And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Nationals 4, Mets 0: Not to take too much away from John Lannan
(CG, SHO, 7 H, 1K 0 BB), but David Wright was the only player in the
Mets’ lineup who has any business starting for a Major League team, let
alone one that still pretends that it’s contending.

Indians 2, Blue Jays 1: Cliff Lee’s starts are beginning to take on the air of street sale rather than a baseball game:

Live from 47th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue-you can’t miss
it!-it’s SABRA PRICE IS RIGHT! Alright so let’s go with the game then.
Here is the host, URI SHURINSON!

Uri: Alright-alright-alright! Good-good-good! Yes-yes,
welcome-welcome to Sabra Price Is Right! I am Uri! Okay so we show you
beautiful merchandise; and you people, you guess price. So okay let’s
look at first merchandise!

[Shot: 30 year-old lefthander]

Harvey: Alright is Cliff Lee! Is pitcher from Cleveland. Is good! (CG, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 K 0 BB)

Uri: Okay-okay now who can tell me the correct price for the Cliff Lee?

Brewers 2, Pirates 0: Milwaukee blanks the Pirates. And Braden Looper beaned five guys because Kevin Young hit a homer off of Doug Jones back in May of 1998. Maybe you think that’s extreme, but that’s just how the Brew Crew rolls.

Angels 8, Royals 5: You’re not going to believe this, but Sidney
Ponson got rocked (5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER). Jose Guillen drove in two. It’s
amazing what you can do when you take ownership over your problems.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: Neyer yesterday:

The Yankees are probably good enough to get into the playoffs with
Sergio Mitre in their rotation … but is it really worth the risk? And
I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe it must take a month to get Hughes
conditioned for 100 pitches. Anyway, why is that the threshold for
acceptability? How many times do the Yankees think that Mitre’s going
to last for 100 pitches?

Last night’s results: 91 pitches, even when pitching with a four-run
lead. It’s great that he won and everything, but is there any doubt
that Phil Hughes could do at least that and maybe save the bullpen some
innings?

Braves 8, Giants 1: It’s amazing what ridding your lineup of
automatic outs can do. With Jordan Schafer, Kelly Johnson and Jeff
Francoeur gone, the Braves have been on an offensive tear. In this one,
Martin Prado had three hits and scored three runs and Brian McCann hit
a three-run homer and drove in four. Now if only the Phillies would
lose a game . . .

Phillies 4, Cubs 1: Damn. Jayson Werth with a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the 13th.

Tigers 9, Mariners 7: Not a lot of pitching in this one, as
seven homers were hit, two by Jack Hannahan of the Ms and one grand
slam by Magglio Ordonez. Franklin Gutierrez slammed into the wall and
had to leave the game, but x-rays were negative. Which, strangely
enough, is a positive thing.

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2: Losing four of five out the gate in the
second half is probably not what the Sox had in mind, but that’s what
happens when you can’t figure out rookies with names like Tommy Hunter.
They should trade him to the Braves to team up with Hanson. Both
“Hunter & Hanson” and “Tommy and Tommy” sound like 1980s
action/adventure shows that I totally would have watched back then. It
would air right before “Riptide” and right after “The A-Team.”

Rays 3, White Sox 2: Bobby Jenks loaded the bases in the ninth
but got out of it on Monday night, but last night he wasn’t so lucky.
Coming in with a one run lead, Jenks allowed
single-HBP-single-walk-sacrifice-hit-walk before getting out of it.
Spoiled a nice Clayton Richard start too (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Astros 11, Cardinals 6: This has to have been Todd Wellemeyer’s
last start for the Cardinals, no? That one nice start against the
Giants back on July 2nd didn’t buy him a mile of rope, did it? Wandy
Rodriguez (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), Carlos Lee (grand slam) and Miguel Tejada
(2-3, 3 RBI) lead the charge for the Astros.

Angels 10, Royals 2: Erik Aybar was a beast in this
doubleheader, smacking seven hits between the two games. He’s also 24
for his last 43. Kansas City used nine pitchers in yesterday’s games.

Dodgers 12, Reds 3: I think the Homer Bailey experiment is
nearing its end as he has a 14.53 ERA over his past two starts and
isn’t fooling anyone. And I’d like to think that this Dusty Baker quote
was meant as a dig at Joe Torre, though it probably wasn’t: “You know
you’ve got a good lineup when your eighth hitter’s hitting
.320-something. I don’t know If I’ve seen that ever.” He’s referring to
Matt Kemp, of course, who has no business hitting eighth. Not that it’s
hurting the Dodgers at the moment or anything.

Twins 3, A’s 2: Runs were a bit more scarce in this one. And,
unlike yesterday, Mike Muchlinski called Michael Cuddyer safe when it
mattered, this time on his 10th inning RBI triple.

