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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Sep 21, 2012, 5:40 AM EDT

Nationals' Wang throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game 2 of their MLB National League baseball doubleheader in Washington

Nationals 4, Dodgers 1: Congrats to the Nats for clinching the first postseason birth for a D.C. team since 1933. Pour one out for Joe Cronin, Moe Berg, Lefty Stewart and Heinie Manush.

Reds 5, Cubs 3: And congratulations to the Reds too, who clinched their spot hours before the Nats did.  The Reds are the best team in baseball that no one has paid a lick of attention to all year. It’ll be awesome if they win the World Series and the guys who make those season retrospective videos have to hire ten extra interns to go back and see what happened with this club all year.

Cardinals 5, Astros 4: The sweep. Allen Craig with a three-run homer and Carlos Beltran with a two-run pinch hit double. The Cards remain two and a half ahead of Milwaukee and three ahead of L.A.

Royals 4, White Sox 3: Blown chance by the Sox to put some distance between themselves and the Tigers. Eric Hosmer drove in the winning run. Before that, though, Robin Ventura thought it was smart to intentionally walk Jeff Francoeur with two outs. Why anyone intentionally walks Jeff Francoeur is beyond me.

Athletics 12, Tigers 4: Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four to help the A’s salvage one. The Road Trip of Death continues today, as Oakland heads into New York.

Rays 7, Red Sox 4: Walkoff for B.J. Upton of the three-run homer variety. The Rays rallied for six in the ninth. The homer came off Vicente Padilla, but Andrew Bailey poured the gas on the kindling before he came in.

Brewers 9, Pirates 7: For the first time since May 29 the Pirates are below .500.  For the 20th time since 1992 it appears as though they’ll finish the season that way. Just a crazy fall after being sixteen above even earlier this season.

Phillies 16, Mets 1: Eight in the first inning off Hefner:

source:

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 7: A grand slam for Nick Swisher in the seven-run fourth inning and the recently-rejuvenated Ichiro drove in three.

Giants 9, Rockies 2: Two homers for the Panda. Here’s the Rockies team picture, taken a week or two ago, but still representing them accurately.

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 5: Bud Black used five pitchers in the ninth innings. FIVE. I would just like those folks who are advocates of the whole “Games matter more in September!” school of thought to acknowledge that a lot of bullcrap happens in games in September.

Indians 4, Twins 3: A bases loaded single by Casey Kotchman in the 10th gives it to the Tribe. The race for fourth place in the AL Central is all tied up. The excitement is palpable. It can be palped.

Rangers 3, Angels 1: Adrian Beltre was sick before the game but he played hero in the ninth with a two-run homer. Before that: a tremendous pitching duel between Yu Darvish and Zack Greinke.

  1. dondada10 - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    Congrats Nats and Reds.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:57 AM

      I’m puzzled as to why Wang is in the Nats photo, when he didn’t pitch in that game, but whatever.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:01 AM

        Stupid photo service didn’t have any pics from last night’s Nats game apart from pics of the Dodgers. Still wanted to lead with the Nats because their clinching was a big deal.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:08 AM

        Thanks for clarifying, C2. But, since I know you’re a Braves fan I have to interpret your choice of photo as a dig at the Nats! Conspiracy!!

      • chadjones27 - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:17 AM

        Should have used a pic os Strasburg

      • paperlions - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:29 AM

        Wow, I didn’t know Strasburg was an operating system. Cool.

      • bravojawja - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:03 AM

        Apple finally ran out of cats. Though they could have gone with Galarraga or Berkman.

      • Jeremy Fox - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:22 AM

        Yeah, Strasburg 2.0. The pre-surgery version was 1.0.

  2. proudlycanadian - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    Ichiro has been terrific lately. Has he been drinking from the Fountain Of Youth?

    • kiwicricket - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:44 AM

      By moving to New York, he has made himself several hours younger.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        take it away Grant Brisbee of the great McCovey Chronicles:

        There’s always something. There’s always something that makes the Yankees be the best team — or close to it — in baseball. There’s always something that shouldn’t happen that you expect to happen that shouldn’t happen that does. It’s not something that leads to a championship every season. Don’t be ridiculous. The baseball gods aren’t that obvious. It happens only ever four seasons or so.

        Honestly, I’m expecting a .350/.370/.430 finish with a couple of big playoff hits. Just because. There’s no supporting evidence. You’re still feeling it in yer bones, though. Of course you are. This scares you. It scares me, dammit.

        But analyze those BABIPs. Study those age/production curves. Dig through the annals of the Hall of Fame to find the proper comp. Whatever. Ichiro is going to be a thing for the Yankees — an anachronistic, unexpected, and perception-altering thing — and there isn’t a damned thing you can do to stop it.

        http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/7/24/3180182/ichiro-suzuki-trade-new-york-yankees-seattle-mariners

      • bigharold - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        No fountain of youth. It could very well be that in New York he’s not called upon to be the focus of the line up like he was in Seattle. In New York he’s surrounded by big bats so it’s harder to pitch around him.

        Or, .. there’s that whole “several hours younger” thing.

  3. deepstblu - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    Mets actually played the Phillies even for seven innings. Unfortunately for them, they were innings 2 through 8…For the second night in a row, lefthander Edgin faced Utley and Howard in the ninth. Instead of walk/game-winning homer, this time it went bases-loaded HBP/grand slam.

  4. randygnyc - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I was lucky enough to tune in to the red sox game during the bottom of the 9th. I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew bailey’s performance. Upton’s walkoff 3 run blast capped my delight as well as the many dozens of Rays fans in attendance.

