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.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.

The Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field

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Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.

The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.

The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.

The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.

The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.

Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.