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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here’s where we stand:

  • The Rays lost and the A’s and Indians won, putting Oakland up two in the top AL Wild Card slot and Tampa Bay up a mere half game over Cleveland in the second;
  • The Nats, Brewers, Phillies and Mets won but the Cubs lost, putting Washington up a game and a half in the top NL Wild card slot, Milwaukee and Chicago are tied for second, and Philly and New York are both four back;
  • Minnesota won, maintaining its five-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central;
  • St. Louis lost, dropping its lead in the NL Central to only two games over the Cubs and Brewers

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 3, Padres 1: The Brewers have won 11 of their past 12 games, including seven of their past eight since Christian Yelich‘s season-ending injury. Men plan, God laughs. Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas homered. I think the 2015 Royals are gonna win it all again, folks.

Dodgers 7, Rays 5: Corey Seager drove in four runs and Cody Bellinger knocked in two in a three hour, forty-three minute double bullpen game in which 16 pitchers were used. People should go to prison for this kind of thing.

Giants 7, Red Sox 6: Fifteen innings, sure, but twenty-four pitchers were used in this one and it went five hours and fifty-four minutes. If people should go to prison for the Dodgers-Rays game people should be lethally injected for this one. I mean, at least the Dodgers and Rays are good teams. Lord have mercy.

Then again, was it really a baseball game? I’ll admit I didn’t watch any of it, but based on the coverage I saw all day it was a six-hour exercise in people reminding us that Mike Yastrzemski is Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson and that Carl Yastrzemski was a good player for the Red Sox once. I haven’t seen this much obvious, mildly interesting personal color pounded into the ground for a sporting event since I learned that Jerome Bettis was from Detroit or, at the very least, that the Harbaughs were brothers. Yastrzemski homered in this one, saving the bacon of every scribe who had to write a gamer off of this and, absent some in-game Yastrzemski angle, would’ve had to somehow capture a fifteen inning, twenty-four pitcher, six-hour game in an 800-1000 word story.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go get a priest to cast the demons out of this cursed box score. Wake me up when September ends.

Blue Jays 8, Orioles 5: Cavan Biggio hit for the cycle. He’s also the son of a Hall of Famer, by the way. He even played a series in his famous dad’s home city of back in June and, while that was a while ago, I don’t seem to recall the full-court press in the media that the Yaz family got. I guess that’s the difference between Boston’s and Houston’s respective press contingents. Anyway, Biggio, struck out in the first inning, but hit a two-run homer in the third, a single in the sixth, a double in the eighth, and a triple in the ninth, giving him four RBI on the evening.

Reds 4, Cubs 2: Yu Darvish struck out 13, including eight in a row at one point, but he also gave up four on a night when his mates could only scratch out two against Sonny Gray (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9K) and the Reds’ bullpen. Strikeouts are boring, besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls. They’re more democratic.

Yankees 8, Angels 0: The Angels trotted out a lineup that, Albert Pujols‘ presence notwithstanding, looked like they were on a February bus trip to Surprise to face Texas in a split squad tilt so, no, the outcome wasn’t much in doubt. Gleyber Torres hit a three-run homer to cap the game’s scoring in the fourth. Didi Gregorius hit a two-run double. Luis Severino came back for the Yankees and tossed four shutout innings. It’s the most inspiring return for an injured Yankee since Dellin Betances came back the other day and– wait a minute. This just in. Dear God, the Yankees are probably the most cursed 100+ win team ever.

Mariners 6, Pirates 0: On the bright side losing this game was not the worst thing that happened in Pirates baseball yesterday. Marco Gonzales allowed six hits in seven shutout innings, Omar Narváez and Austin Nola hit back-to-back jacks in the sixth and Shed Long went deep on the seventh and knocked in two on the day.

Indians 7, Tigers 2: If only Cleveland could play Detroit all the time. They won their fifteenth straight — 15! — over the Tigers last night. Adam Plutko got the win. He’s personally 4-0 against the Tigers this year. Oscar Mercado hit a solo homer. Jordan Luplow hit a pinch-hit triple that drove in two. Roberto Pérez had two hits and two RBI.

Phillies 5, Braves 4: Rhys Hoskins and José Pirela each hit two-run homers as Dallas Keuchel had a bad game for the first time in a while, allowing five runs on eight hits in five frames. Atlanta mounted a mini-comeback late but it fell short.

Twins 9, White Sox 8: Minnesota won on a bases-loaded walk-off plunking in the twelfth inning. If it had hurt Ronald Torreyes when the ball hit him would it have been a limp-off hit-by-pitch instead of a walkoff? Interesting philosophical question. The Twins were actually in a position to lose this one a couple of times, having given up two runs to the Sox in the top of the 12th but Marwin Gonzalez‘ two-run single tied things up before Torreyes got doinked. It was wild before that too. The Twins led 5-0 after three innings, but the White Sox tied it by the sixth. Chicago took the lead in the 11th inning too, only to see Mitch Garver hit a sac fly in the bottom half of that inning to send it to the twelfth. Minnesota’s magic number is seven.

