And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Padres 3, Dodgers 2:
Oscar Salazar had a pinch-hit walkoff single. During the game they
traded for Miguel Tejada and got $1 million in the deal from Baltimore.
Tejada is “meh” but I hope they went out for a party on that million
bucks after the game. I also hope they continued to wear the awesome
throwback mustard and brown jerseys after the game ended, because that
would make the party really hop.

Marlins 5, Giants 0: Anibal Sanchez was almost untouchable: CG, SHO 1 H, 1 BB, 8K.  Buster Posey’s hitting streak ends. The Giants should totally protest this one, though. Jorge Cantu reached twice and scored twice even though he was basically traded already as the game was going on. Let’s create an unwritten rule about that, in fact, shall we?

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I only made up that rule above so we can somehow include Adam Dunn and Matt Capps in it. I mean, sure, I know they weren’t traded during the game or anything, but Capps was traded a mere seven or eight hours after the game ended and there have been a moderate amount of rumors about Dunn, so the Nationals should have sat them out of an abundance of caution. Why no, it has nothing to do with the fact that Dunn hit a homer and Capps got the save in a game in which my rooting interest was on the losing end. Why do you ask?

Mets 4, Cardinals 0: R.A. Dickey shuts down the Cards. Where the hell has this season come from for this guy?  He couldn’t get anyone out in his previous big league stints and wasn’t even all that sharp in the minors, and now he’s 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA. I love guys like this.

Phillies 3, Diamondbacks 2: On a day they get Roy Oswalt for a song in terms of both talent and cash, they get a walkoff win in the 11th inning too. Phillies get everything they want [kicks at stuff, pouts]. For the Dbacks, Joe Saunders had a better start than any Dan Haren has had since July 4th.

Yankees 11, Indians 4: It’s pretty telling when your most effective pitcher of the night is an infielder. That was the case for Cleveland, who pressed Andy Marte into service in ninth inning of a rout. Dude threw a scoreless inning, striking out Nick Swisher. He’s had about 100 chances to stick as a third baseman in various places. Why not try to make a career out of being a mop-up man?

Rays 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers are skidding out of control. David Price gets his 14th win.

Rockies 9, Pirates 3: Ubaldo Jimenez gets his 16th win to help the Rockies snap their eight-game skid.  One more win and he ties the Rockies’ franchise record.

Orioles 6, Royals 5: Kansas City has lost 14 of 17. This bad stretch began at almost the exact moment everyone started talking about how Ned Yost had the team turned around and flying right and all that jazz. Damndest thing.

White Sox 9, Mariners 5: I was on 950 KJR in Seattle last night as this game was going on. Before they called me, I did a quick brushup on the Mariners because, hey, you never know. As soon as my spot started the host said “Mariners are playing the White Sox, but we are NOT going to talk about them because no one wants to hear anything that depressing,” or words pretty close to that. I can see that.  Two home runs for Raul Castro, by the way.

Rangers 7, Athletics 4: The Rangers complete a nice 5-2 homestand against the two teams who think they can challenge them. Only disappointment: Jorge Cantu didn’t hop a flight and pull the “two games in one day for two different teams” stunt. Because that woulda been cool.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
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Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

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Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most:

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30:  Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets celebrates after retiring the side in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox  during their game at Citi Field on May 30, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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There were a lot of complete games and a lot of non-complete games that nonetheless saved tired bullpens yesterday. It’s not like it was 1973 all over again or anything, but it was pretty notable all the same. Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 1, White Sox 0: Matt Harvey is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 6/1 since deciding to not talk to the media. Clearly avoiding the press is a good move for him and he should continue to do so.

