And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners 7, Yankees 4: Cliff Lee throws his third straight complete game. How Nick Swisher managed to hit two homers off him I have no idea, but West Virginia boys who go on to Ohio State are cunning and resourceful by nature. Phil Hughes got beat up. I’m sure all sorts of people will be wringing their hands over the new “Phil Rules” in which his starts are getting pushed back to give him extra rest. Hopefully they can (a) accept the fact that sometimes pitchers just have bad games; and (b) realize how sick to death most of us get at every Yankees loss bringing forth some big Situation of the Day that must be discussed and analyzed to the nth degree until the next Yankees win.  One or two more of these and I’m sure they’ll be campaigning for Hughes to go back to being a setup guy or something.

Phillies
9, Reds 6
: First Brad Lidge got smacked around, blowing a three-run
lead in the ninth and then Arthur Rhodes got smacked around, giving up
three runs of his own in the tenth, snapping his 30-game scoreless
streak and losing the ballgame. Wilson Valdez started at second base for
the Phillies in place of the injured Chase Utley and all he did was hit
a three-run homer and drive in four overall. So Phillies fans can stop
freaking out for at least one day.

Marlins 7, Mets 6: The Mets blow a 3-0 lead and lose a chance to make up a game on the Braves. That’s two straight troubling starts for Hisanori Takahashi. Who — and I’m just sayin’ here — is currently on the same schedule as Cliff Lee.

Nationals 7, Braves 2: The Braves’ 3-7 hitters combine to go a cool 0 for 19. This used to happen a lot when the Braves’ 3-7 hitters included guys like Gerald Perry, Andres Thomas and Ozzie Virgil. I just have to remember how I used to cope with that.

Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Alfonso Soriano had a couple of homers and Ted Lilly pitched seven strong innings. The Pirates have scored a mere five runs in their last four games.

Red Sox 8, Rays 5: Boston is now only one game behind the Yankees. They also happen to lead the AL in runs per game. Still plenty of room on the “well, maybe I was too quick to make those ‘run prevention is no substitute for run scoring’ jokes I spent all April and May writing” bandwagon, Boston media. Plenty of seats available!

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: Three straight wins for the Tribe, this one on the back of a nice outing by Fausto Carmona and the first homer for Matt LaPorta since his callup. Appropos of nothing other than the fact that this involves Cleveland, LeBron James flashed across the TV at Chez Calcaterra last night. I’m not the biggest NBA fan in the world, but Mrs. C. knows next to nothing about it. This was our conversation:

Mrs. C: So, is he staying in Cleveland?

Me: I have no idea.

Mrs. C: Won’t he a make boatload of cash if he stays in Cleveland?

Me: He’ll make a boatload of cash no matter where he goes. He’s a free agent.

Mrs. C: Where might he go?

Me: New York. Chicago. Miami.

Mrs. C: If he’s going to make millions anywhere he goes, he should just go to Miami. It’s nicer there during the basketball season than it is in Cleveland.

Brewers 7, Astros 5: So we’re working up an agenda for this week’s HBT Extra segment, and the idea of underachieving players comes up. I pencil in the notion of mentioning Prince Fielder. Not because he’s having a terrible year, really, but just that as a superstar approaching free agency or a trade, the hope had to have been for him to just go crazy this season. We’re also thinking of talking about under-the-radar trade candidates, and I pencil in Brett Myers because he’s pitched well for a team going nowhere. So of course, the night before we tape, Fielder goes off and hits two homers and Myers gets his ass shelled.

White Sox 4, Royals 3: Sometimes you hear that every starter on a given team got a hit and imagine that they beat the tar out of the other guys. The Royals had every starter get a hit, but no one had more than one and all but one of the hits were singles. This is how you “lead the league in hitting” as the Royals are, but rank in the bottom half of the league in, you know, actually scoring.

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 0: Seriously, at what point will the Dontrelle Willis torture end? Yet another awful outing for D-Train (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 2 HR).  He can’t pitch anymore and just because the Diamondbacks aren’t in the race doesn’t mean that its acceptable to keep running him out there.

Twins 11, Tigers 4: Detroit held onto first place for approximately 24 hours.  Denard Denard Denard Span Span Span had had had three three three triples triples triples.

Athletics 4, Orioles 2: Dallas Braden was scratched before the game with elbow problems, extending his “only bad things have happened since he threw the perfect game” streak to 52 days.  Vin Mazzaro filled in admirably, however, Kurt Suzuki had three RBI and Coco Crisp had three hits, stole two bases and scored twice. Four wins in a row for the Athletics.

Angels 6, Rangers 5: Vlad Guerrero had a homer and three RBIs in his return to Anaheim. Him having a great night but the Rangers losing is how most Angels fans probably hoped it would go in a having your cake and eating it too kind of way.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: The Rockies are certainly challenging that whole “the Padres have awesome pitching and Petco Park is an offense-killer” conventional wisdom this series. Clint Barmes and Carlos Gonzalez went deep for Colorado.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: Stat that shocked me: Matt Cain is now 0-8 in 14 career starts against the Dodgers. I haven’t seen a record that bad in a rivalry setting since John Cooper was fired from the Ohio State coaching job.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.