    In other news, the Yankees offense came alive against the Jays. Otherwise, the game did nothing but convince me that Corey Wade does not belong on the Yankees roster. Sure he’d fit in on a dozen other teams, but that doesn’t mean he belongs in the major leagues. Anyway, I’m sure the blue jays can’t wait to get out of town. If they never see Ichiro again, it’ll be too soon for them.

  5. indaburg - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    Waking up in your house is fun!

    Great win for the Rays last night. It doesn’t mean much now, but it was refreshing to see them play with some pride and heart, like they actually cared.

    • indaburg - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:24 AM

      Ummm… what happened to the Pee-wee waking up link, Craig?

  6. philliesblow - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    Didn’t expect to start the day with a Heinie Manush sighting. Congrats to the Exp…… er, Nationals.

    Not a stellar day for Miggy leaving 3 on base but a hit keeps his average at .333 while the Anointed One posted another O-fer and left 4 on base. That said, I hope Trout blows up big time against the White Sox this weekend. A division title beats an MVP any day.

    Now, off to the golf course.

    • pauleee - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Jesus, has it really come to this? The Love/Hate cycle for a bright new star has condensed to less than a season? Can’t we all just sit back and enjoy the play of a kid who has played lights out all season, will be ROY and gather a fair share of MVP votes as well? Nope, apparently not. I have now seen the term “choke” used in the last few days and now the “Anointed One”.

      Don’t blame the kid because the media has decided to take his story and run with it. Let’s face it, Trout is the only reason the Angels are even on anyone’s radar (I was going to say west coast baseball – normally pretty much ignored – but it looks like we’ve got two playoff teams this year).

      What’s the matter PB? Mike didn’t return your calls?

  7. yankeesfanlen - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    Last night, within a four hour time frame, 34 runs were scored in NYC. Quite the clamor early and late 7 miles east
    Japanese press beginning to ask Beep-beep “What’s it like to have Ichiro as a teammate?”

  8. stex52 - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Cards came into town and did what Philly couldn’t: dispatch the also-ran and move on to bigger things. I hope the Cards do well; they will be my rooting interest for the playoffs. Bud Norris proves once again that getting the reputation of being a “killer” of one particular team is more a combination of luck and circumstance than a realistic appraisal of one’s talents.

    Sympathy to Pirates’ fans. The narrative in a year or so will just be another year of below .500. No one will remember the great hopes and the terrible swoon. No sympathy for management. But I feel for the fans.

    And congratulations to the Nats fans. But I have to say, I hope Houston’r rebuild doesn’t take as long.

  9. bravojawja - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    The Pirates want me to pull out the old Connells vinyl I think I have somewhere.

  10. workerandparasite - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Ventura walked Francoeur for a couple of reasons. First was he is like 4 for 9 lifetime or something lifetime vs. Jesse Crain who he would have faced. Second is he had Matt Thornton warm in the bullpen for a lefty lefty matchup against Hosmer and Thornton has been really good the last couple of weeks. Thornton had Hosmer 0-2 before he stuck his bat out and got one over the bag at the third for the winning hit.

    Of course maybe Ventura just overthought the whole thing and should have just remembered he was intentionally walking Jeff Francoeur but whaddaya gonna do, he had some decent reasons for doing it.

    • geoknows - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Jeff Francoeur has been intentionally walked nine times this year. Most of them have come batting in front of Eric Hosmer, who, as you may have noticed, has not exactly been the bomb this season, particularly against left-handed pitchers. In those instances it was done to get Hosmer into a left-on-left matchup. Not condoning it; just explaining why it has happened.

      FWIW, Robin Ventura has ordered four of those intentional walks (including two in one game in August). The first three times it worked.

  11. pw38 - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    The Rangers/Angels game was one of the best pitching duels I’ve seen in recent memory. Man was that a fun game to watch. Beltre is making a very strong case for consideration in the MVP voting. I think that loss last night might be a bigger gut punch to the Angels than the comebacker the Rangers did back in August. What a game.

  12. icanspeel - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Bud Black using 5 pitchers in the 9th to preserve a 1 run lead shows he tried everything in his power to win the game and it actually worked. He played the match up game with pitchers vs hitters and won. As unorthodox as it was, they didn’t give up and wanted that game as if the season depended on it.

  13. APBA Guy - Sep 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Important to escape Detroit with at least one win, even though the game yesterday was close through 8, and thus nerve-wracking to fans of the beloved A’s. A’s starter Milone was gone before 5 innings, but the A bullpen did really well, 1 run allowed in 4.1.

    The bottom of the A’s lineup delivered:10/17, 8 RBI’s. So a good day after two losses, some positive energy to take into the Bronx. The matchups favor the Yankees:

    Parker v. Sabathia
    Blackley v Nova
    Griffin v Kuroda

    But as Len knows, any use of THE FAT TOAD in leveraged situations can only result in disaster for the Yankees. Both teams need to take the series, especially the Yankees, as their lead over Baltimore is only 1 game in the Division, whereas the A’s have 4.5 over the Angels for the wild card, thanks to a Mr. A. Beltre.

    Finally, the great and powerful Beane has not denied that Kurt Russell has been signed to play him in the as-yet-announced film version of “The Road Trip of Death”.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I was being circumspect in earlier comments. THE FAT TOAD did indeed allow 2 runs to score last night, but it wasn’t his fault as Yankees management FOREVER ruined him in ’07. That, and Cleveland’s bugs, or the fact that he’s a screw up, or something.

  14. bcirej - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Ichiro has been using that secret stuff given to him by Swish, Grandy, and a couple other Yankees. I think MLB should surprise test every team that makes the playoffs.

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