If you like high scoring baseball games I sincerely hope you were able to watch at least one of yesterday’s MLB Playoff games.
A combined 61 runs were scored between the full slate of games Monday, 27 of those runs were scored in the state of Texas alone. Scoring started in Houston with a two-run home run off the bat of Salvador Perez, and ended in Queens with a three-run blast from Howie Kendrick.
In the end, after all the dust settled and the lights turned off, the playoff picture only got more interesting.
In the American League Kansas City and Toronto won on the road to force decisive Game 5’s on Wednesday in their home stadiums. And in the National League, both home teams got important victories, bucking the early trend that has appeared in this postseason of the away team getting the wins.
But the lead quickly dwindled, and then disappeared, in the next half inning as the Royals sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring five runs on five hits and an error. Kansas City then added two more runs in the ninth on a two-run home run by Eric Hosmer, which put the finishing touch on the Royals 9-6 comeback victory.
And if you were watching the conclusion of the Royals, Astros game like I was, you probably missed the Blue Jays score three runs in the first inning off Derek Holland.
Toronto added another run in the second inning, and tacked on three more runs in the third, jumping out a 7-0 lead and chasing Holland out of the game early. Texas tried to make it interesting late by scoring three combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but the early offense by they Jays was too much to overcome in the 8-4 Toronto victory.
The road team has won every game in this series, which heads back Canada for Game 5.
Going into the day, and certainly after Houston had what at the time appeared to be a commanding lead in the seventh inning, it looked very possible that the Astros and Rangers would make history as the first teams from the same state to play each other in either the AL or NL Championship Series. In fact, two teams from the same state haven’t played each other in the post season since the 2002 World Series between the Los Angeles Angels and the San Francisco Giants.
Instead, both teams lost in upsetting fashion, and now it seems unlikely that both teams from the Lone Star State move on to the next round.
Jake Arrieta took to the mound in Game 3 for the Chicago Cubs, already having defeated one division foe in the Pirates last week in the Wild Card game, this time pitching against the team that won the NL Central in the St. Louis Cardinals.
The probable NL CY Young Award winner lasted just 5.2 innings and gave up four runs, but it was enough to get the victory, due in large part to Jorge Soler and Dexter Folwer hitting home runs to pad the lead. Each of the one through six batters in the order homered for the Cubs, starting with Kyle Schwarber and ending with Fowler’s long ball.
Chicago won 8-6 to take a 2-1 advantage in the series, with first pitch for Game 4 scheduled for 4:37 p.m. John Lackey, who picked up the win for the Red Birds in Game 1, is on the mound squaring off against the Cubs Jason Hammel. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the Cubs are 0-4 in series-clinching games at home in the playoffs.
For Lackey, it will be his 20th career start in the playoffs, and for Hammel, it will be just his fourth.
The highest-scoring game on Monday, though, is the game that ended action last night.
Matt Harvey had a rough start in his first career playoff start, giving up three runs in the second inning. However, his offense picked him up in a big way.
Nine of the Mets first 10 runs were scored with two outs.
New York picked up the 13-7 victory to also take a 2-1 advantage in the series.
Monday’s game between the Dodgers and Mets did not include Chase Utley in the starting lineup. Utley, who appealed his two-game suspension handed down in response to his aggressive slide in Game 2, was eligible to play in the game, however, manager Don Mattingly decided to keep him out of the lineup. That means that if the suspension is upheld on Tuesday it could, in theory, become a three-game suspension – not playing him on Monday, not being able to play him on Tuesday, and then not being able to play him in Game 5 on Thursday if the series goes that far.
Cespedes’ long ball was just one of 21 home runs that were hit on Monday, a single-day postseason record. The Cubs hit six of the day’s home runs, setting a record for the most home runs hit by a single team in one game in postseason history.
Game 4 between the Dodgers and Mets is scheduled to start just after 8 p.m. Tuesday.