And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Earthquake.jpgJust four games, so not a lot happened. That is, unless you count an ally-oop home run, the best player in baseball having a ball bounce off his head and freakin’ earthquake interrupt the eighth inning as “not a lot.”

Blue Jays 6, Padres 3: Nothing notable here other than AN EARTHQUAKE IN
THE EIGHTH INNING. “They happen so fast that there’s nothing you can
do,” Cito Gaston said after the game.  Yeah, if they’d just slow down a bit
we’d be able to get over to the control panel which operates our
inertial dampeners, thereby mitigating the effects of the quake. Two
homers for John Buck, by the way. He’s from Wyoming and cowboys aren’t
afraid of earthquakes.

Giants 10, Orioles 2: For those keeping score at home, the 2010 Orioles
now have an identical record to the 1988 Orioles at the 64-game mark. 
Time to hire Frank Robinson?

Brewers 12, Angels 2: Casey McGehee had a home run, but only because Torii Hunter gave him an assist. Or maybe McGehee gets the assist and Hunter gets the points, because it was basically an ally-oop play. McGehee also took Erik Aybar out of the game with a breakup slide at second. Looked clean to me. The real problem there was the throw from Kevin Frandsen at first base, which required Aybar to reach back for the ball with his leg fully extended. I’m assuming Mike Scioscia had a problem with the throw too, considering that he took Frandsen out of the game immediately after that play.

Cardinals 9, Mariners 3: Rough day at the office for Albert Pujols too, as he took a throw off his head as he was scoring from third. Not that rough, however, as he reached base all five trips to the plate. Overall Tony La Russa’s rejiggered lineup — with Matt Holliday in the two-hole — scored nine runs. I’m sure it had everything to do with La Russa’s genius moves and nothing to do with the fact that the Cards were facing Luke French and Ian Snell.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.