And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Markakis swing.jpgOrioles 4, Red Sox 3: Juan Samuel gets his first win as the O’s manager
and the O’s get their first win in ten games. Nick Markakis breaks an
0-14 slump with the game-winning RBI single in the 11th. According to
the game story, they were doing the shaving cream pie in the face thing
in the clubhouse after the game. Really Baltimore? I’m not saying we
always did it right back in the day, but if my Babe Ruth league coach
caught us celebrating like that after one win in the middle of a crap
stretch we’d be running in the outfield for the next six hours.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Manny Parra strikes out ten Redbirds, including
four in one inning. He didn’t get the win, though, Zach Braddock did.
Note: “Zach Braddock” is not the secret identity of a teenage super
hero, no matter how much it sounds like it is. It’s merely the name of a
pitcher on the Milwaukee Brewers. As far as you know.  Anyway, the
point is, Braddock did not get a pie in the face as a celebration. He
got a beer shower, which is a far better way of celebrating baseball
accomplishments. Especially in a game between teams from Milwaukee and
St. Louis.

Rockies
3, Diamondbacks 2
: Ubaldo shut the Dbacks down through seven, but
was obviously out of gas to start the eighth giving up a double, a
dinger and a walk before being lifted. His scoreless innings streak
ended at 33 and his ERA shoots way the hell up to 0.93, so like, I guess
he’s some kind of scrub now or something.

Angels 9, Mariners 4: Mike Napoli had four hits including a two-run homer as the Halos sweep the M’s, outscoring them 27-7 in the series. Anaheim’s fifth straight win overall. Ron Roenicke was the acting manager because Mike Scioscia was attending his daughter’s high school graduation. I think that was just a cover story, though. Because as everyone know, Roenicke went 4-0, sweeping these same Seattle Mariners, as a fill-in skipper when Scioscia was suspended for four games back in 2006. So, yeah, Roenicke is a Mariners-killer.

Astros 6, Cubs 3: After dropping five out of six, Chicago now has to fly to Pittsburgh for a makeup game tomorrow and then right on to Milwaukee for a series against the Brewers. There they go, playin’ the star again. There they go, turn the page.

Athletics 5, Twins 4: Oakland avoids the sweep behind Gio Gonzalez’ seven strong innings. Game story: It was Little League day, and “Some 275 Little Leaguers from [Dallas] Braden’s hometown of Stockton attended.”  Given that they’re from the 209, I’m guessing they’re the toughest and most tattooed bunch of 12 year-olds west of the Mississippi.

Giants 6, Pirates 5: Brian Wilson blows the save and gets the win, which is a scoring decision that would be utterly impossible if I ruled baseball. Lincecum still struggled with his control, but not as badly as his last couple of starts, walking only two this time out.

Rays 9, Rangers 5: A game that lasted over four hours and, according to Joe Maddon and the Rays who complained about it, the heat was something fierce. Seems like it’s always hot down there, no matter when you come. It’s the kind of heat that holds you like a mama holds her son. Tight when he tries to walk, even tighter if he runs.

Royals 7, Tigers 2:  Brian Bannister is great in day games and great against the Tigers, so this one was no surprise. Next up: the 1935 Yankees are going to trade for him and see if they can’t steal that pennant from Detroit. Game aside: I totally need this shirt, don’t I?  Yeah, I thought so. See honey! They don’t think $35 is too much for a t-shirt, so you should let me buy it!

Reds 5, Nationals 4: We’ll all remember where we were the first time Stephen Strasburg charted pitches in the Major Leagues. Matt Capps blew his third save in four chances.  Note: ever since Capps met my friend Megan at that charity ball last month, his ERA has gone from 0.98 to 3.62. Watch out, boys, she’ll chew you up.

White Sox 8, Indians 7: The Chisox rally from down 6-2 to salvage one against the Tribe. Mark Buehrle continues to struggle, as he needed 95 pitches just to get out of the third inning. He has struggled since the end of last year, really. The lesson here: Armando Galarraga was very lucky not to have thrown that perfect game. It’s the kiss of death, brother.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: All hail Javy Vazquez. The man who was booed gave up one hit and two runs in seven innings against a team that has knocked the cover off the ball this year. That’s two outstanding starts in a row for Javy. Of course the last one was against Baltimore, so weigh that however you’d like.

Mets 7, Marlins 6: The Mets were down 5-0 in the sixth before asploding. Jeffy Francouer’s three-run bomb in the seventh tied it up and Ike Davis hitting into a double play — but plating a run all the same — drove in the game-winner. The Marlins now get Mike Stanton, by the way, and he hits ten homers a game so this losing with a mere six runs thing is officially now a thing of the past.

Padres
6, Phillies 5
: The Padres took the lead in the 10th. The
Phillies tried to rally in the bottom of the inning, with Placido
Polanco reaching on a walk. Chase Utley was up next and he singled to
center, but Tony
Gwynn Jr. nailed Polanco trying to make it to third
. Sweet play, as
the ball was softly hit and Gwynn never got a chance to plant and throw.

Dodgers
5, Braves 4
: The Braves took a 4-1 lead but then squandered both it
and many other opportunities to with the game. In more uplifting news,
the Dodgers made it Jose Lima tribute day, having his son throw out the
first pitch and playing video of Lima singing the National Anthem and
“God Bless America.”

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.