And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Adrian Beltre home run.jpgRed Sox 11, Rays 3: I’m going to imagine the next Shaughnessy column: “Theo Epstein and his calculator cavalry wowed all the stat-butts eating Fruit Rollups in their step-dad’s carports by selling them on ‘run prevention.’  Well, from where I’m sitting, scoring 11 runs against the best team in baseball is not ‘run prevention.’ And what’s with Adrian Beltre going 4 for 6 with two homers, a triple and six RBI?  I thought he was there for his glove? Note to Theo: call me when you stick with a plan, because from where I’m sitting you’re just making this up as you go along.”

Mets 5, Phillies 0: The Phillies get shut out for the second game in a row, this time courtesy of Hisanori Takahashi and a trio of relievers. Word is that Charlie Manuel held a closed door meeting after the game. According to Shane Victorino,  Cholly simply told his team to “play with some intensity . . . no reaming. No yelling at anybody.” Good thing too, because if he did people would start filling up his comments section calling him a hater for doubting the Phillies’ greatness.  Oh, and don’t look now, Philly, ’cause something might be gainin’ on ya. As in, the whole NL East, which is within 3 games of y’all.

Yankees 1, Twins 0; Yankees 3, Twins 2: Yeah, I know the first one was technically yesterday’s game but it’s not like I’m going to go update the Wednesday ATH, so let’s just pretend that this was a doubleheader.  In game one Jeter hit a dinger that held up and threw in one of those patented jump-throw things he doesn’t need to do.  Andy Pettitte pitched a gem in the second one, getting the win when Nick Swisher hit the daylights out of one out to right field in the top of the ninth.  Mariano saved both of them because he’s less man than machine.

Reds 4, Pirates 0:  The Pittsburgh Pirates: when you absolutely positively have to get a shutout.  Seventh one against them this year. Three of them courtesy of the Reds. Last night it was Arroyo for seven and two-thirds.

Braves 7, Marlins 3: Tommy Hanson walked five dudes, but otherwise bounced back from his worst start as a major leaguer to allow two runs on four hits.  The Marlins had a 2-1 lead until the Bravos exploded for six runs in the seventh.

Angels 6, Blue Jays 5: If Bobby Abreu hadn’t made an error in the top of the ninth, the Angels wouldn’t have had to bat in the bottom of the ninth.  Yet if the Angels didn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth, he wouldn’t have had a chance to hit his game-winning single.  There are monks who spend their whole lives on mountaintops in silent contemplation and intense prayer trying to figure this kind of crap out, you know. That’s why baseball friggin’ rocks.

Athletics 6, Orioles 1: Brian Matusz allowed six earned runs in five innings. Adam Rosales was 3 for 4 with a homer and 4 RBI. From the game story: “The Orioles gave away Nolan Reimold bobbleheads to fans entering the ballpark, even though
Reimold was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on May 12.” That’s the saddest thing that has happened at Camden Yards since Robin Williams’ wife got shot down in the “Bop Gun” episode of “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Astros 5, Brewers 0: Roy Oswalt: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 9K and absolutely no reason to be toiling for this Astros team anymore.

Mariners 5, Tigers 4: A big two-run homer from Mike Sweeney followed by a two-run single from Josh Wilson gives the M’s a come-from-behind victory.

Royals 5, Rangers 2: Luke Hochevar allowed only two runs on six hits, striking out four and walking
none in eight innings.  We’ve seen flashes like this from him before. Here’s hoping he’s finally putting it together.

White Sox 5, Indians 4: Bobby Jenks allowed
three runs to score and had two runners sitting on base with nobody out.  But then Manny Acta decided that merry-go-round was spinning too fast and ordered a bunt which (a) gave the Sox something they hadn’t been able to get yet (i.e. an out); and (b) took the bat out of Shin-Soo Choo’s hands due to him being intentionally walked to fill the now-open first base. Jenks then struck out
Austin Kearns and got Russell Branyan to fly out and that was that.  Gee, if only they had one more out to play with, I’m sure they could have gotten the tying run home from third and lived to play on!  Sadly, there was absolutely nothing whatsoever that could have been done about it, what with the Moral imperative to bunt and all.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 3: Ubaldo does it again: eight innings of shutout ball, lowering his ERA to 0.88.  Just ridiculous.

Nationals 7, Giants 3: We’ve secretly replaced the fine pitching performance Tim Lincecum usually serves with Folger’s Crystals (4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 5BB).

Padres 2, Cardinals 1: You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they score zero runs, you score one. They score one run in 13 innings, you score two! That’s the San Diego way!

Dodgers 8, Cubs 5: The game was delayed for 18 minutes in top of the fourth inning after a
nearby fire caused the lights to go out at Wrigley Field. This trick is known in the Cubs’ organization as “pulling a Mrs. O’Leary with a Vicki Lawrence twist” but it didn’t work this time.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.