And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Braden perfect.jpgAthletics 4, Rays 0:  I wrote my real-time reaction last night when it happened, and touched on the A-Rod implications a bit later. With a night’s sleep on it, I’m thinking more cosmically about it.

HardballTalk’s Senior Commenter, Old Gator, sent me a book last week called The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. I’m not far enough into it to give you an overview, but there is a point early on when the main character describes a perfect game that just happened:

. . . think what a wonderful rare thing it is to do something, no matter how small a thing, with absolute unqualified utterly unsurpassable perfection! To do a thing so perfectly that, even if the damn world lasted forever, nobody could ever do it better, because you had done it as well as it could possibly be done . . . In a way, you know, it’s even sad somehow, because, well, it’s done, and all you can hope for after is to do it a second time.”

I read that mere hours before I caught the last few innings of Braden’s perfecto, and it really hit the spot right now.

Phillies 5, Braves 3: I’m not giving up on the Braves because in 25 years I have never given up on them and never will. But I will bail on individual games. I bailed on this one in the bottom of the first when Raul Ibanez flew out to shallow, shallow right with the bases loaded scoring Chase Utley from third and Melky Cabrera didn’t even make a throw. Which means either (a) Melky is a freaking moron who had no idea that there was someone on third; or (b) he doesn’t have enough confidence in his arm to throw someone out from what was basically deep second base.  Either way it’s pathetic, and it was too sunny a damn day in Ohio for me to get an ulcer watching that garbage. My son and I skipped stones at the pond near our house instead. He’s four and he has a better arm — and more confidence in it — than Melky Cabrera.

Cardinals 11, Pirates 4: Eleven runs and neither Albert Pujols nor Matt Holliday (who took the day off) drove one in. The difference between the 2009 and the 2010 Cardinals? Balance, baby.

Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1: The Diamondbacks gave up three homers yesterday and have now given up 50 homers on the season, and that’s by far the most in baseball.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: Fire the hitting coach on Sunday morning, put up eight on the defending division champs on Sunday afternoon.  That worked so well that teams should fire their hitting coach every day!

Rangers 6, Royals 4: Royals manager Trey Hillman after the game: “If you had
told me we would be 10 games under .500 at this time, I never would have
believed it.” Me neither. I would have guessed they’d be 15 under, easy.

Twins 6, Orioles 0: Nick Blackburn pitched seven shutout innings but didn’t strike anyone out. And that’s the second time he did this year. Mauer was back for the first time in nine games and went 1 for 3 as the DH. Justin Morneau had the golden sombrero, which I imagine is much more fun when you win a game than when you lose.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: Matt Capps got his 13th save. The night before the game he met my friend Megan at a charity ball. I was going to say that Megan was a wonderful inspiration for him, but she met Pudge Rodriguez at the same ball and he went 0 for 4.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 3: A.J. Burnett had faced the Orioles the last two times out, so maybe he just forgot how to pitch to people who know how to play this game. Nice way to salvage the series, but Boston still has a long road ahead of them if they want to make things interesting.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 7: Ugly 9th for Bobby Jenks, with the big blast being Fred Lewis’ three-run blast which proved to be the game winner. After the game, Ozzie Guillen said he may look for alternatives at closer. In response, Jenks said that “doesn’t even make sense.” Bobby, have you met your manager? Half of what that dude says doesn’t make sense. This is news to you?

Giants 6, Mets 5: If you walk seven guys in less than four innings you need to look in the mirror. If you walk seven San Francisco Giants in less than four innings you need to look for a new job. Oliver Perez, ladies and gentlemen.

Reds 5, Cubs 3: From the game story: “Votto connected on Ryan Dempster’s first pitch after he was visited by manager Lou Piniella.” Unless Lou is laying heavy money on the opposition, I’m going to guess that Dempster didn’t do what Lou told him to.

Astros 4, Padres 3: Hunter Pence with a walkoff double in the 11th to
avoid the sweep at the hands of the Padres. With ten games
against the Giants and the Dodgers starting on Tuesday, San Diego’s travel schedule sounds like the lyrics from “California Love.” Pasadena, where you at?

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0: Ubaldo Jimenez has his ERA skyrocket from 0.87 to
0.93 on account of the sheer number of run he gave up yesterday. No,
that’s not a typo. He really just gave up one run. Thing is, Clayton
Kershaw gave up none in eight innings, allowing only two hits and
rendering last Tuesday’s massacre at the hands of the Brewers a distant
memory.

Indians 7, Tigers 4: Oh sure, wait until I’m way back down here in
Columbus to have nice weather. Youse fancypants, all a youse.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.