And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 8, Phillies 3:  All I heard all day yesterday was about how totally Roy Halladay owned the Yankees so, like, look out Yankees. Then he gives up six runs on eight hits in six innings. All of which goes to show you why I’ve laughed off every editor who has ever suggested that I do single-game preview pieces. It’s baseball. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Neither does anyone else. And that’s why it’s wonderful.

Rangers 3, Marlins 2: Mike Stanton makes his home debut for Florida. Unlike Strasburg, he does not inspire a sellout. Shocking, I know. He also goes 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, but we knew that would happen soon enough given his strengths and weaknesses. As for the outcome: If I had a nickle for every game I’ve seen end on a pinch-hit RBI triple by the backup catcher, well, I’d probably have about ten cents. Though I couldn’t for the life of me tell you when I got the first five. Oh, and Josh Johnson continues to be totally sick (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K). Watch out Ubaldo, here comes Josh.

Cardinals 4, Mariners 2: Jeff Suppan returns and gives up a run in four innings. He actually hit for himself in the bottom of the fourth, doubled and came around to score. He didn’t come out to start the fifth inning, however, despite having a lead and having thrown only 73 pitches, most likely because he was gassed, so no W for him.

Twins 9, Rockies 3: Rare: Matt Tolbert hit a home run for the Twins. More rare: Todd Helton hit a home run for the Rockies. Well, maybe not more rare in the aggregate, but I was more surprised to see it in the box score than I was to see Tolbert’s. And not entirely because I give less than a nanosecond’s thought to Tolbert in any given season.

Red Sox 6, Diamondbacks 3: Dustin Pedroia had a couple of hits and scored three runs. Not quite a laser show yet, but after a rough May he’s heating up in June. And hey look: close play at first, Jim Joyce calls the runner safe . . . you make the call! OK, forget it, Joyce got the call right.  I promise we media people will stop talking about this thing sometime before October.

Royals 15, Astros 7: Aviles! (4-5, 4 RBI); Bentancourt! (3 RBI). You can’t stop them, you can only hope to contain them!  In all seriousness, readers will pile on any positive comment I make about the Royals’ bats for the rest of the year, likely ignoring the fact that they’re a basically respectable offense, all things considered.

White Sox 6, Pirates 4: Ninth loss in a row for the Pirates. Mr. Rosenthal says that John Russell is toast.  Mr. Olney says that’s not true. I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong on that, but given how quick Buster is to jump in and harsh everyone’s buzz each time a fun rumor comes out these days I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he was never asked to be anyone’s wingman back when he was at Vanderbilt:

Dude: Hey honey, I saw you from across the room and just knew I had to talk to you!

Buster [interrupting]: Actually that’s not true. He’s had a crush on you for weeks and is just now getting up the nerve to say something to you.

Dude: Um, yeah, so, I was wondering if you’d like to go out this Saturday. I know this great little Italian place . . .

Buster: That’s not true either. He has never been there. One of the seniors in our frat said it would make him look classy to take women there. Oh, and the car he plans to pick you up in is not his. It’s his father’s. And by the way, I don’t find your friend all that attractive, so I’m not going to pretend to be interested in her while my friend tries to hit on you.

Dude: Wait! Baby! Come back! I don’t even know this guy! [to Buster]: Thanks. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

Buster: [on dance floor; doing white guy overbite dance to Foghat song, surrounded by the honeys]

Tigers 7, Nationals 4: Ryan Raburn had two hits and drove in four. Magglio Ordonez had four hits. Max Scherzer struck out nine. John Lannan demonstrated that the Nationals probably have the greatest disparity between their top pitching talent and their bottom pitching talent than anyone in the league.

Mets 7, Indians 6: Johan Santana and the Mets were down 4-1 entering the fifth, but then the bats woke up, the Mets put up a five spot and then held on for the win. The Tribe’s ninth inning rally fell short, but Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer which will make my six year-old daughter happy when I tell her today. Of course, my daughter still thinks that Shelley Duncan leaving the Columbus Clippers and going to Cleveland meant that he did something wrong and is being punished, so she might not really understand. Not that’s she’s wrong about that.

Dodgers 12, Reds 0: Big romp, blah, blah, blah, but the craziest thing about this game was that Hiroki Kuroda came back out to pitch following a two-hour, twenty-four minute rain delay.  He hadn’t yet gone five at the time, so was Torre just trying to get him the win, or is it that Torre owns stock in Dr. James Andrews’ medical practice?

Rays 10, Braves 4: The Braves’ Chris Resop was doing great down in AAA and had a contract provision which required that he be called up by June 15th or else he could opt-out. There was a fair amount of speculation as to whether Atlanta would trade him before then, but they didn’t, the Braves called him up and he pitched last night. Whatever teams held off pulling the trigger on a trade are to be commended, because he got shelled in relief of what was, at the time, a winnable game. Not the Braves deserved to win. They committed four errors. They stranded 14 runners. They only lost one game to the Mets, but if there was any justice in the world they would have lost two games in the standings last night. Just blah.

Brewers 7, Angels 1: Corey Hart continues his torrid pace. He hit a three-run double, giving him 35 RBI in the last 30 games. Dave Bush allows one run and seven hits in seven and change for his first win since late April.

Orioles 4, Giants 1: Jake Arrieta gave up one run on three hits over seven innings, winning his second in a row to start his career.

Athletics 9, Cubs 5: One of a handful of games which featured long rain
delays. Derrek Lee probably wishes it never got underway, as he had
back-to-back errors, allowing four runs to score in the fourth. Fans
booed Lee and then gave him a sarcastic cheer when he next made a play
without an error. Which is total horsesh–, but the way.

Padres 8, Blue Jays 2: Some worker had to change the sign last night to read “We have gone 1 game(s) without an earthquake interruption.” Aaron Cunningham was called up when Matt Stairs went on the DL and last night he hit a grand slam. Shades of Gehrig and Pipp!

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.