MLB Thursday scores, highlights, updates, news: Severino brilliant, Mets win marathon

Though it's Thursday, we still have a mostly-full slate of games, with 22 of the 30 MLB teams in action. As a bonus, there's plenty of day baseball as well. Let's get to it.

Final scores and games in progress
  • Twins 11, Tigers 5 (box score)
  • Red Sox 4, Pirates 3 (box score)
  • Cubs 4, Dodgers 0 (box score)
  • Rangers 8, Angels 3 (box score)
  • Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1 (box score)
  • White Sox 10, Indians 4 (box score)
  • Yankees 3, Rays 2 (box score)
  • Brewers 5, Reds 1 (box score)
  • Royals 3, Athletics 1 (box score)
  • Mets 9, Marlins 8 in 16 innings (box score)
  • Rockies 3, Giants 1 (box score)

Mets outlast Marlins
The Mets and Marlins game started around 7 p.m. ET. It ended near 1 a.m., following 16 innings of action that saw the two sides combine to use 17 pitchers -- that included the Marlins burning Friday night starter Adam Conley and the Mets getting 11 1/3 scoreless innings from their bullpen.

The decisive blow came off Travis d'Arnaud's bat, as he delivered a solo shot in the top of the 16th to give the Mets a 9-8 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. d'Arnaud's home run was the Mets' fourth of the night with Wilmer Flores and Yoenis Cespedes (two) also accounting for homers.

Hey, there's no such thing as too many home runs if the end result is a win.

Severino shuts down Rays
You can never be certain what you're going to get from Yankees right-hander Luis Severino. On Thursday night, however, he dominated the Rays in a victory.

Severino struck out 11 batters in seven innings, issuing just two walks and allowing two runs -- one coming on a Peter Bourjos home run (hey, even beautiful days sometimes have clouds).

Severino leaned heavily on his fastball, throwing 60 of them at an average of 96.8 mph. He also tossed 28 changeups and 16 sliders, per Baseball Savant -- noteworthy given his changeup was his third pitch last season, used roughly 10 percent of the time.

Keep an eye on that development heading forward -- it could help determine whether or not Severino can stick in the rotation.

Almora, Dodgers lineup bail out Anderson
Brett Anderson tallied his first win with the Cubs on Thursday, besting his old Dodgers mates by a 4-0 score. Anderson threw five shutout innings, allowing five hits and walking four batters -- or two more than he struck out. Though the Dodgers had someone reach in four of Anderson's five innings, and even loaded the bases against him in the fifth, they were unable to push a run across.

The Cubs bullpen then closed things out. Carl Edwards Jr. (two innings), Koji Uehara, and Wade Davis combined to strike out three batters and allow three baserunners over four shutout innings.

The loss dropped the Dodgers to 5-5 on the season. The Cubs, meanwhile, are now 6-3.

Ozuna's tear continues
Last season, Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna had a big first half. He hit .307/.360/.533 with 17 home runs before cooling off after the All-Star Break to the tune of a .209/.267/.342 slash line.

The Marlins could stand for Ozuna's hotness to rub off on some other hitters. Justin Bour, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich entered the game with OPS+ of 70 or worse.

Sano is scorching
The Twins didn't win their sixth game last season until they had 14 losses. In 2017, they are now 6-3, and Miguel Sano is a big reason for that.

More than anything, the contrast from last season's start to this season's seems to mirror that of Sano. After a great abbreviated rookie year, Sano hit .143 with zero extra-base hits and one RBI through the Twins' first nine games last year. Through nine games this year, Sano is raking. How does a .310/.459/.793 triple slash with three doubles, a triple, three homers and 11 RBI sound? In honor of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" coming back soon, we can definitely say it's pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.

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Dodgers' Chase Utley crashes the Cubs' World Series party in 2-0 win

The coaches of the Dodgers maintain a highlight reel of the eldest player on their roster. They show it to his teammates as an example to follow. They hope to teach the others on the club, professionals who play the game at the highest level, to mimic the effort, intensity and attention to detail of Chase Utley.

