And That Happened: Sunday's scores and recaps

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Pirates 6, Tigers 3:
The Pirates ain’t the walkingest team you’re ever going to see — in
fact they’re one of the worst — so it’s not like Dontrelle Willis was
simply outworked by the opposition in giving up eight walks in three
and two-thirds. Pittsburgh Penguin forward Bill Guerin threw out the
first pitch and had better command than Dontrelle did. The Tigers are
three up on Minnesota in the Central. That’s great, but they don’t have
any room to experiment with Willis any longer. He simply can’t be
allowed to pitch for this team any more this season. In other news, the
1909 throwback uniforms these guys wore were sweet as hell.

Yankees 15, Mets 0:
Johan Santana was terrible. His fastball was at 89-90, and he couldn’t
locate anything anywhere close to where he wanted it. Jerry Manuel
continued to impress too. When David Wright was livid over a called
third-strike in the sixth, it took Manuel a minute to get out there,
and when he finally did, it seemed like he was arguing out of a sense
of obligation as opposed to passion or pique. How he got ejected during
such a low-wattage argument I’ll never know, but I’d like to think he
pulled one of those “Psst — throw me out. Really, I need to be run in
this game or I’m going to lose my team. C’mon, do me a solid, OK?”
things.

Orioles 11, Braves 2:
Brad Bergesen has only given up six runs in his last 32 innings. Not
that he needed to be that good against the Braves on Sunday, as Ty
Wigginton hit two home runs and Robert Andino drove in three runs and
freakin’ stole home. The steal was on a botched rundown play so it was
not some feat of derring-do. That botch caused Bobby Cox to pull Yunel
Escobar from the game. I can’t recall Jeff Francoeur ever getting
pulled out of a game for doing something stupid (and it’s certainly not
for a lack of opportunity) so why Escobar had to go I have no idea. I
can only guess that Francoeur has Bobby Cox’s grandchildren locked in a
tower someplace and vows not to release them unless he’s given 160
starts a year.

Phillies 11, Red Sox 6:
Dustin Pedroia, Jason Varitek, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz all sat, but
this loss isn’t attributable to a lack of bats for Boston. Josh Beckett
just came undone in the seventh, and got no real relief from Daniel
Bard, as everyone except Greg Dobbs smacked the ball around for the
Phillies.

Indians 3, Cardinals 0:
St. Louis must have had an early flight out of Cleveland. Cliff Lee
takes a no-hitter into the eighth — broken up by Molina Unit No.
1249BHG5 — and this one was brought home in a cool one hour,
fifty-eight minutes. Lee finished with a three-hit shutout, getting the
job done on a mere 93 pitches. Oh, and since I mentioned throwback
uniforms above, allow me to offer a few more words on the subject: on
Saturday, Cleveland and St. Louis wore some of the weakest throwbacks
you’ll ever see. Each team was wearing pullovers as opposed to their
usual button-downs, which appeared to come from the mid-to-late 80s.
Except they kind of didn’t. The Indians wore the specific pullover they
sported on Saturday from 1978-1985,
when they switched to a button-down model. Except they never wore the
Wahoo cap like they wore on Saturday during those years; they only had
the block C, meaning that this wasn’t really a throwback as much as it
was a mishmosh. The Cardinals were a little better — their gray road
pullover was actually worn by the club between 1971 and 1975, and again
from 1985-1991. But if they’re going to go with unfashionable 1970s and
80s throwbacks, why not go with the powder blues? Sure, they looked terrible on the Cardinals, but it least it was interesting.

Marlins 11, Blue Jays 3:
Yet another game in which one team scores at least 11 runs. Ronny
Paulino went 4 for 5 with a couple of homers and three RBI and the fish
rapped out 18 hits. Between the sweep and Halladay’s groin, the Jays couldn’t have imagined a worse series than this.

Angels 6, Padres 0: Jered Weaver was fantastic, pitching his first career shutout. Juan Rivera was pretty spiffy himself, hitting two homers.

Dodgers 6, Rangers 3:
For those who care about such things, Andruw Jones went 3-8 with a
couple of homers against the Dodgers over the weekend. Those who don’t
should just know that Chad Billingsley gave up three runs — only two
of them earned — over seven innings to notch his ninth victory on the
season.

Royals 7, Reds 1:
Johnny Cueto’s line shows zero earned runs and five unearned, and the
game story talks about how Jerry Hairston’s errors led to all of that
unearnedage, but the fact remains that after the first inning error,
Cueto still had to give up a run scoring double to Migiel Olivo, and
after the third inning error, Cueto still had to give up a walk, a
triple and a single for those runs to score, so it’s not like he was
totally boned by his defense. Sometimes you gotta suck it up and pitch
through an error or two, and Cueto didn’t necessarily do that.

