And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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A very grand-slammy day around the Majors . . .

Nationals 14, Brewers 6: Josh Willingham with two grand slams
and eight RBI. I think that’s more production than his trade
counterpart Emilio Bonifacio has had all season.

Mets 7, Rockies 3: An eighth inning pinch hit grand slam by Fernando Tatis puts a happy ending on what was an otherwise horrible day in Metsville.
After the game, Omar Minaya raged at a press conference about how he
can no longer sit back and allow reporter infiltration, reporter
indoctrination, reporter subversion and the international reporter
conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Cubs 5, Astros 1: Tie game, bases loaded in the bottom of the
ninth! Lou Piniella calls for the suicide squeeze! Mike Fontenot know
what to do: Contact, baby! Do anything, put it anywhere, but JUST DON’T
MISS THE BALL! Oops, he missed the ball and the runner was tagged out.
On to extra innings, where, thankfully for Fontenot’s sake, the Cubbies
broke out in the 13th inning, via — you guessed it — a game-winning
grand slam, this one off the bat of Alfonso Soriano.

Indians 9, Angels 8: A rare bifurcated grand slam won this one,
with Victor Martinez hitting a three run home run followed immediately
by Jhonny Peralta hitting a solo-shot in the ninth inning. Shut up, it
does too count. I’m trying to keep a theme going here.

Yankees 11, Rays 4: It was A-Rod’s birthday yesterday, and if he wanted to, he and his lady friend Kate Hudson could have joined the party and gotten a free grand slam.
Since it’s Rodriguez, though, they probably just tried to go to Chi
Chi’s to get free nachos and a Polaroid picture wearing that birthday
sombrero they give out. Then they probably were crestfallen when they
found out that (a) Chi Chi’s went out of business five years ago; and
(b) that there aren’t any Polaroids around anymore either. So instead
they just went out to some fabulous restaurant and took turns telling
one another how rich and beautiful they are. Wait, where was I going
with this?

Reds 6, Padres 4: Given how totally each of these teams have
fallen apart recently, this was more like rummage sale than a ballgame.
Scouts sat behind home plate like Luke and Uncle Owen pickin’ out
droids. Based on reports, someone’s got their eyes set on this Red one, but they should be warned: he probably has a bad motivator.

Red Sox 8, A’s 3: Every Red Sox batter got a hit which, if
you’re a connoisseur of box scores, is kind of satisfying to see on an
aesthetic level. 10Ks for Beckett.

Royals 5, Orioles 3: Billy Butler went 5 for 5 and Bruce Chen
wasn’t an unmitigated disaster for once. Interesting — and deceiving
— to see that the Royals are only three games worse than the Orioles
are this year. I bet Dayton Moore walks around the office complaining
about how unfair it is for those in the know to talk about Baltimore’s
future and promise while all they do is criticize the Royals.

Twins 4, White Sox 3: Errors were the difference here, as Jayson Nix and Paul Konerko each committed an error in the second which led to Twins runs.

Rangers 5, Tigers 2: Yet another solid start from Tommy Hunter
(7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). I don’t know anything about him and I haven’t seen
him pitch yet. Royce — anyone — is he any good, or is this a fluke?

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 1: Chris Carpenter finishes July 4-0 by
beating L.A. in a manner that compels me to use the term “scattered” (7
IP, 9 H, 1 ER). Not to be confused with scattered, smothered, and covered
(sorry, that breakfast reference in the Yankees recap has me hungry).
Anyway, in his first four games with St. Louis, Matt Holliday is
8-for-14 with four RBIs. In his last seven games, Mark DeRosa has five
homers. I’d say at this point that the midseason deals are paying off
for St. Louis.

Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 2: Jamie Moyer, who I am contractually
obligated to refer to as “crafty” (though “wily” will also be
accepted), baffled the Dbacks with his stunning array of dusty junk,
allowing bubkis over six innings. The Phillies now have a seven game
lead in the East.

Blue Jays 11, Mariners 4: All hits are not created equal.
Toronto only has three more of them than the Ms, but they scored seven
more runs, knocking King Felix around in what amounts to his worst
start in a couple of years, and preventing him from getting what would
have been his 12th win.

Giants 4, Pirates 2: Lincecumazing! OK, I’ll cut that out now.
But he really was, tossing a complete game, giving up no earned runs,
and striking out 15 Pirates. His game score of 87 is the ninth best of
any starter’s performance this season. Though it’s worth noting that I
don’t believe in game scores. I just believe in me. Yoko and me. And
that’s reality.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.