Just got a writing job, part of which involves editing. There's a pretty specific type of sentence that's coming up a lot, and I'm not sure if a comma is required or not.
The sentences look like this:
Baxter played his role well in the first game and scored tons of points throughout the series.
My question is, is a comma required between game and and?
(The remainder of this post simply explains my attempts to figure it out myself, and why I can't.)
My first thought is that a comma is required, because the and separates two independent clauses. But I'm not actually sure if that's the case, since while Baxter is the clear subject of both verbs in the sentence, he's not actually named after the and, so I'm not sure if the rest of the sentence really does constitute a second independent clause. Furthermore, a simpler form of this sentence would be Baxter played and scored. I'm almost certain that this sentence doesn't require a comma, which makes things more confusing.
My only guess at a justification for the possible difference is that in the longer sentence, each of the verbs is attached to a different object (his role and tons of points). I'm kind of stuck.
Are there two independent clauses here? Is the comma required, and why? If there weren't two different objects in the sentence (or if one or both of them were missing or merely implied) would that change things?