Marlins 3, Padres 2: I have absolutely nothing interesting to
say about this game, so I’ll just note that “Stripes” was on AMC last
night. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, and yes, it holds up. Lee
Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend
tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the
two of us together, forget it.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 5: Same here, really. Sorry, I guess
last nights west coast games just aren’t speaking to me like Monday
night’s did. C’mon, it’s Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick ’em up, we
zip right out again. We’re not going to Moscow. It’s Czechoslovakia.
It’s like going into Wisconsin.

Clint Barmes retires

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 29:  Shortstop Clint Barmes #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first to complete a double play to end the seventh inning after forcing out Chone Figgins #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Veteran infielder Clint Barmes has announced his retirement.

Barmes was playing for Triple-A Omaha in the Royals system and he simply came to the decision to hang it up during a recent game when he was replaced late in the game to make way for a younger player. He tells Jessica Kleinschmidt of FanDuel that it was a cold night, he was stiffening up and, in a rather matter-of-fact tone, says he just decided that he had played enough.

Barmes, 37, played eight years with the Rockies, three with the Pirates and one each with San Diego and Houston. He was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball for several years but one 23-homer season in 2009 notwithstanding, he never really hit and once the range started to go so too did his justification for being on a big league roster. Last season he hit just .232 with a .633 OPS in 98 games for the Padres. He hadn’t topped a .700 OPS since 2009. His hope to snag a utility infielder role on the Royals this spring didn’t pan out but the club signed him to a minor league deal after releasing him and it’s not crazy to think that he would’ve gotten a chance to play in Kansas City at some point this season.

Still, he sounds pretty fulfilled and content with his decision to hang ’em up. And, unlike a lot of guys, he got the chance to make the decision himself rather than have someone else make it for him.

Bartolo Colon: not always a longball threat

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  Bartolo Colon #40 of the New York Mets heads back to the dugut after he struck out swinging in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles on May 5, 2015 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The baseball world went batty when Mets starter Bartolo Colon hit a homer a couple of weeks ago. That, combined with a few other nice offensive performances from pitchers in the days surrounding that led to a mini groundswell of “this is why the DH is dumb! Pitchers batting provides us with such wonderful entertainment!” chatter.

Which is fine as far as it goes. But for every yin of a serendipitous pitcher home run comes the yang of pitcher hitting futility. Or, in some cases, pitchers not even trying. Colon himself took that to the next level last night, telling the opposition to just groove him fastballs at which he promised not to swing due to a sore back:

At the plate, Colon did his best to not contribute to Gonzalez’s rough night, telling catcher Wilson Ramos he wasn’t going to swing.

“I swing at the balls pretty hard and I thought, not worth making my back worse, so I told their catcher from the beginning, `Just throw it right down the middle, I’m not swinging,'” Colon said through a translator. “After that first at-bat and they threw me that changeup, I was like: `No, I promise you. Throw it right down the middle. I am not going to swing.'”

And he didn’t swing. He struck out looking all three trips he took to the plate, watching fourteen pitches sail by in the process.

This is a venial sin, not a mortal one, as pitchers have been mailing it in at the plate since the game was invented (pitchers’ inability and lack of need to hit was being noted in the 19th century). But it is rather ironic that the majority of anti-DH sentiment comes from people who like to cite the purity of the game and all that jazz. I get the strong sense that folks who care about such things would, in all other instances, lose their minds if a player not only took three plays off in a game but literally told the opposition he wasn’t going to try.

Tony Gwynn’s family sues tobacco companies for wrongful death

Tony Gwynn
Associated Press
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The widow of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and their two children, former major leaguer Tony Gwynn Jr. and Anisha Gwynn-Jones, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court arising out of Gwynn’s death of oral cancer in 2014.

According to the lawsuit, Gwynn started dipping as a 17-year-old while playing baseball for San Diego State. According to the complaint, “Once Defendants got Tony addicted to their products, he became a self-described `tobacco junkie”‘ who used 1 1/2 to 2 cans of Skoal per day.” The suit seeks unspecified damages against Altria Group Corp., the parent company of Philip Morris, and US Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC.

It will not be an easy lawsuit for the Gwynn family to win. While Gwynn himself cited his copious tobacco use as the cause of the salivary gland cancer which eventually killed him — and while it makes a lot of intuitive sense to assume that smokeless tobacco use + time = oral cancer — Gwynn’s specific form of cancer, of the parotid gland, is not associated with tobacco use. The gland which developed the cancer was around his ear and there has been no observed link between smokeless tobacco use and cancer of that particular gland, let alone any sort of consensus on the matter. There are strong links, obviously, between smokeless tobacco use and cancer of the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, mouth, and throat, in addition to other health problems.