Braves 5, Giants 3: Mike Foltynewicz gave up an early homer to Brandon Belt but then buckled down and allowed only one run over six innings. Mallex Smith hit a three-run triple. If you squint a little you can imagine those two starring in games that actually matter for Atlanta one day.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 2: Steven Wright allowed two runs on four hits in tossing a complete game. It was his third of those on the year. In 2015 the league leaders in complete games in both the NL and the AL notched four each. Will White had 75 of them in 1879. People always talk about Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak as being baseball’s ultimate unbreakable record. I got my money on Will White’s CG mark. If you insist on going post-deadball era I’ll take Bob Feller’s 36 in 1946, which I’m pretty sure is equally unbreakable.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 0: Carlos Martinez struck out eight in eight shutout innings — he needed that — and Matt Carpenter had four hits. Martinez has owned the Brewers so far in his career. He should be getting quarterly reports and have his own parking space at Miller Park.

Athletics 3, Twins 2: Kendall Graveman had an uncharacteristically solid start. Coco Crisp led off the game with a homer. He also added to the difficulty of a nice Chris Coghlan catch on a sac fly in the fifth, providing a body block of sorts. We’ve still never seen a heel-turn in a major league baseball game, but this is how one would start. They’re more creative now, but back in the 80s all the good heel turns started with some minor accident or miscommunication during a tag team match or something, causing the newly formed heel to believe his friend had turned on him when he really just made a mistake. If Coghlan was getting a push as a new heel, this is how it’d go. I doubt it will happen because MLB’s bookers really aren’t on top of things, but I’m gonna watch the next A’s game anyway to see if he hits Crisp with a metal chair during a standup interview with whoever the A’s version of Gordon Solie is.

Mariners 9, Padres 3Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee homered. It wasn’t too long ago that the two teams combined in a Mariners-Padres game might not score nine runs in a whole three-game series. Or at least it felt like that. Seattle has come a long way.

Reds 11, Rockies 8: An 11-8 game with 28 hits and seven home runs that featured a big lead blown and a big rally that had its momentum maintained by a walk to a pitcher? Let me guess: Coors Field? *checks* Yes, I guessed correctly. Two homers from Adam Duvall who has 11 13 on the year somehow.

Astros 8, Diamondbacks 3: The offense was nice for Houston but a big game from Collin McHugh, going the distance the day after the Astros bullpen got sapped, was huge for them too. Jason Castro drove in three. Houston has won six of seven. I told y’all they’d come around eventually.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0: Jason Hammel had to leave the game after two shutout innings with hamstring cramps. All the Cubs bullpen did was toss seven perfect innings. Not seven shutout innings. Seven perfect innings. Dang. One hit and one walk in the game for the Dodgers, each off of Hammel.

Rangers 9, Indians 2: Nomar Mazara’s hit a homer — a long homer —  in the fourth innins. He now has five home runs and 12 RBI in his last 11 games. The Astros may be turning it around, but the first place Rangers have won eight of 10 so it’s not like they’re gaining much ground.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3: Daniel Murphy hit a solo homer, singled, doubled and drove in three. He’s at .395/.426/.621 on the year. That’ll play. Bryce Harper had to leave after getting hit on the knee with a pitch, but he shouldn’t miss much time.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2: The Jays have taken five of six. Marco Estrada allowed three hits and struck out six in eight shutout innings. Just a ton of strong pitching performances yesterday. Not crazy Kershaw-style things, but a lot of “the bullpen was tired after the weekend and we need you to eat innings” kind of gutsy performances, this one being no exception.

Pirates 10, Marlins 0: OK, I take that back. Jeff Locke had a dominant performance with a three-hit shutout. Although he only struck out one dude, so that may or may not qualify depending on your definition of dominance. 105 pitches and no walks is pretty dang spiffy either way, though. Gregory Polanco hit a grand slam. Guy is hitting .315/.393/.565 from the 7-hole.

Royals 6, Rays 2: Eric Hosmer hit a three-run bomb in the Royals’ four-run eighth inning. Four wins in a row for the champs.

Angels 5, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander and Jhoulys Chacin traded zeroes until the eighth inning when Verlander ran out of zeros. The Angels rallied four five runs that inning, four charged to JV, and Chacin kept cruising, finishing the game with 10 strikeouts and allowing only one run in a complete game.