And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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All manner of pathetic offensive/excellent pitching performances last
night, characterized by multiple 1-0 games. Many of these games can be
broken down into three categories: the pitcher who pitched great and
won; the pitcher who pitched great and got boned; and the blind pig of
a batter who managed to find the one stinkin’ truffle of a run that
made the difference. Oh, and there’s a nice Monty Python bit down in
the Yankees-Mariners recap and some totally uncalled for Canada bashing
down in the Blue Jays-Rays item. Enjoy!

Dodgers 1, Rockies 0: Won:
Ramon Troncoso, but he was a reliever. Clayton Kershaw started but
couldn’t hang around for the win because he walked too many guys and
threw 97 pitches in five innings. Boned: Jason Hammell (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K), who pitched way better than Kershaw but had no blind pig on his side. Blind Pig: Rafael Furcal with an RBI single.

Reds 1, Diamondbacks 0: Won: Johnny Cueto (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER 8K); Boned: Jon Garland (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER); Blind Pig: Joey Votto with an RBI single.

Mets 1, Brewers 0: Won: Mike Pelfrey (7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 6K). Boned: Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 12K). Blind Pig: Ryan Church, RBI single.

OK, so it was only three, but I don’t recall any days in the past couple of years with even that many 1-0 games. Anyway:

Yankees 4, Mariners 2: Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!

Buster Olney: Here’s one
Cart-master: Ninepence.
Alex Rodriguez: (feebly) I’m not dead!
Cart-master: (surprised) What?
Buster Olney: Nothing! Here’s your ninepence….
Alex Rodriguez: I’m not dead!
Cart-master: ‘Ere! ‘E says ‘e’s not dead!
Buster Olney: Yes he is.
Alex Rodriguez: I’m not!
Cart-master: ‘E isn’t?
Buster Olney: Well… he will be soon– he’s very ill…
Alex Rodriguez: I’m getting better!
Buster Olney: No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.
Alex Rodriguez: I feel happy! I feel happy! (2-4, HR, 2 RBI)

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5:
Back atcha, Baltimore! The O’s blow a 5-1 lead in the ninth and woof it
away in the 11th. “I thought today was a great opportunity for our
bullpen to come show the league what we’re really made of,” Papelbon
said after the game. “I think we answered that with flying colors.” And
that answer is that the bullpen is made out of mixed metaphors until
the cows come home to roost.

Braves 11, Phillies 1:
Following up on yesterday’s comment, I did tell Bill at Crashburn Alley
that the Braves would lose the Hamels-Jurrjens game, so I was
technically wrong. Still, I predicted Atlanta winning two of three, so
they can vindicate me with a loss tomorrow. Jair Jurrjens pitched
better than the guys up in the 1-0 games (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 6K) and the
Braves actually got some offense for a damn change.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1:
That’s three straight wins for Randy Wells (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Some
other good news: Aramis Ramirez is ready to rehab, and now the Cubs get
to see how he plays in Peoria.

White Sox 6, Indians 2:
Oh come on cut the rah rah sh*t Taylor! Year after this I go free
agent. Plus me and my agent got a couple of plans for life after
baseball. So I am not about to risk major injury or displace this
property for a collection of stiffs!

Athletics 5, Tigers 1:
This is kind of how the A’s drew it up in the offseason: Bombs from
Giambi and Cust, a solid start from Dallas Braden and a nice win at
home. Two facts from the game story: (1) “The 38-year-old Giambi, who
has been dealing with sore legs . . .”; and (2) “[Giambi] was in a
2-for-28 stretch before the homer after striking out in his first two
at-bats.” How in the hell are his legs getting sore? Turning on his
heel and walking back to the bench too hard?

Twins 5, Royals 1:
Joe Mauer was 3 for 3, knucklebaler R.A. Dickey was perfect for an
inning and a third, the Twins won, and Justin Morneau experienced
tightness in his groin. Only one of these facts is truly significant in
the grand scheme of things, but good for Mauer and the Twins and bad
news for Morneau all the same.

Marlins 5, Nationals 3:
From the game story: “Asked to explain Florida’s baffling mastery of
the Washington Nationals, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez offered the
simplest explanation. ‘We’ve been lucky,’ he said.” Wait. Since when
did beating the Nationals on a regular basis constitute “baffling
mastery” as opposed to “utter inevitability?”

Cardinals 2, Giants 1:
Both Adam Wainwright (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 12K) and Matt Cain (7 IP, 6 H, 1
ER) were kinda boned in what I’m choosing to call Game 3 of “Molina
Fest.” Worth noting in light of my little anti-La Russa bit on Tuesday,
that this is exactly the kind of game where an extra bat or two off the
bench — as opposed to three or four pitchers you have no intention of
using down in the bullpen — might come in handy once in a while. And
for the record, I had this on in the background and found Sutcliffe
somewhat less annoying than he was when I ranted about him last week. I
can only assume that I either missed all of the obnoxious parts or else
the pod people got hold of him the other day and replaced him with a
less-assaulting replica.

Rangers 9, Angels 7:
This looked like a wild one, at least from the box score. How wild?
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out yet still scored in the sixth inning.

Astros 7, Padres 1:
Not much interesting here, but this is interesting “The Padres say
Friday night’s game against Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers
is a sellout.” But . . . but . . . Bill Plaschke said we shouldn’t
approve of Manny Ramirez’s vile and wicked ways!

Blue Jays 5, Rays 0:
Ricky Romero (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7K) can join the 1-0 All-Stars along
with Jurrjens. Oh, and yesterday was Canada Day, too. For those of you
who don’t know, Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1 July
1867 enactment of the British North America Act, which defiantly
declared Canada’s independence from the evil British and promised that
blood will be shed in the interests of Canadian freedom if necessary.
Wait . . .what’s that? Oh, I’m sorry, I got that wrong. The Act
actually declared that Canada was requesting to form a federation, with
said request being gradually granted by British fiat over multiple
ensuing decades. All while being overseen by Canada’s Governor General,
who, to this very day, remains in place as a viceregal representative
of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who still goes by the title The
Queen in Right of Canada. Inspiring, when you think about it.*

*Before Jonah Keri, Pete Toms and the ghost of John Brattain
come after me for this gratuitous anti-Canadian rant, please know that
both of my maternal grandparents hailed from the Great White North.
Maybe that’s a weak (and in and of itself offensive) defense for my
thinly-veiled American exceptionalism, but I’m hoping that this,
combined with my general tolerance/occasional enjoyment of Rush, my
love of Tim Hortons Timbits, and the fact that my family hosted a
visiting table tennis player during the 1984 Canusa Games
will get me off the hook. Though, in the interests of full disclosure,
I feel obligated to say that we all hated that table tennis kid and
were happy when he went back home to Hamilton.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.