And That Happened: Classic

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Note: due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” edition of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran on July 13, 1969:

Orioles 4, Red Sox 0: A three hit shutout from Mike Cuellar lays the
Bosox low. After two years of upstart seasons — first from these very
same Red Sox and then the Tigers last year — it looks to this scribe like the
Baltimore Orioles are firmly back in control of the American League. The
reason is simple: a class organization, top to bottom, and so will it
ever be.

Royals 7, White Sox 0: Look, great day for Kansas City, but let’s be honest: neither of these teams are going anywhere this year, and I can’t be bothered with this game. I’m far more concerned about this moon shot they’re planning on Wednesday. Look, I know we’re doing this because we have to beat the Russkies, but let’s be honest here. Those boys are going to probably die up in the cold void of space, either because their rocket explodes or they run out of fuel or the lander doesn’t meet back up with the orbital unit or something. Better off if they simply film the whole thing in some Hollywood studio like that way-out movie with the apes and the rectangles last year. The Russians wouldn’t know the difference. Of course no one ever asks me anything and I’m sure I’m the only one who’s thought such fanciful thoughts.

Twins 11, Pilots 1: Bouton got into the ballgame today. Pitched two and two-thirds innings and gave up two hits, one of them a tremendous double by a former teammate of his at Western Michigan, Frank Quilici. They lost this one 11-1 and the Fat Kid hit another. The Seattle staff is impartial in the home-run race between Killebrew and Reggie Jackson. They both kill them.

Athletics 4, Angels 2: The Athletics take one at home.  The only thing dampening this day was a little bit of something that’s all too common on these trips up to the Bay Area: hippie uprising. A bunch of pinkos from up Berkley way were blocking the players’ entrance before the game, demonstrating for workers’ rights or something. Luckily this game’s starting pitchers — Catfish Hunter and Andy Messersmith — worked together to break things up. Good choice with those two. Company men. You know they’d never be swayed by that union organizer brain washing.

Tigers 15, Indians 3: Mickey Lolich runs his record to 12-2 and the
Tigers beat the Indians in the latest installment of the Battle of Lake
Erie. Before the game this reporter learned that Cleveland officials are confident that the last remnants of the fire that broke
out on the Cuyahoga River three weeks ago will be contained within the
next few days. A shame what’s happened down in Cleveland. How envious
the Indians players much be as they visit Detroit these past few days.
Engine of Democracy, capital of the music world. Perhaps one day it can
aspire to the Motor City’s heights, though admittedly, few cities can.

Yankees 3, Senators 1: The Yanks win one on the road in R.F.K. Stadium, which will be host of this year’s All-Star Game on July 24th.  Just got word of the game’s details: they’ll be 25 men on each team, one of whom will be a starting pitcher who will handle the bulk of the game. The rest of the players will either start and play the majority of the game or will sit on the bench in case of an injury or the need for some pinch hitting. As it is an exhibition game, the results will not count in the standings or for any other purpose.  The only difference this year is that, for the first time, the All-Star Game has been expanded into something they’re calling “All-Star Week,” with all manner of festivities to mark the occasion. Rather than just the game on the 24th, there will be drinking and carousing on the 22nd and the 23rd.

Shameful and needless spectacle, I say. It used to be just about the game, ladies and gentlemen, it used to be just about the game. I guess that’s progress for you. Why, some day in the future, if man and woman are still alive we may find that everything we think, do or say will be in the pill we took today.

Er– sorry about that, it’s just that that song is on the radio everywhere you go lately, so the future has served as a terrifying prospect to me of late.

Cubs 7, Phillies 4: The way this Cubs team is rolling, my friends, there appears to be nothing that will stop them from taking the pennant and putting and end to their seemingly interminable 61-year drought. I mean, let’s be serious: who’s gonna challenge the Cubbies? The Mets? Ha! That sad sack club is five games back and doesn’t have a field general the likes of one Leo Durocher on their side. Start printing those World Series tickets now, boys, start printing those World Series tickets now.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 3: Three base on balls for Pirates’ starter Steve
Blass. Rare to see his control rattled like that. I’m sure it’s nothing,
however.