Giants 7, A’s 1:
San Francisco Sweeps Oakland, allowing only three runs all weekend.
Matt Cain (CG, 4 H, 1 ER, 9K) was impressive: He allowed no hits after
the third inning, and retired 19 of the last 20 he faced. Nate
Schierholtz hit an inside the park home that bounced high off the base
of the wall and forced Jack Cust to wait for it come back down forever.
This is what I was talking about a couple of weeks ago when I said that
triples are more exciting than inside the park homers. Sure, this was
neat, but it was essentially a function of some quirk (i.e. the high
bounce), whereas triples are more often just flat out speed. There was
no play at the plate on Schierholtz here, so really, how exciting could
this really be?

Rays 5, Nats 4: If the rumors are to be believed,
this was Manny Acta’s last game as the Nationals’ manager. Acta didn’t
always get as much out of his teams as he could have, and a change is
probably needed, but it’s not like the manager was the difference
between winning and losing in Washington. Acta is by all accounts a
good guy, so here’s hoping he latches on someplace else quickly and
gets another, better shot to manage again someday.

Rockies 7, Mariners 1:
I guess Colorado isn’t going to lose again. Too bad they dug such a
hole for themselves beforehand, because L.A. is just too far ahead and
there are at least five other teams hanging around Wild Card land.

White Sox 5, Brewers 4: Mark Buehrle hit a home run (and Josh Beckett did in the Sox-Phils game). See, I told you it was fun to watch pitchers bat.

Cubs 3, Twins 2:
Clearly firing hitting coach Gerald Perry is what led to this offensive
outburst on the part of the Cubs. The new hitting coach is named Von
Joshua, which I’m pretty sure was the name of a bad guy in one of the
Lethal Weapon movies.

Astros 8, Diamondbacks 3: My arguments against interleague play are somewhat undercut by the fact that this matchup — the only intralegaue matchup — was by far the least interesting of the entire weekend’s slate. Sometimes it’s hard to be a purist.

Noah Syndergaard refused an MRI for his sore biceps

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Mets’ right-hander Noah Syndergaard will take the hill on Sunday afternoon, just three days after he was scratched from a start due to right biceps tendinitis and shoulder discomfort. Syndergaard told reporters that he refused recommended medical testing on his arm because he felt “ready to go” after taking anti-inflammation medication and tossing a bullpen session on Friday. “I think I know my body best,” the right-hander said. “I’m pretty in tune with my body, and that’s exactly why I refused to take the MRI.”

It’s an unusual decision for a pitcher who has already succumbed to several serious arm issues, some as recent as last season, but as club GM Sandy Alderson told the New York Times’ James Wagner, the Mets aren’t in a position to force the issue.

This is a tense time for the Mets, whose lineup has been fraught with injuries of nearly every variety, from Yoenis Cespedes‘ hamstring issue to Steven Matz‘s elbow inflammation and David Wright‘s cervical disc herniation. Syndergaard’s setback last week didn’t appear too serious, but it would make sense for the team to take things slowly with their best still-healthy hurler. Instead, they’ll push forward on Sunday against the Nationals and hope that Syndergaard’s read on his biceps issue is an accurate one.

The 24-year-old righty is 1-1 through his first four starts of 2017 with a 1.73 ERA, 0.0 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 in 26 innings. He’s scheduled to make his first start against the Nationals on Sunday at 1:35 PM ET.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Saturday’s games featured Jake Lamb‘s record-setting home run, Ivan Nova‘s sterling outing against the Marlins, and an impressive walk-off at Dodger Stadium. Here are the rest of the day’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 12, Orioles 4: So much for the Yankees blowing past their quota of runs on Friday night. They returned in full force on Saturday, dominating the Orioles in regulation innings with a 12-run display. Home runs were, again, the name of the game, with Brett Gardner going deep twice for his first two homers of the season and Austin Romine and Aaron Judge tacking on an extra couple of blasts to pad the Yankees’ eight-run lead. (That’s home run No. 10 for Judge, by the way, a record-tying total by a rookie in his first month of big league games.)

Mets 5, Nationals 3: The Mets are still dealing with a slew of injuries, some of which have drastically thinned their outfield reserves over the last several weeks. With Brandon Nimmo and Yoenis Cespedes hampered by hamstring issues, left fielder Michael Conforto rose to the occasion, hitting two home runs in the Mets’ 5-3 win over the Nationals on Saturday. He boosted the club to their first lead in the fifth inning, plunking a two-run homer into the right field bleachers, then reemerged in the eighth with an insurance home run off of Enny Romero.

