And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Marlins 8, Astros 6: Houston put a late scare into the fish, but
it was all for naught. Florida wins its fourth in a row, and now sit
3.5 behind Philly. As Pinto notes, having guys getting on base in front of Hanley Ramirez is a good, good thing for the Marlins.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4: You have to think that this is the end
of the line for Sergio Mitre (5 IP, 6 H, 5 R). And don’t tell me that
only three of those runs were earned. Cano was charged with an error on
that throw to second, but it looked like Mitre really was the one to
blame. And even if he wasn’t, Cano didn’t give up that triple to Joe
Inglett. So, sure, I’ve accepted the fact that no one wants to make
Phil Hughes a starter this year. How about a good old fashioned four
man rotation? Joba rules, schmoba rules; all four of the Yankees good
starters are the kinds of guys that could pull it off. Sabathia would
probably thrive on it. Maybe Joba would even revert back to that
quick-pitch, hyper-efficiency thing he broke out a couple of starts
ago. OK, I’ll shut up now. I realize that by obsessing on the best team
in baseball’s fifth starter that I’m starting to sound like some
deranged Yankees fan.

Athletics 9, Orioles 1: Mark Ellis (5-5, 4 RBI) and Gio Gonzales
(6 IP, 7 H, 0 ER) lead the charge against Baltimore, and now the As
have taken nine straight from the Os. I haven’t mentioned it much for a
long time, but now is as good a time as any to note that the Matt
Wieters Takes Over the World Campaign is currently floundering

Red Sox 6, Tigers 5: After being stymied by the Yankees, the
Sox, surprisingly, get to Edwin Jackson (4 IP, 9 H, 4 ER). I guess
that’s home cookin’ for ya.

Cardinals 4, Reds 1: Kyle Lohse gets his first win in months.
Johnny Cueto had to leave the game early with a hip injury. Pujols flew
out with the bases loaded in the fifth. Man, that guy just ain’t clutch.

Rockies 11, Cubs 5: Troy Tulowitzki was a one-man gang, hitting
for the cycle and going 5 for 5 with seven RBI. Tulo said after the
game that, under most circumstances, he would have stopped at second on
the hit that ended up being the triple, but that Brad Hawpe had egged
him on earlier in the game to stretch anything even close in order to
get the cycle. I guess I don’t have any problem with that, even though
Colorado had an seven run lead at the time. Anyone know if anyone ever
willingly stopped at first base to get a single to complete the cycle
on a hit that should have been extra bases? That’s the kind of guy I’d
go after. Tom Gorzelanny won’t be inspiring any more of those “the Cubs
steal Gorzelanny” articles like we saw last week after this start (1.1
IP, 6 H, 6 ER), and then he had to leave the game after taking one off
the foot.

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 4: Diamondback Trent Oeltjen made his Major
League debut on the 6th, has played in four games, and now has three
homers. He’s Australian, and says that people back home are watching. I
know baseball is increasingly popular down there with leagues and
everything, but I get a giggle thinking of people gathered around a TV,
taking it in with a certain WTF-ness, much the way people of a certain
age here used to watch Aussie football on ESPN in the early 80s. Miguel
Montero had three doubles, Doug Davis gave up two runs and four hits in
seven innings and the Dbacks have won eight of ten.

Angels 8, Rays 7: Vlad hit his 399th and 400th career homers,
the latter of which proved to be the game winner. According to the game
story, the milestone home run was discussed at the Guerrero home over
the weekend: “My mom kept telling me there’s two more. My brother
Wilton had bad math and said it was one more,” said Vlad. I get this
image of 35 year-old Wilton and 34 year-old Vlad sitting at the dinner
table with their mom, arguing like my brother and I did when we were
kids. They’re eating pasta with marinara, and their mom made them take
their shirts off because they’re messy. Then mom smacks Wilton and
chides him for (a) being bad at math; and (b) slurping his spaghetti.
Wilton cries and Vlad retreats to a peaceful place deep in his head
where no one argues. Then my dad gets up from the table, pours himself
a tall glass of liquor, walks into his den and grumbles about how his
life didn’t turn out the way he imagined it would. Um, I mean Vlad and
Wilton’s dad. Not my dad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an
appointment with my therapist I have to keep.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: Matt Kemp (3-run double) and Hiroki Kuroda
(6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) weren’t having any of that “watch out for the
Giants” talk. As expected, “Ramirez was loudly booed by a sellout crowd
in his first game in San Francisco since coming back from a 50-game
suspension for violating baseball’s drug rules — payback for the
treatment former Giants slugger Barry Bonds used to get in Los
Angeles.” I knew it was too much to ask Giants fans to show a little
grace and understanding and take the high road on that point, but I had
kind of hoped they would have anyway. I mean, sure, it’s satisfying to
boo Manny, but wouldn’t not booing him and, instead, just
greeting him with silence send a big F-U to Dodgers’ fans? Or is that
too much nuance to expect 40,000 people to grok?

Mariners 6, White Sox 4: Not only did the Sox lose this one, but
after the game they claimed my mortgage and credit card debt after I
put it on waivers. Seriously, you guys should try this. Kenny Williams
will take anything

Alex Rodriguez credits Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein with Cubs’ turnaround

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13:  Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, celebrates after the Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the National League Division Series to win the NLDS 3-1 at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals with a score of 6 to 4.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Getty Images

It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.

Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.

What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.

A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.

This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.

Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.

Mets expected to pick up 2017 option for Jose Reyes

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a game tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are expected to pick up the 2017 option for Reyes, but they haven’t done it yet. The option will be worth the major league minimum salary ($507,500), as the Rockies will continue to pay down the remainder of Reyes’ $41 million remaining on his contract.

The Mets signed Reyes after the Rockies released him in June. He had a .659 OPS in Colorado but improved to a .769 OPS in 279 plate appearances with the Mets, mostly playing third base in place of the injured David Wright. Bringing Reyes back next season will provide them more insurance at the hot corner.

Reyes, 33, served a 51-game suspension due to an offseason domestic violence incident while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. As a result, he didn’t make his season debut until July 5, having spent some additional time in the minor leagues to get into game shape.