And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Tigers 4, Royals 3:

The crowd began to rise, and clap, waiting for Michigan’s most iconic sports broadcaster to walk out to home plate to say good-bye. Slowly, the applause floated out onto the field, peaking as Harwell strode out from the tunnel behind home plate, walked past the gates and out onto the grass.

He thrust his arms into the sky as the noise washed over him. Standing before a solitary microphone with no one on the diamond but the umpires, the old voice of the Tigers raised his arms once more and quieted the crowd . . .

. . . “You Tiger fans are the greatest fans of them all,” he finished. “Thank you for your support, your loyalty and your love.”

Then he strolled back off the field. His ears filled with chanting:

“Ernie! Ernie! Ernie!”

Rockies 4, Giants 3: I’ll leave this one to Neyer, who got to watch this one from the press box: “. . . in the Hierarchy of Horribles, if you’re a Giants fan, losing to Jorge de la Rosa — being practically shut out by Jorge de la Rosa, then coming oh so close in the ninth inning — and having to play that schedule, and having a lineup full of struggling hitters … well, that’s gotta be pretty close to the top.”

Orioles 4, Rays 2: Losing all of these games isn’t ugly enough for you Rays fans? How about a nice shouting match between your left fielder and DH in the clubhouse before the game? And lo, Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game, making it clear now that the last four months have merely been a test of our faith. I never doubted you, Matt! And I’d like to remind you, that as a trusted Internet personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in your underground sugar caves.

Athletics 4, Rangers 0: This is the way the Rangers’ playoff hopes end. This is the way the Rangers’ playoff hopes end. This is the way the Rangers’ playoff hopes end. Not with a bang but a whimper (sorry, T.S.).

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4: One HBP — Shawn Camp on Melky Cano — but everyone kept their powder dry. Francisco Cervelli — who probably isn’t in this game if Posada didn’t get suspended — hit the game winning RBI in the ninth.

Phillies 6, Nationals 1: Ryan Howard stole second base on the front end of a double steal in which Chase Utley stole home. As for Howard: Whoa. Nice wheels, big guy. As for Utley: There should probably be some sort of fielder’s choice kind of scoring decision for that kind of thing, because that’s just really not a steal of home as far as I’m concerned. Jayson Werth hit a grand slam. The Phillies actually allowed a run.

Dodgers 3, Pirates 1: Man, Pittsburgh will cure what ailes you, won’t they? Ronnie Belliard was 3 for 3 with a homer and two runs scored for cryin’ out loud. A Wednesday day-game sellout for L.A. FYI: it wasn’t the Pirates that spiked the fan interest.

Red Sox 9, Angels 8: The Angels led by one entering the ninth. Boston loads the bases and Nick Green comes in to pinch hit for Casey Kotchman. Fuentes gets two strikes on him, and then Green checks his swing on what would have been strike three. At least the umps say he did — Mike Scioscia disagreed. Fuentes and Green battle until the count is full. The payoff: low, ball four, tying run walks in. Adam Kilgore at the Globe said “If it really was low, it was low by half a millimeter. Scioscia is enraged.” Alex Gonzalez comes up, hits a bloop single to win the game.

Reds 6, Astros 5: How on Earth can you give up eleven hits, five of which were home runs, and not lose the game? Ask Justin Lehr. I imagine he’d start by telling you to only walk one dude. His next idea would be to tell you to make sure you’ve got a good bullpen like the Reds have so they can bail your tater givin’ up butt with four innings of shutout relief. Hal McCoy was honored before the game, which was a nice move by the Reds.

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 5: Luis Durango, who was making his first big league start, hit an infield single to lead off the 10th inning, then stole second, and then beat the throw home on a single to win it. In other news, “Luis Durango” is a fabulous ballplayer name.

Brewers 9, Cubs 5: Alcides Escobar went 4 for 5 with three RBI. Brewers fans may want to turn their attention to the Packers these days, but watching this guy come up and work to figure it out is the kind of thing that they should really take the time to savor in the waning days of 2009.

Marlins 5, Cardinals 2: Josh Johnson gave up nine hits but allowed just one run and struck out nine in six innings. The Marlins somehow continue to hang around, sitting four back of Colorado.

Twins 7, Indians 3: The Twins win, they’re four and a half back, and they face a Tigers team this weekend that can be had. Really early in the season I talked about how the Twins always seem to hang around. This is what I meant.

Mariners 4, White Sox 1: Mike Carp hit his first major league home run. Then: “When the game ended, Carp was given a beer shower and had an ice cream pie shoved in his face by a couple of the veterans.” Ice cream? Original, I guess. Question: why is that there are always pie plates hanging around major league clubhouses? Are they seriously making pie part of the standard post game spread? These are the kind of things that keep me up all night obsessing.

Braves 6, Mets 5: The Braves come from behind and win the game on a Daniel “I have no business playing any defensive position” Murphy error in the ninth.  That’s six straight.  Derek Lowe left the game with a blister on his finger after playing the 18th take of “Helter Skelter.” 

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.