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And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

Sep 22, 2010, 5:55 AM EDT

Congratulations to the Minnesota Twins: 2010 American League Central Champions

Twins 6, Indians 4; Athletics 7, White Sox 2:  These combined results hand the central division to Minnesota. The Twins lost their All-Star closer to Tommy John surgery in March. They lost their MVP candidate first baseman to a concussion in July. Their reigning MVP catcher’s OPS is down 150 points from a year ago. Going in and along the way there was much reason to doubt. In the end they become the first team to clinch. Congratulations 2010 Minnesota Twins, you defied expectations and adversity. This moment is yours.

Phillies 5, Braves 3: I’ll probably spend much of the winter wondering what might have happened if, before this pivotal series started, the Braves had managed to find (a) a starting pitcher who had reached puberty; and (b) an outfielder — one friggin’ outfielder — better than Nate McLouth, Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz and Rick Ankiel to play next to Heyward. But we must deal with the world as it is, not how we wish it would be, and the world is set up thusly: with the Phillies are the better team, 20-win Roy Halladay is the likely Cy Young Award winner and the the NL East title is now virtually assured of remaining in Philadelphia. And don’t look back, Atlanta, because somethin’ might be gainin’ on ya. Specifically . . .

Giants 1, Cubs 0: Matt Cain and Carlos Zambrano trade zeroes for six innings each, but Buster Posey comes through with a solo blast in the eighth. Good thing too, because . . .

Padres 6, Dodgers 0: Clayton Richard scattered, smothered and covered eight hits while shutting out the Dodgers. The Padres gained a game on the Braves in the wild card. The Dodgers, alas, were eliminated from playoff contention.

Diamondbacks 3, Rockies 1: Colorado, unfortunately, loses ground, falling 2.5 games behind the Giants and three off the wild card pace. Joe Saunders (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7K) must have had laser-like control last night, huh Carlos Gonzalez? “He was throwing balls everywhere and we were making it a lot easier on him because we were swinging at bad pitches.” Oh, well, in that case.

Yankees 8, Rays 3: The real Yankees starting lineup — which we haven’t seen much of lately — has returned this week, and with it the Yankees’ winning ways have as well. Funny how that works. This one was never really in doubt after a five-spot in the first, thanks in part to a Nick Swisher bomb. Oh and Jorge Posada may or may not have reached first base on a phantom hit by pitch. But really, I don’t have the energy to get worked up about this again so soon after last week’s Jeter thing. Maybe if it happened next week I’d muster some outrage at the outrage and play the frame-the-issue game and all of that again, but for now let’s all just pretend it never happened, OK?

Marlins 5, Mets 2: The Mets are officially eliminated from playoff contention. All of you who had paid for postseason ticket deposits may now apply for refunds.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 2: Break up the Pirates. Four in a row for Pittsburgh, their first four-game winning streak in over a year. Lately I have been making a habit of mentioning that the Cards have been losing to teams they shouldn’t be losing to, but I had no idea it was this bad. According to the game story, they’ve dropped seven straight series against sub-.500 teams.

Reds 4, Brewers 3: The Cardinals loss and the Reds win drops the magic number to four. The only negative here is seeing Jim Edmonds hurt himself on a home run trot. Stay down, champ! Stay down!

Orioles 9, Red Sox 1: Ty Wigginton hit a three-run homer in the seventh to put the O’s up 4-1, and then the Sox bullpen figured, eh, what the hell, and allowed five more. Four of those by Jon Papelbon, by the way, as he makes his impending non-tender easier and easier for everyone involved.

Blue Jays 5, Mariners 3: Three homers for the Jays. Ichiro went 4 for 4, putting him at 197 hits on the year. His 200-hit season streak is about all that’s left for anyone to check off a baseball to-do list in Seattle before putting things in storage for the winter.

Nationals 8, Astros 4: J.A. Happ threw six shutout innings and then the Houston bullpen allowed eight runs on eight hits over the next two. That’s special. And don’t look now but Chris Johnson was a triple short of the cycle!

Royals 9, Tigers 6: Detroit had a 3-0 lead after four but then gave up nine runs before a mini-rally in the ninth which made the final score look closer than the game really was.

Angels 2, Rangers 0: Ervin Santana with the five-hit shutout. I don’t think you can say “scattered” with five hits, though, which makes me sad because I was going to use another Waffle House menu item for this one like I did in the Padres-Dodgers recap. Alas.

  1. paul-e - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    Certainly the Angels would love to stick it to the Rangers. A couple a guys defected to the Rangers this year and Texas is playing mediocre ball like they normally do at the end of the season. Unfortunately, Anaheim is really crummy this year or it would be a great race.

  2. Kelly - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    If I could get my hands on Twins underoos, I would buy them just to say “underoos” as often as possible.