Nationals 6, Cardinals 2: Howie Kendrick homered, doubled and singled and Víctor Robles knocked in two to back Patrick Corbin who struck out 11 and allowed only two unearned runs over six. As noted above, St. Louis leads the NL Central by only two games over the Cubs and Brewers now. The Nationals hold the NL’s top wild card by one and a half games over both of those teams. Both Cards and Nats fans in my mentions seem to think that they’re each gonna collapse. Probably a strong word — I don’t think you can call it a “collapse’ if it’s not, like, five games or more over the final couple of weeks — but I get their concern.

Astros 4, Rangers 1: Justin Verlander tossed six shutout innings to pick up his 19th win while Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman and Yordan Álvarez smacked dingers. The Astros need one win to notch their third straight 100-win season, their magic number to clinch a playoff berth/birth (I never get this one right; someone help me) is one and their magic number to clinch the AL West is three.

Mets 6, Rockies 1: Marcus Stroman pitched seven shutout innings while Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso hit dingers, all coming in the sixth inning to turn a 0-0 game into a 4-0 game and the rest was details.

Marlins 12, Diamondbacks 6: Miguel Rojas went 4-for-6 and knocked in six via two RBI doubles and two RBI singles. The Marlins had 17 hits in all. They have beaten Arizona in four of their six matchups this season. The Dbacks have gamely stayed on the fringes of the Wild Card hunt but if and when they fall short, they’re really gonna wish they had done better against the absolute worst team in the National League.

Athletics 2, Royals 1: Brett Anderson allowed one run over five but the A’s trailed 1-0 into the seventh. That’s when Matt Olson went deep to tie things up and then Seth Brown doubled in Mark Canha to put the A’s over. This one took two hours and thirty-two minutes with only seven pitchers being used. Do they even call that baseball?

Juan Soto steals the show, powering Nationals past Astros 5-4 in World Series Game 1

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Nationals outfielder Juan Soto stole the show on Tuesday night in Houston, going 3-for-4 with a double, a homer, three RBI, and a stolen base to power his team past the Astros 5-4 in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Astros jumped on Max Scherzer for two runs in the bottom of the first inning to open the scoring. Scherzer allowed the first two batters he faced to reach on a single and a walk, then struck out the next two batters before allowing a two-strike, two-out, two-run double to Yuli Gurriel. Given the way Gerrit Cole has pitched all year long, two runs seemed like plenty.

Cole did not have his best stuff on this particular night. Ryan Zimmerman answered with a solo home run to center field with two outs in the top of the second inning, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Juan Soto would absolutely obliterate a Cole offering for a solo homer of his own in the fourth inning, tying the game at two apiece. Soto became the fourth player in baseball history to hit a World Series home run before his 21st birthday.

The Nationals hung a three-spot in the top of the fifth against Cole, putting their first two batters on base thanks to a walk and a single. Adam Eaton brought home the go-ahead run with a line drive single to right field. Soto followed up by scorching a line drive off of the wall in front of the Crawford boxes to plate two more runs, padding the Nats’ lead to 5-2.

The two runs the Astros got in the first inning would be all they would get off of Scherzer, though they did make him labor in every inning. Scherzer ultimately threw 112 pitches over five innings, yielding five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.

Patrick Corbin worked a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out single. His usage out of the bullpen likely means he starts Game 4, not Game 3. Manager Dave Martinez handed the ball to hard-throwing right-hander Tanner Rainey for the seventh inning, but it didn’t work out. Rainey gave up a leadoff home run to George Springer to make it 5-3. Springer has now homered in five consecutive World Series games, breaking a tie with Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig to set a new major league record. Rainey got into yet more trouble, issuing back-to-back one-out walks to Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman, forcing Martinez to use Daniel Hudson a little earlier than anticipated. Hudson, however, was able to wriggle out of danger in the seventh.

Hudson wasn’t as fortunate in the eighth inning as the Astros continued to claw their way back. Pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker led off with a single, advanced to second base on a deep fly ball to center fielder Victor Robles. Springer brought Tucker home on a fly ball to right-center field that bounced high off of the fence, very nearly becoming a game-tying two-run homer. He settled for an RBI double. Hudson got José Altuve to fly out before handing the ball to lefty Sean Doolittle, who got Brantley to line out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Doolittle returned to the bump to close out the game. He struck out Bregman, got Gurriel to fly out to center, and Correa did the same to end the contest. Nationals take Game 1, 5-4 over the Astros, earning their first World Series victory in franchise history.

Cole, by the way, was still able to complete seven innings. The right-hander threw 104 pitches, allowing the five runs on eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He allowed more than one run for the first time this postseason, and more than two runs for the first time since August 28 against the Rays. The Astros lost a game he started for the first time since July 12 against the Rangers.

The Nationals, big underdogs entering the World Series, now have a 1-0 series lead over the Astros, successfully vanquishing Cole. The two sides will meet again for Game 2 on Wednesday night. Justin Verlander will oppose Stephen Strasburg.