And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 4, Mets 0: Amazingly, the Yankees prove to be a tougher opponent for the Mets than the Orioles and Indians were. Sabtahia was tough and Teixeira’s grand slam took care of all of the day’s scoring.

Red Sox 2, Dodgers 0: It’s a close call given how well the Rangers are playing, but the Red Sox are probably the hottest team in baseball at the moment. Buchholz, Bard and Papelbon combine to shut out the Dodgers giving the Bosox the sweep. I’ll admit, though: I turned this one off fairly early. Two reasons: (1) I was really tired and the game’s slow pace was allowing me to dose; and (2) if I heard one more thing about Manny Ramirez — who was making his return to Boston, I’m told! — I was gonna barf. Really, folks, there was a baseball game happening. Concentrate on it and not the eight or ninth best player in that particular game please.

Braves 8, Royals 5: That’s five straight wins for Atlanta who — no
offense to the Royals — took advantage of the easier opposition this
weekend to put a bit of distance between themselves and the Mets and
Phillies. Lots of credit to Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske who are looking
like the best couple of bargain bin pickups this year.

White Sox 6, Nationals 3: The Sox have won six in a row, sit at .500 and are a relatively reasonable 5.5 games back of the Twins. The Nats are
skidding. I’m going to make it my mission this week to get people to
start calling it the Curse of Strasburg. Because really, they were doing
just fine before they called him up.

Twins 4, Phillies 1: This one sucked for Philly, but they were probably still reeling from Saturday night’s debacle in which they led 9-4
entering the ninth and ended up blowing it 13-10 in 11 innings. Halladay
on the mound yesterday, but Minnesota somehow knocked 11 hits off the
dude. The Phillies have lost six of Halladay’s last eight starts, by the way. I’m
going to make it my mission this week to get people to start calling
it the Curse of Halladay. Because really, they won two straight
pennants before they traded for him.

Brewers 6, Rockies 1: Huston Street comes back on Tuesday. That’s not soon enough for the Rockies, as Manny Corpas gives up five runs without retiring a batter in the ninth inning of a 1-1game. Corpas was beat up on Saturday too, by the way.

Marlins 4, Rays 1: Josh Johnson continues to be ridiculous (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER 9K). Since returning from Tommy John surgery in July 2008, Johnson is 30-8
with a 2.95 ERA in 62 starts. The Rays drop two of three to the Feesh and are now out of first place.

Tigers 3, Diamondbacks 1: The Tigers take two of three from the Dbacks on reunion weekend, with Max Scherzer beating his old mates yesterday, Edwin Jackson beating his old pals on Saturday and Dontelle Willis getting the ND against his former compadres on Friday (but pitching poorly enough to lose). Of course for all we know Scherzer, Jackson and Willis hate their old teammates with an unholy passion, so saying they’re mates, pals and compadres may be totally presumptuous of me.

Giants 9, Blues Jays 6: Freddy Sanchez, Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff all homered for the Giants, after which they went to a local cafeteria where they took advantage of the early bird special. Huff ate Burrell’s corn on the cob because it was tough and irritated Burrell’s partial. Sanchez fell asleep in his pudding. They then talked about their grandchildren for a while.

Mariners 1, Reds 0: The Reds scored one freakin’ run all weekend. Really: one run.  No shame in getting shut out by Cliff Lee, of course. And Felix Hernandez is tough so I understand that too. But the fact that they couldn’t scratch one across against Ryan Rowland-Smith is pretty sad.

Pirates 5, Indians 3: I know a guy who lives in Pittsburgh who took his kids to not one but two games in this series. Last I heard, Pennsylvania Children’s Services had a warrant out for his arrest and the neighbors were holding a candlelight vigil. Sir, I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Josh Hamilton went 5 for 6, with the game-tying RBI in the ninth and the game-winning RBI in the 10th. He’s now hit in 16 straight games and the Rangers have won 11 of 12.

Athletics 3, Cardinals 2: A loss yesterday, but the Cardinals have to be happy that Matt Holliday is heating up. Two homers yesterday and 8 for 12 in the series with four homers and eight RBIs. Kevin Kouzamanoff was 4 for 4 for Oakland.

Cubs 12, Angels 1: Chicago loses 12-0 on Saturday and wins 12-1 on Sunday. Better than the offense for Chicago was Carlos Zambrano giving up one run in seven innings. Joe Saunders got shelled today, giving up nine hits and a couple of walks in 2.2 innings. His post-game quote: “the defense just wasn’t there for me today.” Whatever, dude.

Padres 9, Orioles 4: San Diego fell behind 4-0 in the top of the first and then scored nine unanswered runs. Baltimore hasn’t won consecutive games since May 12-14th. It’s gonna be a battle royale to figure out whether they or Houston will take the 30th slot in the Power Rankings.

Craig’s Father’s Day: Started out with a 28-mile bike ride through the country and ended with steak, some good wine and rhubarb pie. That’s definitely a win.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.