  3. Jonny5 - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    DUDE… Chris F. is a fortune teller. He knows things before they happen. SO BACK OFF!! MMMKAY. the Phills are a lock, and thome basically sucking in the playoffs is a lock too. Because he called the Phillies to win the NL east, like everyone else and their mother has. end sarcasm
    What I’m really trying to say is, it’s the playoffs baby!! it’s anyones game now!!! woo hoo! People become clutch that were never clutch before. People do things better than they ever have before, and people who usually shine, can take a big dump during the playoffs. It is what it is, and if I were a Twins fan, i’d be pretty optimistic about my teams chances right now. I mean they are the first lock for the playoffs afterall. BTW, I love Thome and hope he’s a machine in the playoffs.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Kelly, I may be instigating a little bit, but what got me started was the front cover of the newest Sports Illustrated where there is a big article by a great writer(Joe Pos) and it states “Jim Thome has the power to bring October Magic to Minnesota” So I figured, hey, Thome must be some kind of beast in October, right. Then I saw that he batted .222. And he had two really good series out of 13. So yes, while he is having a decent year, he has had much better years and done SQUAT in the playoffs. THAT’S where my questioning came in. Look, the Twinkies are a very good team every year, whether Thome is there or not. And I’ll say it again…I FREAKING LOVE JIM THOME!!! He was my favorite player when he was here for 3 years. He signed a ball for me that went striaght into the holder and hasn’t been touched since…it will be there until my greedy son decides to sell it after I move on. But all this talk about how he has the power to bring “magic” to Minnesota is a farce.

  5. Mr. Heyward - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    INSTIGATORS!!!! MOUNT UP! Fiorentino, if the Phils win the Series, I’ll buy you a coke. BUT, If the Braves win the series then you have to buy me a sizable stock in Coca-Cola, Inc. MMKAY? Since you are clearly a soothsayer when it comes to baseball, this bet should be a lock for you, no? My dinner invitation still stands.

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Mr. Heyward…I don’t really much like Beck, I’m too damn old for my son’s favorite band, Linkin Park, and I don’t have an RNC elephant…know where I can get one?? And as far as the tea party…I would like them a helluva lot more if they wouldn’t allow that windbag Sarah Palin be a spokesperson. I’d love to have some Center City cheesesteaks with you…but they make them with Filet Mignon and not the horsemeat that Gator is always talking about.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Hey man…why you dissing a fellow Phillies fan 😦 Kelly did have a good point about Roy’s awful performance in the World Series…however, he is still 4-0 with a 3.66 ERA in the postseason in general so that’s good, right?

  8. doctorfunke - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    to make it 9-0?

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Mr. Cerrano…er, I mean Mr. Heyward…if anyone but the Phillies win the National League, I will buy you a genuine Filet Mignon Philly Cheesesteak, with as much Yingling as you can consume. But if they make the series, you have to do the same for me.

  10. Mr. Heyward - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Sure do: (at least I got one right, but I still think you like dusty butt nuggets, or maybe I just like writing that). Now go buy flopsie for your son and burn those crappy Linkin Park albums and get him some good ‘ol Tupac or something…

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    LOOOOL good one…I was thinking more like 7-1 or 7-2 but I guess I wasn’t clear enough.

  12. Mr. Heyward - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Alright, deal. Although, in the awful event the Phils make the series then I’m getting you one of Chi-Town’s finest Italian Beef sandwiches and all the Goose Island you can drink. It’s not easy being an ATL fan in Chicago, but it’s worth it for the food and drinks. Either way, Yingling is a good brew and I look forward to chugging 12 in your face and then vomiting beef (or horse) on the nearest Phillies fan (if you’re lucky, that fan could be you)!

  13. Old Gator - Sep 22, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    I really didn’t expect to see the Feesh playing a meaningful game this late in the season, but I guess if you want to find meaning in the universe, like Sarte says, you gotta construct it in a vacuum. And Joeprodolsharklife Stadium is as close to a vacuum as nature will permit without the intercession of sophisticated apparatus. I expect to see an extensive article in the next issue of The Journal or Irreproducible Results arguing that, on the basis of data extrapolated from late season games at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium, vacuums are orange with a little blue.
    And yes, the Feesh were drawn back to the Strange Attractor (“GSA,” according to the Journal of Irreproducible Results Annotated Dictionary of Scientfical Terminations) for the twenty fourth time this season by the ruck in spacetime within which they have been floundering all season. The hypertrophic discharge with brought the conjucture was Gaby Sanchez’ eight inning three run dinger off the inexplicable Elmer ExtenZe.
    I saw the camera pan Jerry Manuel’s face a couple of times. He looked upset about something.

  14. Jonny5 - Sep 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Please take no offense, as i am a perpetual smartass. I was dissing you. But i diss on everyone that gives me a chance, and team affiliation grants you no mercy when it comes to this. I can’t even help myself, it’s compulsive. I will chug beer and cheer for the Phills with ya though.

  15. Dasher521 - Sep 22, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    In ’09, Cliff Lee’s stats for his last seven games; 2-4, 6.13 ERA. Halliday’s stats for his last seven games; 5-2, ERA

  16. APBA Guy - Sep 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    This is the west coast, Chris. Everyone is too laid back for hate, unless turf is involved. I think paul-e got it right, that the Angels are enjoying their spanking of the Rangers. Too bad Seattle has packed their bags and is just waiting for the final bell to ring. After Ichiro gets 3 more hits they may have nothing left at all, especially if they shut down King Felix, he who cannot be beaten (my theory: his arm has to get a little tired for that incredible movement to take effect on every pitch he throws. His velocity in April is 96-98, in Sept it’s 94-95. But that movement in August and September: he really is unhittable.) One good thing is the A’s keep running the New Big Three out there: Cahill, Anderson, Gio, with their ERA’s of 2.81, 2.83. and 3.36. They’re not giving up yet.

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