And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Athletics
3, Pirates 2
: Kurt Suzuki should have been out number three in the
eighth inning, but Pirates’ catcher Jason Jaramillo dropped a pop foul
and two pitches later Suzuki hit the game winning dinger. Losing like
that would be a total back breaker for Pirates fans if their bones
hadn’t been ground to dust as a result of the team’s futility already.

Yankees 8, Dodgers 6: Talk about a bullpen implosion. Jonathan Broxton blew a 6-2 lead in the ninth and then George Sherrill gave up the game-winning homer to Robinson Cano in the 10th as the Yankees take two of three from the Dodgers.

Orioles 4, Nationals 3: Break up the O’s! Four straight wins including a sweep of the, well, sure, why not, rival Nationals.  And they’re guaranteed not to lose tonight because they got the day off!

Indians 5, Reds 3: Shin-Soo Choo hit two bombs as the Indians win their first game since a week ago Friday. Matt LaPorta has been up and down, but this was his first start as the unequivocal starting first baseman. His functional debut: 0 for 4, two strikeouts and he grounded into a
double play. Excelsior!

Angels 10, Rockies 3: Brandon Wood hit a grand slam, and I still can’t
get used to seeing the name “Francisco
Rodriguez
” in the Angels’ box score and have it not be K-Rod. Each
time he shows up I think it’s 2008 again, both my kids are in preschool
and I still work at the law firm.

Padres 4, Marlins 2: Will Venable has had a number of key homers in the past week and his two-run job in the eighth yesterday turned out to be the game winner. What say you, Will?  “Yesterday he struck me out with three straight splitties so I knew I
had to be patient. He came with the splitties again and I
was able to go deep enough in the count that he was forced to try
something else and threw a fastball middle-in and I was able to get a
good swing on it.”  We comfortable with “splitties?” I don’t think I am, frankly.

Phillies 11, Blue Jays 2: Jamie Moyer gave up a homer and now owns the all-time record for dingers allowed all by himself, but as was the case with the start in which he tied the mark, he pitched damn well: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7K. The Jays committed four errors leading to six unearned runs. The hometown fans probably didn’t like that one bit.

Diamondbacks 2, Rays 1: The Rays were no-hit on Friday and two-hit on Sunday. What’s more, they came close to engaging in fisticuffsmanship with each other in the process. Not a good weekend for Tampa Bay.

Mets 6, Twins 0: Homers from Frenchie, Wright and Ike were more than enough given Jon Niese’s six shutout innings and three additional zeros from the bullpen. With the Braves loss the Mets are once again knocking on the door in the East, a mere half game back.  The Twins, on the other hand, are a mere half game up on the Tigers after having lost seven of ten.

Tigers 10, Braves 4: Heyward, Strasburg and a bunch of other guys have gotten all the ink, but there may not be anyone having a better rookie year than Brennan Boesch. Boesch goes 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBI, and now sits at .338/.389/.621 on the season. It might be time for the Braves to worry about Tommy Hanson as the kid got shelled for the second straight start.  But hey, they get to face Stephen Strasburg tonight, so that’s fun.

Cubs 8, White Sox 6: The Chisox finally lose a game, but they had a little rally at the end to make it interesting for a bit. Four RBI for red-hot Tyler Colvin.

Brewers 3, Mariners 0: Chris Narveson shut out the M’s over eight innings. Every time I see his name I think of Kal Varnson. The Brewers should get a relievers named Pennypacker and Vandelay.

Royals 10, Cardinals 3: The Royals take two of three from the Cards after beating up on Jaime Garcia to the tune of five runs on four hits. Jose Guillen has a 21-game hitting streak going right now. Not that this makes him Superman or anything. The last Royal to have a hit streak this long was Rey Sanchez, and no one is carving his visage into any malleable metals. Also worth noting that 27 of his 31 hits during the course of the streak have been singles.

Rangers 10, Astros 1: Josh Hamilton has a 21-game hitting streak of his
own. His has more pop to it than Guillen’s, however, including a homer in the second inning last night that is still flying, I think. And while I like to think teams’ scouting is more sophisticated than this, you have to wonder if the fact that Roy Oswalt got lit up for eight runs on seven hits in four and two-thirds isn’t the kind of thing that’ll make the Rangers less likely to want him.

Red Sox 5, Giants 1: A 103-pitch complete game for Jon Lester with nine strikeouts. Tim Lincecum was knocked out after giving up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings. Big Papi hit one into McCovey Cove. According to the game story, it was picked up by a kayaker. With Barry gone, I’m surprised anyone still floats around out there. Oh, and because the Sox haven’t had enough injuries lately, Victor Martinez fractured his left thumb.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.