And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Tigers 7, Twins 2: I’ve seen a lot of “well, whaddaya expect,
Pavano sucks” comments floating around the internet since last night’s
loss, but it’s all from New York people who can’t get his time in
Gotham out of their heads. Sure, he got knocked around last night, but
before that he had owned the Tigers this season, going 4-0 with a 1.69
ERA. It wasn’t his night, no, but the outcome wasn’t preordained. Give
Detroit the credit for doing what had to be done. And it is all but
done, no? Three games back with four games to play? Sorry, Twinkies, I
think it’s over.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: Speaking of over. Sixteen freakin’ strikeouts by Ricky Nolasco. Sixteen! If only the Braves had listened to Mike Schmidt.
But they could have won! A dramatic comeback in the ninth, only to be
short-circuited by Matt Diaz’s total brain lock at third base with the
bases loaded in the ninth. Either run home or don’t go, Matt. At least
there’s dignity in being gunned down at home. Dying at third base is an
empty death.

Phillies 10, Astros 3: And now we’re talking really over.
As in the NL East race, which the Phillies have now clinched. Brade
Lidge was brought in to pitch the last out of the ninth with a seven
run lead. I’d call that “baby steps” but to do so would be an insult to
babies everywhere. This is more like it.

Rockies 10, Brewers 6: And really, given how they’re playing
(i.e. not on fire, but better than L.A., St. Louis and Philly) they
kind of have to be your NL favorites, no?

Reds 6, Cardinals 1: I’m supposed to be writing a preview of
whichever NLDS the Cards are a part of, and as I sit here right now, I
can’t picture doing it without using the word “stanky.”

Blue Jays 12, Red Sox 0: Even stankier, though to be fair, the
Sox trotted out a AA lineup the day after clinching the wild card.
Still, thank goodness Pouliot is writing the Anaheim-Boston preview,
because I wouldn’t know what to say. Let’s all tip out hats to Roy
Halladay, who probably had more annoying crap to deal with this season
than any other superstar. He plays for an imploding organization who
left him dangling in the breeze for over a month, and then when it
didn’t happen, he got to read all kinds of stuff talking about how
he’ll never be more valuable, and just wait for the decline, and all of
that. Screw that, he said, and went and shut down the Sox (CG SHO, 3
H). Again, sure, it was almost all second stringers, but dominant is
dominant.

Indians 5, White Sox 1; White Sox 1, Indians 0: Eric Wedge bids
adieu to Progressive Field with the split of the doubleheader. I
basically got fired nearly a year ago, so I know from playing out the
string in October. Contrary to the gloomy game recaps, my guess is that
he rather enjoyed the day. Sure, it will weigh on him later, but once
you hear the rumors about the axe coming down, it’s something of a
relief to actually have it happen. In other news, I heard a rumor that
Shapiro had a line on a new manager. I can’t mention any names until
the deal is official, but I think it will be as soon as the candidate
gets off the other line with that guy who is interested in a set of
white walls.

Rays 5, Orioles 3: “You’re saving your really good lies for some
smarter cop, is that it? I’m just a donut in the on-deck circle. Wait
until the real guy gets here. Wait until that big guy comes back. I’m
probably just his secretary. I’m just Montel Williams. You want to talk
to Larry King. I’ve been a murder police for ten years. If
you’re going to lie to me, you lie to me with respect. What is it? Is
it my shoes? Is it my haircut? Got a problem with my haircut? Don’t you
ever lie to me like I’m Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams!” In other news, I’m done thinking of new ways to describe the Orioles’ suckitude. Here on out, it’s only “Homicide” quotes.

Pirates 4, Cubs 0; Pirates 8, Cubs 2: Charlie Morton throws a
four-hit shutout in the first game. Donnie Veal got in another third of
an inning in the second. Nice job getting him some work, Russell. The
Pirates need only split their remaining four to avoid 100 losses. I’m
kind of rooting for them.

Nationals 7, Mets 4: Justin Maxwell came in as a pinch runner,
hung around for a plate appearance and hit a walkoff grand slam on
K-Rod’s 37th pitch of the game. Jerry Manuel after the game: “We’re
just not a good team right now.” You don’t say, doc?

Royals 4, Yankees 3: Derek Jeter led off the first with a homer,
which I’m pretty sure makes him a felon or a fraud or a war criminal of
some kind. Joba Chamberlain was booed off the field following 3+
lackluster innings. He’s 0-4 with 8.42 ERA in his last eight starts,
and at this point I don’t see the Yankees putting much if any trust in
him in the postseason. I think he was jerked around a bit in the second
half, but really, at some point you gotta pitch regardless of how the
bosses are doin’ you.

Padres 5, Dodgers 0: Clayton Richard tosses a one-hitter over
seven and then the bullpen closes the door. Torre: “We certainly don’t
want to finish the season on a bum note because momentum-wise it
doesn’t help you in the postseason.” Sorry Joe, the bum note has
already been played. All that’s left to determine is how long you all
sustain it. Pirates and Padres. Wow.

Angels 5, Rangers 0: One-hitters were apparently all the rage
out west last night. In this one, it was Matt Palmer and four other
relievers who did the trick. And it was a leadoff single in the first
inning! And Palmer was basically just a spot starter, taking Weaver’s
place so that the Angels could set up the playoff rotation.

Mariners 7, Athletics 0: OK, so maybe 629 was Griffey’s
last homer. Although at this rate he may convince someone to give him a
job next year. Oh, and Brandon Morrow gave up one hit over eight
innings. There’s a lot of talk in the game story about how this helps
the Mariners figure out the rotation next year because, boy howdy, how
great is it to have a second strong starter after Hernandez. That talk,
however, doesn’t really acknowledge that one start does not a strong
starter make, especially when it comes on September 30th against
Oakland.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1: The Giants are now officially
eliminated. Brad Penny threw a complete game. Based on how he looked in
the middle of the season in Boston — sweaty and tired mostly — I
would have bet the lives of my children that he wouldn’t make it past a
seventh inning for the rest of his days. Throw him in with Zambrano as
a guy who either (a) needs to improve his conditioning; or (b) always,
always always pitch in 62 degree weather. Brad: have your agent call
Mr. Sabean and get a deal done right now.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.