And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariano River irked.jpgRed Sox 7, Yankees 6: For the second time in three days Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera blew a game. This one was way more on Chamberlain — he came into the eighth with a 5-1 lead and the inning ended with things knotted at 5 — but Rivera came in and gave up two of his own.  I’m sure you’ll hear absolutely nothing else about this game today, however, so please, pay it no mind.

Giants 7, Padres 6: Matt Downs had three hits in the game, all coming from the ninth inning on, none bigger than the two-run double in the 12th that proved to be the game winner. The Giants finally take one from San Diego. I think the last time they won one in San Diego the Padres were wearing brown and yellow.

Braves 3, Mets 2: Fundamentally unsound baseball decided this one. First the Braves couldn’t bunt over the pinch runner on two attempts, with such “failure” leading to a walk and a chopper that ended up scoring the winning run when David Wright threw the ball away. I’m willing to bet my 1986 Hank Aaron Donruss Diamond Kings puzzle that, had the Braves gotten the first bunt down, they never would have gotten the runner home.  In other news, Johan Santana not getting run support against the Braves is a tale as old as time. Well, a tale as old as his time in the National League, but we’ve all heard it by now. He deserved a better fate, but he usually does, doesn’t he?

Pirates 2, Phillies 1: Zach Duke + Pirates bullpen > Roy Halladay all
by his lonesome. At least for last night, anyway. Chase Utley missed his second game in a row with “flu-like symptoms,” which either means (a) that old saw about “flu-like symptoms” being a euphemism for a hangover isn’t true; or (b) Utley is on one HELL of a bender.

Orioles 4, Royals 3: Nice line for Luke Scott: 2 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2 RBI, 2 BB and 2 HR.  And hey, a Bryan Bullington sighting!  He’s like that cat in the nursing home that curls up on the terminal patients right before they die. When he shows up on your roster, good night Irene.

Marlins 8, Diamondbacks 0: I hit this one yesterday afternoon, but let me just add: I have never won the “you can’t come out of your room until you apologize” game with my son. It’s way easier to be bad than it is to be good. I wish that weren’t true, but it is.

Rays 6, Indians 2: The fundamental problem with the Cleveland Indians is that they don’t have good players like David Price (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) and Evan Longoria (2 for 4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI), and they have a lot of bad players like David Huff.  Don’t spread that one around though — that’s my scoop, babies.

Reds 5, Brewers 4: Gotta agree with Broseph Gleeman on this one: Trevor Hoffman is toast. Hate to see it go down like this, but that’s usually what happens. John Wetteland is the last elite closer I can think of who left on his own two feet. Tom Henke did too. Billy Wagner looks poised to do it, and probably Rivera, but most guys have the ball taken from them.

White Sox 6, Tigers 2: Freddy Garcia was referred to in the AP game story as “the crafty right hander.”  The writer has been fined $50 and ordered to take a lap after violating the clear style-book rule which specifies that only lefties can be described as “crafty.” I realize this is harsh, but if we don’t enforce this now we’ll soon be up to our eyeballs in grizzled rookies, scrappy black guys and balls hit to the opposite field that are not described as “nice pieces of hitting.” In other words: chaos.

Cardinals 3, Nationals 2: Five straight losses for Washington. Methinks they’re turning back into a pumpkin. Oh, and Tyler Clippard may have seven wins, but he still stinks, so take that you Blyleven haters. Oh, wait, sorry. I thought it was December there for a second. I promised myself I wouldn’t start that crap up again until December. Time and place, Craig. Time and place.

Blue Jays 11, Twins 2: Among the carnage yesterday afternoon was an Edwin Encarnacion two-run homer. I always take note of what he does in a game. Why? Because in June of 2005, I was checking into the Marriott in downtown Cleveland, and right in front of me was Edwin Encarnacion, fresh from the airport after being called up to join the Reds for his major league debut against the Indians.  He told the person at the counter his name and they handed him a big envelope with “E. Encarnacion” written on it in magic marker. They explained to him that everything he needed was in that envelope. After I checked in and started walking towards the elevator, I saw him sitting on a bench, looking through the envelope — filled with tickets and cash and all kinds of stuff — basically overwhelmed at everything.  I always sort of wished that he had gone on to a Hall of Fame career so that I could tell that story in more important settings — it could make a great introduction to a motivational speech of some kind — but I’ll take it for what it is.

Rangers 8, Angels 7: C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver each gave up seven runs in four innings and change, opening up the proceedings to a parade of relievers and rendering this the sort of game I enjoy watching the least. Look closely, and you’ll likely see at least two guys from your high school in the pitchers’ portion of the box score.

Cubs 6, Rockies 2: Six strong innings from Carlos Silva, who remains unbeaten. I haven’t seen a career turnaround like this since Bobby Shelton met Harry O. Tophet.

Athletics 6, Mariners 5: Kurt Suzuki got the RBI single in the 10th to win it, but it was made possible by some sloppy play by the M’s and some heads up base running by Cliff Pennington. Specifically, a poor throw back to the infield allowing Pennington to advance from first to second on a fly out, and then a wild pitch allowing him to take third. Sixteen hits for the A’s offense, which is their season high.

Dodgers 7, Astros 3: Not having Andre Ethier around is a lot easier when the Astros are the opponent. Manny Ramirez, James Loney and Casey Blake each had two RBI.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.