And That Happened: Sunday's scores and recaps

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Reds 8, Indians 1:
It was Brandon Phillips’ birthday and he beat up his old team to
celebrate (3-5, 3 RBI). But he overplayed it: “It’s good to have a game
like I did today, especially on my birthday and against the guys you
used to play for. Today, I was like, ‘I’m going to show the Indians
what they missed out on.'” Please, Brandon. They gave you 462 major
league plate appearances and you gave them .206/.246/.310. They also
gave you parts of four seasons in Buffalo, and you gave them
269/.329/.411. It’s nice of you to show them what they missed out on,
but maybe if you had showed some of it, oh, 5, 6, 7 years ago, you’d be
the starting second baseman for the Indians today. But happy birthday
anyway.

Braves 2, Red Sox 1:
Look, you can spin it any way you want to, Boston fans, but you got
beat by a kid with a mullet yesterday. But he’s a good kid. Hanson’s
last three starts: 17.1 IP, 9 hits, 0 ER. And that ain’t against no
tomato cans, neither: that’s against the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the
Reds in that playpen they call a ballpark.

Yankees 4, Mets 2:
Mariano Rivera got his 500th save. More impressive: he drew a
bases-loaded walk, giving him his first career RBI in 15 seasons.
Francisco Rodriguez gave it up, which in some cosmic way illustrates
the vast gulf between those two pitchers in my mind. How do you walk
Mariano Rivera? Nerves is all I can think, and you can bet your ass
that if the situation was reversed, Rivera would never have walked
Rodriguez, because Rivera’s body temperature runs at a constant 57
degrees.

White Sox 6, Cubs 0:
Jon Danks shut out the Cubbies over seven innings, and the bullpen
handled the last two. One of the few reasons I’m sad that the
interleague season is over is that it will provide fewer opportunities
for Ozzie Guillen to talk smack to Cubs’ fans. Here he was over the weekend:
“White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was asked why attendance was so low at
the Sox-Dodgers series, and said: “Because our fans are not stupid like
Cubs fans. They know we’re (expletive).” Guillen said Cubs fans will go
watch any game at Wrigley Field because “Wrigley Field is just a bar.”

Phillies 5, Blue Jays 4:
You hate to throw this out there on a day he won, but to me it’s the
most interesting thing that came out of this game: Jamie Moyer, who
allowed three home runs, has now allowed 483 in his career, passing
Phil Niekro for third all-time. He’s a lock to pass Fergie Jenkins, who
is in second place at 484, but he’s almost certainly going to need to
go into next season to beat out Robin Roberts for that all time lead at
505. He’s under contract for 2010, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t
want to see him hold on and take the record.

Royals 3, Pirates 2:
Greinke wins his 10th and, thanks to a rain delay, gets a bit of a rest
too, coming out in the seventh after throwing only 80 pitches. The
Pirates’ highlight of the day didn’t come in Pittsburgh: “Ian Snell,
the former Pirates’ No. 2 starter who was demoted Thursday after
deciding he needed a change of scenery, struck out 13 in a row after
walking the leadoff batter Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis against
Toledo. He finished with 17 Ks and two hits allowed in seven innings,
throwing 70 of 108 pitches for strikes. Indianapolis won 2-1 in 10
innings.” I think that (a) he probably needs to come back to
Pittsburgh; and (b) if I struck out 17 guys in a game and got a
no-decision I’d be pretty damn pissed.

Nationals 5, Orioles 3:
Adam Dunn hit a home run that reached the B&O warehouse on the
bounce, traveling an estimated 442 feet. The Nats got another run when
Josh Willingham scored on a single. He was dead to rights at home
plate, but Matt Wieters dropped the ball, missing the tag. Which leads
to a theological question: Can Matt Weiters allow himself to make an
error? If so, then it seems that he could cease to be omnipotent. But
if not — if he is somehow precluded from allowing himself error —
perhaps he is not omnipotent to begin with. Think about that one for a
minute and get back to me. Either way, though, the answer to this
question is less important than the act of asking it. You see, Matt
Weiters is sitting at .234/.289/.390, which means that I have to use up
all of these Wieters = God jokes quickly, because they’re rapidly
approaching their expiration date.

Tigers 4, Astros 3:
I made fun of Russ Ortiz quite a bit early in the season, but he just
finished with a 1.90 ERA for June. I even added the dude to my
Scoresheet team, though that probably tells you more about the quality
of my Scoresheet team than it does Russ Ortiz. He got a no-decision
here, but for that he can blame Edwin Jackson and the Astros’ bats.
Brandon Inge hit a two-run homer off Jose Valverde with two outs in the
ninth inning to win it.

Rays 5, Marlins 2:
David Price bounces back after a hellish outing against the Phillies,
this time holding the Marlins to one run on two hits in six and a
third. That makes five straight wins for the Rays, who after seventy
some-odd games of fooling around now look ready to make a serious run
in the second half.

Twins 6, Cardinals 2:
The extent to which the Cardinals have been a one man gang this year
was illustrated by the fact that their new edition — super ute Mark
DeRosa — hit cleanup in his first game with the team. Mark DeRosa has
been a lot of things in his career, but a cleanup hitter has never
really been one of them. In fact, before yesterday, he had only started
four games as a cleanup hitter in his entire career. Of course, three
of those came this year with the Indians, which tells you the dire
offensive straits they’ve been in as well.

Mariners 4, Dodgers 2:
L.A. has lost four of five, but they can get away with it with their
lead. More interesting “the Dodgers hadn’t decided whether they’ll
discipline reliever Ronald Belisario after the 26-year-old rookie was
arrested early Saturday morning on suspicion of DUI in Pasadena.” I
anxiously await the Bill Plaschke column in which he decries the
horrible example set by Belisario and declares that whatever punishment
the Dodgers mete out to him is insufficient. Because clearly Plaschke
thinks that drunk driving is worse than steroid use, doesn’t he?

Rockies 3, Athletics 1:
The A’s have dropped five in a row. As for the Rockies, Aaron Cook has
been somethin’ special recently, giving up a single run in four of his
last five starts.

Angels 12, Diamondbacks 8:
A straight steal of home by Gary Matthews, Jr. was pretty spiffy. Four
Arizona errors were not. The Angels finish interleague play 14-4,
including an 8-1 mark in NL parks.

Padres 2, Rangers 0:
Chad Gaudin allowed one hit over eight innings for the Padres. The box
score says it was 99 degrees at game time. Seems like it’s always hot
down there, no matter when you come. It’s the kind of heat that holds
you like a mama holds her son. Tight when he tries to walk, even
tighter if he runs.

Giants 7, Brewers 0:
Ryan Sadowski (who?) stymies the Brewers in his major league debut (6
IP, 4 H, 0 ER). He’s bumped Jonathan Sanchez to the pen. Sanchez must
have been mad: he plunked Prince Fielder and then struck out the side
in his one inning of work.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.