And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Orioles 11, Red Sox 10: John Smoltz pitched better (4 IP, 3 H, 1
ER) but had to leave when the rains came. I wouldn’t worry about the
short outing, however, because Francona may want him in the bullpen.
Why? Because Boston blew a 10-1 lead after their half of the
seventh. Among the big blows was an Oscar Salazar pinch-hit three run
homer and a Nick Markakis two-run double off of Papelbon after being
0-7 against him entering the game. It was the biggest comeback in
Baltimore Orioles history, and one that had to be particularly sweet
for Os fans who have had to put up with so many interlopers in their
ballpark for Sox games in recent years.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: Ross Ohlendorf and Freddy Sanchez got to the
ballpark, realized that they were the only two Pirates not traded
yesterday, and went about their business, Bugs Bunny vs. Gashouse Gorillas-style:
Ohlendorf shut out the Cubs over seven innings (pasting those pathetic
palookas with his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion
pitch) and Sanchez scored one run and drove in the other two for
Pittsburgh. Most people thought Sanchez would be out on that run he
scored in the fourth because Ted Lilly had the ball and was waiting for
him at home plate. Then again, most people probably didn’t count on
Sanchez having that 1940s pinup in his back pocket to distract Lilly
either.

Braves 5, Phillies 4: I told Bill at Crashburn Alley
that the Braves would take two out of three in this series. So far, so
good. I never would have bet on the Bravos coming back in extra innings
after coughing up two late homers like they did in this one, however,
because they just don’t do that. Martin Prado was 4-5 with four RBI,
including the game-winner in the 10th. My guess is that puts Kelly
Johnson on the bench until the day Bobby Cox is buried in the cold,
cold ground.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: I was gonna get all cute and quote some
song lyrics here, but I couldn’t decide if I should go with “Running to
Stand Still,” or “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” I suppose that all depends on
how the Red Sox and Yankees do. Either way I have this feeling that the
AL East is going to be redonkulously exciting in the second half.

Diamondbacks 6, Reds 2: Danny Haren’s teammates have failed to
show up for him so many times this season that he would have been
forgiven if he had picked up a bat and beat them silly. Lucky for
everyone involved Haren is a clearer thinking guy than I am and decided
to simply take the bat to the opposition, going 2 for 2 with a homer
and a double. Oh, and he pitched seven innings of one run ball while
striking out nine. He then drove the team bus back to the hotel,
watched game film, set the lineups for the next week, called Billy
Beane and asked what he’d want for Matt Holliday and started
spitballin’ ideas for next season’s promotional calendar.

Giants 6, Cardinals 3: You had to figure Chris Carpenter was
going to come back down to Earth eventually. You just didn’t figure on
it happening all at once (5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER), especially against an
offense like the Giants’. Despite the loss, Pujols had his requisite
two home runs.

Brewers 6, Mets 3: That’s five losses in a row for the
Metropolitans, capping off a lovely 9-18 June. Though that’s maybe not
as important as the fact that, on June 1st, they were 2.5 games out of
first and now, on July 1st, they’re only 3 games out. My God, the NL
East is horrifying this year.

White Sox 11, Indians 4: Crisco. Bardol. Vagisil. Any one of
them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball.
Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little
jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up
I just [wipe] wipe my nose. Hey, I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I
have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too. [note: all
Indians losses are going to get “Major League” quotes until Eric Wedge
is fired or they win three in a row, whichever comes first].

Twins 2, Royals 1: The game story breaks out the first “hapless”
I’ve seen in at least a year. It also notes that the Royals “are among
the AL’s worst in hitting, runs, slugging percentage and on-base
percentage.” Anyone ever make a movie about the Royals? Maybe I should
be quoting that instead.

Marlins 7, Nationals 5: I called the Cardinals a one man gang the other day. So too are Hanley’s Fish (2-4, 4 RBI).

Rangers 9, Angels 5: Marlon Byrd homered twice and drove in five runs. Let’s hear it for Victor Conte’s supplements, everyone!

Yankees 8, Mariners 5: Mariano Rivera threw out the game’s first
pitch, yet somehow came back in in the ninth to get the save. Don
Wakamatsu, showing lots of class, decided not to protest the game.

Tigers 5, A’s 3: Armando Galarraga walked six guys. It’s not
everyday that you can do that and win, but then again, it was the A’s
he was facing and they are notably poor at making anyone pay for
anything. The A’s have plugged in Gio Gonzalez into the rotation three
or four or maybe fifty times this season, but pretty soon that
experiment has to end, right? Because he’s, like, terrible. Yesterday
he gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, and you can make
the argument that that’s his best start of the year.

Padres 4, Astros 3: Padres win, but Adrian Gonzalez got hurt.
Hard to tell if it’s major. Gonzalez doesn’t know himself: “Sometimes I
feel something and I wake up the next morning and I feel great. Then
sometimes I wake up and something aches that I didn’t feel the night
before.” I’m not sure why, but upon reading that I almost immediately
got a sonic image of that statement being sung by Kevin Cronin over
slowly ascending chords and making an almost perfect REO Speedwagon
song.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Jason Marquis pitches the game of his life
(CG, SHO, 2 H, 3 K, 0 BB), and only needed 86 (!) pitches to do it. And
Jim Tracy is the best quote in baseball: “In the seven-plus years I’ve
sat behind a desk like this, that’s the first time I’ve seen a starting
pitcher throw a nine-inning, complete-game shutout and do it with less
than 90 pitches.” He watches games from his desk? I’ve heard of
hands-off managers before, but that’s ridiculous. In other news, I was
finally getting used to the idea that Manny coming back on Friday would
be anti-climatic because the Dodgers simply didn’t need him too bad.
This skid they’re on is changing my mind back again.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.