And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Mets 4; Phillies 1, Mets 0: The Phillies win the
second one behind eight shutout innings from Pedro Martinez. Next up:
Tom Glavine comes out of retirement on Tuesday and throws a three
hitter at the Mets, getting run support from Mo Vaughn, who hits for
the cycle, while Vince Coleman coaches third base and Bobby Bonilla
coaches first.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Red Sox 4, Rays 0: The Rays drop their 10th
and 11th straight. This is the most unexpected losing streak since
Eddie Murphy went on his 19-movie skid following “Coming to America.”
If we try to match these up, the first game of the doubleheader was the
equivalent of “Holy Man” and the second was “Life.” In the former,
we’ll credit Matt Garza as Robert Loggia, for putting in a quality
performance in what was otherwise a lost cause. In the latter, we’ll
credit Willy Aybar as Martin Lawrence for his 0-4, 3K showing, which
made a stink bomb even more unbearable. And for those of you playing at
home, (a) I’m not counting Murphy’s voice roles or that weird Michael
Jackson music video compilation; and (b) I’m counting his supporting
role in “Dreamgirls” as the streak breaker. I think he was a bit
overrated for that, but if I didn’t count it, we’d be up in the 30s.

Giants 7, Dodgers 2: It’s odd to say it, but this week’s series
with Colorado is bigger than this past weekend’s series against the
Dodgers. The Giants salvage one to pull within four and a half of the
Rockies for the Wild Card.

Padres 7, Rockies 3: After all three of them dropped two of
three to San Diego in consecutive series, as far as the Dodgers,
Rockies and Giants are concerned, the Padres are just a fly in the
ointment. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass, Hans.
Yippee-ki-yay.

Angels 3, White Sox 2: Torii Hunter hit a tie breaking homer off
of Buehrle in the seventh. Hunter said that as the pitch came in, he
was looking changeup because that’s what Buehrle threw him in the same
situation earlier in the game, but that for some reason his hands
reacted to the cutter that he actually received. “My mind said
something else, but my hands said, ‘No,'” Hunter said. Hunter’s alien hand syndrome bears watching going forward. Will it turn horrific like it did for Michael Caine in “The Hand,”
or it will it merely be funny like it was for Peter Sellers in “Dr.
Strangelove?” In other news, my Dad told me that spending every single
weekend between 1988 and 1991 renting awful, awful horror movies like
“The Hand” was a colossal waste of time. It may have taken 20 years,
but it’s starting to pay off, baby. Next up: I try to find some way to
slip in a reference to “April Fool’s Day.”

Twins 8, Athletics 0: Brian Duensing wins the battle of rookie
lefthanders over Gio Gonzalez. “Gio just didn’t have command of his
pitches today,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It seems when he missed he
walked guys, and then he’d come in and it would hit the fat part of the
plate.” With the exception of a brief stretch in early August this
could describe any Gio Gonzalez start this year.

Braves 9, Cardinals 2: Please explain to me how you get your
lunch handed to you by the Reds a week ago and then turn around and
sweep the Cardinals in their own ballpark? The Braves hung seven on
Chris Carpenter. I’d like to think that this was a gift on their part
to former Braves’ farmhand Adam Wainwright in his effort to win the Cy
Young Award.

Yankees 13, Orioles 3: CC Sabathia didn’t have his best stuff,
but with his teammates scoring 13 runs on 20 hits, he could have had
Gio Gonzalez’s stuff and still notched the win. The Yankees’ favorite
umpire — Marty “he didn’t have to tag you since the ball beat you”
Foster — ran A-Rod with seemingly no warning and then ran Girardi
after he bolted out of the dugout to argue the A-Rod ejection. Johnny
Damon almost threw a ball into the stands with two outs because he
thought there were three, and his brain lock allowed a run to score.
But again, you score 13 on 20, and none of that garbage really matters.



Pirates 2, Astros 1: Matt Capps got mad because he thought Miguel Tejada and Astros’ first base coach Jose Cruz were stealing signs. Apparently Capps hasn’t read Tejada’s press clippings.
He gives signs, he doesn’t steal them. Tejada, who popped out to end
the at bat, said “I just made an out. That is the first time I have
ever seen a guy mad, yelling at a guy for getting out.” I guess Tejada
didn’t see Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.

Royals 7, Indians 0: The Indians have lost 10 of their last 13,
and have looked really, really bad in most of those games. Carlos
Carrasco gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings, but to read the quotes from Eric Wedge in this game story,
you’d think he pitched a three hit shutout. I can only assume that
Wedge is visiting some self-help/life affirmation guru who has
counseled him to say five nice things a day in order to maintain a
“penumbra of positivity” or to keep his Lifeline oriented more towards
“love” instead of “fear” or some such nonsense.

Tigers 7, Blue Jays 2: Rick Porcello: twenty year-old stopper.
Deep thought: when the Tigers clinch the division, will Porcello be
cited for underage drinking if he partakes in the champagne shower?
Will anyone in Tigers’ management be arrested for contributing to the
delinquency of a minor?

