run over six to pick up his first win since July 6. The Nats salvaged one in the four-game series and leave Atlanta trailing by nine games in the NL East rather than ten. I suppose that’s something. Atlanta’s loss puts an end their nine-game winning streak. The Nats may be all but out of the running for the NL East title, but they’re a solid three games up on the Cubs for the top Wild Card slot.

Rangers 10, Orioles 4:Nick Solak had three hits and four RBI, Ronald Guzman and Rougned Odor homered and the Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the hapless O’s. This was, apparently, the first time the Rangers took all four of a four-game series against the O’s in Baltimore in 37 years. Which sounds sort of impressive until you realize that they don’t play many four-game series against one another anymore given the unbalanced schedule and all of that. These two teams should play each other far more often, however, as I used to consider them somewhat interchangeable in the late 90s and early 2000s when both would score boatloads of runs, feature little if any decent pitching and trade Rafael Palmeiro back and forth between each other like little kids trading pink eye or head lice or something. In closing: eh, I dunno. The season has less than three weeks left now and a lot of these games are going to be meaningless, so get used to more of this kind of digressive riffing.

Rays 8, Blue Jays 3: Another four-game sweep. At this one mattered some, as the Rays are still trying to solidify their hold on a playoff spot. Tyler Glasnow came back and started this one, pitching for the first time in four months. He didn’t pitch much — only two innings as he eases back into shape — but he struck out five. Gave up two on a monster homer to Randal Grichuk. Let’s call it a work in progress.  Austin Meadows and Avisail García homered for the Rays, who have won five in a row and remain one game ahead of Oakland for the top AL wild card.

Marlins 9, Royals 0: Sandy Alcántara tossed a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits to K.C. batters while striking out eight. It’s Alcántara’s second shutout of the season, with the first coming back on May 19 against the Mets. That gives him sole possession of the lead in that category in the N.L. and ties him with Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito for the major league lead. That’s better than 2018 when 18 different pitchers tied for the big league league on shutouts with . . . 1.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 0: Jack Flaherty continues his torrid second half run, tossing eight innings of five-hit, ten-strikeout shutout ball. Flaherty has won six of his last eight starts. His second half ERA: 0.76.

White Sox 5, Angels 1: Danny Mendick and Jose Abreu homered to help the Sox avoid a three-game sweep. Mendick, Matt Skole and James McCann had two hits apiece. The homer was Mendick’s first in his career. Mendick debuted on Tuesday. I am really just looking for excuses to say “Medick” right now. It’s a solid name. Sounds like a secondary character in a Lew Archer novel:

“I was to meet a man named Mendick. A head-shrinker who was supposed to know something about Morgenstern’s erratic behavior before his disappearance. I didn’t think he’d talk to me, but I had nothing else to go on. Mendick’s waiting room looked nice at first glance, but there was a layer of dust on everything and all of the magazines on the side tables were four months out of date. He couldn’t afford a cleaning service or a subscription to “Look,” but the Cadillac in the lot out front — license plate, “Mendick” — looked high-dollar. Something didn’t add up. I gave my name as “Johnson” to the girl at the receptionist’s deck, picked up last October’s copy of “Sport” and looked to see if Larry Sherry still beat Early Wynn in Game 6.”

Astros 21, Mariners 1: Well, that was a good old fashioned ass-kicking, eh? Yordan Álvarez had three doubles and six RBI.  Jake Marisnick, George Springer, and Abraham Toro homered. Seven Astros with multiple hits on the day. Meanwhile Gerrit Cole tossed eight innings of one-run, one-hit ball while striking out 15. Talk about overkill. They could’ve given Martín Maldonado the start and still pulled this one out, I figure.

Indians 5, Twins 2:  Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor homered and Mike Clevinger won his tenth straight decision as the Indians take two of three from the Twins. Cleveland is still five and a half out, but they play the Twins again next weekend too, so they still have a puncher’s chance. More easily done is catching Oakland for the second Wild Card, whom they trail by one and a half.

Athletics 3, Tigers 1: Oakland, of course, had a fairly easy task this past weekend, as they got to play baseball’s worst team and beat them two out of three times. Sean Manaea easily tamed the Tigers, allowing one run on two hits while striking out ten in seven innings. This one was Detroit’s 100th loss on the season. I think teams that lose 100 should have clubhouse celebrations but I think that, instead of champagne, they should spray Yoo-Hoo at each other and then be prohibited from changing or showering until their plane lands in the next city. That’d have been one stinky flight from Oakland back to Detroit last night, eh?

Padres 2, Rockies 1: Thirteen pitchers appeared in this one and only three runs were scored. Someone ought to come up with some sort of ratio-based stat that quantifies all that. Though, being honest, I’m not sure if it’d be good or bad to have a high as opposed to a low ratio in such an instance. Someone smarter than me will figure it out. For this game, just know that the NL West’s two worst teams were tied at 1 after four and remained that way until Wil Myers walked it off with an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth.

Dodgers 5, Giants 0: This was Bruce Bochy’s last game in Los Angeles. As someone who has managed in the National League West for 25-straight seasons I’m guessing he has, like, doubled or tripled the number of games managed as a visitor in Dodger Stadium of the second guy on the list.  He is the all-time record holder for games won as a visiting manager too, of course, finishing his career at 107-108 at Chavez Ravine. Loss number 108 came thanks to Corey Seager hitting a three-run homer, Matt Beaty hitting a two-run shot and six Dodgers pitchers combining to toss a four-hit shutout.

Yankees 10, Red Sox 5: Gleyber Torres, Mike Tauchman and Aaron Judge each homered, which helped the Yankees break their franchise record for homers in a season. The old record — which was the major league record until the Twins broke it this year — was set last season. New York has taken two of three in this wraparound series that ends tonight. This win was also, apparently, was the final straw for Red Sox ownership with respect to Dave Dombrowski, who they fired after the game.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.