And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

MLB scores and highlights
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And we’re back with the MLB scores and highlights.

When last this feature ran. . .

  • The Cardinals were clinching the NL Central by beating the Cubs;
  • Jacob Faria of the Brewers threw a wild pitch in the bottom of the 13th inning of a game that, because of that Cards win, became meaningless, making me wonder if Milwaukee actually threw the game;
  • The Red Sox’ pen blew Eduardo Rodrírguez’s potential 20th win of the season;
  • Bruce Bochy managed his last game for the Giants which inspired me to trace his baseball Kevin Bacon factor all the way back to Lip Pike of the 1871 St. Louis Brown Stockings of the National Association;
  • The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, won their eighth straight heading into the postseason, at which point I said it didn’t matter because “momentum is crap,” which shows you what I know; and, finally;
  • I, for the 236th time, give or take, made the *chews meat* “one chance in three” “Hunt for Red October” joke in reference to a meaningless Reds-Pirates game.

Which is to say, things were pretty dang normal on September 30, 2019, when last a proper And That Happened graced your screen. Needless to say nothing is normal now.

Since baseball went away — real, regular season baseball, not that interesting tournament that is the ever-expanding postseason — the world went and got itself in quite a fix. Some of it born of tragedy, but resulting in the good that is America being forced to finally wake up from its horrible history and, hopefully, meaningfully and lastingly embrace the idea that racial justice is an absolute good and that Black Lives Matter.

Some of it has been a seemingly never-ending hellscape of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, most of them needlessly. I hope you and yours has been safe and healthy during all of this. So far, for me, things have been OK too, even if all of this caused me to spew about 122,000 words of angst and anger during the offseason. Which is understandable, right? You gotta keep busy in the offseason. As the great Rogers Hornsby once said:

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and watch the entire goddamn world go up in flames and do whatever I can to keep what’s left of my sanity as it happens while praying something approaching normality returns.

Or words to that effect.

As of last night, however, something approaching normality has returned. Major League Baseball. Games that count. Yes, we made it to the 2020 season somehow. It wasn’t pretty, but we made it.

They played two games last night. They’ll play 14 more games today. It’s a baseball season, dang it, and even if it’s messed up in about eleventeen different ways, it’s something that we can enjoy, even if we have to put some existential blinders on for three hours a night in order to enjoy it.

That’s what we’re going to attempt to do here, in this space, for the 60 games that they’ve decided to call the 2020 regular season. You have angst. You damn well know that I do too. But in this space, to the extent possible and practicable, we’re going to try to focus on the two to fifteen baseball games which take place each night and we’re going to try to talk about them as if they’re happening in a world that is not as thoroughly broken as our world seems to be at the moment.

And, of course, we’re gonna make dumb, nerd dad-level pop culture references and generally fart around.

Do you think we can do that? I don’t know. I’m not sure even I can do that. But dammit, I’m gonna try. And I’m gonna start right now.

Here are the MLB Scores and Highlights:

Yankees 4, Nationals 1: 2020 can’t even get Opening Night right. Not that the thunderstorms that passed through Washington are anyone’s fault but God’s or the universe’s or whatever it is you believe controls such things. Whatever the case, the game went on long enough to be official, and the Yankees have to be pretty happy with how it went. Their new ace, Gerrit Cole, only gave up the Adam Eaton dinger and otherwise looked like the man they’re giving all their money to. The two guys they really, really need to stay healthy for that deep playoff run they’re counting on — Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge — looked good too, with Stanton hitting that first inning moon shot of a dinger off of Max Scherzer and Judge going 2-for-3. I picked Scherzer to win the Cy Young in yesterday’s season predictions so I was a bit cranky to see him get lit up like this, but after the game he said he didn’t seem to mind:

“I’d rather be playing baseball than not. That’s the way I look at it. All the things we can get negative about and cry about, I’m just not going to do it.”

If 2020 gives us anything, it’ll give us guys keeping things in perspective, I imagine.

Dodgers 8, Giants 1: A day after signing the contract that’ll keep him in Los Angeles until I’m like 60 years old — and, because of deferrals, will pay him until I’m 72 —  Mookie Betts went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, the second of which came with the bases loaded during the Dodgers’ big seventh inning. Not the best day in the box score, but the journey of $365 million begins with a single step. A guy who, depending on the progress of top prospect Gavin Lux, may not be in Los Angeles even this time next year, Enrique Hernandez, went 4-for-5, hitting two RBI singles when the game was close and a two-run homer to put it well out of reach in the seventh. Five RBI in all for Kiké.

Everyone else plays today. Enjoy the good moments while you can, folks.

(Box Scores)

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.