Brewers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Prince Fielder ties Cecil Cooper’s
single season team RBI record at 126 and the Brewers sweep the series.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is one of my favorite
beat writers, and one of the reasons is that he live blogs every game.
There’s always something interesting in there too. Little stuff that
never makes the game story and which doesn’t matter in the grand
scheme, but that you’d like to know anyway. Yesterday he had this from the Brewers’ half of the seventh inning: “Braun fouls out to left. The ball was only a foot or so foul and Braun didn’t run. Interesting.”

Cubs 5, Reds 2: With this loss the Reds were officially
eliminated from the NL Central race so, you know, I suppose they can
stop trying now. Nice gesture: the Dayton Daily News’ Hal McCoy —
another excellent beat guy — is being forced into retirement after the
season after 27 years covering the Reds. In his honor, the Cubs gave
him a scoreboard panel with a “37” on it after the game. They would
have given it to him on Friday, but since the Reds and their pitching
staff were in town, they wanted to hold back the 37 just in case they
needed it.

Rangers 7, Mariners 2; Mariners 5, Rangers 0: Not going anywhere
for a while? These guys were already playing a doubleheader because of
Friday’s rain out, and then the first one was delayed four and a half
damn hours. Tommy Hunter threw a six hit complete game in the first
which is totally what you want to see in a twin bill. Didn’t carry
over, though, as Texas had no answers to Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 4 H, 0
ER). Ichiro’s hit in the nightcap was his 200th. He does that an awful lot.

Nationals 7, Marlins 2: Another rainy game, this one was called
in the bottom of the ninth following a second lengthy delay. Of course,
if this game was worth a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys to the playoff
races they probably would have waited it out. Cody Ross: “Tough series
for us. Definitely not what we wanted. When you’re losing the whole
time it just makes it miserable. The steady rain just compounds that
terrible feeling you have inside.” Cody, it’s OK. Have a good cry and
then give Eric Wedge a call. You’ll be smiling in no time.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.

Brewers sign reliever Blaine Boyer

Blaine Boyer
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Right-hander Blaine Boyer, who spent last season with the Twins, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to spring training.

Boyer was also on a minor-league deal last spring when he snagged a spot in the Twins’ season-opening bullpen and he stayed there all year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. His secondary numbers weren’t quite so impressive, particularly his managing just 33 strikeouts compared to 19 walks, but the 34-year-old journeyman is a decent middle relief option.

Boyer has a 4.22 career ERA, including a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings since returning from injuries in 2014.

The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp
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Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com reports that the Padres have tried to trade Matt Kemp.

Shocker given that he’s 31 and is owed $21.75 million over each of the next four seasons. Still, if the Padres eat some cash someone may bite. Kemp started slowly in 2015 but was solid in the second half. He finished with a line of .265/.312/.443, 23 home runs, and 100 RBI in 648 plate appearances. That last number is key because the once-fraglie Kemp has been healthy for two years now. Someone could use that level of production.

Just not at those prices.

The Braves and Fulton County are fighting over a Hank Aaron statue

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, a statue of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron stands outside Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves pulled perhaps the most surprising move of the year. They announced after months of secret talks with Cobb County leaders plans to move to a suburban stadium and leave downtown where they’ve played since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. The impending Braves’ departure aside, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed managed to keep the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons happy. He agreed for the city to cover part of the construction costs for a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. Both new stadiums are projected to open in 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Associated Press
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Divorce is hard. It’s hard on the kids and hard on your own emotions. Then, of course, there’s the fighting over money. Eventually you sort that stuff out too, but at some point you’ll come across something that cannot be divided between you and for which visitation schedules simply aren’t suitable.

Maybe it’s the family photo album. Maybe it’s that 60-year-old cast iron skillet which you got at that estate sale and which is perfectly seasoned and, oh God, you can’t imagine making fried chicken in anything else YOU GOT THE HOUSE, JENNY, MY GOD I GET TO KEEP THE SKILLET!!!

Um. Sorry. Got carried away there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes. Maybe it’s that statue you and your ex both love. You know, that one of the guy who hit 755 home runs and who has served as the face of your franchise for over 60 years:

For about three hours Wednesday, it looked like the statue of baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be staying in Atlanta.

The agency that owns Turner Field proudly announced it holds documents showing “the people of Atlanta and Fulton County” own the bronze, and that a deal had been struck with the Braves to keep the statue at Turner Field.

Then came a statement from the Braves saying, in effect: nuh huh. The statue, the team said, should go wherever the Hammer wants it.

And with those dueling press statements, the fate over one of Atlanta’s treasured sports landmarks remained in limbo, just as it has been since the day the Braves announced plans in late 2013 to move from downtown to Cobb County after the 2016 season.

The latest: Hank Aaron says he wants no part of the dispute and that the club and the city should solve it themselves. Which is absolutely the right move. And, frankly, kind of crappy of the Braves to throw it in Aaron’s lap in the first place. They’re the ones who, figuratively speaking, broke up the marriage by messing around with that younger, richer suitor after all. Now they’re trying to make Aaron either be a bad guy to Braves fans who attend games after 2016 and don’t get to see the statue or the city of Atlanta who would have yet another piece of their baseball history transplanted to the burbs? Forget that.

If I were Aaron I’d propose that we saw the thing in half. Then we’d see who values it more. I heard that approach has worked before.