And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Red Sox 7, Tigers 5: You’ve probably seen the Youkilis-Porcello fracas, but here’s video of it from a slightly different angle
which makes Youkilis seem like even more of the bad guy here. Of course
his ejection was the best thing to happen to the Sox last night, as he
was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Lowell, who stayed in the game and
proceeded to hit two homers and drive in three. So yeah, that was all
fun and everything, and it actually worked out for Boston, but can we
all agree that plunkings, retaliation plunkings, retaliation for the
retaliation plunking and all of that is a total drag? It’s the one part
of baseball where Klingon law basically reigns, and I’ll just never get
it. Your guy hits my guy? Who cares? The only reason you’re doing it is
because we’re hitting you hard. That kind of thing doesn’t call for
revenge. It calls for pity.

Indians 5, Rangers 0: Laffey, Smith and Sipp — pitchers, not a
1960s kids show featuring puppets — combine to shutout the Rangers.
The Indians did all of their damage in the third via one of those death
by a thousand cuts kinds of innings:
single-single-HBP-walk-single-double, eventually followed by a
sacrifice fly.

Braves 8, Nationals 1: Tommy Hanson (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9K) puts
a stop to the uppity Nats. Every Braves regular had a hit. Leadoff
hitter Ryan Church reached base in four of his five plate appearances.
Sure, he doesn’t get big feature stories like the guy he was traded for
does, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Orioles 3, Athletics 2: Brian Roberts had three hits, an RBI and
two stolen bases as the Os get a rare win over the A’s. Wait. Why does
the apostrophe look right on the “A’s” but not the “Os?” I’d think that
the apostrophe would be improper in both instances given that they’re
abbreviations of plurals as opposed to possessives, but everyone writes
“A’s” don’t they? Did Oakland ever formally change their nickname? When
I was growing up they were almost always referred to as the A’s, but in
recent years you hardly ever see that anymore. Maybe “A’s” was just the
proper noun, apostrophe and all, now it’s not, and we’re just dealing
with vestigial punctuation? Man, what I wouldn’t give to have a
linguistic anthropologist handy right now. Short of that, I’ll settle
for APBA Guy. Got any insight here, dude?

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 5: Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada hit back-to-back homers leading off the eighth inning to give the Yanks the lead (where have we heard that before?).
There was a moment of silence before the game for Merlyn Mantle, the
widow of Mickey Mantle, who died Monday. There, my friends, was a woman
of serious freakin’ strength, because God love him, but Mickey Mantle
would have driven most women to their graves about 40 years before Mrs.
M. was finally put to rest in hers.

Marlins 9, Astros 8: Game story: “Just before the bottom of the
11th inning, Cody Ross turned to teammate Dan Uggla on the bench and
gave him a few choice words. “This is the inning,” Ross said he told
him. “I feel it. I usually don’t say stuff like that.” Of course the
bases were loaded at the time, so the odds were decidedly in his favor.
Nice game-winning single by Uggla, but I’m not going to give Ross “I
see dead people” kind of credit.

Padres 13, Brewers 6: Adrian Gonzalez went 6 for 6 and the Padres had 22 hits in all off of Braden Looper and six other Brewer pitchers.

Phillies 4, Cubs 3: Brad Lidge blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, but
Ben Francisco homer in the 12th got him off the hook. Lidge certainly
ain’t right, though. How about this: Jamie Moyer, closer. Or would he complain about that too?

Reds 5, Cardinals 4: Coming off a shutout, Justin Lehr pitches
well again, although this time in much better luck, giving up only one
run in six innings despite allowing 11 hits and only striking out one
dude. Which is why I hate the first sentence of the AP game story:
“Apparently, Justin Lehr is no fluke.” Isn’t he? He’s a 32 year-old
journeyman who isn’t allowing any runs despite not striking anyone out
and has allowed 19 hits and 8 walks in 20 innings. Great results that
still count and everything, but that’s pretty much a textbook example
of fluky.


Royals 14, Twins 6: Demoting a knuckleballer like the Twins did
with R.A. Dickey last week is the same as breaking a mirror or killing
an albatross while crossing the ocean or something: courting doom. How
else to explain a shellacking at the hands of the usually punchless
Royals? Miguel Olivo homered and drove in three runs. The Twins have
lost five of six and eight of 10, and they’re getting beat up at home
on a pretty regular basis.

Pirates 7, Rockies 3: Ugly game for the Rockies, as they walk a
bunch of dudes, commit a bunch of errors, and make the Pirates look
like a good team in the process. Andrew McCutchen stole three bases.

Angels 6, Rays 0: Yesterday I read this story
entitled “The Mighty Fall of Angels Pitcher Ervin Santana.” Ervin
Santana apparently didn’t read it (CG SHO 3 H). David Price didn’t
allow a hit until the fifth, and then the wheels just came off (6 IP, 8
H, 6 ER).

Diamondbacks 6, Mets 2: I think it’s safe to say that we’ve
entered the “playing out the string” portion of the season for New
York. Trent Oeltjen had four more hits, with a triple, a double and a
couple of singles. Crikey.

White Sox 3, Mariners 1: Janks (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Denks
(23rd save in a perfect ninth) more or less shut down Seattle, but if
it wasn’t for an Alexei Ramirez three-run homer in the ninth, it would
have been in vain. Well, I suppose it could have been a two-run homer.

Dodgers 9, Giants 1: Remember that thing I said on Monday
morning about there maybe being a race on in the NL West? Eh, forget
it. Manny hit a two-run homer, had an RBI double and, working off of
the general “treat Manny like Barry Bonds” vibe, was intentionally
walked twice. Randy Wolf allowed one run and three hits in eight
innings, retiring 16 of his final 19 batters. This allowed Giants fans
to leave early, obviating the need to rush to get to the Larkspur Ferry.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.