Blue Jays 4, Rays 1: The Blue Jays still have the worst record in the majors, but you wouldn’t know it from their dominant outing on Saturday. Francisco Liriano limited the Rays to one run over five innings, backed by a strong showing from the ‘pen to maintain the club’s three-run lead. Kendrys Morales put Toronto on the map in the first inning, scoring on a fielding error by Tampa Bay’s Tim Beckham, while Russell Martin and Justin Smoak decorated the Jays’ efforts with an RBI double and two-run home run to even the series.

Cubs 7, Red Sox 4: Hanley Ramirez may not own the longest home run of 2017, but he set a record that may take longer to beat: the longest home run hit at Fenway Park.* Ramirez belted a 469-footer off of Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey in the third inning, catapulting a 1-0 pitch over the Green Monster to break the season record set by Kris Bryant’s 449-foot homer on Friday. He even snuck in a few celebratory kisses after rounding the bases.

Ramirez’s home run beat his own previous mark, measured at 468 feet last May.

*In the Statcast era

White Sox 6, Tigers 4 (10 innings): We’re only through one month of the regular season, so it’s pointless to fret about slumps and slow starts right now. Still, the White Sox were able to breathe a sigh of relief when veteran slugger Melky Cabrera finally recorded his first home run of the year, a 10th-inning game-winner off of Detroit left-hander Justin Wilson. It’s the sixth consecutive win for the White Sox, which keeps them just half a game ahead of the Indians in the AL Central.

Pirates 4, Marlins 0: It’s hardly exaggerating to call this the best game of Ivan Nova’s career. The right-hander tossed a three-hitter at Marlins Park on Saturday, striking out seven and setting down nine scoreless frames. Not only did it mark Nova’s fifth complete game in a Pirates’ uniform, but it was the third complete game shutout of his eight-year career.

Indians 4, Mariners 3: It only took one inning to decide the Mariners’ fate on Saturday. They got on the board with consecutive home runs from Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the first, then promptly erased their three-run lead when the Indians lassoed four runs in the bottom of the inning. From the second inning through the end of the game, neither team advanced a runner past second base, preserving the Indians’ one-run lead and bringing them within half a game of the division lead.

Rangers 6, Angels 3: Sure, hitting for the cycle is a rare feat in and of itself, but how many major league players can do it with one shoe on?

Carlos Gomez completed his second career cycle on Saturday, beginning with a first inning double that cost him exactly one cleat:

He returned (with both cleats) for a triple, base hit and a two-run homer, becoming the first Rangers’ player to hit for the cycle since Adrian Beltre defeated the Astros with his third career cycle in 2015.

Braves 11, Brewers 3: The Braves have played with a short-handed bench lately, forcing manager Brian Snitker to engineer some creative alternatives (including, but not limited to, the use of starter Julio Teheran as a pinch-hitter and -runner). Thankfully, no such alternatives were needed on Saturday, especially after Matt Kemp helped vault the Braves to an eight-run lead with the first three-homer game of his career:

Athletics 2, Astros 1: Andrew Triggs is looking more and more like a bonafide starter these days. He anchored the A’s 2-1 win with seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and fanning nine before handing the game over to the bullpen. The A’s were similarly stymied by Houston right-hander Joe Musgrove through the better part of seven innings, but rallied with a pair of home runs from Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis to secure the lead — and their 11th win.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6: Is it even worth bragging about hitting the longest home run of the year when the record gets shattered every other day? Perhaps not, but it’s difficult to imagine someone hitting a ball much further than Jake Lamb’s 481-foot two-run shot off of Colorado’s Tyler Anderson this weekend:

Lamb’s home run ranks eleventh in estimated home run distance during the Statcast era. Only nine hitters have recorded longer home runs, topping out at Giancarlo Stanton‘s 504-foot blast last August.

Dodgers 6, Phillies 5: No one would have blamed you for turning off the Dodgers’ game last night. Few would have faulted you for trying to beat L.A. traffic by skipping out of Dodger Stadium in the eighth inning, when the Phillies padded their three-run lead with Andrew Knapp‘s first home run of the season. If you had, however, you would have missed a true storybook ending.

Down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Yasiel Puig worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Philadelphia right-hander Hector Neris, prevailing with a 416-foot home run that sank into the center field bleachers. Neris wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. His at-bat against Cody Bellinger only lasted one-eighth as long, ending on a long fly ball that ricocheted off of the right field foul pole for the rookie’s second major league home run. Justin Turner provided the game-tying knock, going back-to-back-to-back with Puig and Bellinger, while Adrian Gonzalez polished off the rally with a two-out, game-winning base hit.

 

Padres 12, Giants 4: The Padres leapfrogged their injury-riddled division rivals on Saturday with their first double-digit win of the year, breaking out in the sixth with an eight-run inning that saw 11 batters, an RBI double, two RBI singles, a bases-loaded walk, an RBI force out, Wil Myerssixth home run of the season, and the complete implosion of the Giants’ bullpen.