And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

Leave a comment

Ricky Romero 3.jpgBlue Jays 4, White Sox 2: A no-hitter into the eighth inning for Ricky Romero, broken up by a two-run homer by Alexis Rios. Should it have been a solo shot? I’m not sure because I was on a plane last night when it happened and I haven’t gone back and checked the video yet today, but my friend Neate Sager says that the HBP that put A.J. Pierzynski on came “on a ball that didn’t even come close to hitting him.”  Of little consequence, ultimately. The Jays remain at the top of the East.

Mariners 3, Athletics 0: Like I’ve always said: Milton Bradley is grace under pressure personified. Bradley hit a three-run homer in the eighth, just after showing bunt, because apparently he’s a master of psychology or something. And those of you who had Doug Fister in the “who will be the first Mariners starter to throw eight scoreless innings this year” pool, please come forward to collect your winnings.

Tigers
6, Royals 5
: Really, Trey Hillman? Your 5-0 lead is evaporating
before your very eyes in the seventh inning and you don’t even think
about bringing in Joakim Soria?  You do realize, don’t you, that games
can be “saved” even if it’s not a situation in which a “save” is
awarded, right?  Hillman after the game: “It was disheartening,
disappointing, unbelievable and a lot of other
words that I don’t want to use.”  I’ve got some words: “Avoidable!”
“Unnecessary!”  “Self-Inflicted!”

Reds 10, Marlins 8: These teams love their bonus baseball. Extras for the second straight night and a Reds win for the second straight night, this time on a Joey Votto with a two-out single in the 11th. That saved everyone’s bacon, because the Reds had blown leads of 4-1 and 8-5 earlier in the game. Four RBI for Jonny Gomes. Another night of about 2,500 people in Joe Robbie. Go Feesh.

Rays 8, Orioles 6: Brian Matusz took a two-hitter and a 3-0 lead into the eighth, but then he lost it, was replaced, and the bullpen coughed it all up and then some. Luke Scott tied it back up again in the bottom of the inning but Carlos Pena put it away with a three-run job in the tenth. Surprisingly, Mike Gonzalez did not appear in this game, having apparently outsourced his lead-blowing responsibilities to others.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5: Two homers in the fourth and two homers in the fifth put the Dodgers up 6-1 and from there they just had to vamp until the end. Clayton Kershaw was so-so. Russell Martin said “he lost a little bit of command at the end, got in a funk.” Ian Kennedy was even funkier — which is usually a good thing, but not so here — giving up six runs and six hits over 4.1.

Yankees 7, Angels 5: The rings made them happy. The 7-1 lead heading into the ninth made them happy. The fact that Dave Robertson came in, loaded the bases and then gave up a homer to Abreu, thereby necessitating a Mariano Rivera save could not have made anyone very happy. As for the Angels: Jesus. I saw a guy jump off the 10-story parking garage next to my office once about five years ago. I took the rest of the day off and thought about my mortality and stuff. Not sure I could hang out at the ballpark. let alone mount a late rally.

Pirates 6, Giants 5: Three hits and two RBI for Garrett Jones, who also caught a hot shot off Pablo Sandoval’s bat to end the game.

Rockies 11, Mets 3: John Maine allowed eight runs in three innings of work and was way below his normal velocity. He says it’s mental, not physical. I get this feeling he’s going to have some time to work through the mental aspects of all of this as a long man in the bullpen pretty soon.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty Images
5 Comments

It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.