And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and recaps

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Reader YankeefanLen wrote me yesterday afternoon with the following
observation: “It strikes me that this 3 game series- Yankees v.
Rangers, Tigers v. Sox, could be a portent to the first round playoffs.
Tigers have division lead and would have to play BoSox, who would be,
of course,wild card, and from all I see, Rangers and Tigers should hold
on to West and Central.” Lots of baseball to go, but yeah, I could see
that happening. So Let’s see how the division series are playing out:

Yankees 12, Rangers 3:
Jorge Posada’s throwing error broke the team errorless streak, but
given what he did at the plate (3-4, HR, 4 RBI), I don’t think his
teammates mind all that much.

Red Sox 5, Tigers 1:
Crap, this means that we’re going to have a Boston-New York ALCS,
doesn’t it? If so, I give the Yankees the edge, because the Red Sox’
closer is shaky. Papelbon came into the game and gave up three straight
singles to load the bases, then struck out the side to preserve the
win. John Rocker used to do that kind of thing, and it’s the reason why
I’m bald and jumpy and everything. The Sox beat up Porcello a bit over
4.1 innings, and since he’s, like, 13 years-old and on a no-doubt
strictly-enforced pitch count, making him work is the key to beating
him.

Pirates 3, Mets 1:
Zach Duke beats Johan Santana, with the former failing to strike out a
single Met and the latter striking out only three Pirates. Guess that
means that everyone was just suffering from a case of the feebles.

Blue Jays 6, Angels 4: Ah, there’s where all of the strikeouts went. Halladay (CG, 7 H, 4 R, 14K) was hording them all.

Braves 6, Cubs 5: Atlanta sent Jordan Schafer down
to Gwinnett before the game. Jeff Francoeur, obviously thinking “there
but for the grace of God go I,” responded with a two-run homer in the
bottom of the ninth to tie up a game the Braves trailed 5-0 in the
eighth. He walked once, too! That kind of killed it for Randy Wells,
who took a no-hitter into the seventh. Chipper Jones’ RBI single in the
12th definitely killed it for the Cubs.

Rays 6, Royals 2:
Andy Sonnanstine lowers his ERA to 7.16 and Matt Joyce goes 3-4 with a
double, a homer and four RBI. Kyle Davies walked six guys and threw 114
pitches in 5.2 IP for the Royals. Guess he’s not into that whole, you
know, brevity thing.

Nationals 10, Giants 6:
Tim Lincecum strikes out the 500th batter in his brief career, but then
sits down and watches his bullpen give up six runs in the eighth. Ron
Villone gets the win, which inspired me to look at his career stats for
a moment. I knew he was a journeyman, but I didn’t know that Washington
was his 12th team. Mike Morgan, much celebrated for his nomadic ways,
“only” pitched for 12 teams himself. Have left arm, will travel, eh
Ron?

Athletics 5, White Sox 0:
Mazzaro, Breslow & Ziegler — which sounds like a personal injury
law firm — combine to shut out Chicago. Colon, Gobble, Carrasco &
Whisler — which kind of sounds like onomatopoeia from a French
children’s book about farms or something — were not as impressive.

Astros 3, Rockies 2:
Miguel Tejada goes 4-6 with three RBI including the game-winning home
run in extra innings. Apparently he did not hear me when I said earlier
in the day that he was playing over his head and that his current level
of production was not sustainable. It’s as if he’s doing this just to
make me look ridiculous. And a man in my position can’t afford to be
made to look ridiculous. Now you get the hell out of here. And just
know it if you want to try any rough stuff that I ain’t no band leader.
Yeah, I heard that story.

Mariners 8, Orioles 2:
Erik Bedard (6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K) was very considerate to put
together a nice performance at home against the Orioles so as to make
everyone forget, even if for only a couple of hours, about just how
badly the Mariners were fleeced in the Adam Jones deal.

Phillies 10, Padres 5:
Raul Ibanez (3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI) may be reaping the rewards now, but
there will be hell to pay when it is found out that his 2009 production
is the result of his clandestinely stealing the life force of some
younger, unknown ballplayer in the course of his dark, twisted effort
to attain immortality. Yeah, I dropped a Fistandantilus reference. I
don’t care. I’m old now, and my kids will soon think I’m a dork anyway,
so why should I pretend not to be?

Marlins 10, Brewers 3:
Manny Parra was lifted after throwing exactly 100 pitches. Given that
the dude gave up ten runs on eleven hits in that time, I’m going to
assume that it wasn’t a forced pitch-count thing. For a guy with a bum groin, Hanley Ramirez is hitting damn well. Three for five both Monday night and last night.

Twins 4, Indians 3:
Joe Mauer (3-3, HR, BB 3 RBI) is not bad. And as if Cleveland’s season
needs to get any worse, Asdrubal Cabrera left the game with shoulder
injury.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2:
Nick Stavinoha comes through again, hitting a two-run double to put the
Redbirds ahead for good in the sixth. He’s been driving in a lot of
runs since his callup in mid-May. After the game he had this to say:
“Memphis is a nice place and all. but I like it a little better here.”

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5:
Danny Haren (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7K — and 3-3 at the plate!) deserved
much better than the no-decision he got thanks to the Tony Pena and Dan
Schlereth-led bullpen implosion. As for the Dodgers, they are now
halfway through Manny’ suspension and, really, haven’t missed him a
bit. When he comes back it will be as if they went out and acquired a
big bat at the trade deadline without having to give up anything in
return.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.