And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and recaps

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Pirates 3, Braves 2:
Right after I graduated law school I traded in my 1990 Chevy Cavalier
for a new Honda. The Cavy still looked good — clean, no rust, no dings
— but it ran like hacking death. It would just stall the hell out for
no reason, but not before convulsing in a violent, noisy rattle. It was
so unpredictable, though. It would run fine for days and then — whammo
— it just died. If you let it sit for ten minutes it would start right
back up and run fine again. Totally bizarre. Anyway, as I turned over
the keys to the thing at the Honda dealer, I was worried that someone
from the used car department would start the thing up and and have it
seize on them before I could sign on the dotted line for my new car,
but no one bothered to try. I can’t tell you how happy I was that, if
the Cavy did eventually die on them, I would be nowhere near
the place when it did. The Braves were unable to avoid this kind of
embarrassment when their trade-in — Charlie Morton — had to leave the
game in the second inning with a bum hamstring. Caveat emptor, Pirate dudes.

Royals 9, Indians 0:
Just when Carlo Pavano was starting to get the kudos for a career
revival, the Royals of all teams lay an eleven-hit, nine-run smackdown
on him. Alberto Callaspo was the offensive hero for Kansas City, going
4 for 4, including a grand slam. Worth noting that Kyle Farnsworth — a
man who made the first couple weeks of the season so awful for Royals
fans — hasn’t allowed a run over seventeen appearances since April
19th, and he’s only walked two dudes in that same span. Greinke will
fill the bill this season, but the Royals have had way worse players
than Farnsworth represent them at the All-Star game in recent years.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1: Two home runs from Jose Lopez and the eighth straight game in which the Mariners have allowed three runs or fewer = win.

Astros 2, Cubs 1: Nice pitchers duel between Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Zambrano, even if neither of them figured into the decision.

Tigers 2, White Sox 1:
Another spiffy pitchers duel, this one Verlander vs. Danks, with the
former (CG, 6 H, 1 ER, 9K) dueling just a bit more skillfully than the
latter. From the game story, it’s noted that the Tigers selected NCAA
killer Andy Oliver in the draft. Given his mastery of Ohio courts, he
should consider making his home in Toledo even after he makes the big
club despite the long commute to Tiger Stadium. Dude could be
bulletproof here.

Cardinals 13, Marlins 4: I’m less
interested in the fact that Marlins’ pitchers gave up 13 runs than I am
that they didn’t strike out a single Cardinal in the game.

Phillies 5, Mets 4: Yesterday I noted
that the Phillies’ bullpen is doubling as the cast of a reality show.
Given that six members of that pen were pressed into actual pitching
duty to get last night’s win, there probably wasn’t a lot of
opportunity for confession cams and the kind of manufactured drama you
usually see in these shows. The producers must have been furious.

Red Sox 6, Yankees 5:
Chien-Ming Wang still can’t find it so Phil Hughes had to come in. If
I’m Joe Girardi, I just switch places with these two next Tuesday and
see what happens. And while I didn’t watch most of this game, I did
hear the bit where Sutcliffe was talking about some deal Terry Francona
has with J.D. Drew where Francona pays Drew a couple hundred bucks each
time he hits a ball off the Monster. At least I think that’s how it
went. If so, is that even allowed?

Rays 8, Angels 5: John
Lackey gets shelled. Jeff Niemann was no great shakes himself, but his
bullpen bailed him out with one-hit, shutout relief over the final five
and a third innings.

Rockies 4, Brewers 2: Brad Hawpe (2-4, 2B, HR 2 RBI) did the damage, as he has all year.

Reds 4, Nationals 2:
Worst-timed rainstorm ever. The Reds get to the bottom of the ninth
with a 2-0 lead, only then to have to sit for a two hour and ten minute
rain delay, after which the Nats scored two sending it to extras.
According to the game story there were only about 100 fans left after
the delay. I’m shocked that there were that many.

Padres 3, Dodgers 1:
Kevin Correia (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) pitched well on three days’ rest.
Clayton Kershaw threw 83 pitches in less than three innings, which made
it a long night for the bullpen.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 4
: Feels like San Francisco has
been on the road forever, but at least they’re ending it well. Barry
Zito struggled, but his offense (and the Dbacks’ poor defense) picked
him up.

Twins 6, Athletics 3: Bullpen failure. Someone
should write a book someday compiling all of the subtly sarcastic or
passive-aggressive things starting pitchers say when betrayed by their
pen. This, from starter Dallas Braden, who was sick before the game, is
one of the better ones: “I think I probably could have put the upset
stomach and tired arm aside for one more inning, so I’ll wear this one
for sure.” Translation: dudes, I’m sick, and I just gutted out seven
strong innings. You gotta do better than that. Man.”

Blue Jays vs. Rangers:
Postponed: Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 350 rainy days
every year. This why they do not play baseball on Mt. Waialeale.

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.