And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners
8, Tigers 1
: Sure, Cliff Lee struck out 11 and allowed a single
run, but (a) he didn’t pitch a complete game; and (b) he walked a guy.
Stick a fork in him.

Reds 14, Cubs 3: Drew Stubbs goes nuts — no doubt motivated by rage over the All-Star snub of his teammate Joey Votto — hitting three homers and driving in five.  For his part Votto was ejected in the first inning. He wasn’t mad about the All-Star stuff. He just woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. It happens.

Cardinals 7, Brewers 1: Yovani Gallardo allowed six runs in less than three innings, gave up a three-run double to the opposing pitcher and left with a side injury. But hey, at least it was miserably hot out and he was away from his family on a holiday.

Pirates 8, Phillies 5: OK, I’ve been riding the “don’t worry, the Phillies are going to find themselves soon and turn this thing around” train for a while now, but I’m hoppin’ off at the next station. Good teams just don’t drop three of four to the Pirates. Even injured ones. The Phillies aren’t a good team.

Rays 7, Twins 4: Three hits a piece for Evan Longoria and Sean Rodriguez as the Rays take three of four from the AL Central co-leaders. Nick Blackburn with the latest in a string of blah starts.

Padres 3, Astros 2: San Diego shuts down the Astros’ offense for the third game in a row and continues to lead the league in pitching. In other news, no Padres pitchers made the All-Star team.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 1: Brian Matusz picks up his first win in forever, shutting down the Sox on two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Ronan Tynan sang “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch for reasons that are known only to God and someone in the Red Sox’ promotions office. Frankly, I would have been less surprised to see the corpse of Woody Guthrie out there singing “This Land is Your Land.”  Probably would have enjoyed that more too, as long as he kept in the good socialist lyrics I like from the often-overlooked fifth and sixth verses.

Mets 9, Nationals 5: Last week I complained about the fact that Jason Bay was benched by Jerry Manuel on Canada Day. I had forgotten that he became a U.S. citizen last year, so maybe it wasn’t as big a deal. For what it’s worth he busted out the whuppin’ stick on his new nation’s birthday, going 2 for 5 with a triple and driving in four. Jerry Manuel brought in K-Rod with a four run lead despite the fact that he got shelled on Saturday and despite the fact that he has now pitched in five of the last six games. Save situation or no, you gotta give that guy a break, don’t you?

Yankees 7, Blues Jays 6: Mariano Rivera blew a save but the Yankees overcame their understandable shock and won it on a Marcus Thames walkoff single in the tenth. Brett Gardner hit a two-run inside the park home run that should have been scored an error on Dewayne Wise. Sun or no sun, the ball bounced off his friggin’ glove. How is that a home run?

Athletics 3, Indians 1: Vin Mazarro gave up a lone run on seven hits in seven and a third beating the Indians’ All-Star pitcher Fausto Carmona. Guess someone has to be an Indians’ All-Star what with that “everyone needs a representative” rule. Little known fact: there are also now rules which specify that everyone gets pizza after the game and that Jacob’s mom drops off and Aiden’s mom picks up.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Dan Haren = good. Diamondbacks’ bullpen = bad. Pretty much the story of the season. Matt Kemp continues to mock my criticism of him in last week’s HBT Extra by hitting a two-run homer. I mentioned B.J. Upton in that too, and he also had a good day yesterday. All I need now is Carlos Zambrano to make a surprise return tomorrow and pitch a perfect game to make my humiliation complete.

Marlins 3, Braves 2: Braves fans of a certain stripe — and I’m one of them — have been fretting about Tim Hudson’s low strikeout totals this year. But hey, he struck you seven yesterday and that’s good!  Braves fans who tend to take a bigger picture view of things realize that the strikeout total that matters more is what the other guy is doing to you, and Ricky Nolasco mowed down 11 Braves yesterday. Dan Uggla did all of the offensive damage for the Feesh, driving in two on a double and hitting a solo dinger.

Rockies 4, Giants 3: This bad boy went 15 innings with Todd Helton winning it for the Rockies on a sac fly. Sixteen pitchers were used. The game went 5:24. I love baseball just as much as the next guy, but jeez . . .

White Sox 5, Rangers 3: Two of three for the Chisox who are a single
game behind the division leaders.

Angels 11, Royals 0: Two home runs seven RBI for Torii Hunter and seven shutout innings for Joel Piniero. A rare national TV game for the Royals didn’t do much to change people’s perceptions about them, did it?

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.