And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Mets 4, Giants 3: Umpire Phil Cuzzi didn’t hand a win to the Mets, but he sure as hell took one away from the Giants.  Travis Ishikawa was safe on this play — even Henry Blanco said so after the game — but Cuzzi called him out. It was clearly the wrong call and it cost the Giants the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Earlier Cuzzi was in a screaming match with Francisco Rodriguez, which was also out of line. If for no other reason that it should have been Johan Santana yelling at Rodriguez for blowing a 3-1 lead in the ninth, thereby costing Santana a W. Oh, and check out K-Rod’s game-ending strikeout celebration. Dude: you get to pump your fist like that if you save it, not if you vulture a win.

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 4: The Cardinals’ five runs come in the eighth and ninth and they win it on a walkoff RBI single from Matt Holliday. The Dodgers wasted six shutout innings by Padilla during which he only allowed one hit.  Only 80 pitches too, so you wonder why he wasn’t allowed to go another inning or two. Anyway, the Cards sweep the Dodgers and take over first place in the NL Central.

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 4: Chris Denorfia smacks two homers as Edwin Jackson turns in his third straight blah start after his no-hitter. Fun little mix-up between Everth Cabrera and Mark Reynolds down at third base when Cabrera was picked off. Cabrera got ejected, but I’m not sure it wasn’t the case that both he and Reynolds were equally aggressive here. Cabrera’s foot in Reynolds’ face was a bit much, but so too was Reynolds rolling over Cabrera and planting an elbow in his back beforehand, not to mention the fact that Reynolds was the one who came up swinging. Seems like you either eject both of them or neither of them. Could be worse, though. If Phil Cuzzi was working this game he probably would have ejected Steve Garvey and then barked at you if you told him he was wrong.

Mariners 2, Angels 1: It’s really not possible to watch highlights from a Mariners-Angels matchup without thinking of the Enrico Pallazo game. And while we’re on the subject, does it bother anyone that the the Enrico Pallazo game was quite obviously played in Dodger Stadium?

Twins 7, White Sox 6: Bobby Jenks joins K-Rod and Jonathan Broxton on the big-name-closers-who-got-shelled-yesterday list after allowing four runs without getting a single man out. The Twins almost didn’t survive yet another poopy performance by Nick Blackburn, after which he sounded like he knows he’s about to lose his job: “I don’t know how much longer they’re going to keep putting up with this
stuff.”  That aside, it was a nice weekend for Minnesota, taking three of four from the Chisox when it looked like they were about ready to keel over and die.

Pirates 9, Astros 0: Paul Maholm tossed a three-hitter, helped out by a Houston lineup that probably wouldn’t qualify as formidable in a Texas League game. It probably didn’t make any difference, though, because the flood gates opened for the Pirates when Roy Oswalt had to leave after taking a comebacker off his ankle.

Athletics 9, Royals 6: So much for all of those “hey, those Royals are looking frisky” articles we’ve been reading lately, as they drop their sixth straight. Oakland, on the other hand, has won five in a row and 12 of 18 and they’re now back to .500 for the first time in over a month. Nice game for Vin Mazzaro, who gave up one run in seven and two-thirds. It then took four pitchers for the A’s bullpen to get the final four outs.

Braves 11, Brewers 6: Brian McCann just loves having the sacks jacked. He had that bases-loaded RBI double in the All-Star Game, and in this one he had a grand slam and was later walked with three men aboard. This is strange: on Saturday the Braves’ Jonny Venters went after Prince Fielder, throwing near his head and then plunking him. Both he and Bobby Cox were ejected. Fine. Then yesterday, Manny Parra hits Jason Heyward. Warning issued: still fine. Sure, Parra could have been immediately ejected if the ump thought it was retaliation, but the warning is how it’s usually handled. Two batters later David Riske hits Troy Glaus but isn’t ejected. Why not? What was the point of the warning?

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2: Losing three out of four is not the way the Sox wanted to come out of the All-Star break. Well, at least not unless they’re running some weird rope-a-dope gambit to which we’re all simply not hip. Ten strikeouts for C.J. Wilson who I never would have guessed would be having such a nice year as a starter before the season began.

Marlins 1, Nationals 0: The Marlins shut out the Nats for the second straight day (and after they themselves were shut out on Friday). This was a committee job, with Alex Sanabia starting and going five and a third and four relievers finishing it out. Indeed, Florida needed three relievers to finish up the shutout on Saturday too. A pretty bullpen-taxing couple of days for having given up zero runs.

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 1: Yunel Escobar hit a grand slam and drove in five. He’s six for his first 13 with a walk since coming over from Atlanta, but at least four of those hits were really annoying and displayed a bad attitude.

Rockies 1, Reds 0: How does a 1-0 game last more than three hours? When nine pitchers are used between the two teams, I guess. Aaron Cook three seven of those shutout innings. For the Reds, Travis Wood pitches on the wrong end of a 1-0 loss for the second time in a row.

Yankees 9, Rays 5: A win is nice when you beat David Price but you really regret it when you lose Andy Pettitte. OK, that was terrible and I’m going to go kill myself now. But not for the bad rhyme. I’m going to kill kill myself because I spent ten minutes trying to think of something good to rhyme with “groin” before I ended up going with what I wrote.

Indians 7, Tigers 2: Jhonny Peralta’s inside-the-parker was helped by Ryan Rayburn missing the leaping catch, pulling a Bump Bailey and going through the bullpen door. Well, he didn’t really pull a Bump Bailey in that he didn’t die or anything, but it was still kind of neat. And you know what? After watching the replay a few times, I’m pretty sure that’s an inside-the-parker even if the bullpen door doesn’t open. But if I admitted that beforehand I probably wouldn’t have gone with the Bump Bailey reference.

Cubs 11, Phillies 6: Either Roy Halladay’s radar was off last night, or else he consulted Joey Votto when putting together his strategy for getting Marlon Byrd out, because Doc plunked him twice. And each time he did he gave up a two-run home run shortly thereafter.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.