And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Nationals 3, Braves 0: Stephen Strasburg was scratched, but at least he showed up at the ballpark. Can’t say the same for the Braves. Hell, I think they’re still stuck in the Miami airport waiting for their charter to D.C. Whoever it was playing in the road uniforms last night didn’t seem to give a rat’s patootie about this game, though. Two of the three Nats’ runs were unearned because the dudes wearing the Brian McCann and Chipper Jones replica jerseys threw the ball all over the place. Give a hand to Miguel Batista, though, for stepping in on short notice and throwing five innings of shutout ball. Whether it was against impostors or not, that’s some gutsy baseball right there.

Mets 8, Cardinals 2: Home sweet home for the Mets as they lay the beatdown on Adam Wainwright. Jeff Francoeur had a three-run homer because God wanted my Tuesday night to be as crappy as possible from a baseball perspective. In related news my dream last night was Kent Hrbek, Jim Leyritz and the ghost of Eric Gregg ganging up on me in an alley while Lonnie Smith yelled at me to “Run! Run! Run like your life depends on it, Craig!”

Indians 4, Yankees 1: Josh Tomlin makes his major league debut and shuts
down the Yankees over seven innings. At this point I would like to
mention that I saw Tomlin pitch here in Columbus back in May and
at the time I said that he looked better than anyone the Indians had on
their roster at the time, so maybe they should call him up
. I would also like to point out that Tomlin is facing felonious assault charges right now, — UPDATE: the charges were recently reduced to “disorderly conduct” — so maybe he figured “screw it; no reason to save any energy for tomorow because there may be no tomorrow for me.”

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 5: Six straight for the Phillies behind homers from Werth and Howard. Bad news though too: Shane Victorino left the game with an oblique injury. Bad news for Arizona too as Justin Upton left with a bum hip.

White Sox 11, Mariners 0: Know how I know the Mariners suck? They had nearly a dozen runs scored on them by a team who was using Juan Pierre as their DH. That’s how I know the Mariners suck. Ryan-Rowland Smith keeps getting starts for these guys too. I mean, I keep telling Don Wakamatsu that Smith is bluffing and that he’d never release the pictures to the media because they’d be just as damning for him, but he apparently doesn’t believe me.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: Carlos Pena and Matt Joyce account for all the Rays runs. Joyce had the big hit on Monday night too. Given how charitable Detroit is to former Tigers, I expect Joe Maddon to employ the following lineup for tomorrow night’s game:

1. Ron LeFlore CF
2. Lou Whitaker 2B
3. Rusty Staub DH
4. Darrell Evans 1B
5. Kirk Gibson RF
6. Larry Herndon LF
7. George Kell 3B
8. Lance Parrish C
9. Ray Oyler SS

Yeah, it’s not perfect –Ray Oyler turns 72 next week and couldn’t hit when he was 30 and George Kell is dead for cryin’ out loud — but I like their chances against the current Tigers squad, don’t you?

Oh, and B.J. Upton got hurt too. Bad night for the Uptons. I’m going to assume that it was like Cheech and Chong in the Corsican Brothers and that each felt the others’ pain.

Rangers 3, Athletics 1: The Rangers just got done putting the Angels in
their place as would-be competitors and now they’re doing the same thing
to the A’s, who are tied with Anaheim for second. Cliff Lee was his
usual astounding self: Complete game nine innings (of course). No walks (of course).
Thirteen strikeouts (of course). Game score for pitchers isn’t the
be-all end-all, but it’s fun. Lee’s game score of 88 was the same as
Ubaldo Jimenez’s score for his no-hitter and the same as Armando
Galarraga’s for his near-perfect game.

Astros 6, Cubs 1: All this effort to trade Roy Oswalt when Brett Myers is (a) having a better year; and (b) is way more tradeable given his contract. Another great outing for him last night (CG 4 H, 1 ER, 12K). Ted Lilly did nothing to hurt his trade stock either, as he threw five and two-thirds shutout innings. They weren’t the most efficient innings on the planet, but good is good. The score is a function of a bullpen implosion.

Blue Jays 8, Orioles 2: Jose Bautista clubbed two more homers, bringing his league leading total to 30. It’s probably time for the O’s to shut Kevin Millwood down for the year following yet another awful outing. He’s either still injured or else he has a giant fork sticking out of his back.

Giants 6, Marlins 4: I declared the Giants dead a few weeks ago. Which goes to show you that you should never listen to anything I have to say about anything ever.

Dodgers 2, Padres 0: We should all probably thank the Padres and the Braves for taking one for the team and giving us all a couple of nice tight races this summer when they really didn’t have to. Billingsley Kuo and Broxton combine for the shutout.

Red Sox 4, Angels 2: John Lackey gives up two runs in seven and a third against his old mates. He was booed lustily by the Anaheim crowd in his second game against the Angels since leaving via free agency, though first in California.

Pirates 4, Rockies 2: Colorado is 2-10 since the All-Star break. It’s like the bizarro version of one of those incredible runs like they went on last year or in 2007.Clint Barmes after the game: “We’ve been playing bad baseball. We’re not doing the little things.”  That’s not fair, Clint. You guys aren’t doing the big things either.

Twins 11, Royals 2: Another day against the Royals another double-digit offensive output for the Twins. Another big day for Danny Valencia too, who went 4 for 5 with three RBI.  And the 13th win for Carl Pavanostache.

Reds 12, Brewers 4: Cincinnati raps out 19 hits and pull back into a tie in the NL Central. This was probably the ugliest game of the night. Eleven pitchers allow 28 hits, neither starter goes four innings and the whole shebang lasts 3:41. Edinson Volquez is probably back from surgery too soon, by the way. He may feel good but he has no command.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

Elsa/Getty Images
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The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.