And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 12, Cubs 5: Pedro Martinez wasn’t spectacular in his
2009 debut, but he was effective enough and showed that he still
belonged on a Major League mound (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 5K). I was most
impressed by his first inning strikeout of Jake Fox where, after
consistently hitting 88 on the gun with his fastball to start off the
game, he ratcheted it up to 92 on strike three. That’s useful. One
wonders if it wouldn’t be more useful in the pen, but that’s something
we’ll figure out over the next couple of weeks. Jeff Samardzija made
his first start and it wasn’t pretty, as he gave up seven runs on eight
hits in 3.1 innings. Oh, and some dumb rich kid showered Shane
Victorino with beer as he caught a fly ball. No word on whether
Victorino picked up a rock and made a nice-sized dent in the fan’s
life-sized Hot Wheels car after the game. So what else do you want to
hear, I’m out of stories.

Braves 6, Nationals 2: It’s a lot of fun for me to watch the Braves win like this. Now if only Philly and Colorado will cooperate by losing a bit.

Rockies 8, Pirates 0: That’s not what I mean when I ask for cooperation. Ubaldo Jimenez makes short work of the Pirates (8IP, 3 H, 0 ER).

Twins 7, Royals 1: Brian Bannister gets shelled (6 IP, 9 H, 7
ER) and Francisco Liriano had his best start in, like, forever (7 IP, 3
H, 1 ER, 8K). Most of the damage against Bannister came in the first,
when the Twins hit four straight singles off of him, followed by a home
run. Bannister tried to explain to the Twins that all but the homer was
the result of an unusual run of BABIP luck, but they insisted on
celebrating anyway. Ignoramuses.

Giants 4, Dodgers 2: Juan Uribe wins it on a walkoff homer in
the 10th, though if it wasn’t for a bad call at first base that led to
a Dodger run, it would have ended in the ninth. There was some pushing
and shoving early in this one, but no Youkilis-Porcello moments. Which
is sad, because the inside pitch that caused the ire was to Pablo
Sandoval, and I would have liked to see his kung-fu in action.

Mets 6, Diamondbacks 4: Jon Rauch got pissed at the ump over
what he felt to be a shrinking strike zone in the eighth and charged in
to argue with him. Manager A.J. Hinch came out to protect his pitcher
and Rauch shoved him aside. “He really didn’t hold me back too much,
and I went and apologized for manhandling him.” You just can’t buy that
kind of respect from your subordinates. It has to be earned.

Red Sox 8, Tigers 2: Despite a fairly big series against the
Rangers this weekend, Youkilis began serving his suspension, and thus
sat this one out. Probably a good idea, though, because (a) the Sox
have approximately 347 guys who play first or third; and (b) who’s to
say the Tigers wouldn’t have thrown at him again? Josh Beckett goes
seven innings giving up two runs and notching his 14th win. I’m getting
this funny feeling that they’re going to give him the Cy Young award
this year despite the fact that there are several starting pitchers
more deserving. It just feels like a “look at the wins!” kind of year.

Rangers 5, Indians 0: Strike that — reverse it. Tommy Hunter
continues to impress (7.2 IP, 6 H. 0 ER 5K) and Josh Hamilton goes 3-4
with a couple of doubles as the Rangers replicate the Indians 5-0 win
from the previous night.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Chris Carpenter (7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 10K)
shuts down the Reds. A line drive off of Homer Bailey’s foot shuts down
Homer Bailey after throwing only 12 pitches. Pujols hit his 38th homer.
Matt Holliday goes 3 for 4.

Angels 10, Rays 5: Not a lot of pitching to be found here, as
the teams combine for 24 hits. From the Angels side it had to do with
the fact that Trevor Bell was making his major league debut. Rob wasn’t as impressed as the Angels’ announcers.
Bell wasn’t all that impressed with the majesty of the Major Leagues:
“But just talking to the veteran guys, they said the game is no
different up here. Just more people and better speakers.”

Athletics 6, Orioles 3: The A’s finish up their
28-games-in-28-days stretch with a victory, resulting in a 14-14
record. In August 1990 I worked 28 straight days at the radio station
without a day off. All 11pm-6am shifts. I was pretty whipped by the end
of that stretch, and it was all I could do to read the station ID at
the top of the hour without slurring my speech or falling asleep. I
guess what I’m saying is that the A’s can declare victory with that

Astros 14, Marlins 6: Hunter Pence had two homers — both of
them three-run jobs — and Ricky Nolasco continues to make people
wonder why he was such a hot fantasy property back in March (3.1 IP, 8
H, 10 ER).

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: A costly victory for the Yankees as
Jeter, Rodriguez and Posada all got beaten up by hit or pitched balls,
and Mariano Rivera didn’t even hang around for the game due to a
“cranky arm,” whatever the hell that means. They got a bit of a cushion
now, though, so they can give some guys a day off here or there.

Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Ken Griffey Jr. has had a rather poor
(presumably) final year in the majors, but he get a nice near-the-end
highlight here, singling home the game’s only run in the bottom of the
14th. I mentioned Josh Beckett’s Cy Young chances before. Among the
guys with better cases but who likely won’t get near the support are
Felix Hernandez, who threw seven shutout innings with ten strikeouts to
lower his ERA to 2.72. Mark Buehrle had a good game too — his first
since the perfecto — shutting Seattle out over eight.

Padres 6, Brewers 5: The new-look Brewers lose to a Padres team
that has won 5 of 6. After the game, Doug Melvin demoted Prince
Fielder, released Ryan Braun, fired Ken Macha and had three of every
five stadium vendors killed. Dude doesn’t mess around.

Marlins have begun extension talks with Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.

Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of

As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.

“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”

The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.