None of which is to say definitively that tobacco didn’t cause Gwynn’s cancer — there just isn’t enough medical data on this form of cancer to be so certain — or that the defendants in this case may not settle with the Gwynn family to avoid the expense, risk and bad p.r. of defending a suit arising out of the death of a beloved figure. But it is certainly not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination, and Gwynn’s family will have the burden of proof.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 23:  Hunter Pence #8 and Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after Pence hit a walk-off rbi single to score Brandon Belt #9 (not pictured) against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the ninth inning at AT&T Park on May 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won the game 1-0.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 1, Reds 0: Clayton Kershaw with a two-hit shutout. And he only needed 102 pitches to do it. His opponent, Brandon Finnegan was almost as good, allowing one run over eight innings. And that run came on a double play. Low offense and both pitchers going the distance led to a game time of two hours eleven minutes. Welcome to 1966.

Giants 1, Padres 0: Johnny Cueto tossed a two-hit shutout of his own. And he had to, as the Giants and Padres traded zeroes until the ninth inning when Hunter Pence doubled in Brandon Belt for the walkoff win.

Mets 7, Nationals 1David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker all homered, with Cespedes and Walker going back-to-back in the fifth inning. Bartolo Colon allowed only one run over seven innings. Colon also did this, due to a stiff back:

At the plate, Colon did his best to not contribute to Gonzalez’s rough night, telling catcher Wilson Ramos he wasn’t going to swing.

“I swing at the balls pretty hard and I thought, not worth making my back worse, so I told their catcher from the beginning, `Just throw it right down the middle, I’m not swinging,” Colon said through a translator. “After that first at-bat and they threw me that changeup, I was like: `No, I promise you. Throw it right down the middle. I am not going to swing.”

If you’re going to all gaga and anti-DH when pitchers hit homers, you kinda gotta contend with this too, do you not?

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3Randal Grichuk hit a walkoff homer. He’s also the latest addition to the “Describe in Literal Terms What Happened” All-Star Team:

“I was trying to battle and get a pitch in the zone and put good wood on it and get on. Luckily, I was able to get a homer.”

ESPN is busy preparing a seven figure offer sheet for him to be an analyst when his playing career is over.

White Sox 7, Indians 6; Indians 5, White Sox 1: The old Doubleheader of Existential Stasis, as the clubs split and ask themselves if it would have been better to never have left bed that morning. Todd Frazier hit a solo shot and Brett Lawrie hit a three-run homer for the White Sox in the first game. In the nightcap Jose Ramirez, Rajai Davis and Juan Uribe went deep for the Tribe. It doesn’t matter, I’ll probably get hit by a car anyway. Eat at Arby’s.

Pirates 6, Rockies 3: A scary moment when Pirates starter Ryan Vogelsong was hit in the face with a pitch. He’s been admitted to a hospital but seems alright. Wilfredo Boscan was the emergency reliever, allowing two runs on two hits and himself hitting an RBI single in four innings. It was a bad game all around for folks near home plate: umpire Jeff Nelson left the game after some debris hit him in the eye during a play at home.

Tigers 5, Phillies 4: Two homers for Miguel Cabrera who apparently did not feel any bad effects from that bruised knee on Sunday. Miggy also doubled and scored a run on a Victor Martinez single. J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos also homered for Detroit, which has won six of seven.

Marlins 7, Rays 6: Four hits for Ichiro, bringing the future Hall of Famer to 2,960 in the U.S. portion of his career. More importantly, one of his singles contributed to an eighth inning rally which helped the Marlins come from behind. Suzuki is 10 for 13 in the past three games. As a part time player he ain’t exactly as important to Miami as David Ortiz is to Boston, but he too is going out on top, presuming he is going out, hitting .417/.478/.467 on the season.

Angels 2, Rangers 0: The Angels were supposed to be a carcass on the highway after losing 40% of their pitching staff to ligament injuries but they’ve won eight of 11 because, well, baseball. Albert Pujols‘ homer in the third inning was his 569th, which ties him for 12th in career homers with Rafael Palmeiro. Nick Tropeano allowed four hits and one walk while striking out six while pitching into the seventh inning.

Royals 10, Twins 4: Sal Perez went 5-for-5, hitting a double, a triple and three singles while driving in one. Omar Infante only had one hit, but it was a two-run double and he added a sac fly to give him three driven in on the night. Ricky Nolasco gave up six runs on eight hits in less than three innings of work, so that continues to be a great situation for the Twins. Between this season, next season and his inevitable buyout, Nolasco is owed $25 million by the end of next year. The Twins have the worst record in baseball, which is saying a lot given that the Braves are in this league.

Athletics 5, Mariners 0: Rich Hill tossed eight shutout innings and notched his seventh win of the year, which is a pretty good trick for a guy pitching for a team that’s in fourth place and six games under .500.