Astros 10, Reds 4: Little Joe Morgan walked twice and scored a run for Houston, but he didn’t get any hits. I wish someone would tell him that if you don’t get hits, you’re really not doing your job as a hitter. Hitting the ball gets things moving along. Walking just clogs up those bases. He could learn a lesson from his counterpart on the Reds, Mr. Pete Rose, who had a couple of hits yesterday and really helped his ballclub. Sure, the Reds lost, but that’s because Larry Dierker is a winning pitcher. Hard to win against a winning pitcher like that.

Dodgers 3, Giants 2: Over 45,000 were in attendance for a close, 14-inning affair. The Dodgers expect even bigger crowds for their August 8th and 9th Family Night promotions, brought to you by Gateway Markets!

Padres 7, Braves 5: No home runs for Henry Aaron on this day, but he continues his torrid season all the same. While Babe Ruth’s hallowed record will almost certainly belong to Willie Mays one day, Hammerin’ Hank stands a chance of hitting as many as 600 or 650 home runs if things break right for him.  If he does, however, his mark should be discounted by historians, what with playing as he does now in that band box of a stadium down in Atlanta. It’s an unfair advantage and a mockery of all competition. As far as this writer is concerned, Babe Ruth — and possibly Willie Mays — will forever be the Gold Standard when it comes to the long ball.

Expos vs. Mets: Postponed:  Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head . . . And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed, nothing seems to fit . . . Hey, I just made that up on the spot!  Not bad, eh? Plunked it out on the piano right here as I was typing. Hope I didn’t disturb my neighbor Burt Bacharach with that one!  He’s been working hard on the score to some new cowboy movie and has a had a serious case of writer’s block.

That’s all the games from yesterday. If you want to discuss these game summaries, I can be reached here:

C. Allen Calcaterra
c/o Hard-Ball-Talk
National Broadcasting Company
Rockefeller Center
New York, New York

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Darvish wins 1st start since 2014 as Rangers top Pirates 5-2

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Yu Darvish struck out seven in five strong innings in his first start in the majors in almost 22 months, and the Texas Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Saturday night.

The Japanese right-hander allowed three singles with a walk in his return from last year’s Tommy John surgery, ending Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak.

Adrian Beltre had a two-run homer in the first inning off Juan Nicasio (3-3) to become the fourth third baseman with at least 1,500 RBIs, finishing with 1,501.

Mitch Moreland snapped a 1-for-27 skid with a solo home run in the fourth.

Four Texas relievers allowed four hits and a run with four strikeouts in four innings.

The “Yuuu” calls from a sellout crowd started early for Darvish, who last pitched in the big leagues on Aug. 9, 2014. He missed the rest of that season with right elbow inflammation, and ended up needing ligament reconstruction surgery after his only spring training appearance last year.

Darvish (1-0) had a 0.90 ERA in five rehab starts this month, culminating with an 87-pitch outing. He threw 81 against the Pirates, hitting 98 mph with his fastball in the first inning and displaying his usual array of breaking pitches, some as slow as 70 mph.

John Jaso had a leadoff single on Darvish’s second pitch before Andrew McCutchen struck out. The Pirates didn’t get another hit until Francisco Cervelli‘s sinking liner in front of rookie right fielder Nomar Mazara in the fifth.

No. 9 hitter Cole Figueroa ended Darvish’s shutout bid by pulling a hanging slider into right-center field for a single that scored Cervelli from second. Darvish then struck out Jaso for the second time to finish his outing.

Beltre’s homer just cleared the wall in center field after Prince Fielder‘s RBI groundout to score leadoff hitter Jurickson Profar, who had two hits filling in for suspended second baseman Rougned Odor. It was the second game of Odor’s seven-game ban.

SHORT HOPS

Joey Gallo, who had just one at-bat in his five-day stint, was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the roster for Darvish. … Pirates lefty reliever Tony Watson came off the paternity list and pitched a perfect eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: Manager Clint Hurdle planned to give 2B Josh Harrison the night off after he came out of the series opener early. He’s been battling an illness that kept him out of the lineup Thursday as well.

Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos is expected to start a rehab assignment Tuesday with Double-A Frisco. He’s been out since April 10 with a broken right forearm and could be activated as soon as he is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 9.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (4-3, 4.30) has won his last four starts against the Rangers and is 5-1 with a save and a 2.89 ERA in nine career games against them, most of those with Minnesota. His last appearance against Texas was Sept. 10, 2013.

Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (2-4, 3.13) makes his team-high 11th start and has gone 2-2 with a 2.23 ERA in his past six starts. He threw six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Angels in his last start

Utley answers with slam, solo HR as Dodgers rout Mets 9-1

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NEW YORK (AP) After the New York Mets missed, Chase Utley connected twice.

Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing New York 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch – which certainly appeared to be his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year’s playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers’ bench to keep teammates calm – and later responded by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

“I think a loud, energizing environment gets the best out of you. I think it’s fun,” said Utley, who has 19 RBIs this season, nine in the first two games of this series. “It kind of gets the adrenaline going a little bit, makes you kind of dig down deeper.”

Asked if he thought Syndergaard delivered a purpose pitch, Utley said: “Possibly, but I understand it.”

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets’ 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Howie Kendrick and Corey Seager also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that hit him on the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings. The right-hander yielded two hits, both singles in the first, and stopped his three-game losing streak.

“Pretty impressive. You wouldn’t see too many other pitches staying in the game at that point,” Utley said.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets – and their fans – were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night; Utley played all four games without incident May 9-12 when the teams split a series in Los Angeles.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard’s first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

“The ruling was that he intentionally threw at the batter,” crew chief Tom Hallion told a pool reporter. “We can either warn or eject. And with what happened in that situation, we felt the ejection was warranted.”

Hallion said no warnings were issued before the series.

“We take each game individually,” he said when asked if last year’s playoff series played a role in the ejection. “We have to make a snap decision. We can’t think about, OK, well this guy did this or he did that in Game 6 of whatever. We don’t have enough time to think that way. We make a decision on what happens in the game.”

Collins said he had never before seen a pitcher get ejected without a warning.

“My argument was, nobody got hit,” Collins said. “There was a time when, in this game, where you had a shot and nothing happened, the ball went to the backstop. So that was kind of my argument.”

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

“It was just a pitch that got away from me. That’s all I got,” Syndergaard said. “I can understand why he did what he did. I still think a warning would have been better.”

Collins acknowledged he’s a little concerned Syndergaard might get suspended.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett’s first pitch of the sixth for a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, making it 6-0 with his 38th homer against the Mets.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

“We came together as a group,” Utley said. “We battled, and it was a good win.”

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts vs. the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May – including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Mets’ Syndergaard ejected after throwing behind Utley

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NEW YORK — In a scene that has seemed inevitable since October, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been ejected for throwing a 99 mph fastball behind Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since his late takeout slide in last year’s playoffs broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

New York was incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules on slides at bases this season. But the Mets had not attempted to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard’s first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman’s back by a considerable margin.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting irate Mets manager Terry Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected.

Indians’ Brantley unsure of return from shoulder injury

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CLEVELAND —¬†Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has no timetable for his return from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the second time this season.

Brantley spoke to reporters Saturday for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 14. He began the season on the DL following surgery for a torn right labrum in November. Brantley hit .231 with seven RBIs in 11 games before being shut down again.

“I wasn’t bouncing back quick enough to keep playing back-to-back games, which is very important,” he said. “I want to be healthy each and every day and I have to play at a high level. This is the major leagues. You have to be at the best of your ability and the highest health-wise you can be.”

Brantley, who received an anti-inflammatory shot in the shoulder two weeks ago, doesn’t think he returned from the surgery too soon.

“I was ready,” he said. “We talked about it. We had a great process laid out. Everything went smoothly. It was just a bump in the road.”

Brantley has been hitting off a tee but isn’t sure when he will begin taking swings in the batting cage. He is playing catch since he throws left-handed but wants to be cautious about resuming a hitting program.

“Surgery is nothing to play with,” he said. “You have to be smart and understand your body.”

Brantley visited Dr. Craig Morgan, who performed the surgery, in Wilmington, Delaware after he returned to the DL. An MRI showed no changes in the shoulder.

“He said everything checks out good, just make sure to take your time and we’ll see what happens from there,” Brantley said.

Brantley finished third in the AL MVP voting in 2014 when he hit .327 with 20 homers and 97 RBIs. He batted .310 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs last season.