Utley does not like the attention. But his performance still offers lessons for instruction, like in the ninth inning of a 2-0 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday, when Utley scored from first base after a dropped third strike and a throwing error. He barreled through the 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame of Chicago reliever Hector Rondon to score the insurance run.

“He would run through a brick wall,” shortstop Corey Seager said. “And he basically did.”

From the 30,000-foot view, the run meant little. The Dodgers (5-4) already led, thanks to a leadoff homer by Andrew Toles. Brandon McCarthy silenced the Cubs across six innings of four-hit baseball. Ross Stripling furthered his case for high-leverage usage with a quartet of strikeouts. And the Dodgers managed to escape the evening despite batting 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranding nine runners.

Yet, up close, to the keen observers who populate the Dodgers’ coaching staff and front office, the play by Utley caused eyes to glow after the game. Third base coach Chris Woodward suggested “less than five” players in the majors would have the wherewithal to score on that play. How many of that group are 38? “Probably zero, other than him,” Seager said.

“That shows what he’s about,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “What we’re about.”

That is why the Dodgers re-signed Utley this past winter, even after acquiring Logan Forsythe as their everyday second baseman. The club still felt he could aid the team in a part-time role. Utley accepted a reduced salary and reduced playing time to play near his home in California.

Bringing back Utley represented the last piece of reunion conducted by the front office over the winter. The team brought back 21 members of the 25-man roster which fell in the National League Championship Series to the Cubs last October. The Dodgers were reminded of their fate once again before Wednesday’s game.

On Monday, the Dodgers witnessed the raising of the 2016 championship banner. Two days later, the Cubs doled out World Series rings to the assembled members of their roster. The victors unveiled their spoils with joy. The crowd cooed at the 108 diamonds glinting in each ring.

“We don’t really focus on last year too much,” Toles said. “We just want to go out there and win for us. It’s 2017. That’s last year. It’s over. They can enjoy it, but we’re looking forward to this year.”

The temperature dipped to 45 degrees at the first pitch, with a hearty wind whipping off Lake Michigan. Roberts watched would-be homers wilt in the air.

Toles found a trajectory to break through. He turned on a low fastball from Cubs starter John Lackey, and “I hit it on a line, so the wind had no factor,” he said. The baseball cleared the right-field bleachers. The Dodgers would not require any more offense.

McCarthy (2-0, 1.50 ERA) thrived on the dull satisfaction of groundouts. The defense turned three double plays. McCarthy also benefited from the wind, which knocked down a pair of well-struck drives, one by first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the fifth and another by catcher Willson Contreras in the sixth.

“The last time I pitched here, I gave up a wind home run, the other way,” McCarthy said. “I’ll take the ones that go in my favor.”

When McCarthy exited, Roberts handed the ball to Stripling. He struck out two batters in the seventh. Roberts stuck with him for the eighth. Stripling said he “emptied the kitchen sink” against outfielder Jon Jay, who stared at an outside slider for a called third strike. Luis Avilan fanned outfielder Kyle Schwarber to end the inning.

Utley led off the ninth with a walk. Two batters later, with two outs and Toles at the plate, he prepared for aggression on the bases. He set up well deep enough that he could sprint at second base without rounding off his turn toward third. The angle would allow him to maintain his momentum after Contreras dropped the third strike and bounced a throw to first base.

Woodward identified three moments when the average player would falter: before the pitch, when runners rarely take a wide enough lead on a full count with two outs. At second base, when runners often slow down to read the play behind them. And at third base, when runners brake in assumption that the play will be made in front of them.

“He never stopped,” Woodward said.

The ball dribbled past the foul line. Second baseman Ben Zobrist scooped it up. He fired toward Rondon, who could not secure the throw. Utley collided with Rondon, who tumbled over. Utley pulled his 38-year-old body out of the dirt and jogged to his dugout.

Woodward planned to add the moment to Utley’s reel. Utley declined to place much emphasis on the play. His ability to make the spectacular seem monotonous is another of his gifts.

“I kept going,” Utley said. “And it worked out.”

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